Nani and André Horta among the ‘stars’ of the 24 MLS teams
The American League starts next Saturday.
The Major League Soccer (MLS) starts on Saturday with Atlanta United seeking to defend the title, ‘rookie’ FC Cincinnati and the Portuguese Nani and André Horta among the ‘stars’ of the championship.
The main feature of the championship is the addition of a 24th team, FC Cincinnati, which has a squad of lesser-known players, with the exception of goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton, who represented Poland in Euro2012, and the American Frankie Amaya, who this year was the first draft pick, a draw for players entering the first year of seniors, according to the potential and performance of the teams.
Another of the changes of 2019 is the increase for 14 of the teams that will compete for the final phase, seven of each of the conferences, West and East, with the playoffs no longer having two hands and run along roughly two between the end of October and the first days of November.
If the New York Red Bulls won the regular season, which has 34 games, the teams of the West and East Conferences face each other twice, and play a game against each of the other conference emblems, Atlanta United managed to, to the second year of MLS, to triumph in the playoffs.
Guided by Argentinean Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, former FC Barcelona coach and Argentina coach, the team ‘shone’ and won every game on their way to the title, revealing promises such as Miguel Almirón from Paraguay, already transferred to Newcastle, or Venezuelan Josef Martínez.
For the new season, the team starts again as favorite, now with the Dutchman Frank de Boer instead of Martino, who wanted to leave, and the sound name of the transfers is the Argentine Pity Martínez, champion of Libertadores with River Plate.
In the Vancouver Canadiens Whitecaps, led by Luso-Canadian Marc dos Santos, the main entry is that of Colombian Fredy Montero, who returned to leave Sporting and return to MLS, evidence that ‘shone’ in the service of the Seattle Sounders.
The formation of Dos Santos lost the main reference, the young Alphonso Davies, sold to Bayern Munich, besides the Egyptian Aly Ghazal, now in Feirense, while the Columbus Crew is another candidate for the playoffs.
Caleb Porter’s team is led by Portugal’s Pedro Santos and Argentine striker Federico Higuain, Gonzalo’s brother advanced at Chelsea, and defensive consistency is one of his trademarks.
In Orlando, much of the expectation for a surprise comes as Orlando City has hired the biggest name in the transfer window, the Portuguese Nani, who left Sporting for the third time.
The Portuguese international winger is in the formation of another product of the Academy of the ‘lions’, João Moutinho, who arrived at the MLS via the draft, being the first choice in 2018 for Los Angeles FC, now changing club.
James O’Connor’s team strengthened to try to reach the playoffs for the first time after a 2018 season in which they were 22nd out of 23 teams, which is noteworthy for Nani and Moutinho but also by the arrival of the Brazilian Ruan and the renewal of the loan of the Peruvian Carlos Ascues, who passed through Benfica B.
In Los Angeles, where Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to claim to be a “king” in the LA Galaxy, LAFC enters their second year of existence, having reached the playoffs early on.
In addition to the Mexican Carlos Vela, the biggest name of the team trained by the former United States coach and Swansea coach Bob Bradley, there is an expectation about the Portuguese player André Horta, the other ‘designated player’ (player with a salary above the authorized ceiling) of the emblem.
The midfielder moved from Benfica in the summer of 2018, after loan to Sporting de Braga, and took some games to adapt to a different style of play, so the curiosity falls on him for a start of the season from the beginning.