Clint Irwin

Colorado Rapids 2019 Season Preview by Benjamin Bellman

Folks, this is what a re-build looks like. Dick’s Sporting Goods Park might as well have had a “Pardon Our Dust” sign posted at the ticket office every home match, and the only good thing about the Colorado Rapids’ 2018 season is that it’s over. Still, 2018 was not wasted by the club, with players joining and leaving the roster all year. In many ways, this was the “game” that fans, including myself, have really been paying attention to. Head coach Anthony Hudson and GM Padraig Smith certainly had their work cut out for them a year ago, and it’s clear that this was always going to be a multi-year process, especially given the two bloated Designated Player contracts expiring at the end of 2019.

The Rapids are poised for an interesting 2019 season as the roadies for Tim Howard’s Magical Retirement Tour. They won’t (and shouldn’t!) be on anyone’s playoff prediction lists, but they’ll be a sleeper pick by a couple experts (pump Bobby Warshaw’s takes directly into my veins). Now that seven teams from each conference get a playoff game, Colorado should strive to be in the hunt all year, and given the crapshoot that is MLS, there’s no reason to say they can’t make it. But playoffs or not, Rapids fans would be truly pleased with some wins, some goals, and some talented young players to carry the team into a new decade.

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Toronto FC 2017 Season Preview by Aaron Nielsen

After years of ineptness Toronto FC finally has become a competitive club in MLS. Never afraid of spending the money, the Canadian side's results on the field never reflected the club’s ambitions for making the playoffs. They finally made it for the first time in 2015 and followed that up in 2016 by hosting the MLS Cup Championship game, though they lost to the champions Seattle. Toronto FC's success relied and will continue to rely on their three DPs: Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley. The three players have a combined salary of over $20,000,000 per season and Toronto FC will be dependent on them if they expect to repeat their success in 2017.

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The State of MLS Goalkeeping So Far in 2016: "Meh" by Bill Reno

Well looks like my hot takes from last month are already starting to crumble. Let’s take a quick run through before we go into MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Power Rankings.

1. Luis Robles and David Ousted will duke it out for Goalkeeper of the Year again - Off to a rough start to say the least. I wouldn’t count them out completely, but the first month was definitely not kind to them. Expect them to turn it around, but it will take a strong push to get them in the conversation for a second year. However, play across the board has been thin by the majority of goalkeepers so maybe just maybe.

2. Dykstra will make people momentarily forget about Bill Hamid - Well the injury definitely was not kind but there could be some time for Dykstra to start before Hamid gets back to 100%. The jury is still out on this although they are all heavily leaning “no” at the moment.

3. Tim Howard will have a forgettable year - The 2-0 loss to Guatemala isn’t helping his case, let me just say that.

4. Sean Johnson starts seeing his way out in Chicago - The strongest prediction as of right now. There’s been rumors of wrist injuries but it seems he’s been on the bench mostly due to a coach’s decision. Even if Johnson does top Matt Lampson in the depth chart, don’t count out Patrick McLain. At this point, I’d expect McLain to get a game over Johnson.

5. Philadelphia and Los Angeles’ goalkeeping woes continue - Andre Blake is red hot right now but knowing Philadelphia juju, it seems a strong possibility that they will sign four more goalkeepers and Blake willl pick up a knock sooner than later. Rowe is sitting even keel between boom and bust right now but to be honest, all of this doesn’t matter until playoffs come. That will be the make or break for these teams.

More after the jump.

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2016 ASA PREVIEW: TORONTO FC by Jason Poon

Toronto FC had one goal in 2015, and that was just make the playoffs. Until that point, in their entire eight year existence TFC had never made it to the playoffs. And after an off season that included bringing in Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore to the club, making the playoffs was a must. Thankfully, the entry into the post season was expanded from five to six teams in 2015, and TFC managed to squeak themselves in and remove that wretched blemish of having never seen the playoffs from their club record.

In 2014 and 2015, TFC loaded up heavily on offense, bringing in the likes of Altidore, Michael Bradley and Jermaine Defoe to the club. But those transactions cost the Reds some vital balance to the squad and left their defense woefully exposed. All that has changed heading into 2016 as Toronto reloaded their defense this off-season, picking up former Colorado Rapids captain Drew Moor and Steven Beitashour from Vancouver to shore up the backline, added solid MLS veteran Clint Irwin to man the pipes, and picked up former Portland captain Will Johnson to dictate the midfield with Bradley.

The lack of balance from the 2015 Toronto side on defense kept them from making waves in the playoffs or securing a better playoff position. But now with a more balanced roster and excellent leadership to solidify the backline, Toronto's prospects heading into 2016 look incredibly bright. 

A look at the defense after the jump.

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