Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

Who will win the Supporters' Shield in 2014? DeseretNews.com ranks MLS clubs from 19 to 1 (19 items)

By , Deseret News

March 4, 2014

There's no question that 2014 is going to be an important year in MLS history.

With money juggernaut New York City FC and grassroots-fueled Orlando City SC joining the league in 2015, this upcoming season for MLS will be the end of an era. And to close out this chapter, there are several interesting storylines to watch as the league kicks off on Saturday, March 8.

For Utahns, Real Salt Lake's upcoming season is an important point of interest. Salt Lake lost last year's MLS Cup final in a shootout to Sporting Kansas City, and then proceeded to lose some key players and gifted manager Jason Kreis to NYCFC. With Jeff Cassar leading RSL, it's unknown whether the players can continue the run of form that led them to an MLS Cup victory in 2009 and a runner-up spot in 2013, or whether the club will die off into the pitfalls of the MLS standings.

Nationally, there are a tremendous amount of storylines to watch this year. Can Toronto FC — having signed United States men's national team general Michael Bradley, Brazilian No. 1 goalkeeper Julio Cesar, experienced England striker Jermain Defoe and young Brazilian Gilberto — make waves in the Eastern Conference after so long at the bottom? Can USMNT star Clint Dempsey find a drop of success in Seattle? Will the L.A. Galaxy return to form and make moves toward an MLS Cup?

It's all building toward what will be a dramatic and nail-biting MLS season. And one that hardcore and new fans alike won't want to miss out on.

Here's a rundown of all 19 MLS clubs and where they'll finish at the end of the 2014 season:

1 of 19. 19. Chivas USA

In what will be Chivas USA’s final season in MLS, don’t expect things to get any better. Fan attendance will likely decline for the club, and Chivas’ on-the-field work won’t ring in any results. Some new players might make things intriguing at times, but the team is expected to stay at the bottom and coast to its place in history as a failed MLS experiment.

2 of 19. 18. San Jose Earthquakes

San Jose will be brutish and physical, as usual. But the Earthquakes won’t make much of a run to the postseason. Few offseason moves and the aging of some top players, like Chris Wondolowski and Steven Lenhart, will only spell doom for the 'Quakes. After not making the playoffs in 2013, this next season isn’t looking any brighter for the side — despite its recent club rebranding, which some believed to be an utter failure.

3 of 19. 17. Columbus Crew

Things were looking positive for the Columbus Crew after Anthony Precourt bought the club and promised an image refreshing. But the Crew didn’t do much in the offseason to make them all that new of a team. They switched one USMNT defender for another — Michael Parkhurst for Chad Marshall — and added a new coach in Gregg Berhalter. But these moves don’t add much of a punch to lift the team out of the basement.

4 of 19. 16. Montreal Impact

Montreal barely made the playoffs in 2013, and that was with dynamic scorer Marco Di Vaio and world-class defender Alessandro Nesta. But Nesta is gone and Di Vaio is aging and likely on his way out of the league after the 2014 season. Some small offseason moves might help IMFC stay in the conversation, but ultimately the Impact are going to suffer a considerable drop.

5 of 19. 15. FC Dallas

At the beginning of the offseason, FC Dallas looked like a team that was going to drop to the bottom of the bunch. The team lost experienced striker Cooper, excellent midfielders Jackson and David Ferreira, and just didn’t seem to be moving upward after a season where it didn’t qualify for the playoffs. But it added midfielder Adam Moffat to the fray, and snagged up Colorado’s former manager, Pareja. Though Dallas isn’t assured a spot in the postseason, the club will certainly make things interesting in the Western Conference.

1. FastKB
Salt Lake City, UT,
March 5, 2014

I think you meant that Philly didn't impress in 2013. No has played a league game yet in 2014.

But with all their moves, Philly is certainly better than #14.