Luckily, for fans there is so much to look forward to as the league prepares for kickoff on Saturday April 17.
Now is the ideal time to look ahead at the 2021 regular season and consider the title odds for some of MLS’ best teams. Recent transfer news and the previous season’s results can help us to build a picture of what to expect in the weeks and months ahead.
The 2020 MLS season followed a different format and timeline to all previous seasons, with 24 of the 26 teams competing last summer in Florida at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World. 2020 also saw the addition of two new clubs to the league, Nashville SC and Inter Miami CF.
Reigning champions Seattle Sounders FC were defeated 3 – 0 by Columbus Crew SC, their first win since the 2008 season, while Philadelphia Union won the Supporters’ Shield. This was Philly’s first major trophy in the competition.
During this year’s offseason, teams have been working hard to pull together their optimal squad before the transfer deadline. Some clubs have been making big changes in preparation for the 2021 games.
Although the regular season is yet to begin, it isn’t too early to start considering the odds for each team, who is going to make it to the postseason and who will take home the trophy. Soccer odds are heating up, this year is Los Angeles FC are among the favourites, they are now entering their fourth MLS season. LAFC have a roster full of young talented players and still have a couple of sports left open, with Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi there to lead their attack they appear to be serious contenders.
However western conference team Seattle Sounders FC have something that LAFC do not, which is a vast amount of experience in the MLS. In 2019, they won their second MLS cup title despite the loss of their team captain and the suspension of a major player who tested positive for performance enhancing substances.
Seattle Sounders defeated LAFC in the conference finals, before going on to beat Toronto FC 3 – 1 in the cup final. They have a series of strong players, including midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro who will do whatever it takes to climb the league table this season.
Columbus Crew are also a shoe in to take home the title following their success in the 2020 season playoffs. Their line-up will feature last season sign-ups Lucas Zelarayán and midfielder Darlington Nagbe, with Gyasi Zardes also there to rack up some goals.
Of course, while these predictions help us to know what to expect during the regular games, it might be a little too soon to pick a firm favorite for the 2021 title. However, the following offseason decisions and transfer dealings can give us further insight into just how prepared some of the league’s best squads are:
The Colorado Rapids have recently signed a number of young players, bringing new energy to the team. They signed homegrown Colorado players Darren Yapi and Oliver Larraz earlier in March and traded Michael Edwards to D.C. United and Dantouma Toure to the New York Red Bulls.
The team also succeeded in getting Philip Mayaka with the number three pick in the SuperDraft, which is said to be a great deal for the Rapids.
FC Cincinnati took a bit of a gamble in signing one of the highest priced incoming transfers in the history of MLS. Brazilian youth player Brenner Souza da Silva is from Sao Paulo and plays in forward position.
Brenner’s reported fee was a whopping $15 million dollars. He is a dynamic player who has also been linked to major European teams such as Arsenal and Ajax.
Cincinnati could do with finding another player for a midfield spot, for this United FC player Luciano Acosta is possibly an appealing choice. We will have to wait and see if this transfer takes place.
Current MLS Champions the Columbus Crew SC already have a strong core, so haven’t had much to do in terms of transfers so far this season. One change to note is the recent signing of Kevin Molino.
Molino was most likely one of the most competitive free agents around this season following the expiration of his contract with Minnesota United in 2020. The player is an experienced attacking midfielder and winger.
He is able to play No.10 so can fill in for Lucas Zelarayan if needed. Molino and recently signed free agent Bradley Wright-Phillips have joined a diverse and high quality squad this season and so we are likely to see some promising results from the team right from the beginning of the regular games.
There is so much to look forward to this season and while there are a couple of teams that already stand out as favourites, be prepared for some big surprises as history tells us they are pretty much guaranteed in MLS betting season.