Major League Soccer revealed the schedule for the first weekend of the 2015 regular season, including every club's home opener.
The 2015 season opens with the MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy facing the Chicago Fire at the StubHub Center on Friday, March 6.
Other marquee matches include the Houston Dynamo taking on the Columbus Crew in Owen Coyle's first game as Dynamo head coach at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, March 7.
An all-Canadian matchup between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC will also be played on that Saturday at BC Place.
The Portland Timbers begin their season against Real Salt Lake at Providence Park in the third of six matches on March 7.
Orlando City SC begins life in MLS against their expansion cousins New York City FC at the Citrus Bowl in the first of three matches on Sunday, March 8. Even the official MLS Instagram account is jacked up for this contest.
Sporting Kansas City battle the New York Red Bulls at home, and the Seattle Sounders face MLS Cup finalists New England Revolution at CenturyLink Field in the other matches that day.
NYC FC play their first home match on Sunday, March 15, against the Revolution at Yankee Stadium.
TFC won't play at BMO ...
Mix Diskerud is close to signing with Xolos de Tijuana in Mexico, according to ESPN reporter Tom Marshall:
Diskerud was previously linked with the Columbus Crew, per SB Nation. The Crew wanted to sign the midfielder as a designated player, according to Patrick Guldan of the Massive Report. On the surface, it's not a good omen that a U.S. international may not join an MLS team, but it's not all bad news for the league.
Diskerud was born in Oslo, Norway, to a Norwegian father and American mother. He grew up in his birth country and represented the nation at the youth level, before joining with the U.S. men's national team. It's also where the 24-year-old began his professional career.
It would be a significantly bigger deal if Clint Dempsey or Michael Bradley declined to join the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC, respectively, for a Mexican club. Those two grew up in the United States and started their careers in the United States.
Diskerud isn’t as connected to the league or the country as much as some of his teammates. However, losing the American international is a worry for a variety of reasons.
Liga MX offers more money, and it isn't a single entity like MLS. There are ...
Updates from Thursday, Dec. 18
MLS has taken up the option to bring striker Erick Torres to the league. The Mexican international has been loaned to Chivas for six months as part of the deal, per ESPN soccer reporter Tom Marshall:
However, Marshall goes on to say that the statement from Chivas doesn't mention MLS purchasing Torres. On the other hand, no individual club has actually signed him, so that could be the reason.
Signing a player like Torres with all of his potential is a great move by MLS. He'll be able to help any team that has issues up front.
Liga MX side Chivas will keep 21-year-old striker Erick Torres for the next six months, as confirmed by the club (h/t ESPN soccer reporter Tom Marshall):
There were rumours of the Houston Dynamo being the front-runners for the young Mexican forward, per Ives Galarcep of Goal.com. The reported fee for Torres was around $7.5 million. He would have been signed as a designated player.
However, there could be a silver lining for MLS teams in the future. Marshall goes on to say that the league may get Torres on a permanent basis after six months. Chivas apparently wanted to keep him in order ...
The Seattle Sounders have reportedly landed one of the top free agents in MLS. Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey will join the Sounders, per ESPN's Taylor Twellman (h/t MLSSoccer.com) for the 2015 season. If this comes to fruition, it will be a massive coup for Seattle.
The details of Lagerwey's deal with the Sounders, as well as his official title, are unknown at this point, per Brian Straus of Sports Illustrated. Straus claims that he'd replace Adrian Hanauer, who has been the club's sole GM since their inception.
In fact, it appears as if Hanauer wants Lagerwey because he's trying to find a new stadium for the Sounders, according to Twellman (h/t Jeremiah Oshan of Sounder at Heart).
Hanauer has done fantastic work in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is arguably the soccer hotbed of the United States. It also helps when the professional team never misses the playoffs and has won five major trophies.
However, Lagerwey has been equally, if not, more impressive as a general manager. Real Salt Lake has won an MLS Cup and the club is the only side from the U.S. to reach a CONCACAF Champions League final.
RSL is also a model of consistency with regard to ...
Thanks to the performances of many world-class stars, Major League Soccer experienced one of its best seasons to date in 2014.
Not only did the likes of Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry shine bright this season, but plenty of young players broke into the spotlight for their respective showings on the pitch.
With the season now over, it is time to take one final look back and rank the top 50 players from the 2014 campaign.
Players were ranked based on statistics from regular-season play, impact on their respective side, intangibles and postseason performances if applicable.
Here is a look at our comprehensive ranking of the 50 best players to step foot on an MLS pitch this season.Begin Slideshow
Despite surviving 19 seasons and enjoying a very successful 2014, Major League Soccer has a serious perception problem.
MLS points to surging ticket sales as an indicator that the league is flourishing and has bigger, better days ahead of it.
"Major League Soccer finished its 19th season with the highest attendance in league history," wrote Empire of Soccer's Ryan Brister. "The final average crowd of 19,149 marks the first time that MLS has cracked 19,000 fans per game for an entire season. It probably won’t be the last time."
All true. But as any professional sports franchise owner will tell you, television is where the real money is. And the popularity of MLS in person is not translating to television ratings.
"This season, an average of 141,000 viewers tuned in to MLS telecasts on its main channel, NBC Sports Network, a 26% increase over last season, though audiences were one-third larger than the overall average when matches followed telecasts of the English Premier League," noted Matthew Futterman in The Wall Street Journal.
Why aren't American viewers tuning into MLS when they apparently like Premier League soccer? Take one guess. In ticking off the various challenges MLS has going forward, Futterman cited "the league’s level of play." He did ...
New York City FC and Orlando City SC beefed up their squads in the expansion draft on Wednesday, Dec. 10 and also executed a few trades. However, the MLS season doesn't start until March, so they both have plenty of time to add more players.
The two teams each have a couple of positional needs which will be examined in this piece.
Orlando City SC
The most important trade for Orlando was to acquire Aurelien Collin and Amobi Okugo which gives them two proven MLS players in key positions. They now respectively have an established center back and a player who can play as a holding midfielder or on defense.
Orlando is set with their goalkeepers. Tally Hall will be injured for the first few weeks of the season, but that's why the club picked up Donovan Ricketts in the expansion draft. The Jamaican is an experienced, formidable MLS starter even as he approaches 40.
Heath Pearce is a valuable addition, but he struggles in the air and with his tackling, so Orlando's brass could sign an upgrade to play alongside Collin. Youngsters like Tommy Redding could eventually become starters, but for now it may be best to try and find someone else.
Eighteen-year-old Tyler Turner and Rafael Ramos ...
Identifying an exciting addition to Major League Soccer is a complicated exercise. The player needs to be very good, preferably with name recognition.
But he can't be too good, or the thought of having him leave his current situation to play in MLS would be absurd.
In so many ways, Landon Donovan was the perfect MLS star. He was a transforming talent for the Galaxy and had great moments for the United States men's national team. But while he played in Europe, he never established himself as a star there such that returning to MLS would be too much of a drop in level to make sense.
Now Donovan is gone. Some of the players listed in this piece could go a long way toward filling the star void Donovan left in MLS. Some would just be intriguing additions to the league.
Judge for yourself whether these players would consider making the move to MLS now, and whether they would have an impact if they did.Begin Slideshow
Following a few years of play in the lower divisions of American soccer, Orlando City will join Major League Soccer in 2015.
The Lions may not have the fancy association to a European club like fellow expansion side New York City FC, but they have potential to be a real contender in the Eastern Conference in 2015.
Managed by Adrian Heath, Orlando has a marquee designated player in Kaka, and it has built up a solid spine in the last week.
Before we analyze the roster of the club, here is a look at who will be playing for the Florida-based side in 2015:
The Lions aren't messing around went it comes to the goalkeeper position, as they have brought in two league veterans to man the space in between the pipes.
Tally Hall is the younger of the two 'keepers, and he should be around for the long term. However, the 29-year-old former Dynamo player is in the process of rehabbing a torn ACL.
With that in mind, Orlando City picked Donovan Ricketts with the No. 1 pick in the expansion draft. The 37-year-old Jamaican has played for three clubs in MLS over the last six seasons with Portland being his latest home.
Ricketts will be ...
The 2014 Major League Soccer season was all about the impressive attackers who took to the pitches across North America. But there were a few defenders who stood out in a year dominated by goalscorers.
While it may have been a down year for both full-back positions, plenty of center-backs enjoyed successful seasons for their respective clubs.
All five of the players we rank on this list are center-backs who proved to be game changers for playoff-bound clubs.
Here's a look at the five best defenders from the 2014 MLS season. Begin Slideshow