David Villa and Kaka Lead Influx as Foreign Stars Look Set to Star in MLS Again

Major League Soccer returns for a new season on Friday with high hopes that it will be the most successful yet. A couple of new teams and a whole host of new players contribute to the hopes that this will be the most exciting and entertaining season yet, with plenty of franchises looking well poised to succeed the Los Angeles Galaxy as MLS Cup holders come the end of the campaign. The recently agreed collective bargaining agreement might have been, at its core, about the league retaining key elements of its insular structure, elements that help keep it separate from the completely free-market situation that operates around the world. Nevertheless, a number of highly paid foreign stars look set to be driving forces in events this season. Designated players in Los Angeles and New York, along with plenty of other spots around the United States and Canada, come into the new season with huge numbers on their paychecks and consequently huge expectations on their shoulders. Here are some of the new names and returning faces to watch out for this season.  The New Names Shaun Maloney (Chicago Fire) Shaun Maloney may not have as wide a profile as some of the other players debuting in MLS this season, ...
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10 Bold Predictions for Clint Dempsey’s Return to MLS

This Sunday, Clint Dempsey really gets welcomed back to Major League Soccer. After a somewhat underwhelming start to life with the Seattle Sounders—by his lofty standards, at least—the United States international will be the focus of attention as his side host the Portland Timbers in one of the bigger rivalry games of the season. Over 66,000 fans are expected to descend on CenturyLink field for the contest, making it the biggest home crowd (at club level at least) that Dempsey will have ever played in front of. Dempsey told the official MLS website this week: I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when the whole stadium is completely packed and they are behind us. We’ll feed off that energy and we’ll make sure we give everything we have to let them go home happy. Winning one game is not the sum total of all the Sounders' fanbase started hoping for after signing Dempsey, however—they now have far bigger goals in mind. In that spirit, we make some predictions for Dempsey's much-vaunted MLS return.Begin Slideshow
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