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TGIF: The 2009 MLS season is on its way

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Where does the time go?

Almost from the minute that Frankie Hejduk hoisted the 2008 MLS Cup trophy over his head to signal the unofficial end of the 2008 season MLS fans have been dreading the long and sometimes laborious MLS off-season. Four long months of waiting, speculating, European soccer viewing and wondering how the next year will be different from the last.

Three of those months have zoomed by and here we sit, less than a month from the MLS debut of the Seattle Sounders and the start of the 14th season of MLS when Seattle faces the New York Red Bulls on March 19th.

Are you ready?

The better question is whether the 15 MLS teams are ready.

While some clubs are locked and loaded, like the defending champion Crew, and the top contender to the throne, the Chicago Fire, other teams, like the Red Bulls, San Jose Earthquakes and Toronto FC, are still busy building their 2009 clubs as the clock leading up to opening kick dwindles down to zero.

This MLS off-season has been busier than most, at least it seems that way as many of the league's teams undergo significant changes. Toronto FC is the league's poster child in that department, with name tags likely to be the standard in the BMO Field locker room in the early part of the season.

The biggest question most MLS fans will have, or at least should have, is whether the league will be a better league in year 14 than year 13. We won't know for sure whether the off-season efforts of the league's 15 teams were successful, but indications are that the league should be better, should be stronger and should be more stable despite the league's three straight years of expansion.

Consider the relatively low number of top players to leave the league this winter. The laundry list of players eligible to test the waters in Europe this winter was an impressive one, but more of those players chose to stay than chose to leave. With the exception of Michael Parkhurst, and likely exception of a certain Englishman, there weren't really many impact departures at all.

That is a promising sign, just as Seattle's acquisition of highly-regarded young forward Fredy Montero was. Being a league that can keep more of its top talent, while also attracting quality young international talent, is something MLS can be proud of this off-season.

The off-season isn't quit over yet. We still have another 27 days to go before opening kick in Seattle, but there is already plenty for MLS fans to be excited about and more than enough motivation to start counting down the days on the calendar top March 19th.

What do you think about the upcoming MLS season? Excited? Nervous? Enthusiastic?

Share your thoughts on the countdown to the 2009 MLS season below.


  1. @Isaac yeah Guillermo’s expression is funny. But Apertura means opening in Spanish. i.e. the opening tournament is the torneo apertura so you wouldn’t really say the Argentina Apertura

  2. I think Seattle could really surprise some people especially since in the early part of the season before other teams get a good look at them and there style. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got off to a hot start before leveling off.

    NYRB will be very exciting with their youth and speed. I’m not convinced that they will make it as far as last season, I think they will be a little inconsistent.

  3. “I personally think the entire West has probably taken a step back collectively–I don’t think Houston is as deep and cohesive as they’ve been in the past, FCD is too dependent on Cooper (with too many unanswered questions), Colorado–who knows? and RSL got hot at the right time. LAG is very much a work in progress–should be better than last year but they still don’t have a lot of tools to work with and they’ll miss Donovan a bunch this year for various reasons (WCQ, Confed Cup).

    As for the East, I don’t see any weak sisters here. So if a team hits a slump or suddenly has trouble finishing or one key player gets hurt, they could be out of the playoffs. There isn’t a single team in the East I think is a lock to make the playoffs (yes, even Columbus–who played the best soccer overall of anyone last year).”

    Posted by: JoeW | February 20, 2009 at 01:24 PM

    There’s that famous East Coast bias! Maybe you should stay up past 10:00 PM Eastern time and watch a game or two played on the best coast.

  4. “My heart is with the Crew but I am also a Sigi fan so now I have two teams to cheer.”

    Posted by: Swede Dante | February 20, 2009 at 12:03 PM

    To Swede Dante:

    Don’t forget your favorite Swedish Calvin Klein underwear model!


    While Seattle might not win the cup in their first year, I would bet my house they will not finish last.


    Have you heard of F Fredy Montero? All he did was lead the Colombian first division in scoring!

    Have you heard of F Nate Jaqua? He hasn’t ever been successful scoring goals in the MLS?

    Have you heard of F-M Sebastien Le Toux? All he did was earn USL MVP honors and is a goal scoring machine.

    Have you heard of M Sanna Nyassi? Ok maybe not, but you will. He will be on of the fastest players in the MLS and he’s leading the team in goals this pre-season.

    The midfield is stacked with Le Toux, Nyassi, M Freddie Ljungberg (if healthy will be a star), M Brad Evans (started all season for Crew and won the cup), F-M Steve Zakuani (first pick over all), M Osvaldo Alonso (USL rookie of the year last season).

    The defense is getting better, especially with the signing of CB Jhon Kennedy Hurtado who impressed when on trial with AC Milan. He is blazing fast and will combine with either D Tyrone Marshall who despite people trashing him looked damn good for Jamaica the other night, or D Taylor Graham who has MLS experience and was the USL defender of the year two seasons ago.

    Also, Evan Brown, the 16th overall selection in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of Wake Forest is the real deal and could start.

    And yeah, you honestly think Kasey Keller can’t play anymore? Come on!

  6. I love how in the picture Ives has that Guillermo is looking at that crystal cup like ” What the f*** is this supposed to be? My buddies back in the Argentina Apertura would be laughing their asses off at me!”

  7. the truth is, from all of the North American sport leagues the MLS is by far the hardest to predict. The only thing that I can hope to anticipte is that TFC improves and is more consistent.

  8. Anyone who thinks RBNY isn’t going to be good this season clearly isn’t paying attention. Not only have we kept nearly the entire Conference championship team intact (including re-signing Angel and Richards to extended contracts), but we’ve strengthened our midfield, forward and goalkeeper pools considerably. We have more talent and depth than ever before, which will come in handy in our first foray into CONCACAF Champions League. Let’s go, RBNY!

  9. Why I have come to love MLS in just over 1 year:

    -the competitiveness, and how nearly every team believes they have a shot at the Cup rather than aiming for 5th place.

    -as someone mentioned earlier, how the offseason blues aren’t near as bad as most other sports.

    -being able to root for MY team rather than attaching myself to some team overseas that i’ve never seen.

    -etc, etc, etc…

    I admit I used to ignore MLS until my team got into the league, but now I have seen the light 😀

  10. I’m all for TFC keeping the title of best fans as long as their team on the field continues to be crap!

    Counting down the days!!!!!!

    With every expansion team that’s added there’s one less team making the playoffs and getting into international competitions. I think the league is going to keep getting more and more competitive and entertaining!


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