Major League Soccer is a quarter of a century old and will celebrate its 25th birthday with the additions of two expansion clubs, Nashville SC and Inter Miami CF, this season. MLS will play its longest season with the first round of matches kicking off on February 29thand the MLS Cup Final taking place in November.
The 2020 MLS season is destined to be a memorable one as 26 clubs will compete for the Supporters’ Shield and hope to be one of the 14 teams to qualify for the MLS Playoffs.
MLS will have its largest ever number of teams competing this season as 26 clubs will play the 2020 soccer season. Nashville SC will be led by former MLS Cup winning coach Gary Smith, who took the Colorado Rapids to an unlikely title in 2010. A lot has changed since that cup win, but Nashville SC will hope Smith is safe hands for the expansion club.
Inter Miami has a lot of hype surrounding them going into the season. The club is owned by former LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham. Inter Miami have been in the making for years and Diego Alonso will oversee their inaugural season after managing Mexico’s Monterrey to the CONCACAF Champions League trophy in 2019. Inter Miami will have big buck behind them to sign players and win fans over in a city that once had an MLS franchise.
Chicago Fire may not be an expansion side, but the ownership group has re-branded the team. The Fire have dropped the ‘Soccer Club’ moniker from its name opting for ‘Football Club’. In addition, the Fire have changed their colors and badge.
Five new coaches have taken over clubs in MLS during the offseason. Orlando City, Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact, New York City FC, and Chicago Fire FC have all made moves for various reasons.
Houston Dynamo hired former US Soccer youth coach Tab Ramos in one of the most exciting changes. Ramos has long been seen as a rising coach in the ranks and now, he will have his first chance to coach a senior team.
Nearly as exciting is Thierry Henry, who heads to Montreal Impact. Henry was sacked in 2019 by France’s Monaco after a poor record with the club. The former Red Bull New York striker could turn Montreal Impact around and make it one of the premier sides in the Eastern Conference.
Former Chivas USA player Raphael Wicky has signed to turn around Chicago Fire’s fortunes, while former Celtic manager Ronny Deila will coach New York City FC. MLS veteran coach Oscar Pareja has joined Orlando City.
Five trophies are up for grabs this season with teams competing for the MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield, US Open Cup/Canadian Championship, Leagues Cup, and CONCACAF Champions League.
MLS will hope its eight participants in the Leagues Cup (a tournament pitting MLS’s top eight teams from last season against Liga MX’s top eight) fare better than in 2019. Only the LA Galaxy made it to the semifinals last season.
The Seattle Sounders are the reigning MLS Cup Champions despite finishing 16 points behind Supporters’ Shield winners Los Angeles FC. MLS has five teams competing in the CONCACAF Champions League with Toronto FC, Seattle Sounders, New York City FC, Los Angeles FC, and Atlanta United playing in the round of 16. Could this season finally see an MLS team win the elusive Champions League?
The 2020 MLS season is destined to be an exciting year of soccer. As always, the MLS season will have plenty of ups and downs, and as usual, it will be difficult to predict just how it will unfold.