The East is stacked this year. There are plenty of reasons to believe D.C. United will go a step further in 2013, having come so close to arrival into the MLS Cup final last fall.
New York has talent across the field and a coach that the Red Bulls are now connecting with in Mike Petke.
Houston, the two-time MLS Cup runner-up, has fortified its roster. Sporting Kansas City, Chicago and Columbus have reasons to like their outlooks in 2013.
But is there one team we aren’t talking enough about?
No, we shouldn’t read too much into the Montreal Impact’s title in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic tournament. It’s just a preseason tournament, after all. Justin Mapp had the game-winner in the Impact’s 1-0 win Saturday in the tournament final at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
But perhaps the confidence being shown by first-year coach Marco Schällibaum and some of his veteran players does tell us something. The manager seemed especially pleased with the back line of Jeb Brovsky, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta and Hassoun Camara.
We are very satisfied with the tournament. We finished this game very professionally and we were almost perfect defensively. We came away with the trophy and are heading back on a high note.”
Keeping Nesta healthy and strategically rested should be a high priority for Schällibaum as he figures out MLS. One thing he’ll have to understand quickly is the heavy toll that travel takes over such a big country (while soon playing games in some fairly oppressive conditions). It’s one of the elements most likely to catch foreign managers unawares as they navigate MLS the first time around.