Goooooooooal! Major League Soccer is back, kicking off the brand new season on March 3. Before the balls start hitting the net, get to know about all the major changes, how to watch the games and every other piece of must-know info.
1. The 2017 MLS season kicks off on March 3.
After a short winter break, Major League soccer is back in a big way! The Portland Timbers, who won the MLS Cup in 2014, will roll out the welcome mat for one of the league’s brand new expansion teams, Minnesota United.
This March 3 match from Providence Park in Portland, Oregon, will kick off the season with the rest of the league playing on March 4-5. The season runs until Oct. 2017, with the MLS Cup being decided in Dec. 2017.
2. Three channels will broadcast the games this season.
For Americans, ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision will showcase the games this season. For those without cable, there’s MLS Live. $79.99 a year will allow anyone to watch all the games on computers, phones or a plethora of other devices.
3. There are a couple new teams to root for (or against.)
Along with the aforementioned Minnesota United, Atlanta United FC joins MLS for the 2017 season, boosting the number of teams up to 22. These rookie teams have a wealth of young talent. Atlanta has Miguel Almiron, 23, and Miguel Ibarra, 26, is with Minnesota, so while they’re not expected to make the playoffs, they could pull off some surprising wins.
4. The most winning team in the league is…not going to be that great.
The Los Angeles Galaxy is the most successful team in MLS, having won five MLS Cups. Don’t expect them to add a sixth with this season, as they’re currently in a transition phase, per FourFourTwo. Curt Onalfo, 47, is starting his first season as the team’s manager (taking over for Bruce Arena, 65). Plus, Steven Gerrard, 36, Robbie Keane, 36, and Landon Donovan, 34, have left, meaning that the Galaxy are going through an identity crisis. They could come out on top but Galaxy fans may not want to hold their breath.
5. The champs have a good chance of repeating.
FC Dallas is the reigning Suppoerts’ Shield champs, which is the award given to the team with the best regular season record. The Hoops fell to the Seattle Sounders in the playoffs. Seattle ultimately beat Toronto FC for the MLS Cup, but only on penalties.
Toronto and Dallas are expected to pick up where they left off in the 2016 season. As for Seattle, they have to work with a returning Clint Dempsey, 33, along with Jordan Morris, 22, and more. Seattle could go back-to-back, but expect to see Toronto and Dallas in the postseason.
Are you excited for the start of the 2017 MLS season, HollywoodLifers?