The 2019 MLS season will kick off in March, and there are a few big names that could make an early splash. After Atlanta United blew away their competition and awakened a sleeping giant in Georgia, many are eager to see what the new MLS season will bring.
Could another recent expansion team compete for the title? Will the regular contenders put up a fight against the newer guard? That remains to be seen. What I do know is there are at least three guys looking to make a statement this season. Let’s start with them.
One of the league’s oldest stars looks to take control of MLS this season. After some brilliant displays in 2018, his LA Galaxy fell short. He debuted with two unbelievable goals, but couldn’t quite lead the Galaxy to a playoff spot.
Yet this season he’s making some guarantees. According to Zlatan, his first season was just a warm up. As he said to ESPN, “I want to bring the trophy home. I came here to leave a stamp and I didn’t get to do that in my first year. I’m not one that leaves without winning because everywhere I’ve come, I’ve won”.
Anyone who has seen Ibra play, or heard him speak, knows he has a high opinion of himself. Let’s see if he’ll be able to deliver this season.
The Venezuelan sensation took the MLS by storm in 2018. He led the league in goals scored with 31, beating the old record by 4. He continued on to become league MVP and led Atlanta to the MLS Cup title. Not bad for his second season for the newly crowned Eastern Conference Giants.
Most recently, Martinez signed a new 5-year deal, all but guaranteeing a long term stay in Atlanta. He is the type of player that anyone new to MLS should get behind. If you want to fall in love with the beautiful game stateside, follow him. His play is electrifying and his scoring tendencies are unheard of by MLS standards. Beyond his 31 goals last year, he’s amassed 50 league goals in his two years with Atlanta.
There will be more to come. I guarantee it. His commitment to Atlanta United, and staying in MLS, is great for the game. A young superstar yet to hit his prime is just what MLS needs. I hope you join me in watching him deliver for years to come.
This young American phenom is returning to Seattle after an injury sidelined him in 2018. Injuries have hampered Morris’ early career, and he’s hoping to push forward in 2019. So far, after one day on the training pitch, Morris seems as vibrant and excited as ever.
Seattle definitely missed his movement up top last season. And it showed. His presence could have pushed them over the top. They were able to go from bottom of the table early to climbing their way to second. Getting Morris back is nearly as good as a new signing for the Sounders. Now we wait and see if the joy he elicits in training translates when gametime comes.
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Joe Maddon is back in LA, with history and a hat on his side.
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