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MLS Season Kicking Off Saturday

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Toronto FC became the first Canadian team to win an MLS Cup last term. The Canadians are also favorites to win it all this 23rd season.

Toronto FC became the first Canadian team to win an MLS Cup last term. The Canadians are also favorites to win it all this 23rd season.

via USA Today

via USA Today

Toronto FC became the first Canadian team to win an MLS Cup last term. The Canadians are also favorites to win it all this 23rd season.

This Saturday, soccer is back. Reigning Major League Soccer Cup champion Toronto FC will host Columbus Crew SC to kickoff the league’s 23rd season.

This term, an expansion team has been added to the Western Conference in the shape of Los Angeles Football Club, making the league a 23-team pool (11 Eastern Conference, 12 western).

The 23 teams will play 34 regular season matches each, starting this weekend and ending on October 28 with playoffs set to start the following week.

The league newcomers make their inaugural appearance Sunday afternoon as the Black and Gold head to the Pacific Northwest to face last season’s runner’s up, Seattle Sounders for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

Meanwhile, here in the city, the LA Galaxy host Portland Timbers in Carson’s Stub Hub Center at 7 p.m. for a Sunday night primetime matchup.

The five-time MLS Cup champions look to add to its trophy cabinet this season as Dos Santos brothers Giovani and Jonathan are now bolstered with depth in the squad to make-up for an abysmal last term.

Additions in the shape of forward Ola Kamara from Columbus and midfielder Perry Kitchen from Randers FC in Denmark, and the return of Sebastian Lletget, who missed all but LA’s first three games last season from a season-ending foot injury, will help the attack immensely as veteran MLS Head Coach Sigi Schmid looks to right the ship on his second stint as the Carson-based club’s manager after Curt Onalfo’s short-lived reign last season.

This season, the Galaxy are in search of their league-leading sixth title. And with the attacking threat they possess, putting your faith in them to reach the title match and earn the record-setting title doesn’t seem too bad a risk. As for LAFC, it’s difficult to foresee what will occur to the newly added club.

For example, last season two expansion sides were added: Minnesota United and Atlanta United. The Southern club prospered while the team from the Great Lakes struggled to win matches and score goals. Applying these experiences to the Black and Gold tells me that LAFC, who, much like Atlanta, are in good hands with MLS veteran manager Bob Bradley at the helm, should be in decent shape come October as long as experienced leaders like Mexican forward Carlos Vela, Costa Rican forward Marco Ureña, and Ghanaian winger Latif Blessing provide consistency in the coming months.

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MLS Season Kicking Off Saturday