by Adam Bond

Hey there sports fans it’s MLS season again and I am very excited to have it back. The new Major League Soccer season will start on March 2nd with some high profile games to kick things off. Let’s have a look at the games and what they have to offer on the opening weekend.

Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting Kansas City is a great game to kick off the new season with the Union having Freddy Adu to lead the line and USA international Bobby Convey bringing a creative attacking option for SKC. Philadelphia is a relatively new team in the MLS and each year seem to be getting stronger, Freddy Adu can be a game changer if he wants to be and we will have to wait and see if he lives up to his reputation. Kansas has the impressive Benny Feilhaber in midfield and his experience and flair he can change the game for them.

The game of the weekend should be Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps as both teams have experienced Internationals which have played in the Premier League and European domestic football. Toronto can call upon Richard Eckersley, Danny Koevermans, Darren O’Dea and most notably Torsten Frings to make a push for the title. Vancouver can field internationals with Kenny Miller, Young-Pyo Lee, Andy O’Brien and Jay DeMerit in their ranks. This game is a Canadian derby and both teams have the potential to go all the way to the play-off finals. Ryan Nelsen making his debut as head coach for Toronto and if he has learnt anything from Harry Redknapp it should be how to treat players and keep them happy while playing attractive football so this makes Toronto a team to keep an eye on.

LA Galaxy are going into their first season without the influential David Beckham but they can rely on the talents of Robbie Keane, Carlo Cudicini and Landon Donavan to reclaim their title in exciting fashion. The Galaxy start their defence against a difficult Chicago Fire team which are a tough and organised which the Galaxy may find hard to break down. The main player for Chicago this season could be Joel Lindpere who used to play for New York Red Bulls; he is a quick and composed midfielder who can control the game if not closed down quickly.

Portland Timbers play host to the Thierry Henry inspired New York Red Bulls which could be a highly entertaining game. Portland had a frustrating season in 2012 and will look to build a squad capable of winning the MLS cup which was an achievable goal at the start of 2012 before a poor run of results and misfiring forwards made for a change in personnel. They have signed experienced defender Mikael Silvestre to sure up their defence and his heading abilities in defence and at set pieces this should be a great foundation to a shaky team. New York are a team which have never lived up to expectation. Losing Joel Lindpere will really slow down their attacking flow and even though the forward line of Cahill and Henry is a defenders nightmare the midfield only clicked with Lindpere. Dax McCarthy and Roy Miller are excellent players for New York and it wouldn’t surprise me if they went on to play in the Premier League, McCarthy is a tireless midfielder who for me is their MVP.

Houston vs. DC United will be a true footballing game as both teams like to play patient counter attacking football and it might not be high scoring game but will very entertaining. Houston have always been a decent team and will be up there with the best of them towards the end of the season. If they can get Giles Barnes, Brian Ching and Andrew Driver playing like we know they are capable of doing if they manage this then Houston fans are in for a great year. DC can call upon the reliable and technically gifted Dwayne De Rosario to lead their line and if he plays in a system where he can have a free role I can’t see many defences coping with him.

FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids is an interesting game if both teams live up to their potential, much like New York these teams struggle to maintain a decent run. FC Dallas needs Kenny Cooper and Blas Perez to rediscover their true goal scoring form if they stand any chance of challenging for the title. Rapids on paper have a strong core to their team in Calderon, Masteroni and Buddle. If these players can get the team playing and bring some confidence back, there is no reason why they shouldn’t challenge for the title.

Seattle Sounders vs. Montreal Impact will be an entertaining game, with the Sounders going very close to the title last season they will be hoping to go one better this time around. Seattle have got the experience in Marcus Hahnemann, Djimi Traore and Eddie Johnson to hopefully guide them through a season which a lot of expectancy has been placed on their shoulders. Montreal will need the Italian duo of Nesta and Di Vaio to bring a calming influence to the Impact. A lot has been placed on these two and they will have to stay fit for long periods of the season if they have any chance.

Chivas USA vs. Columbus Crew will be a high energy game full of attacking flair from both teams. Chivas can play beautiful flowing football and can be a real treat to watch if they can find the space and get into their rhythm. Columbus Crew can be a frustrating team to watch as they could be a good team if they can finish off the great build up play.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake could go either way as the teams are both steady with a lot of potential. Earthquakes rely heavily on Wondolowski and why not as he is a former MVP but if he doesn’t perform I can’t see who else will score. Salt Lake is in the same situation with Robbie Findley as he is their main threat and if marked out of the game they do not have much else to offer. If both of these forwards can find the space and have their shooting boots on it could be a high scoring game with lots of exciting counter attacks.

The games will be played over the first weekend in March and I can’t wait!