We should have to attend till April 17 for the primary ball of the 2021 MLS season to be kicked, however already some teams look to be separating themselves from the pack — at the least on paper. On Monday, the Extratime crew tackled a listener query asking them to establish the top 5 teams within the league as issues stand. It’s topic to change as teams continue roster-building, however Matt Doyle picked out his top 5 as issues stand.
1. Columbus Crew
The Crew made a powerful run to MLS Cup last season, winning the prize with a depleted squad. Doyle believes there is no such thing as a doubt that the Crew are a top-five team within the league, and their offseason acquisitions make it seem to be they’re going to solely get higher in 2021. Essentially the most notable addition is midfielder Kevin Molino, who joined the team as a free agent last month.
“Molino, we all know, if he is feeling it, he can just singlehandedly manufacture not just probabilities however goals,” Doyle said. “They did not really have a type of guys who might do that on the wing last year.”
Doyle feels LAFC’s energy is of their roster, full of players getting back from last year. The team additionally boasts loads of young talent, together with defender Jesus David Murillo, who LAFC signed on a everlasting foundation last month. The team might have struggled in the course of the 2020 MLS season, however a run to the Concacaf Champions League final ought to present the muse for a profitable 2021.
“I feel the model of LAFC that we noticed within the Champions League, that’s the actual model of LAFC,” Doyle said.
3. Portland Timbers
The spectacular winners of the MLS is Back Tournament needs to be a force as soon as once more, regardless of a disappointing loss within the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs to FC Dallas.
“First of all, they dominant on set pieces,” Doyle said. “Second of all, they have been, as at all times, devastating on the counter attack, however the third facet of it was that they have been manufacturing goals from possession, which we’ve not seen a lot of from any Portland team since 2013.”
Doyle famous that the Timbers’ standouts have been Eryk Williamson and, the hopefully match once more, Sebastian Blanco, who he believes present them “a new level of flexibility.”
4. Minnesota United
Here is one which sparked some debate. Minnesota might qualify an unconventional decide as a result of the team nonetheless wants sure pieces, particularly at center forward. Nonetheless, Doyle famous that the team is “extra stable and deeper” than it has been within the past, whereas Emanuel Reynoso made a huge effect when he arrived within the league last summer time.
Nonetheless, not everybody agreed, given the holes nonetheless to fill on Adrian Heath’s roster.
5. New England Revolution
The reason Doyle felt the Revolution have been worthy of a shoutout is due to their offseason acquisitions. Because of this, he feels the team may not be in a lot peril if Carles Gil is missing for vital durations of time with injury, as he was in 2020.
“The Revs have improved this offseason,” Doyle said. “They’ve a query if Carles Gil will get damage, however I additionally assume they’ve a solution in a 4-4-2, you set Buksa and Bou up top collectively and you play one thing slightly bit regressive, or perhaps even go together with a 3-5-2.”