How Orlando and NYCFC Will Change Conference Dynamics

Even with two new MLS clubs coming into the league, a handful of other teams may welcome thrilling action
by Katherine Rupp   |   Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Major League Soccer (MLS) 2012 Season Preview

The two new teams of MLS for 2015, New York City FC and Orlando City SC, will be the definite and undisputed rosters to watch for the upcoming season.

This isn’t only because they’re new clubs wanting to make their own mark on the league, but also the interesting storylines attached to each club including – but not limited to – the search for a stadium site; whether DP, Frank Lampard, will be back from his loan spell at Manchester City; and what formation former RSL head coach Jason Kreis will deploy for New York City FC; while Orlando City SC also has some great storylines such as Kaka - popular Brazilian footballer who has most recently been on loan to Sao Paulo FC – coming to play for the new MLS club; Brek Shea transferring from Stoke City to Florida; and also being the ‘underdog’ of the two new clubs with much of the attention on the newest noisy neighbors to the north.

However, even with new clubs joining their MLS brethren, there are many parts of the focus of Major League Soccer as the league continues to grow and mature.

This shift of dynamics of clubs from the Eastern Conference to the Western is one area of focus, but more than that is the idea of rookies and green players who may help their teams to MLS playoffs.

For instance, even though it’s been a young team for a handful of years, the Colorado Rapids – for 2015 – may surprise some people. With Oscar Pareja gone to FC Dallas after one year in Commerce City, Pablo Mastroeni will be in the helm for his second year and with a young team full of motivation and a bit of panache, the Rapids, although it will certainly still be seen as a rebuilding year, have had flashes of brilliance in the past two years that could lead to sustained and improved skill, tenacity, and greatness.

Additionally, another club to keep an eye on for the upcoming season may just be the Portland Timbers. With Caleb Porter leading the men into his soon-to-be 3rd full year as an MLS coach, he has some pressure on his shoulders but yet his team is more than ready. Because of some injuries and tactical inaccuracies – the main being that the forwards, many times, were unable to score with the chances available, in addition to the defensive problems – of the 2014 team, the Portland Timbers finished in 6th place but with eyes on the prize of Western Conference champs and the MLS Cup. The Timbers with look to new (to Portland), veteran defender, Nat Borchers, as well as Will Johnson, Diego Valeri, and Darlington Nagbe to spearhead the team to bigger and better things.

Although the Rapids and the Timbers are two Western conference teams that may be two of the most exciting or formidable teams that could raise some eyebrows in the upcoming season, along with the two newcomers of New York City FC and Orlando City SC. Regardless of the team a supporter is a fan of, these handful of teams could be ones to keep an eye on for some thrilling MLS action for 2015.

Katherine RUPP

Drake University
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Tottenham Hotspur
Unabashed Minnesotan by birth. Tried reliving the glory days of collegiate intramural soccer championships but an ACL tear dashed future hopes of adult recreational greatness. Covering a city’s team that’s too big for one state: SKC.