Storylines to Watch For in MLS in 2015

Designated Players, a refreshed CBA, and new teams are something to keep an eye on next season
by Katherine Rupp   |   Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Major League Soccer (MLS) 2012 Season Preview

This coming 2015 season will be one to remember for MLS, and not only because the league will commemorate its 20th season.

Here’s a list of some storylines to watch out for, now that 2014 has come to an end, as the new season – and more specifically, preseason – gets started soon in January.

1.   New Designated Players

Although most people know the name of Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres, most recently at the now-defunct Chivas USA, the Mexican has now been inked as the latest and greatest DP for the Houston Dynamo. Even though he most notably was quoted as saying he didn’t want to stay in MLS except for if he was to stay in the Los Angeles area with the LA Galaxy. Clearly, that is not how things panned out but Houston should be excited for a player from El Tri who can not only play at a high level to excite fans but also stir up interest and bring in more fans from the area.

Not only will Cubo fit in nicely with Houston, another player who could very well fit in seamlessly with their new club is Kaka, at Orlando City. Although Kaka is a huge name – certainly that’s true because of his success at AC Milan (especially by grabbing the Ballon d’Or in 2007) and Real Madrid – but a handful of other DPs seemingly are grabbing the spotlight with David Villa (of FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid fame) and Frank Lampard (who’s currently on loan to Manchester City FC, and is expected to be until the end of the Premier League season in May) of New York City FC making headlines.

Along with previous DPs who have come into the league, the new designated players for this coming year look to make a difference for their teams and for the league.

2.   CBA

With a new collective bargaining agreement from the players in MLS brought to the league, the new year could bring some big changes – if negotiations work out with all parties involved leaving the table happily – with player salaries. A lot is at stake with the latest CBA that is, as far as most everyone in the soccer world besides those in Las Vegas for those agreement talks, still ongoing and being worked out.

Besides the point of salaries and how much compensation players should make (including veterans as well as rookies), the CBA is also focusing on free agency. That free agency aspect, although it most likely won’t arise from this current CBA, is definitely an important piece that missing to MLS and one that many players who have left the league but are looking to come back would want changed.

3.   New Teams

Orlando City Soccer Club and New York City Football Club are the two latest and greatest clubs to be initiated into Major League Soccer. There are many clubs who have come into MLS with great success; especially when the names of Seattle Sounders or Real Salt Lake come to mind, fans can see what good can come from the decision of opening the league up to more teams. Orlando City fans, those who have been supporters of the club – possibly from its infancy from Austin, Texas as the Austin Aztecs to USL-Pro – are most definitely looking forward to the inaugural MLS season for Orlando City.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, although with grassroots supporters, New York City FC has had a bit more push back from fans of MLS or of other clubs in MLS. The local New York/New Jersey derby (with NYCFC and New York Red Bulls) could turn out, however, to be a big draw to the soccer fans in the area as well as showcase what good quality soccer can look like in America.

Because of this being the first season for both Orlando City SC and New York City FC in MLS, look for an uptick in attendance during games involving either of the teams, especially the first game for both teams – to be held with Orlando City SC hosting New York City FC at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Sunday, March 8th.

Although there are a handful of other storylines to follow or to watch out for with the coming 2015 season, a few that could raise eyebrows include incoming designated players, the newest CBA, and the two new teams that have come into MLS. Regardless of what some think about the league – especially its youthfulness (both in age and in age of players) – when it comes to soccer fans, new and veterans supporters can come together and see where MLS has been, where it is now, and see what future goals it has.

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.