Thursday, May 1, 2008

Expansion: year two

Having covered Chivas USA in 2005 when they were the worst team in the league and one of the worst the league has ever seen, and having covered them in 2006 when they improved substantially and in 2007 when they won the Western Conference, I feel like I have good first-hand knowledge of the trials and tribulations of an expansion MLS team.

Toronto is hosting New York on ESPN2 tonight and I feel in a way about them the way I felt about Chivas in 2006. I knew the worst was over, even after some tough early losses. And I knew the team was going to compete for a playoff spot, one which they eventually nabbed.

Toronto has talent. They have guys who can score goals and guys who can defend. They've got a new coach. But more importantly, they've taken their lumps and learned from them. Now I don't want to say that Toronto is going to compete for the MLS Cup title just yet. It's only May and the team's got a lot to prove. But everything seems to be coming together for them thus far this season, after a rough little start to the season.

I have no idea why Real Salt Lake is still struggling but it seems that Toronto has their act straightened out in Year Two.


A.C. said...

Well, at least RSL won their Open Cup play-in versus San Jose, so they can at least feel that the latest expansion team hasn't passed them up yet.

L.B. said...

Yeah, that would have been sad for RSL.

clayg said...

With RSL I think it all comes down to coaching. They relied too long on John E. and now have backed Jason Kreis, who doesn't seem to have the needed technical knowledge to really make his team competitive in the league (at least on the road). Both Chivas and TFC were/are not afraid to make the changes needed and it has paid dividends for them.