Every team, even very best, has questions they must answer. Some are relatively minor, some are season-alteringly huge. None will be left unasked.


Here, then, is one big question for every team in MLS. It's not the only question for any of them, by any stretch, but it's one that will need an answer sooner rather than later.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - ATL

Atlanta United


What happens at central midfield?

I have no doubts about any part of this roster at any other position. I worry, however, that it will be easier to play through the middle than it was last year.


That doesn't mean the Five Stripes won't be a very good team. It might mean they're not a great team.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - CHI

Chicago Fire


Who creates the chances?

This is literally the same question I asked of the Fire in last year's version of this piece. They found an answer in 2017, building chances A) via possession, and B) by committee. They'll need to do the same in 2018, but it'll be harder without David Accam.


For what it's worth I expect them to sign a DP playmaker in the summer transfer window.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - COL

Colorado Rapids


Can they finish?

The Rapids looked solid, structured and occasionally dangerous against TFC in their two CCL games. They did not look, uh, clinical in front of goal.




Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - CLB

Columbus Crew SC


How do you replace 30+ goals?

Justin Meram and Ola Kamara are gone, and now here's the ultimate test for Gregg Berhalter's system. The replacements have looked good in preseason, but preseason's preseason.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - DC

D.C. United


Can the defense be respectable?

I actually think the attack will be somewhere around "good," and maybe even "very good." I'm less convinced about the defense, which was a rolling dumpster fire most of last season and in particular struggled when Bill Hamid wasn't around to bail them out.


Bill's in Europe now, and most of last year's defenders are back. Some reinforcements have been added and defensive midfield looks like it's been upgraded, so there's hope that last year's misery was an aberration.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - DAL

FC Dallas


What happened and why does it keep happening?

I'm just at a total loss at this point. Dallas eventually figured out how to be pretty dangerous against Tauro – they generated chances, and finished three of them, and Mauro Diaz looked very good – but they never for a second looked like they knew how they wanted to defend, like they knew how to play quickly out of the back, like they knew how they wanted to close down space and eliminate the gaps that have killed the since last July.


Oscar Pareja's gotta fix it.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - HOU

Houston Dynamo


What's Plan B?

I ask this in every Dynamo piece, because they didn't have an answer last year. With a full season of Tomas Martinez as the 10 and hopefully Eric Alexander as the No. 8, my guess is this team will do a better job of creating chances out of possession.


Also, don't sleep on Homegrown midfielder Memo Rodriguez, who had a great preseason and looks like he's ready to break through and earn real minutes:



It's past time for a Dynamo Homegrown to lock down regular minutes.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - LAFC

LAFC


Can the central defense hold up?

Laurent Ciman is injured and, like Walker Zimmerman, is coming off a pretty miserable year. Journeyman Dejan Jakovic looks like he'll be the Week 1 starter. There's no real d-mid in front of them.


I'm worried this team will have a Minnesota United-esque start to their MLS adventure.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - LA

LA Galaxy


Will it jell?

LA had, on paper, a great offseason. They got the d-mid they needed, made what appear to be a few strong additions to the backline, got a consistent goalscorer, an experienced 'keeper and got Sebastian Lletget healthy again. It should work.


But they looked disastrous defensively in the preseason.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - MIN

Minnesota United FC


Will they improve in Year 2?

The front office made some very understated moves compared to the rest of the league. There's still no DP, the guys they brought in from overseas are either on loan or under-the-radar, and they traded down rather than up in the draft (though I'm high on each of their first two picks). They're not going to jump precipitously in the standings.


And honestly, it feels like they might fall a bit in the standings if they don't get some kind of improvement from within. For myriad reasons I have my doubts about that happening.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - MTL

Montreal Impact


Can this team defend set pieces?

Same question as last year. If it's the same answer as last year, it'll be another postseason they'll watch from home.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - NE

New England Revolution


Is this the year for Juan Agudelo?

It looks like he's the clear top choice on the No. 9 depth chart for the first time in his career. He has the talent to be one of the best at that spot in the league, but 1) he's never stayed healthy long enough to prove it, and 2) he's been used all over the attack instead of at the point of it.


But look, there's no question the production is there when he plays as a center forward. From mid 2016 through early 2017, when he played as the No. 9 (18 games across all competitions) he produced 14 goals and 8 assists.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - NYC

New York City FC


Can they get enough from the wings?

When they stopped getting goals from Jack Harrison and Rodney Wallace, they stopped being a dangerous team. So they added depth and youth and talent on both wings, and to me this is clearly the second-best team in MLS heading into the season.


I think they'll get enough. But I'll admit I don't know it.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - NY

New York Red Bulls


Can the youth movement work?

Sacha Kljestan's gone, with Kaku in his stead. It looks like Felipe's gone as well, and Tyler Adams will be running central midfield. Sean Davis is going to play a big role, as will Derrick Etienne, as will Alex Muyl.


They are younger, faster, deeper and more dedicated to the high press than ever. Let's see what happens.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - ORL

Orlando City SC


Will we remember this offseason as one of the best rebuilds in MLS history?

The Fire did it last year. Orlando look like they've done it this year in adding Kljestan, Meram, a bunch of high-profile imports and two of the very best players in college soccer.


Nobody's seen anything of them this preseason because Jason Kreis keeps everything on lockdown until first kick (which I respect the hell out of even if it's frustrating), but with the amount of talent they have – both young and old – it feels like this is a playoff team.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - PHI

Philadelphia Union


Is Borek Dockal the No. 10 they've been needing?

His track record certainly suggests so:


February 28, 2018

I think Philly get a secondary question, as well: How good can Auston Trusty be? There's not a long list of 19-year-old center backs who've done the work in MLS.




Portland Timbers


What formation will they use?

They didn't look good in the 4-2-3-1 in preseason. They're now three (or four, depending upon what you think re: the flexibility of a couple of their wingers) deep at forward. In Diego Valeri they have a natural No. 10.


4-4-2 diamond, baby! Make it happen!



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - RSL

Real Salt Lake


Will Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando fight off Father Time?

I have RSL as a top 3 team in the West, but they probably can't afford for either of these two guys to start showing their age.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - SJ

San Jose Earthquakes


Can the defense defend?

I'm bullish on their attack. I think this team's going to score a bunch of goals even though they're not going to have a traditional playmaker in the starting lineup (I think Jackson Yueill can be that guy, but maybe not until next year).


I am less certain about their backline and goalkeeper. It's very much an open question in San Jose.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - SEA

Seattle Sounders


Is this the last dance?

Clint Dempsey turns 35, Chad Marshall turns 34, Osvaldo Alonso turns 33 and Roman Torres turns 32 before the year is out. Credit to Garth Lagerwey and that front office for keeping the window of title contention open for one more year with some good signings and depth additions – this group has earned that much.


But a change is gonna come next winter.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - SKC

Sporting KC


Goals? The attack in general?

Same question every year, and now they no longer have Benny Feilhaber to provide at least part of the answer.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - TOR

Toronto FC


Will there be a CCL hangover?

They have A+ talent and depth everywhere but left back. They have the guy who I still think is the best player in the league, they have a coach who's proved he's adaptable and flexible and very good at reading match-ups and they have lots of trophies. They also have an "every game, every player, 90 minutes" mentality that has served them extraordinarily well.


Even so, we've seen some of the best teams this league has ever produced suffer massively after their CCL come-down. What if they get drubbed by Tigres? What if they somehow win the whole thing? What if what if what if?


Win or lose, how they respond to that will be utterly fascinating to watch, and will go a long way in determining how great this team is.



Armchair Analyst: One big question for each of MLS's 23 teams - VAN

Vancouver Whitecaps


Is this the year for Alphonso Davies?

Kid was filthy in preseason:



Remember: He's just 17.


The other big question for Vancouver is "Will the central defense be as good without Tim Parker?" That's actually a bigger question than the Davies one, but I wanted an excuse to use that highlight.