MLSsoccer.com polled the head coaches of each MLS club, who were provided with an anonymous survey featuring an array of questions that many fans have always wanted to ask.
This week we’re telling you how they answered (14 of 19 managers completed the survey). What follows is the third installment of responses, which includes managers’ dream Designated Player, the projected winners in the East and West, the most intriguing international player to join the league and the toughest MLS stadium to play in.
Which foreign-based player in the news would you select as a Designated Player on your team if finances were no obstacle?
Nearly half of the coaches who participated in the survey indicated they would love to have Chelsea forward Didier Drogba (42.8 percent) on their squad.
While another 21.4 percent of managers went with “other,” the rest of the coaches' votes were split among the following three names: Clarence Seedorf (2 votes), Ronaldinho (2 votes) and Frank Lampard (1 vote).
The four players who were available in the survey but didn’t receive a vote? Michael Ballack, Alessandro Del Piero, Nicolas Anelka and Djibril Cissé.
Which team is the preseason favorite to finish atop the East?
A majority of MLS head coaches who completed the survey say that Sporting Kansas City will emerge at the top of the heap in the East in 2012. A total of 57.1 percent of respondents took Sporting over the 21.4 percent that opted for the Houston Dynamo.
The only other East squads getting votes were the New York Red Bulls (2) and the Philadelphia Union (1).
Which team is the preseason favorite to finish atop the West?
The majority is even more pronounced in the West, where a whopping 85.7 percent feel the LA Galaxy will finish tops in 2012. The only other teams to receive votes were Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders, who each garnered one vote.
Which new international player acquisition are you most interested to see debut in MLS this year?
Managers across MLS will apparently be paying close attention to Portland Timbers matches this year. MLSsoccer.com’s survey revealed that 42.8 percent of managers are most intrigued by what Designated Player Kris Boyd does in his first MLS season.
There were 14.3 percent of coaches that circled the name of Milovan Mirosevic, while five other players received one vote each: Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Gabriel Gomez (Philadelphia Union), Franck Songo’o (Portland Timbers), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders) and Blas Pérez (FC Dallas).
One manager apparently didn’t like this question and simply went with “not interested.”
Which trophy is most important to your club?
Managers were asked to rank the five trophies typically up for grabs on an annual basis.
There is no debate. MLS Cup is the No. 1 priority for managers across the league.
What may surprise fans is the fact that the US Open Cup and the Canadian Championship ranked in second place, dead even with the CONCACAF Champions League. But this may have more to do with the fact that only a handful of teams are participating in CCL competition at one time.
Sitting in fifth and last place is the MLS Supporters’ Shield. You know what finished above it in the rankings? Rivalry Cup (Cascadia Cup, Atlantic Cup, Brimstone Cup, etc.).
What is the toughest MLS stadium for opponents to visit?
MLS teams don’t enjoy going to the Pacific Northwest.
CenturyLink Field was voted the toughest away match in MLS, according to 42.8 percent of the managers who responded to the survey. JELD-WEN Field came in second place with 21.4 percent of voters showing respect for the Timbers Army.
The other teams that received consideration for their home venue: Real Salt Lake (14.3 percent), Colorado Rapids (7.1 percent), Houston Dynamo (7.1 percent) and the San Jose Earthquakes (7.1 percent).
How long would you prefer the MLS preseason to be?
Half of the MLS managers who responded to the MLSsoccer.com survey say six weeks is the ideal length for preseason (50 percent), while 21 percent would cut one week from that total and opt for five weeks.
Two coaches want to see preseason run a full two months (eight weeks) while another two felt seven weeks worked best.