Prior to opening day, 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 about the upcoming season.
This week, we’ll tell you how they answered (13 of 19 managers completed the survey). In today's installment, managers discuss what the toughest stadium to play in is, the best rivalry in MLS, and the biggest storyline of the season.
Excluding your own home field, which stadium is the toughest place to play in MLS?
The managers were split when it came to this category, but Sporting Kansas City’s Sporting Park received the plurality of the votes with four. Sporting Park received the most votes even though SKC lost a shocking five games at home last season.
Seattle’s CenturyLink Field and Real Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium each received two votes. Houston and Dallas received a vote each, with managers pointing out how difficult it is to play in the summer heat. Other stadiums to receive votes were Gillette Field (New England), Providence Park (Portland) and Columbus Crew Stadium.
What's the best rivalry between two MLS teams?
There are no surprises in this category, with a certain Cascadia matchup coming out on top. Portland vs. Seattle received seven votes leading the pack by a wide margin. The two teams split the season series last season with each side winning a home game and Portland earning a draw up in Seattle in the first matchup. They will meet on April 5 in Portland to get the Cascadia Cup rolling in 2014.
What's the biggest storyline you're looking forward to this MLS season?
Toronto’s free-spending offseason collected the most votes here with six managers mentioning them as the biggest storyline in 2014. We all know it was a “Bloody Big Deal,” but it's finally time to play some games and see how those new acquisitions mesh on the field.
Another topic that received more than one vote was the fact that a large group of US national team players returned to MLS over the past few months. TV ratings, MLS’ performance in CONCACAF Champions League and Chivas USA’s on-field prospects were also mentioned by the managers here.
Do you agree with the managers? Let us know in the comments below.