Armchair Analyst: One big question for each MLS team as preseason begins

The offseason gets shorter and shorter in MLS – so short, in fact, that preseason snuck right up on me this week. It opened on Monday for a bunch of teams, and everyone will be officially kicking the rust off by the 21st.

With preseason comes new faces, new ambitions, new tactics and strategies, and in a couple of places, new coaches. And that means new questions for each and every MLS club heading into 2019.

With that in mind, I've come up with one big question for each of the 24(!!!) teams in the league this coming year.

Bear in mind it's not necessarily *the* big question I'm positing here. But sometimes, in the long run, *a* big question can be just as determinative of long-term success. 

Atlanta United FC

What formation will Frank De Boer have his team play? This is obviously not the big question for Atlanta United, who are currently sitting on four DPs. But it's one I've been thinking about a lot... Read more

Chicago Fire

How much do Dax and Basti have left in the tank? Truth be told this is probably the question for Chicago. It almost doesn't matter what other signings they make in the next six weeks... Read more

FC Cincinnati

Can Fanendo Adi lead the line in the 2019 version of MLS? Adi has always been a streaky finisher and a somewhat mercurial personality, but ultimately he was reliable... Read more

Colorado Rapids

Do they have enough mobility in central defense to play Jack Price as a No. 6? Colorado spent a lot of money on Price, Danny Wilson and Tommy Smith last year... Read more

Columbus Crew SC

How much of Gregg Berhalter's system will Caleb Porter keep? To me this is the biggest question facing the Crew in 2019, just as it was on both sides of the Hudson in mid-2018... Read more

FC Dallas

Which of the kids will create? It's pretty clear that the Luchi Gonzalez era is going to mean more minutes for more youngsters... Read more

D.C. United

Can Steve Birnbaum organize the backline? Birnbaum's been a mostly very good MLS center back for about half a decade now... Read more

Houston Dynamo

Is that the ceiling for Mauro Manotas? Or an aberration? Or just one more rung on the ladder? Manotas was awesome in 2018, scoring 25 goals across all competitions including two in the US Open Cup final... Read more


Who is Andre Horta? Horta had a pretty good rep in Portugal, and was that league's Midfielder of the Month in the run-up to his LAFC transfer... Read more

LA Galaxy

Can Guillermo Barros Schelotto play a 4-3-3 with this roster? For the record: I think GBS was a perfect hire for the LA Galaxy. He's won with a small-ish club in Argentina, and he's won with the biggest club in Argentina... Read more

Minnesota United FC

Will Angelo Rodriguez be worth it? I'll admit to a healthy dose of skepticism about the DP striker, who arrived in late July and was something south of so-so for the Loons... Read more

Montreal Impact

Will Maxi Urruti finally show some shot discipline? "Shot discipline" is exactly what it sounds like: There are good shots to take, and bad shots to take, and a disciplined attacker knows which is which... Read more

New England Revolution

Do they have the horses to press?  There are a lot of big questions surrounding the Revs, who were one of the league's worst teams from May onwards... Read more

New York City FC

Are we gonna see a false 9 as the default lineup? It's mid-January, so there's no need to rush and no need (yet) to panic if you're an NYCFC fan... Read more

New York Red Bulls

Does Sean Davis have another level? Replacing Tyler Adams will be a group effort, with the lion's share of the burden shouldered by 19-year-old Venezuelan youth international Cristian Casseres, Jr.... Read more

Orlando City SC

Should we still be fascinated by Cristian Higuita? I swear to you that there are times when Higuita plays that he looks like the next Ozzie Alonso... Read more

Philadelphia Union

Can Haris Medunjanin fit into a high-pressing 4-4-2 set-up? It seems very, very very very likely that the Union are going to shift away from the slow build, kill 'em with possession 4-2-3-1 that they really did put to good use last year... Read more

Portland Timbers

Can Cristhian Paredes make the leap? This is more than tangentially related to THE big question facing the Timbers – "is this the year Diego Chara gets old?"... Read more

Real Salt Lake

Is it time to move on from Joao Plata? At times, Plata is an absolute delight. He's a tricky 1v1 player, an inventive passer and a clever finisher diving in from the wing... Read more

San Jose Earthquakes

Will they man mark? Matias Almeyda is the reigning Concacaf Coach of the Year, and the most successful coach Chivas have had in half a century... Read more

Seattle Sounders

How does Jordan Morris fit? The Sounders were the best team in the league during the second half of the 2018 season, which was literally the best half-season any team has put together in MLS history. That's a very good foundation to build off of... Read more

Sporting KC

Will they once again push Graham Zusi so high? Sporting KC put together their best attacking season in club history, and did so in large part because they threw caution to the wind with regard to Zusi's role... Read more

Toronto FC

Can Jonathan Osorio take the keys to the car? The Victor Vazquez transfer kind of came out of nowhere, but the idea of replacing Vazquez in 2019 surely didn't... Read more

Vancouver Whitecaps

Does Anthony Blondell have anything to offer? The 'Caps spent, by their standards, a lot of money on Blondell (reports put it at something close to a $1.3 million transfer fee, while his salary was a more manageable $295,203.21 according to the player's union). The big Venezuelan didn't deliver... Read more