One Big Question: What tactical approach will they take?
Caleb Porter's been a head coach in MLS for six years now, and for five of those his team has played mostly on the counter. I understand why: In Portland, both Diego Valeri and Diego Chara were better on the counter than in a pure possession scheme, and last year in Columbus there were so many injuries and absences that it didn't really make sense to do anything but try to get numbers behind the ball for much of the year.
But I don't think that's who Porter is, or who he wants his team to be. Porter's great Akron teams from a decade ago played maybe the prettiest soccer any college team has ever consistently put out there, and then his 2013 Timbers team... that team, in a lot of ways, felt like a test run for the Atlanta United side that took the league by storm in 2017. They were a ball-dominant group that still managed to get out into transition almost constantly, and when they decided to press upfield they were mostly suffocating. It was the most fun team the Timbers have ever had, and I suspect it's the most fun Porter has ever had coaching in MLS.
Can he do it in Columbus? Will he even try?
Honestly, I think so. Lucas Zelarayan and Darlington Nagbe are superior possession players through central midfield, and in fullbacks Harrison Afful and Milton Valenzuela Porter has the ability to stretch opponents from touchline to touchline, opening gaps and pinging the ball around... just like the last time he coached a team in Ohio.