One Big Question: Where's the offense going to come from?
It's kind of amazing but is nonetheless true: After conceding 70+ goals in each of their first two seasons in MLS, Minnesota United made it to the playoffs in Year 3 on the back of one of the league's best defenses. Ike Opara was justifiably the Defender of the Year, Chase Gasper was justifiably in the Rookie of the Year hunt, Romain Metanire and Jan Gregus were two of the newcomers of the year, Michael Boxall was solid, Ozzie Alonso was forever young and even if I still can't quite fathom how Vito Mannone won Goalkeeper of the Year, he was definitely solid.
The Loons replaced seven starters and stopped leaking like a sieve. Vive la plan triennal!
Here's the thing, though: Darwin Quintero was a huge part of their 52 goals and the two guys who look set to replace him – Robin Lod and Thomas Chacon – were not. And they certainly weren't last year, when Darwin became something less than a written-in-pen starter and the Loons responded by scoring just 12 goals in their final 12 games across all competitions. It wasn't brutally hopeless or anything, but it also looked nothing like what you'd expect from a playoff-caliber attack.
And so far there have been no offseason reinforcements, or even many rumors of such. What happens if Mason Toye doesn't go supernova again, or if Chacon is not money well spent?
Then once again it'll have to be the defense that gets it done. They obviously can – they just did, right? But man, the margin for error is getting really, really slim in the West.