Editorial – (December 1, 2019) – The MLS offseason is starting to heat up as intra-league acquisition methods such as the re-entry and waiver drafts, free agency, and trades are potentially re-shaping the league’s landscape. Not to mention, the transfer window opens in January. While teams like the reigning MLS Cup champions, the Seattle Sounders, are doing their best to stay on top, other teams are trying to claw their way into contention.
As people flock to online sportsbooks for the 2020 season, these are three teams that are sure to be a good underdog bet.
Three Teams to Become Contenders for 2020
The Houston Dynamo have shipped away Romell Quioto, and landed a couple of legitimate players in intra-league trades. Since Tab Ramos has been named Head Coach of the Dynamo, they’ve been active in the MLS trade market, acquiring Darwin Quintero, and Victor Cabrera.
The Dynamo have had no issues scoring goals the past few seasons. Studs like Alberth Elis, and Mauro Manotas have given them a boatload of offensive productivity. If they can hang on to those two, the addition of Darwin Quintero makes their front three one of the most dangerous in the league. But the Dynamo’s issues haven’t been a lack of scoring, it’s been their ability to keep them out.
A couple of their additions via trade have also been to land defenders, notably Victor Cabrera and Zarek Valentin, a duo that are familiar with the league, and certainly can help them solidfy the backline. Don’t bet on that being the only work that Tab Ramos does. He has a history of putting players into the best position to succeed, and the Dynamo should be of no exception to the rule.
Sporting KC took a major step back in 2019. After they crashed out of the CONCACAF Champions League Semis’ the injury plague hit and their form went with it. They missed out on the postseason for the first time since 2009, and an aging core of players seemed like it was missing something extra.
Now, their ownership group is prepared to splash the cash this offseason, potentially putting them on par with some of the other big spenders in the league. They’re currently linked to both Alan Pulido and Lucas Cavallini, two strikers from Liga MX that are going to be well above a $5 million transfer fee just to acquire. For context, since Vermes took over the team as technical director in 2008, Sporting KC have just spent a total of $4 million on transfer fees. If they’re looking to double or triple that spending level just in this offseason, Sporting KC splashing cash should scare a significant amount of the league.
New England Revolution
Ahh..the Revs. They looked so good when Bruce Arena took over the squad. And while they weren’t able to make too much good on their form in the postseason, the Revs had built a great foundation for performances into 2020. Giving Gustavo Bou a full season to make an impact will be fun for the Golden Boot race, and the increasing influence of players like Carles Gil and new addition, Alexander Büttner, will make the Revs an intriguing storyline to watch in 2020.
What else could the Revs do to make themselves a real contender? A solid addition in the attack would put them on par with some of the best in the eastern conference. But what makes a team who already made the playoffs a “low odds” team? For starters, teams like the LA Galaxy, LAFC, Atlanta United, NYCFC, and Toronto FC will certainly take up some of the top spots in the league. The Revs, despite making the playoffs are also an easy target for regression due to their overall history. But don’t let that fool you. The Revs should be a solid contender, and a solid “dark horse” bet for 2020.