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There is no doubt that North American soccer scene is underwhelming compared to that of Europe and Asia. This is mostly due to the fact that the biggest sport in NA is probably football followed by basketball. Even baseball outshines soccer when it comes to popularity. Recently, North American teams started to be more proactive in their roster management and some teams have come closer to the best in the world in terms of fire power. The question is whether there is a proper infrastructure.
Some football fans out there do not even know that some North American teams are managed by the best specialists in the world. The first name that comes to mind is Patrick Vierra who coaches New York City to a great success. There are talented coaches, great foreign players, and enough domestic talent to build solid teams that can compete on the highest levels.
There is a reason to why many North American teams were limited in terms of acquiring truly great players. Franchise system diminished the salary cap and with average salaries in MSL (Major Soccer League) being way below than in England, for example, it was hard for NA teams to compete for the best players in the world. However, in 2001 they changed the system and the very first expensive soccer player that came to compete in North America was David Beckham. As of right now, there are multiple designated players in the MSL.

LA Galaxy. USA

This is the most successful team in the MSL and is known for its solid performances throughout the years. LA Galaxy is a squad packed with talent and reliable veterans. The combination of the fresh blood and experience infused with great potential is the biggest reason of Galaxy’s success. The team has won the MSL 20 times and often represents the league in the international competitions. Despite an underwhelming performance in 2015, LA Galaxy is still the most threatening team in the league with huge potential.
This team tries to build the best team with the resources available to them. Bruce Arena respects experience and scouts for the best veterans in the market to solidify his team and allow it to be more flexible in terms of tactics. LA Galaxy has a rich array of solid performers that have proven their capabilities in multiple professional leagues. The list includes Steven Gerard, Ashley Cole, and Robbie Keane. These strong footballers are more than capable of bringing down the strongest opponents. However, LA Galaxy didn’t show the expected level of performance in the season of 2015.
Giovani dos Santos Ramirez joined the team in 2015 and had some spectacular performances scoring 10 goals during his 29 appearances. This substitute forward is a nice addition to the roster and helped LA Galaxy to close out quite a couple of games. However, the offence is stacked and Bruce Arena has better options.
One of them is Ariel Lassiter who recently joined the first team after a year with LA Galaxy II. This young striker has talent and showed his prowess on multiple occasions. He can surely shine brightly supported by the old guard. The offensive capabilities of the team were not reinforced but refreshed and, honestly, this is exactly what LA Galaxy needs right now. With the addition of fresh blood, the offence can operate more openly going for some risky plays and enabling the midfield to be more proactive. This is even more important due to recent departure of Galaxy’s forward Jack McBean to Coventry. McBean is not a pivotal part of the offence, but he provided flexibility that Galaxy drastically needs in the nearest future.
Jelle François Maria Van Damme is another crucial acquisition made by LA Galaxy earlier this year. The Belgium veteran defender can bolster Galaxy’s defense and provide an elegant tactical touch to the playstyle of the team. The player has been featured during the All-Star match.
With both offence and defense upgraded, LA Galaxy surely looks promising. The team hovers above the middle of the pack in the Western Conference, just like in the previous season. However, this time they have a legitimate shot at the playoffs, if their performance won’t drop off. Whether new talent can merge with experience into results determines the future of this team. Hopefully, LA Galaxy will show up big time in the end of the current season.

New York City FC. USA

One of the most talent packed teams in the whole MSL. Recently, Patrick Vierra himself has joined the team as a manager. He has proven that he is a capable coach after a three-year successful contract with Manchester City second team. Now, he sits pretty at the top of the Eastern Conference of the MSL leading New York City to the new heights. Note that the team couldn’t even qualify for the playoffs last year and ended up at the rank 17 in the MSL last year.
Vierra demonstrated his ability to build strong and cohesive defense by acquiring new talent and experienced players that can form a solid defensive unit. The recent acquisitions made after Vierra joined the team as a head coach were Ethan White and Maxime Chanot. Both players are not the flashiest stars on the field, but they both surely know how to play defensively and make smart moves. However, the most important roster moves are picking up Frédéric Brillant and acquiring Ronald Matarrita. Both defenders are experienced performers and managed to bring some stability to NY City’s defenses.
David Villa is a sure monster when it comes to making clutch plays and creating intense moments near the opposing goalie. This talented forward has played for Valencia, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid. His move to New York City is more than justified and he has been an undeniable star performer of the team ever since he joined it. This year, Stiven Mendoza from Corinthians is joining Villa in the offence. This young Colombian forward is hungry for victories and some notable showings as a substitute forward notorious for making clutch plays when it matters. He came to the roster on a loan and can definitely help out New York City.
This is surely the year to shine for New York City FC. The team has the best veterans on their roster including such stars as Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard. For Pirlo and Lampard these upcoming years can very well be conclusive to their respective careers and they surely do not want to go unnoticed. Additionally, NY City FC acquired some promising footballers and their potential is stronger than ever.

Toronto FC. Canada

This Canadian football club has some ups and downs in its history. The five-times Canadian champions, Toronto FC failed to reach the playoff stage of the MSL for eight consecutive years. This year, everything can change as the team sits comfortably at the top of the Eastern Conference and has some promising roster moves that can definitely improve their chances to compete for the top positions in the MSL.
One of the most important acquisitions made by the team Greg Vanney took over the head coach position is certainly Sebastian Giovinco, a former Juventus forward. This attacking midfielder who often plays as a dedicated forward has proven himself worthy of the designated player spot on the team scoring 37 goals over 55 appearances and being named the match MVP on multiple occasions. He is definitely the heart of Toronto FC’s attack.
Josh Williams is a great pickup for the team. He joined the team right before the beginning of the season and he surely showed some solid plays on the field. This defender from USA is a detrimental part of Toronto FC’s defense and he can surely protect his side of the field from anyone. However, it is easy to shine brightly with Justin Morrow and Drew Moor alongside. The latter is also a crucial acquisition that should bolster Toronto’s defensive lines and improve team’s chances to enter the playoff stage this year. He joined the team as a free agent and definitely has ambitions to become one of the best players on the roster.
Toronto also made a couple of interesting moves to improve its attack. One of the most notable purchases is a striker from Sunderland. Josmer Volmy Altidore is a forward originating from USA, but he had already played for great teams like Villarreal and Sunderland. With this move, Toronto acquired a player that can compliment Giovinco’s solid offence. Another acquisition worth of noticing is Tsusaba Endoh. This young forward from Japan is a breath of fresh air and can be truly impactful in the nearest future as a substitute forward who comes into the play when it matters the most!

Sporting Kansas City. USA

Kansas City Wizards is a team that doesn’t have a great legacy to live up to. It had always been a middle-of-the-pack team that never truly contested the top spots in the league. After the rebranding, the team changed not only its name, appearance, and the roster, but also their position in the league by winning the MSL in 2013. Today, this is a team to fear with great defenders and more than just solid midfielders.
Nuno André da Silva Coelho is definitely a very interesting acquisition. This is a veteran center back who played for Potro and Sporting CP earlier in his career. He is known for his reliability and is often used as a substitute defender who leaves the bench when the defense needs reinforcements. While there are more great names in the roster, da Silva can definitely have an impact. One of the key defenders is surely Matt Besler and he is a captain of the team. With these two players on the roster the defense looks solid.
Dom Dwyer is surely the pivotal part of Kansas City’s offence. He is a solid technical forward who has an impressive physique and can ram his way past opposing defenders. He recently returned after joining Orlando City on a loan and this reunion was certainly impactful. Dom Dwyer was a crucial part of the winning roster in 2013. Cameron Porter is a young striker that just recently joined the team and can be of use in terms of helping Dom Dwyer to penetrate the defenses of the enemy. He is a talented rookie that started his senior career only two years ago. Despite his poor experience in senior leagues, his college career was spectacular. Cameron scored 31 goal over 67 appearances for Princeton Tigers.
Sporting’s true power is in its capable midfield. Their core consists of truly remarkable players that can turn the tides of any game. The heart of their midfield is certainly Paulo Roberto Corradi Nagamura. This veteran midfielder is notorious for his strategic playstyle and authoritative personality. He is accompanied by Graham Zusi who is considered one of the best US players out there. Both of them are pillars of the team. Can this midfield lineup be improved? Kansas City believes that it can.
Lawrence Olum has recently joined the team on a regular basis. He managed to score twice during his first 13 matches for the team and looks like a solid addition to the roster. He is experienced and knows how to work together with his teammates. Other notable additions are Roger Espinoza, Soni Mustivar, and Justin Mapp.
With both offence and midfield receiving upgrades, Sporting Kansas looks like a strong contender for the top MSL spots. Just like 3 years ago, the team aims at the MSL title. However, this time it is very important to solidify their play in the center of the field as competing against teams like New York City with solid midfield will be tough. We believe that Kansas City has good chances to finish at TOP-5 in the MSL.