The venerable Jaime Moreno returns for yet another title run with DC United.
The signature franchise of Major League Soccer got even stronger this off season with the dumping of malcontent Freddy Adu and two key international signings. Head Coach Peter Nowak resigned to become Bob Bradley’s chief assistant with the US National Team, but his replacement Tom Soehn is very capable. Reigning league MVP Christian Gomez returns as does all time leading goal scorer Jaime Moreno to lead an attack that has been joined by two superb Brazilians: A league (Australia) MVP Fred and Luciano Emilio, who scored three goals in CONCACAF Champions Cup action, and has shown an uncanny knack for proper positioning and finishing. Bryan Namoff, Clyde Sims and Brian Carrol and excellent supporting players in the attack and the defense anchored by Bobby Boswell, Joshua Gros and Facundo Erepen is as good as it gets in MLS. Throw in a finally healthy, battle tested Ben Olsen whose versatility and big game acumen is among the best in MLS history and it’s no wonder why DC United has been since day one of MLS, the showcase franchise of the league. Troy Perkins provides solid goalkeeping, but with the ten men in front of him, any keeper would look good in the DC keeper shirt. Once again in 2007, DC United will be the class of the league.
2. New England
No team has had harder luck through the 12 year history of Major League Soccer than the Revolution. Whether it was putting up with Walter Zenga’s antics, losing top American players to Europe or five near misses at a championship, New England has experienced it all. Last season, the Revolution were oh so close yet again, only to fall short in a penalty kick shootout for the MLS Cup. Super scorer Taylor Twellman reaffirmed his commitment to MLS long term with a new contract. Despite his exclusion for the US World Cup team, Twellman is a goal poacher and finisher unlike any other American born player in the league. Speaking of World Cup snubs, Steve Ralston continues to lead the New England midfield with classy on the ball skills and precision passing. Look for Welsh International Andy Dorman to step into Clint Dempsey’s attacking midfield role without missing a beat. Sharlie Joseph continues to anchor a strong defense from his holding midfield position. Joseph who has attracted the interest of Celtic is unhappy with his current contract. If Joseph leaves New England, Daniel Hernandez a tested MLS veteran will fill in nicely. The backline of Michael Parkhurst, a future US international star, veteran Jay Heaps and Trinidad and Tobago World Cup starter Avery John is as good as it gets in MLS. Matt Reis is the best Goalkeeper in MLS, and he will continue to do an excellent job for the Revolution. The biggest concern about this team is finding an adequate strike partner for Twelllman. Pat Noonan is the incumbent, but he is injury prone and tends to disappear in the bigger matches. If the Revolution don’t find another pure goal scorer up front, they won’t unseat DC United for the Supporters Shield.