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April 16th marked the first MLS games of the season, and it's a huge season for the leauge. Many new names are set to appear, including Austin FC, who many have labeled as the ‘villians’ of the MLS. Austin FC are amongst many teams who aren’t as favored to do great compared to the likes of LAFC, Seattle Sounders, and the reigning champions, Columbus Crew, but I think these teams will surprise a few people and have a playoff season.
Without further adieu, here’s my list of 3 teams to look out for during the 2021 MLS season.
3. Austin FC
Austin FC have been underestimated constantly going into this season. Due to the fact Austin hasn’t signed a ‘flashy’ player like Atlanta did with Miguel Almiron and Joesf Martinez, Austin has instead gone with a strong MLS based squad. MLS vets like Matt Besler and Alexander Ring as well as USMNT outside back, Nick Lima.
Another player to look out for is 21 year old shot stopper, Brady Scott, who played for FC Koln in Germany and most recently Nashville SC.
Led by former USMNT assistant Josh Wolff, Austin is in prime position to have a really solid season with a lot of players who know the ins and outs of the league. This is a team who may not look the flashiest on paper, but will get it done and make the right decisions for 90 minutes.
(Also, check out the Austin FC fans, some of the most underrated in the league. Can’t wait until stadiums go back to full capacity because the world will see what Austin fans have to offer!).
2. New England Revolution
The New England Revoluton have been clicking this preseason, and I believe that will continue into the regular season.
The Revs are a team that had an unexpected deep playoff run last year, eventually falling 1-0 to the eventual MLS Cup Champions, Columbus Crew, in the eastern conference finals.
Led by Gustavo Bou, a River Plate product who loves to get on the scoresheet, the Revs have a nice returning squad and the best goalkeeper in the league, Matt Turner.
New Engalnd also has a very underrated youth core going, led by Canadian international, Tajon Buchannan, who has been ripping it up the past few months for team Canada. If Buchanan can continue his amazing run of form into the season, he will not only put himself at the top of the MLS forward list, but he could very well land a move to Europe.
The Revs also have players such as Henry Kessler, a Red Bulls youth product who played two years at the University of Virgina. Kessler was drafted by the Revs in 2020 and recently appeared for the US u23s in Concconcaf olympic qualifying.
Overall, the Revs have a good, solid young squad that can put the ball in the back of the net (and keep it out). Don’t be surprised if they have another deep run this year.
1. Inter Miami CF
Inter Miami disappointed in the clubs inaugural season last year. Led by Lewis Morgan and Gonzalo Higuain up front, many thought Inter would be a lock for the playoffs. However, they didn’t.
Inter had a great offseason. After letting go head coach, Diego Alonso, David Beckham and the boys in black and pink hired Manchester United legend, Phil Neville, as head coach.
Miami has also called up 16 year old, Felipe Valencia, and signed the 2005 born as their first ever homegrown player. Felipe tore it up in the USL League 1, and beat Alphono Davies record of youngest player to score in the USL.
The Miami squad has many big name stars from Europe such as 2018 World Cup winner, Blaise Matuidi, mexican legend, Rodolfo Pizzaro, and recent signing, Ryan Shawcross.
Pizzaro, 27, is in the prime of his career and Phil Neville told the Mexican superstar to expect ‘100 touches’ a game. Meanwhile, the unexpected signing of Ryan Shawcross gives Inter Miami a much needed leader and helps tighten up the backline.
Inter Miami finally has a squad that is complete from left to right and they had a much needed wake up call last year. The disappointing season set David Beckham and his crew back to reality and now they’re not messing around. For Inter Miami, it’s now or never.
Founder, The Sports Court
The Los Angeles Chargers are deemed for success in the 2021-2022 NFL season. It’s inevitable that a team who went 7-9, with 7 losses coming in one-possession games, will improve.
It’s also inevitable that a team with a rockstar young QB with a cannon for an arm and an amazing brain for the game, a decent coaching staff, and a star wide receiver, manage to make some noise next season.
The LA Chargers started the season with a 16-13 win over the Bengals. Tyrod Taylor, a veteran NFL QB, played unter center in that week 1 game. However, right before the week 2 clash with division rivals and defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, Tyrod Taylor’s lung was punctured in a freak medical accident and Justin Herbert learned that he was the starter during the opening kickoff.
Herbert led the Chargers and had an amazing performance, throwing for 311 yards and inspiring an incredible performance that saw the Chargers force the Chiefs to overtime in a narrow 23-20 loss.
Despite the loss, the Chargers realized they have found their guy.
As the season progressed, Justin Herbert got better and better, setting rookie passing records for passing touchdowns (31) and completions (396).
And despite having a record-setting QB, amazing wide receiver, and a great defense that includes the highest-paid defensive player of all-time, Joey Bosa, the Chargers finished 7-9.
This was due to poor coaching and time(out) management by ex head-coach Anthony Lynn.
Lynn cost the Chargers on multiple occasions. For example, in a November showdown against the Bills, Lynn called a speed option on a 4th and 1 that resulted in the Chargers handing over possession back to the Bills. Many times throughout the season Lynn and the coaching staff’s calls in the backend of games would hold back the Chargers from winning.
Now with Lynn fired and young head coach, Brandon Staley, in, the Chargers are in a prime position to have a great season.
With the bulk of players returning and Justin Herbert only getting better, the Chargers are a team that is very likely to massively improve their record this year.
Staley, a defensive-minded coach who last served as the defensive coordinator for the Rams, was a QB at the University of Dayton.
Many talked as to why the Chargers didn’t hire Bills offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, who helped develop Josh Allen into one of the NFL’s premier QB’s, but many don’t realize that Staley himself was a college QB and could aid Herbert throughout his early years of quarterbacking in the big leagues.
In sum, the Chargers are a scary good team that finally has a good coaching staff. The Bolts lost a lot of close ones last year, but this year, those games may just go the Chargers way.
Be ready, Los Angeles.
Founder, The Sports Court
When you hear the words, ‘Tom Brady’, what comes to mind?
Is it the 7 Super Bowl wins, the TB12 diet, or is it his relentless work ethic.
Throughout his 21 years as a professional athlete, Tom Brady has cemented himself not just as the greatest football player to ever play the game, but the greatest sports-person of all-time.
He’s certainly not the greatest athlete. In fact, he’s the antithesis. Coming into the NFL, Brady’s scout report said he was "skinny, has a poor build, lacks great physical stature and strength, lacks mobility, lacks a really strong arm, can’t drive the ball downfield, does not throw a really tight spiral, system-type player, and gets knocked down easily’.
Now fast forward to the date of February 7, 2021, and Tom Brady appeared in his 10th Super Bowl, his first with his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Going to Tampa, Brady entered having the highest winning percentage of all athletes within the four major sports. The Buccaneers on the other hand had the lowest winning percentage of all teams within the four major sports.
Brady, the winningest athlete of all-time, a man who only knows how to win, decided to go to Florida. Not to retire, not to play golf, but to win, with a team that only knows how to lose.
After starting the season 7-5, the last game being a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bucs had a bye and never looked back. Brady and Tampa went 8-0 from that point on, with the last game being a win against the Kansas City Chiefs, in the Super Bowl.
Brady won on the 7th to win his 7th, that has a real nice ring to it.
During Super Bowl 55, Tom Brady cemented his place not just in football history, after all, most people already considered him the greatest of all time. Tom Brady cemented his place as the greatest sports-person to ever play any game. Soccer, tennis, golf, Brady is no longer just at the top of the mountain, he is the mountain.
With his 7th championship win and first one with the Bucs, the same team with the lowest winning percentage in all four major sports, Tom Brady has surpassed the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jack Nicklaus, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, and every other professional sporting player of all time. Brady is top of the list, the king of the hill, the GOAT of the GOATs.
No athlete touches the position Brady is at. Nobody, ever, has done so much, for so long, quite like Tom Brady.
The 43-year-old ages backward, every year he gets better and better. They call him 'fine wine Tom' for a reason.
Some athletes such as Jordan may have a bigger brand. Some athletes such as Ronaldo may have a better physique. But no athlete has had 3 different hall of fame careers. No athlete has done it for so long and won time after time again.
Except Tom Brady.
The same Tom Brady that lacked a real strong arm, a proper build, and the ability to get back up after being knocked down.
Tom Brady may not run the quickest 40 time, or have a rock solid six pack, but he wins, even at 43 with a new team, Brady still comes out on top.
From coming back from a 28-3 deficit in 2017 to beating one of the most explosive teams of all-time in the current day Chiefs, Tom Brady is further proof that history repeats itself.
Born in California, made in Michigan, became a legend in New England, became a GOAT in Tampa. Brady has seen a lot of residences, but one residence remains the same, and that’s at the top of the mountain.
Not too shabby for a kid who was the backup QB on his high school's freshman team that went 0-8 28 years ago.
A writer who loves to learn and share.
All Editorials written by Chris Dailey