Several notable international players joined the MLS in their 27th season, including Swiss forward Xherdan Shaqiri, signed by the Chicago Fire; Argentine forward Alan Velasco, playing in FC Dallas; fellow Tia Go Almada, acquired by Atlanta United; and Facundo Torres from Uruguay, signed by Orlando City. D. Costa is one of many MLS veterans to join Los Angeles this offseason, including goalie Maxime Crespo (Vancouver Whitecaps) and defender Franco Escobar (Atlanta United) and Ryan Hollingshead (Dallas) and midfielder Ismael Tajouri. Many of MLS’ big names are headed to Europe this season, including Dallas’ hometown of Ricardo Pepi, who moved to Augusta in the Bundesliga, and Atlanta’s hometown of George Bello, who also travelled to Germany. with Arminia Bielefeld.
NYCFC didn’t look as dynamic or sharp up front, but they will rebound nicely. The NYCFC is bringing back most of the roster from the last few seasons, including eight of the 11 starting players they won. The defending MLS Cup champions were hit in the heart after a 90-minute loss in Los Angeles. Last year, the Supporters Shield winners travelled to Portland to prove they’re not exceptional and maybe not at the bottom of the table.
Atlanta United kicked off their 2022 campaign on Sunday at home against Sporting KC and won the game comfortably 3-1; The home team led 2-0 before the end of the 1st half. Later in the second half, with 10 minutes to go, Sporting KC scored a goal which gave them a ray of hope to come back into the game. The home team didn’t let that happen and scored the third goal in the 89th minute to seal the game.
Expansion Charlotte FC opened its first season on Saturday at DC United. Major League Soccer had welcomed a new club as Charlotte FC offers 28 league teams for the sixth season in a row. With Canada on the cusp of qualifying for the first time since 1986 and the USMNT well positioned to catch up with Qatar, the number of Major League Soccer players in the 2022 World Cup is expected to exceed the 2018 total significantly.
Charlotte came out the exact opposite of their pre-season performances in this league game. Charlotte FC looked comfortable early in the match and limited DC United to minimal scoring chances. On their debut, Charlotte didn’t look like an expanding team and seemed to surprise DC United in the first half. Charlotte added an offensive assistant in the form of Daniel Rios ahead of the season opener in MLS. DC United won the game 3-0, and this was not a start Charlotte FC wished for.
The two leagues have combined for an All-Star Game in 2021 but have not announced whether they will host the MLS All-Star Game in 2022 at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 2022, ABC will air 10 Major League Soccer regular-season games, the most games on ABC since 12 games were shown in 1998.