New Year’s resolutions; most do them, few stick to them.
Still, there will be plenty of MLS clubs to consider as the 2022 season draws to a close, and what better time than January to clear away bad habits, reshape a list or decide to do better?
Here’s a New Year’s promise for all Eastern Conference teams:
My first thoughts on #ATLUTD’s signing of Osvaldo Alonso, for @ 90min_Football? ️⚽https: //t.co/4dCw6fUxyo
– Chris Smith (@ CJSmith91) December 24, 2021
In the end, even though he had to separate from the controversial Gabriel Heinze and help Josef Martinez back into action, Atlanta United finished fifth in the Eastern Conference. They were only three points from second, which is an incredible achievement all in all.
But it would have been much better if they had just learned to watch matches outside. Too many times, the Five Stripes had the advantage of one and two goals heading into the final 15 minutes of matches, only to collapse and leave with nothing – or a point if they were lucky.
As they learned in the test environment at Yankee Stadium against the NYCFC in round one of the playoffs, seeding and home advantages are really important after the season. It was their tendency to shut down that ultimately cost them a deeper race. The addition of the very experienced Osvaldo Alonso is a good start in this regard.
Just infinitely impressive from Wilfried Nancy with this Montreal site this year. He has squeezed a lot more out of this list than I thought was there.
– Matthew Doyle (@ MattDoyle76) October 3, 2021
CF Montreal spent so much time above the playoffs that it almost felt wrong that they missed the day of the decision and lost 2-0 to Orlando City.
Their season was saved by a Canadian championship title, beating Toronto FC in the final and securing their place in next season’s Concacaf Champions League. And in reality, even challenging for the playoffs was a good achievement.
In 2022, Wilfried Nancy will focus on maintaining the strong form they showed during the first half of last season during an entire campaign – they fell hard at the end and won only two of their last nine MLS matches.
Did not sleep on Franco? pic.twitter.com/4GCqzivl0j
– Charlotte FC (@CharlotteFC) December 21, 2021
There are two types of expansion teams: the Atlanta United / LAFC variant that competes from the start, and the FC Cincinnati type that fights hard.
Charlotte FC has started to make a lot of noise ahead of its expansion year and in truth one can not help but be impressed by some of the activities they have done so far.
All that counts for nothing if they crash and burn to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Compete match after match and keep the playoff line on the horizon and 2022 can be considered a success.
Gaga stops goal.
– Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) December 29, 2021
The Chicago Fire underperformed their xG by a pretty substantial 9.3 last season, while only Toronto FC and FC Cincinnati allowed more goals in the Eastern Conference. Basic and unexplained errors cost them despite some surprisingly impressive achievements.
With a new head coach and weapons, and some talented home-made players coming through, there is renewed optimism that Fire can make it to the playoffs for just the third time in 13 years next season. But Ezra Hendrickson simply has to make his new side better in both boxes.
And that will be it for the Crews season 2021. The victory in the Campeones Cup was at least a snap!
And yes, it’s great that Caleb Porter has never made it to the playoffs twice in a row.
– Matthew Doyle (@ MattDoyle76) October 3, 2021
Okay, so avoiding injuries is the kind of New Year’s promise that is similar to promising to win the lottery, but it’s really what traced out of the crew’s MLS Cup title defense 2021.
When everyone was healthy, they were amazing. Lucas Zelarayan, Gyasi Zardes, Pedro Santos and co. caused havoc for the opposition. But their entire team was paralyzed by injuries all the time.
It’s hard to create any kind of consistency when key players are consistently ruled out, so Caleb Porter must either find ways to keep his team wrapped in cotton wool, or add even more depth.
“It can not happen in the match, that’s why we train.”
? ️ Hernán Losada mic up pic.twitter.com/qpTQBFOQG6
– Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 16, 2021
When DC United were at their high-energy, pressing, overwhelming best, they were a joy to watch in 2021. The big problem was that Hernan Losada demanded so much from so few players that they regularly ran out of gas in the middle of the match. motorway.
Let’s be clear: this is not necessarily a critique of Losada. He has definitely improved on Black and Red. He just needs to pick his moments to save energy and bring in a few more spare parts to avoid punctures and bursting baskets.
The infamous Lucho Acosta spin bike? #CINvORL | #FCCincy pic.twitter.com/0UHfnQHph7
– FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) August 8, 2021
Lucho Acosta was really, really good 2021:
– Fourth in MLS for successful dribbles (86) .- Seventh in MLS for created chances (78) .- Seven goals and eight assists in 31 games.
All this for a FC Cincinnati team that once again bottomed out overall. They have a good pin to build around, and Brenner can be the striker for the little Argentine. But literally everything else has to get better. Help Lucho, good things will happen.
The #InterMiamiCF home jersey for the MLS season 2022 will be pink!
The club has already started teasing around South Florida – a club announcement is expected soon. pic.twitter.com/UyDjZEid3h
– Chris Smith (@ CJSmith91) December 28, 2021
Phil Neville talked for a long time in 2021 about getting more out of his designated players. In reality, it was the uneven form of Gonzalo Higuain, Rodolfo Pizarro and Blaise Matuidi that caused their big non-profit lines and cost them a place in the Playoffs.
Pizarro looks set to return to Monterrey, so a place can be opened there. And Matuidi was left unprotected in the MLS Expansion Draft recently, so he’s clearly not as appreciated in South Florida as one might think.
The New England Revolution was only so good because their DPs were relentless in the last third. The same goes for sporting Kansas City, NYCFC and Nashville. Inter Miami needs that kind of production as well.
Henry Kessler shithousing is over analysis pic.twitter.com/sDOi7Q9wbr
– chris russell (@watke_) September 4, 2021
How to improve a team that wins records in Supporters’ Shield? Well, we have to choose something …
While the Revs won many matches with a single goal, they also allowed themselves to be drawn into too many goal scorers. They were the best goal scorers in 2021, but defensively a lot in the middle of the road. And that’s pretty much what it cost them in the playoffs.
It will cost them again next year if they are not careful, in regular season games, in the playoffs and in the CCL.
. @ MLS Cup champion @ TatyCaste11anos reflects on the goal that gave him @Audi Golden Boot? pic.twitter.com/XMFPS3xBLE
– B / R Football (@brfootball) December 22, 2021
Like Revs, it’s really hard to find a way to improve the MLS Cup champions. Of course, there could be a lot of departures from the NYCFC this off-season, so Ronny Deila can actually have his hands full.
In their current iteration, you would probably want them to be more clinical throughout the season, not just on the stretch. They will settle against Liga MX teams in CCL if they do not put their chances and with how competitive East can be next season, every chance is important.
But again, we’re really tough here.
???????? WELCOME, LEWIS MORGAN ???????
We have acquired the Scottish winger from Inter Miami CF in exchange for General Allocation Money for two years.
Let’s go, @ 10lewismorgan!
? ➡️ https://t.co/oCFQTVWyS8#RBNY pic.twitter.com/4Kob9wScrc
– New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) December 12, 2021
Gerhard Struber did brilliantly to turn the Red Bulls around and pull them over the playoff line in 2021. Their recharge in the table was based on a rock-solid defense and taking that chance when it comes.
It’s good until you suddenly let in a couple of goals and have to start asking questions to the opposing defense. What happens when the Red Bulls suffer a defensive lapse and go behind? Where do the chances and goals come from?
Struber has sorted out the basics, now it’s time to start adding a little emotion to creating a masterpiece. The addition of Lewis Morgan from Inter Miami is a good start.
First reported by @JPercyTelegraph, sources have confirmed to @ 90min_Football that West Brom have submitted a bid to Orlando City for Daryl Dike ??
Winter loans with the possibility to make permanent. Leeds still v. Interested among other PL clubs. Long way to go https://t.co/ImER5A2uaw
– Chris Smith (@ CJSmith91) December 24, 2021
Oscar Pareja did well to make Orlando City a playoff team for the second year in a row. For much of 2021, he simply could not put up his best XI due to injuries, suspensions and Daryl Dike who spent the first half of the year on loan at Barnsley.
As reported by 90min, Dike will leave Orlando in January while Nani and Uri Rosell have already left the club in the middle of a lot of uncertainties.
All of this will leave Orlando very brief, especially in attacking areas, with work to do in the transfer market to ensure they remain a playoff team for the third year in a row. Everything else is just fine at Exploria Stadium.
Sergio Santos has 1.02 xG on 6 shots since he came in as sub ..
In other words, he left his finishing boots at home pic.twitter.com/G7V6NBPSLy
– MLS Buzz (@MLS_Buzz) November 29, 2021
It took a while, but the Union finally got together and moved into second place in the East, at the same time as they also went to the conference final in the playoffs.
There is a good argument to say that they would have gone even further if they had been armed with a clinical attacker (of course, we will give them the benefit of the doubt about the number of players they had been sidelined by due to Covid protocol).
Between Kacper Przybyłko and Sergio Santos, the union’s forward line missed a mountain of chances against the NYCFC, who eventually punished them with a 2-1 win to book their place in the MLS Cup final. Jim Curtin does not want a repeat of that in 2022.
#TFCLive has actively offered Yeferson Soteldo to clubs at a asking price of $ 7 million, sources tell me
Inter / Spurs among clubs still want Insigne but no one can match Toronto’s offer. They clear the DP site for him
Report for @ 90min_Footballhttps: //t.co/k67Hqzc9yq
– Chris Smith (@ CJSmith91) December 29, 2021
Toronto FC was terrible for most of 2021, but Bob Bradley is in town now, so things should improve.
They will be significantly improved if they can bring in Lorenzo Insigne. As reported by 90min, TFC has been looking to move on with Yeferson Soteldo to make it happen.
That must be where all TFC’s focus goes in January – to get that deal done and bring Italian star status back to BMO Field.
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