The 2019 Major League Soccer season will be the 24th season of Major League Soccer.
The regular season begins on March 2, 2019 and will conclude on October 6, 2019.
The MLS Cup Playoffs will begin on October 19, 2019, and conclude with the MLS Cup 2019 on November 10, 2019 and will follow a new format that differs from previous seasons. The playoffs will use single-match rounds and include 14 teams.
The total number of MLS clubs grows to 24 this season, with FC Cincinnati joining the fold.
New York Red Bulls are the defending Supporters' Shield champions, while Atlanta United FC are the defending MLS Cup champions.
Early MLS Cup Odds
|New York Red Bulls||+400|
|Los Angeles FC||+600|
|New York City FC||+650|
|Sporting Kansas City||+2200|
|Real Salt Lake||+5000|
|New England Revolution||+6600|
|Orlando City SC||+10000|
|San Jose Earthquake||+12500|
2019 MLS Cup Early Preview
With the 2018 season in the books, the 2019 MLS Cup Season is in full effect. There has been movement all over the league and thus the lines have been issued for each team going into this 24th MLS Season.
As per the pre-season lines, two teams are the early favourites to win the 2019 MLS Cup. Both from the Eastern Conference, the New York Red Bulls and the reigning champions Atlanta United.
Atlanta rightfully come into the season as one of the top favourites having won the MLS Cup in 2018. They won the MLS Cup led by Manager Gerardo Martino, led the league in goals scored (70), and are still led at the top by top scorer Josef Martinez.
While their successes are to be celebrated, they enter the season with some major changes. Manager Gerardo Martino has left the club for Mexico and they are now led by Frank de Boer. On the transfer side, key playmaker Miguel Almiron is out and now conducts his business with Newcastle United.
It will be interesting to see how Atlanta play without Martino's high-pressing style of play punishing rival back lines. While Almiron was a huge loss, Frank de Boer's experience and the acquisition of M Pity Martinez - South American Player of the Year and Copa Libertadores Champion - certainly provides some promise for Atlanta fans.
New York Red Bulls
Many would say New York Red Bulls are always a goal away from achieving their goal. While they won the season and the Supporters' Shield, they failed to perform in the MLS Playoffs and fell short once again.
Why bank on New York Red Bulls? They maintain their star players in Bradley Wright-Phillips, Kaku, and Aaron Long. They also bring back ten starters from their points record (71) setting side.
New York are a deep team with a wealth of youth and are balanced on both sides of the ball. Luis Robles comes back as a serviceable keeper and Wright-Phillips seems addicted to scoring goals. While they've struggled to raise the trophy, they're always a top threat.
Eastern Conference Odds
|Eastern Conference||Future Odds|
|New York Red Bulls||+135|
|New York City FC||+250|
The Eastern Conference is as wide open as ever for the 2019 MLS Season. Atlanta United looks to defend their title with new manager Frank de Boer and his supposed "European Style" of football at the forefront.
New York Red Bulls though, are still the winners of the season and hold the record for points in a season (71). Their continuity suggests success, but with continuity may come familiarity for teams who've improved to beat them this coming year.
When it comes to improving, no team looks to do so more than Toronto FC. The Canadian outfit and 2017 MLS Cup Champions stumbled out of the gate last season and failed to recover. Sebastian Giovinco no longer leads the line for the reds, but Toronto are hopeful that renewed focus after a dreadful season and a new weapon in Alejandro Pozuelo will lead them back to glory.
Safe Bet(s): Atlanta United, New York Red Bulls
Good Secondary: Toronto FC
Western Conference Odds
|Western Conference||Future Odds|
|Los Angeles FC||+165|
The Western Conference seems likely to go through Los Angeles this year, with two of its top teams calling the City of Angels Home. LAFC had a brilliant debut season, ranking third in the west but getting eliminated in the knockout round. Carlos Vela returns to lead the side with manager Bob Bradley.
Meanwhile just a few kilometres away, LA Galaxy look to rebound from back-to-back seasons of not qualifying for the MLS Playoffs. They convinced Zlatan Ibrahimovic to return and are now managed by former Boca Juniors manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
But don't count out Portland Timbers, as the 2018 MLS Cup finalists look to prove their previous season wasn't a fluke. While a year older, Diego Valeri, Diego Chara, and Sebastian Blanco are usually the most talented trio on any pitch in the MLS. With another season under his belt, Coach Gio seems primed to build on what was a great first year managing Portland.
Safe Bet(s): Los Angeles FC, Los Angeles Galaxy
Good Secondary: Portland Timbers
With as more teams and more movement than the MLS has had in its history, the MLS Cup and the league are very much up for grabs. Early favourites are sure to make their mark, but with the influx of players, managers, and experience in the league, the talent gap between teams is getting slimmer and slimmer.
While favourites like New York Red Bulls and Atlanta United are sure to fill the board, don't discount teams looking to build or rebound on their previous seasons performances.
2019 MLS Cup: Atlanta United (+500)
Secondary Picks: New York Red Bulls (+400), LA Galaxy (+600)
Longshots: Toronto FC (+1100), Portland Timbers (+2200)