Here is a breakdown of the 29 MLS teams’ strengths and weaknesses for 2023
|Atlanta United FC
|Talented attack led by Josef Martinez and Marcelino Moreno
|Inconsistent defense and midfield
|Solid core of veterans and young players
|Lack of star power and depth
|Chicago Fire FC
|Creative midfield with Aliseda, Medran and Stojanovic
|Poor finishing and defensive errors
|Improved roster with Brenner, Acosta and Pity Martinez
|Lack of chemistry and identity
|Balanced team with no glaring weaknesses
|No elite playmaker or goalscorer
|Columbus Crew SC
|Reigning MLS Cup champions with Zelarayan, Zardes and Nagbe
|Injury-prone defense and aging core
|Dynamic attack with Kamara, Arriola and Flores
|Unproven coach and system
|Promising academy products and young signings
|Inexperienced and inconsistent
|Houston Dynamo FC
|Experienced coach in Tab Ramos and solid spine with Vera, Quintero and Urruti
|Lack of quality and depth in defense and attack
|Inter Miami CF
|Star-studded roster with Higuain, Pizarro and Matuidi
|Poor team spirit and cohesion
|Revamped squad with Vanney, Chicharito and Cabral
|Questionable defense and goalkeeper
|Los Angeles FC
|Elite talent with Vela, Rossi and Atuesta
|Defensive frailties and CCL hangover
|Minnesota United FC
|Strong spine with Miller, Opara, Alonso, Reynoso and Abila
|Lack of pace and width
|Solid defense with Camacho, Struna and Miller
|Lack of creativity and goalscoring threat
|Well-organized defense with Zimmerman, Romney and Godoy
|Lack of firepower and flair in attack
|New England Revolution
|Talented attack with Buksa, Gil and Bou
|Vulnerable defense and goalkeeper
|New York City FC
|Quality squad with Heber, Moralez and Sands
|Inconsistent form and performance
|New York Red Bulls
|High-pressing style and energetic midfield with Davis, Clark and Yearwood
|Lack of clinical finisher and defensive leader
|Orlando City SC
|Balanced team with Nani, Pereyra and Mueller
|Depth issues and injury concerns
|Supporters’ Shield contenders with Blake, Martinez, Bedoya and Gazdag
|Loss of Burke and potential fatigue from CCL
|Experienced team with Valeri, Blanco and Chara
|Aging squad and injury problems
|Real Salt Lake
|Young talent with Rusnak, Kreilach and Julio
|Lack of stability and direction
|San Jose Earthquakes
|Unique style and spirit under Almeyda
|Prone to conceding goals and losing streaks
|Seattle Sounders FC
|Consistent contenders with Lodeiro, Ruidiaz and Roldan
|Loss of key players like Morris, Svensson and Leerdam
|Sporting Kansas City
|Solid team with Melia, Ilie, Busio and Pulido
|Defensive lapses and lack of depth
|St. Louis City SC (expansion)
|Exciting coach in Bradley Carnell and young signings like Perea, Caden Clark and Busio
|Lack of experience and chemistry
|Proven winners with Pozuelo, Altidore and Bradley
|Aging squad and defensive issues
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC
|Promising attack with Cavallini, Dajome and Caicedo
|Weak midfield and lack of identity
- Atlanta United FC: Strength: Atlanta United FC are a dangerous and experienced team that have regained their identity and confidence under Gonzalo Pineda. They have one of the best players in the league in Josef Martínez, who scored 15 goals in 22 games this season. They also have some quality players, such as Marcelino Moreno, Ezequiel Barco, and Miles Robinson, who can make a difference on both ends of the pitch. Weakness: Atlanta United FC are a vulnerable and inconsistent team that have been plagued by injuries and suspensions throughout the season. They have missed key players such as Martínez, Barco, Robinson, Santiago Sosa, Franco Ibarra, George Bello, Brooks Lennon, Anton Walkes, Alan Franco, and Brad Guzan at various points of the year. They also have a tendency to lose focus and concede goals from set pieces or counter-attacks.
- Austin FC’s strength is their solid core of veterans and young players, such as Matt Besler, Alex Ring, Cecilio Dominguez and Rodney Redes. Their weakness is their lack of star power and depth, especially in the attack and defense. They may struggle to compete with the top teams in the league.
- Chicago Fire FC’s strength is their creative midfield with Ignacio Aliseda, Alvaro Medran and Luka Stojanovic, who can create chances and score goals. Their weakness is their poor finishing and defensive errors, as they have wasted many opportunities and conceded many goals. They may need to improve their efficiency and concentration.
- FC Cincinnati’s strength is their improved roster with Brenner, Luciano Acosta and Pity Martinez, who are all proven goalscorers and playmakers. Their weakness is their lack of chemistry and identity, as they have changed coaches and players frequently since joining the league. They may need time to gel and find a consistent style of play.
- Colorado Rapids: Strength: The Rapids are a cohesive and hard-working team that plays with intensity and passion. They have a solid defensive foundation, anchored by William Yarbrough and Lalas Abubakar, that can shut down opponents. They also have a diverse attack, with different players contributing goals and assists. Weakness: The Rapids lack star power and experience compared to other playoff teams. They do not have any players who scored more than 10 goals or provided more than 10 assists this season. They also do not have any players who have won an MLS Cup before.
- Columbus Crew SC’s strength is their reigning MLS Cup champions status with Lucas Zelarayan, Gyasi Zardes and Darlington Nagbe, who are all key players in their attack and midfield. Their weakness is their injury-prone defense and aging core, as they have lost several defenders to injuries and have many players over 30. They may need to manage their fitness and rotation.
- D.C. United’s strength is their dynamic attack with Ola Kamara, Paul Arriola and Edison Flores, who can all score and assist goals. Their weakness is their unproven coach and system, as they have hired Hernan Losada to implement a high-pressing and high-intensity style that may not suit their current roster. They may need to adapt and learn quickly.
- FC Dallas’ strength is their promising academy products and young signings, such as Ricardo Pepi, Tanner Tessmann, Jesus Ferreira and Jader Obrian. Their weakness is their inexperience and inconsistency, as they have lost many veteran players and have a young squad that may lack maturity and leadership. They may need to grow and develop together.
- Houston Dynamo FC’s strength is their experienced coach in Tab Ramos and solid spine with Matias Vera, Darwin Quintero and Maximiliano Urruti. Their weakness is their lack of quality and depth in defense and attack, as they have not made many significant signings and have lost some key players. They may need to improve their roster and performance.
- Inter Miami CF’s strength is their star-studded roster with Gonzalo Higuain, Rodolfo Pizarro and Blaise Matuidi. Their weakness is their poor team spirit and cohesion, as they have underperformed and struggled to find a consistent style and formation. They may need to improve their chemistry and mentality.
- LA Galaxy: Strength: The Galaxy are a dangerous and entertaining team that can score goals from anywhere. They have one of the best strikers in the league in Chicharito, who scored 17 goals in 23 games this season. They also have some dynamic wingers, such as Samuel Grandsir, Kevin Cabral, and Efraín Álvarez, who can stretch defenses and provide service. Weakness: The Galaxy are a vulnerable and inconsistent team that concede goals from anywhere. They have one of the worst defenses in the league, allowing 58 goals in 34 games this season. They also have some erratic players, such as Jonathan dos Santos, Julian Araujo, and Derrick Williams, who can make costly mistakes and lose their composure.
- Los Angeles FC: Strength: The talent boasted by Los Angeles FC is unparalleled in MLS. They have star players in every position and a dynamic attacking style. Weakness: LAFC have been inconsistent and vulnerable defensively. They have conceded the most goals among the playoff teams and have struggled to keep clean sheets.
- Minnesota United FC: Strength: The Loons are a balanced and cohesive team that play with a clear identity and style under Adrian Heath. They have a solid defensive foundation, led by Tyler Miller, Michael Boxall, and Bakaye Dibassy, that can withstand pressure and counter-attack. They also have a creative midfield, featuring Emanuel Reynoso, Franco Fragapane, and Robin Lod, that can unlock defenses and create chances. Weakness: The Loons are a dependent and predictable team that rely heavily on their star players. They have struggled to score goals when Reynoso or Fragapane are absent or out of form. They also have a tendency to play too cautiously and defensively when facing stronger opponents, which could backfire in the playoffs.
- CF Montreal: Strength: CF Montreal are a possession-oriented team that controls the game with their midfield platform and passing accuracy. They have a clear identity and philosophy under Wilfried Nancy. Weakness: CF Montreal are dependent on their key attackers, Djordje Mihailovic and Romell Quioto, who have been injured or out of form lately. Without them, they could struggle to score goals.
- Nashville SC: Strength: Nashville SC are a solid and organized team that play with a clear defensive structure. They have the best defensive record in the league, conceding only 24 goals in 34 games. They also have a reliable goalkeeper in Joe Willis and a strong backline, led by Walker Zimmerman and Dave Romney. Weakness: Nashville SC are not very prolific or creative offensively. They have scored only 47 goals in 34 games, the lowest among the playoff teams. They also rely heavily on Hany Mukhtar, who scored or assisted 23 of those goals, for their attacking output.
- New England Revolution: Strength: The Revolution are an explosive and prolific team that can score from anywhere. They have the best attack and defense in the league, led by Daniel Gazdag, Adam Buksa, and Gustavo Bou. They also have a solid midfield and backline that can support their forwards. Weakness: The Revolution could be vulnerable against teams that employ a low defensive block. They sometimes lack the tools to break through when space is denied. They also could suffer from fatigue after a long CCL run.
- New York City FC: Strength: NYC FC have experience and individual talent. As defending champions, they know what it takes to win in the playoffs. They also have some of the best players in the league, such as Maxi Moralez, Héber, and Sean Johnson. Weakness: NYC FC have been plagued by injuries and inconsistency this season. They have also had trouble playing at home, where they have lost six games.
- New York Red Bulls: Strength: The Red Bulls are a energetic and aggressive team that play with a high-pressing system. They have the highest pressing efficiency and the highest turnover rate in the league, forcing their opponents into mistakes and creating chances from turnovers. They also have some dynamic players, such as Caden Clark, Patryk Klimala, and Fabio, who can make an impact in the final third. Weakness: The Red Bulls are a wasteful and inexperienced team that lack quality and composure in front of goal. They have the lowest xG conversion rate and the lowest shooting accuracy among the playoff teams. They also have a young and inexperienced squad that has not played in the playoffs before.
- Orlando City SC: Strength: Orlando City SC are a versatile and balanced team that can play different formations and styles. They have a talented midfield, featuring Mauricio Pereyra, Júnior Urso, and Sebas Méndez, that can control the game and create chances. They also have a dangerous attack, with Nani, Daryl Dike, and Benji Michel providing goals and assists. Weakness: Orlando City SC are a inconsistent and unpredictable team that have struggled to maintain their form throughout the season. They have won only four of their last 14 games and have scored only 13 goals in that span. They also have a tendency to concede late goals and drop points.
- Philadelphia Union: Strength: The Union are a well-balanced team that combines defensive pressure and solidity. They allow few chances to their opponents and have one of the best goalkeepers in the league. Weakness: The Union are not very creative offensively. They rely on direct play and set pieces, but sometimes lack the ability to break down organized defenses.
- Portland Timbers: Strength: The Timbers are a dangerous and experienced team that can cause problems for any opponent. They have a potent attack, featuring Diego Valeri, Sebastián Blanco, Felipe Mora, and Jeremy Ebobisse, that can score from open play or set pieces. They also have a savvy coach in Giovanni Savarese who knows how to win in the playoffs. Weakness: The Timbers are inconsistent and unpredictable this season. They have been plagued by injuries, suspensions, and poor performances throughout the year. They also have a shaky defense that has conceded 49 goals, the most among the playoff teams.
- Real Salt Lake: Strength: Real Salt Lake are a resilient and spirited team that never gives up. They have a knack for scoring late goals and pulling off upsets. They also have some talented young players, such as David Ochoa, Aaron Herrera, and Rubio Rubin, who can make an impact. Weakness: Real Salt Lake are a limited and inexperienced team that lacks quality and depth. They have the lowest payroll and the lowest xG among the playoff teams. They also have a caretaker coach in Pablo Mastroeni who has not been confirmed for next season.
- San Jose Earthquakes’ strength is their unique style and spirit under Matias Almeyda, who has instilled a high-pressing and high-energy approach that can surprise and overwhelm opponents. Their weakness is their prone to conceding goals and losing streaks, as they have been exposed and exploited by many teams and have suffered some heavy defeats. They may need to improve their defense and consistency.
- Seattle Sounders FC: Strength: The Sounders are a resilient and adaptable team that can overcome any adversity. They have a strong core of veterans, such as Nicolás Lodeiro, Raúl Ruidíaz, and Cristian Roldan, who can lead by example. They also have a deep and versatile roster that can play different formations and styles. Weakness: The Sounders have lost some of their edge and momentum in the final stretch of the season. They have won only two of their last nine games and have scored only nine goals in that span.
- Sporting Kansas City: Strength: Sporting KC are a dynamic and balanced team that can play both possession and counter-attacking soccer. They have a creative midfield, led by Gianluca Busio and Felipe Hernandez, that can dictate the tempo and create chances. They also have a lethal strike force, featuring Alan Pulido, Daniel Salloi, and Johnny Russell. Weakness: Sporting KC are prone to defensive lapses and errors. They have conceded the second-most goals among the playoff teams and have often relied on Tim Melia to bail them out.
- St. Louis City SC’s strength is their exciting coach in Bradley Carnell and young signings like Andres Perea, Caden Clark and Gianluca Busio, who are all talented and promising players. Their weakness is their lack of experience and chemistry, as they are a new team in the league and have not played together before. They may need to overcome the challenges and expectations of being an expansion team.
- Toronto FC’s strength is their proven winners with Alejandro Pozuelo, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, who are all experienced and influential players. Their weakness is their aging squad and defensive issues, as they have many players over 30 and have conceded many goals. They may need to rejuvenate their roster and tighten their defense.
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Strength: The Whitecaps are a resilient and confident team that have improved significantly under Vanni Sartini. They have a strong defensive record, conceding only 37 goals in 34 games, and a potent attack, scoring 51 goals in the same span. They also have some exciting young players, such as Ryan Gauld, Brian White, and Cristian Dájome. Weakness: The Whitecaps are a streaky and inexperienced team that have not played in the playoffs since 2017. They have been inconsistent in their performances and results throughout the season, winning only one of their first eight games and losing three of their last five. They also lack depth and quality in some positions, such as central midfield and fullback.