It’s that time of year once more when many of us reflect on our lives and decide what we can improve upon and do differently with a fresh new slate ahead. Why should this be limited to just us as individuals? Let’s throw the 19 Major League Soccer clubs into the mix and take a look at what they might say about their resolutions for 2013.
Chicago Fire – Avoid an Austin Berry sophomore slump. The defending Rookie of the Year was a vital piece of Chicago’s defense in 2012, starting 28 matches, playing 2,520 minutes, and scoring three goals. In large part due to his solid play, the Fire allowed just 41 goals in the regular season, a mark which tied for second best in the Eastern Conference and fourth overall.
Columbus Crew – Engineer another massive roster turnover at the end of the season, because, why not? May as well make it four years in a row.
D.C. United – Field such a successful and exciting team that increasing attendance numbers lead to the literal collapse of RFK Stadium, necessitating a new venue once and for all.
Houston Dynamo – Not lose at BBVA Compass Stadium. Ever.
Montreal Impact – Hire a manager! Since Jesse Marsch’s departure on November 3, the club has yet to hire someone in a non-interim role.
New England Revolution – Add to the trophy collection. This storied MLS club hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009 and hasn’t brought home any hardware since a Superliga title in 2008.
New York Red Bulls – New York gets a free pass on 2013. The club doesn’t need to make a resolution after dropping Rafa Marquez on December 13. Well done.
Philadelphia Union – After a pretty rough 2012, there’s a nice vibe surrounding this club right now. Young manager John Hackworth likely has his most difficult season behind him. The club re-signed fan favorite Sebastien Le Toux and also picked up veteran goalscorer Conor Casey. The resolution for this season: Don’t let egos get in the way and just let them play.
Sporting Kansas City – Make U.S. Open Cup dominance a priority. Following SKC’s win over Seattle in the cup final this summer, can’t you just picture a Sounders – Sporting rivalry in the competition? I can, and it would be pretty awesome.
Toronto FC – Bring supporters back by putting a decent product on the field. Even the most loyal of the TFC faithful had difficulty swallowing a nine-match losing streak to begin the 2012 season. For the first time in the club’s six-year history, the attendance numbers saw a significant decline from the season’s beginning to end.
Chivas USA – Not get relegated. The club has finished in the bottom three during two of the last three seasons (2012 and 2010).
FC Dallas – Talk to the Qataris—or Montgomery Burns—about how to do this for those hot midsummer matches.
Los Angeles Galaxy – Just win, baby.
Portland Timbers – Improve the road record. Do you know how many league wins the Timbers have away from JELD-Wen Field in their last 34 attempts? THREE. The Timbers are a woeful 3-21-10 away from home during their first two seasons in MLS and have posted a -41 goal differential on the road.
Real Salt Lake – Regroup and overcome. The Claret and Cobalt had to deal with significant player turnover during this offseason, something which will significantly change the club’s DNA. Important losses include Paulo Jr., Fabian Espindola, Jamison Olave, and Will Johnson. The club also lost promising Salt Lake City native Justin Braun, though he only appeared twice and did not make any impact of note during his time with the club.
San Jose Earthquakes – Do whatever it takes to keep that high-octane offense humming. In addition to scoring a league-high 72 goals in the regular season, the Earthquakes were only held goalless on two occasions in 2012, the lowest mark of all 19 clubs.
Seattle Sounders – Before even making a resolution for 2013, be excited about 2012. The proverbial monkey is finally off this club’s back following a playoff series win over Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference semifinal round. That said, what the Sounders need to do this season is avoid the slide. The 2012 season was moving along nicely until May 12, when a 1-0 loss to RSL sent the club on a nine-match winless slide which didn’t end until July 7.
Vancouver Whitecaps – Stay the course. This club is moving in the right direction. In 2012, the ‘Caps became the first Canadian MLS club to earn a playoff berth, doing so in just their second season. Vancouver also experienced significant increases in both total points (15) and road points (8) between the 2011 and 2012 seasons.