2018 Key Transfers: FC Dallas

As the 2018 MLS season closes in, we will run through the key additions and losses for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we look at all FC Dallas’ key transfers and what it could mean for them in their 2018 MLS campaign…

Not only did FC Dallas fail to retain their Supporters’ Shield title last term, they failed to even make the playoffs for the first time in four years. Despite a strong start to the campaign, a 10-game winless run through the end of the summer saw them plummet down the Western Conference and they eventually finished seventh. They only narrowly missed out on the playoffs but the aim in 2018 will be to bounce back. Some key faces have left this winter, but replacements have been brought in and Oscar Pareja will be hoping to see the best of Dallas once more.

Key signings

Santiago Mosquera: FC Dallas have spent a reported $4 million on signing Colombian attacker Santiago Mosquera ahead of the 2018 season. The 23-year-old will occupy a Young Designated Player slot and should be an exciting addition to the Dallas team as they prepare to fight their way back into contention in the West. Mosquera scored nine goals in the Colombian league for Millonarios last term and should suit Oscar Pareja’s system well.

Jimmy Maurer: Having spent a week on loan with Dallas last season, Maurer joined on a permanent deal this offseason. He is most commonly known for his 105 appearances for the New York Cosmos in the NASL. Signing on a free transfer, we can only envisage him as a good backup option to Jesse Gonzalez.

Anton Nedyalkov:Nedyalkov is a Bulgarian international who joined from CSKA Sofia just before Christmas. At only 24, he brings a lot of promise as he was voted Sofia’s Fans Player of the Season in 2016/17. His signing comes not only as a positive for Dallas but for MLS, showing the attraction for young talent from Europe is increasingly stronger.

Reto Ziegler: Former Tottenham Hotspur left back, Ziegler has travelled around Europe over the past decade. Signing for Spurs as an 18 year old in 2004, Ziegler showed signs of elite talent but never lived up to the potential. Stints at the likes of Sampdoria, Juventus, Fenerbahce and most recently FC Sion have culminated in a move to Texas, where he will hope to play regular football.

Francis Atuahene: Fresh faced striker Atuahene joins courtesy of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, coming in as the fourth overall pick. At 5’9 he is not the biggest, but for what he lacks in stature he makes up for in pace. Ghanaian born Atuahene moved to the states via the Right to Dream Academy and will be hoping to make an immediate impact in 2018 with the Western Conference outfit.

Notable Departures 

Chris Seitz: Experienced keeper Seitz has left for Houston as his contract has expired. An MLS player for over ten years now, Dallas have lost an old head and a very good keeper at that. But with the emergence of Jesse Gonzalez over the past few seasons, Seitz has seen playing time decrease rapidly and has rightly moved on.

Hernan Grana: The highly regarded Argentine right back saw his loan end and his option declined to make his stay permanent. He returns to his native Argentina, as he did when his short stay in Columbus came to end as a result of homesickness in 2015. Known for his aggressive attacking play, Grana was a key player for Dallas last term. He played 30 games, registering one goal and four assists.

Javier Morales: No surprises here. As an MLS Cup winner in 2009 with Real Salt Lake, Morales will go down as one of the MLS greats after 10 seasons in the league. Having only played a season in Dallas, Morales finished with 15 appearances and a solitary goal. He was brought in as creative cover for the injured Mauro Diaz a year ago but is no longer required in Texas.

Walker Zimmerman: Recently capped USMNT international Zimmerman would be a loss to any MLS squad and LAFC have picked up a very good young player with $500,000 in allocation money coming to Dallas. Since joining as a first-round draft pick in 2013, he made 89 appearances over five seasons, scoring seven goals and one assist.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Saturday, June 27 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 13/8 Draw 12/5 Columbus Crew 13/8

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake play host to Columbus Crew in Utah as the Crew look to vastly improve their awful away form, having taken just three points from a possible 21 so far with no away wins registered.

Real Salt Lake are coming off a 1-0 defeat to New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night in what was their sixth defeat on the road so far this season.

In that match, RSL finished with nine men as top scorer Javier Morales and Demar Phillips were both sent off at Red Bull Arena.

Having taken 13 points at home this season, Real Salt Lake will look to capitalise on the fact Columbus Crew haven’t picked up a victory away from the MAPFRE Stadium in MLS in 2015.

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Consistency is key for getting in the playoff places and RSL have only earned back-to-back victories once this season – one of the reasons they are still outside the top six.

Columbus head to Rio Tinto Stadium searching for another victory after their 2-1 win over New England Revolution on Wednesday night.

Although the Crew are just fifth in the Eastern Conference, they are only three points off the top three in a congested Eastern Conference.

Kei Kamara is in double digits for the season having netted twelve goals in his first season back in MLS and will look to build on his midweek display after scoring both of the Crew’s goals.

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Only Chicago Fire have picked up fewer points away from home this season than Columbus with two points accumulated, so Gregg Berhalter’s men need to ensure they start winning on the road to guarantee a top six finish.

Last time these sides met was last season as the game in Columbus finished 1-1, while Real Salt Lake won the last home game 4-0 in 2013.

Team News

Real Salt Lake will be without Javier Morales and Demar Phillips through suspension. Chris Schuler is out and there is a doubt over whether or not Jamison Olave will play.

Columbus Crew have just the one injury concern with Will Trapp still a major doubt with concussion.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake last five: L/L/D/W/L

Columbus Crew last five: D/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Kei Kamara has scored just three less goals than Real Salt Lake have scored all season. Kamara is on twelve whereas RSL have scored fifteen in total.

Key Player: Luke Mulholland – Mulholland has two goals this season and two assists. With Morales suspended he could be the man that Salt Lake turn to for goals and will hope he can create the chances too.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 3-0 Columbus Crew – Although Morales is suspended, Rio Tinto is a tough place for away teams to go to and Columbus Crew will struggle to win their first road game here. The last time they visited Utah, Columbus Crew were turned over 4-0 and a similar result could be on the cards.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Real Salt Lake

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Wednesday, June 24 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: New York Red Bulls 4/7 – Draw 14/5 – Real Salt Lake 5/1

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls welcome Real Salt Lake to Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night in what is a huge midweek fixture for two sides trying to fight their way into the playoff spots as we enter the midpoint of the season.

The Red Bulls have been simply terrible in recent weeks. Bradley Wright-Phillips missed two penalties in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at home to the Vancouver Whitecaps to typify the recent bad luck the club has had to endure.

Jesse Marsch has watched his side lose four in a row now and Saturday’s defeat saw them fall out of the playoff positions in the Eastern Conference and into seventh.

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With just one win in their last nine, the Red Bulls are in freefall and need to try and rally together to pick up all three points against RSL on Wednesday.

That won’t be an easy task though as Jeff Cassar’s side ended a three-game winless run with a dramatic late 2-1 win over an in-form Sporting Kansas City on Sunday night.

That result will give the team confidence, despite the fact they have lost their last three road games in MLS, and it’s difficult to see why the Red Bulls are the outright favourites for this as a result.

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This will be the only regular season meeting between the two sides this year. Last season’s clash ended 1-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium, while the last game at Red Bull Arena was one to remember as the Red Bulls won 4-3 in a match that saw three penalties dispatched.

Team News

Jesse Marsch will likely be without Lloyd Sam for the second straight game on Wednesday after the Englishman missed out at the weekend. Sal Zizzo returned on Saturday and should be available to start here, but Sacha Kljestan will miss out after being sent off at the weekend.

RSL have four injury concerns ahead of this one. Chris Schuler is definitely out with a long-term injury, while Jamison Olave, Justen Glad and Alvaro Saborio are all doubts.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five in MLS: D/L/L/L/L

Real Salt Lake’s last five in MLS: W/L/L/D/W

Key Stat: New York Red Bulls have not lost five straight regular season games since the 2009 season.

Key Player: Javier Morales – The RSL playmaker picked up both assists on Sunday and looked to be in inspired form. Expect him to be at the centre of all Real Salt Lake’s attacking play again on Wednesday.

Photo: MLSsoccer.com

Photo: MLSsoccer.com

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-2 Real Salt Lake – Tough to separate these two. Difficult to see the Red Bulls losing a fifth straight game, especially as this is at home, but then they don’t look strong enough to win either. Expect RSL to take the lead but the hosts to rally back for a point in what should be an entertaining one.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Real Salt Lake

Competition: Major League Soccer – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Real Salt Lake 

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, May 30th – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)

Match Odds: Vancouver Whitecaps 5/6 – Draw 12/5 – Real Salt Lake 100/30

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps entertain Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening as both sides come into the tie off the back of a loss.

The Whitecaps lost 1-0 away at Colorado Rapids last weekend but are still sitting third in the Western Conference. They are three points ahead of Salt Lake going into the game, the two met earlier in the season with Whitecaps coming out on top in a 1-0 win.

Carl Robinson’s side have already lost five regular season games and need to regain some consistency they showed early on in the season when they won their opening four.

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They have only won one in their last five and risk falling back down the Western Conference if they don’t pick up their performances.

Real Salt Lake lost 1-0 to LA Galaxy on Wednesday night and are sitting just one point outside the playoffs.

Jeff Cassar’s side have been inconsistent but things are on the up since their five game run without a win earlier in the season.

RSL have two home regular season games on the bounce after this one giving them a great chance of picking up some valuable points.

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Scoring is a little bit of a problem for Cassar’s side, with his frontline only registering four goals. He will be routing for João Plata to start scoring now he is back in the fold after his metatarsal injury.

Team News

Vancouver Whitecaps have six injury concerns going into this tie. Andre Lewis and Marco Bustos are still both ruled out, while Sam Adekugbe, Diego Rodriguez, Robert Earnshaw and Erik Hurtado are doubts. Pa Modou Kah and Gershon Koffie are both one booking away from a suspension as is Adekugbe, but he may not feature.

Real Salt Lake have two injury concerns. Chris Schuler looks set to miss out, while Sebastian Jaime is a doubt. Kyle Beckerman is one booking away from a suspension. Javier Morales could be in line for a start after coming off the bench in the midweek loss to Galaxy. Jamison Olave is suspended after picking up a red card on Wednesday.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: L/D/W/L/L

Real Salt Lake’s last five: D/W/L/W/L

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake have only won one in the last five meetings between the two sides.

Key Player: Pedro Morales – The playmaker has scored twice and created 35 chances for teammates this season.

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Score Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 Real Salt Lake – A tight affair between two sides who need to find consistency.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Saturday, April 18th – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 21/20 – Draw 12/5 – Vancouver Whitecaps 5/2

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake welcome high flying Vancouver Whitecaps to Rio Tinto Stadium this Saturday evening in what is one of the standout fixtures of the weekend.

RSL are still unbeaten so far this campaign, winning two and drawing three, but they will have to be at their best to keep that run going against the Whitecaps this weekend.

Vancouver’s start to the season has been brilliant but they have already lost twice, including in their outing, and that will encourage Jeff Cassar and his side.

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The ‘Caps lost at San Jose last weekend while Salt Lake drew at Sporting Kansas City, so both sides will be looking to get back to winning ways on Saturday night.

Real Salt Lake will be hoping key man Javier Morales can influence a win this weekend, as he has scored two so far this campaign and been the standout player in the squad after six weeks.

RSL are certainly missing striker Joao Plata in his absence through injury as they have registered just one goal from their forwards, but are coping well and the team will only get stronger when he returns.

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Alvaro Saborio needs to start getting amongst the goals on a more regular basis but things are certainly looking promising for the team.

The Whitecaps will be looking to provide Octavio Rivero with as many chances as possible. The Uruguayan forward has five goals in seven games and is largely to thank for their position at the top of the Western Conference.

Team News

Real Salt Lake have five injury concerns. Joao Plata will continue to be unavailable for some time, while Sebastian Jaime, Demar Phillips, Justen Glad and Pecka could all be set to sit this one out.

Vancouver Whitecaps also have five concerns as Andre Lewis, Marco Bustos, Mauro Rosales, Gershon Koffie and Diego Rodriguez are all struggling with injuries. They will also be without playmaker Pedro Morales who is suspended.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s form: D/D/W/W/D

Vancouver Whitecaps form: W/W/W/D/L

Key Stat: Unbeaten – RSL are one of only two unbeaten sides in MLS this season but this will be their toughest challenge yet.

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Key Player: Octavio Rivero – Rivero has arguably been the league’s most impressive player so far this season, and it will be interesting to see how RSL set up to stop him.

Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – Real Salt Lake to keep their unbeaten run going in a tough fixture. With both sides coming into the game without a win last weekend it is difficult to separate the two, though Vancouver need to make sure they can cope without Pedro Morales to get anything from the game.

MLS Preview and Prediction: San Jose Earthquakes vs Real Salt Lake

Competition: Major League Soccer – San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake 

Venue: Avaya Stadium – Sunday, April 5th – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports)

Match Odds: San Jose Earthquakes 6/4 – Draw 23/10 – Real Salt Lake 7/4

Match Preview

San Jose Earthquakes entertain Real Salt Lake this weekend as they look to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat in front of their own fans at the Avaya Stadium in just the second game at their new ground.

The Quakes have started the season relatively well, winning two of their first four, but last weekend’s defeat to the New England Revolution ended their run of back-to-back victories. Dominic Kinnear will be keen to get his side back to winning ways against an improving Real Salt Lake side on Sunday.

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RSL recorded their first win of the season last weekend, snatching a late victory against Toronto which gives them a platform to build on heading into this one, and they will want to remain unbeaten come the end of play.

San Jose are averaging two goals per game so far this campaign and if they can maintain that scoring ratio they stand a good chance of winning a high percentage of their games.

Real Salt Lake won the last meeting between the sides 2-0 back in October after two draws in last year’s other two meetings and the Quakes haven’t won at home against their Western Conference rivals since 2012.

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So far this season RSL have had to rely on their midfield for goals with Alvaro Saborio’s penalty the only goal from a forward. This isn’t helped by the injury sustained by Joao Plata and with this in mind the Quakes will need to be wary of being hit by Real Salt Lake’s middle men, especially Javier Morales.

The Quakes faithful will be hoping the in-form Chris Wondolowski will continue his rich goalscoring run, having notched three in four, and will be looking to make home advantage count once again as they won their first MLS game at Avaya Stadium 2-1 against the Chicago Fire two weeks ago.

This should be a tight affair and San Jose will not want to waste the opportunity of making their home advantage count against a Real Salt Lake side that are tough to break down.

Team News

San Jose Earthquakes could be without five key players. Mark Sherrod and Steven Lenhart (both knee) will remain out while Jordan Stewart (calf), Paulo Renato and Marvell Wynne (both hamstring) could all miss the game through injury. San Jose will be looking to supply Wondolowski at every opportunity to ensure he has as many chances as possible.

Real Salt Lake will be without Joao Plata (foot), Sebastian Jaime and possibly Demar Phillips (hamstring). They will be looking to continue driving at the opposition from the midfield and have Javier Morales pulling the strings. Alvaro Saborio is likely to return to the side as the lone striker.

Key Points

San Jose Earthquakes’ form: L/W/W/L

Real Salt Lake’s form: D/D/W

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake have netted just one out of their six goals from their frontline so far this season.

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Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – The Quakes forward is the joint top scorer this season and will want to continue his form to boost his chances of finishing at the top of the scoring charts come the end of the season.

Score Prediction

San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Real Salt Lake – San Jose have some key players missing but know this is a good chance to notch their third win of the season against a Real Salt Lake side that have yet to reach top gear.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Toronto FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs Toronto FC

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Sunday, March 29 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 8/11 – Draw 11/4 – Toronto 18/5

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake host Toronto FC in one of the most highly anticipated games of Week 4 and despite dealing with international absentees, both teams will be fresh after coming in off a bye week last weekend.

Real Salt Lake drew 3-3 against the Philadelphia Union in front of their own fans last time out, while Toronto lost 2-0 away at Columbus and will want to make this trip a better one.

RSL have drawn both of their opening games but will see this as a game they will want to win, especially given their recent record against Toronto.

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The Western Conference side have won the past three meetings between the sides and have recorded victories in their last seven home games against the Reds.

Toronto will have to try and change that record without two of their key Designated Players as Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are both win the US Men’s National Team.

The performance at Columbus two weeks ago was not anywhere near as good as the one in Vancouver on opening weekend and their chances in this one depend on what Toronto side turn up.

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Both sides have struggled to hit the ground running and will see this as a game to find a level of consistency in, potentially setting the tone for the remainder of their seasons.

Team News

Real Salt Lake will be without Joao Plata (foot), John Stertzer (toe) and Demar Phillips (hamstring) through injury, while Justen Glad (knee) and Pecka (hip) are both doubts. Nick Rimando, Luis Gil, Alvaro Saborio and Elias Vasquez are all away on international duty.

Toronto are even more depleted than RSL as they will be without Steven Caldwell (achilles), Mark Bloom and Eriq Zavaleta through injury. Justin Morrow is out suspended and the international games mean Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, Chris Mannella and Quillan Roberts are all absent.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s form: D/D

Toronto FC’s form: W/L

Key Stat: Toronto FC have conceded an average of 17 shots per game in their opening two games. They will need to remain tighter at the back if they are to get anything out of this game.

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Key Player: Javier Morales – The Real Salt Lake playmaker already has a goal and an assist in two games and will be at the heart of all his sides’ attacking play on Sunday night.

Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 2-1 Toronto FC – The losses of Altidore and Bradley will be huge for Toronto. The squad is depleted and Real Salt Lake should just edge what should be an intriguing game. Home support will play a part and their dominating record against the Reds will likely be extended this weekend.

MLS Goal of the Week: Week 2 – Vote now!

The second round of matches in the new MLS season provided us with plenty of goals this weekend as there were 25 goals scored in the eight matches.

That’s a big rise from the 16 scored last weekend, even though there were two fewer matches and it’s now time for you to vote for your favourite goal of week 2!

We’ve picked five of what we think are the best goals this weekend and you can vote for your favourite below. Voting will close at midnight in the UK on Thursday.

Goal A: Fabian Castillo – FC Dallas

Goal B: Fanendo Adi – Portland Timbers

Goal C: David Villa – New York City FC

Goal D: Innocent Emeghara – San Jose Earthquakes

Goal E: Javier Morales – Real Salt Lake

MLS 2015 Season Preview: Real Salt Lake

Anticipation is now rapidly growing with the new season just six days away and in the build-up to the first game, we’ve had an MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what to expect from Real Salt Lake in 2015…

Real Salt Lake can be optimistic heading into the 2015 MLS season after enjoying a reasonably successful 2014 campaign in the Western Conference as they secured a third place finish. They were knocked out of the MLS Cup by LA Galaxy at the conference semi-final stage after a 5-0 defeat in the second-leg. They were unlucky to tie the first-leg 0-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium after they dominated the game but were only kept at bay thanks to heroics from the Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. Had Penedo not been in fine form, it could’ve been a different story for Real Salt Lake. It will be RSL’s eleventh MLS season to date.

Last season’s finish: Western Conference position: 3rd – P34 – W15 – D11 – L8

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What needs to change this year?

The issues that head coach Jeff Cassar needs to address in terms of playing style and the way Real Salt Lake set-up are minimal. The fact stands that only LA Galaxy lost fewer games in 2014 and Real Salt Lake suffered just one home defeat all season giving them the second best home record in the league (P17, W11, D5). Their performances on the road is where they let themselves down. They only managed four wins out of 17 away games and that cost them dearly. Had they picked up just a few more away wins, they would have been in real contention for the Supporters’ Shield title.

Key changes to the squad:

Ins: Jamison Olave – Defender, Demar Phillips – Defender, Elias Vasquez – Defender, Wellington ‘Pecka’ Paeckart – Midfielder

Outs: Nat Borchers – Defender, Chris Wingert – Defender, Carlos Salcedo – Defender, Ned Grabavoy – Midfielder, Cole Grossman – Midfielder, Sebastian Velasquez – Midfielder, Robbie Findley – Forward

Key Player: Javier Morales – Midfielder

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Javier Morales has been an essential player at the heart of the Real Salt Lake midfield for the past seven years and 2014 saw him enjoy one of his best seasons yet as he notched nine goals and 12 assists. At 35-years-old, he’s heading towards the end of his career but he still possesses great quality and will be instrumental once again.

One to watch: Joao Plata – Forward

Joao Plata has made a real name for himself after his superb performances in 2014. The young Ecuadorian played 26 games last year, scoring 13 goals and assisting six along the way. What he lacks in height, he more than makes up for with his incredible natural talent and he will be an exciting player to watch in 2015. He will miss the start of the season through injury but expect him to make a real difference when he returns to action.

Predicted finish: Western Conference – 5th

There is no doubting the fact that Real Salt Lake are a great side and always enjoyable to watch. However, the loss of key players such as Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert and Ned Grabavoy could have a negative impact. Those three were first-team regulars in 2014 and certainly played an important role in an effective RSL team. Bringing in Jamison Olave from New York Red Bulls is an excellent acquisition, but it remains to be seen if the rest of the new recruits will prove to be sufficient replacements and that could potentially cost Real Salt Lake a few league positions. Having said that, they should have enough quality to comfortably secure a playoff spot.

What are you expecting from Real Salt Lake in 2015?

Brad Davis now the longest-serving player with one club in MLS

Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis is now the longest-serving player to be with one Major League Soccer club as he enters his 10th season with the Dynamo.

Chicago Fire defender Gonzalo Segares announced his retirement on Monday, putting an end to a 10-year career, and so Davis is now the longest-serving player in the league to have been with one club.

Houston teammate Corey Ashe is not far behind Davis as the left-back has been with the Dynamo for eight years, while Real Salt Lake trio Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales have all been together in RSL for eight years too.

Longest-serving players with one club in MLS

List of active MLS players with longest tenures with one club (via Houston Dynamo) 

Davis is currently tied for fourth with Preki (112) for all-time MLS assists and is only two behind Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama (114).

The USMNT playmaker, who was a part of the 2014 World Cup squad, will expect to climb to at least third on the all-time assist list this season but he is still 24 behind Landon Donovan, who leads Major League Soccer for assists with 136.

Davis will play alongside Mexican striker Erick Torres when he joins up with the squad later this year and he will expect to pick up plenty of assists while playing with the former Chivas USA star.

The Houston Dynamo open up their 2015 season against the Columbus Crew on Saturday, March 7th and the club will hope to start life under new coach Owen Coyle with victory.

How important is Brad Davis for the Houston Dynamo?