[MLS 2014 COUNTDOWN] MLS preseason training begins Friday with a half dozen teams opening their doors for physicals or workouts. As camps open, as much attention will be on who's not there as who's there. Here are five key questions about the missing.
MLS Preseason: Updated Schedule
WILL THE RAPIDS FIND A HEAD COACH? Oscar Pareja officially left Colorado to return to FC Dallas as head coach two weeks ago, but the Rapids still have still made no announcement on a successor. At the
SuperDraft, the Rapids were represented by technical director Paul Bravo in the annual coaches' photo. Rapids president Tim
Hinchey said his team was in no hurry to name a successor. Names bandied about in recent weeks included New York assistant Robin Fraser, former Portland
head coach John Spencer and recently retired U.S. international Pablo Mastroeni. (Pareja's No. 1 assistant, Wilmer Cabrera, left to take the Chivas head coaching job.)
WILL THERE BE MORE BIG-NAME SIGNINGS? The notable thing
about Toronto FC's signing of Michael Bradley in a deal totaling a reported $46 million in salary and transfer was that it was not alone in bidding for the U.S.
star. Goal.com reported that three other clubs --
Sporting Kansas City, Columbus and Philadelphia -- made eight-figure offers to bring Bradley back from Roma. Each club, backed by young and ambitious owners, could be on the lookout for a big signing.
ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman tweeted on Thursday that Philadelphia was finalizing a deal to sign Maurice Edu, who has been
unable to find playing time at Stoke City.
WILL SEATTLE AND NEW YORK FIND THEIR PLAYMAKERS? Two big-spending clubs, Supporters' Shield winner New York and Seattle, each has one missing piece: a creative
midfielder. Both clubs have been open about their search to acquire such a player. The Red Bulls have one DP slot open; the Sounders don't have any unless they unload Obafemi Martins (chances of that depend on finding a European buyer before the end of Europe's Jan. 31 transfer window).
Transactions: Red Bulls ink Spaniard Armando
WILL ANY OF
THE FREE AGENTS RE-SIGN? Around MLS are free agents in search of a club: players who played out their contracts at the end of the 2013 season and are either still negotiating with their current
MLS clubs or testing the waters abroad. Juan Agudelo finally moved to FC Utrecht (via Stoke City), but Iranian-American Steven
Beitashour (San Jose), who had his jersey retired this week at Leland High School, and Jamaican-American Ryan Johnson (Portland) have yet to find new
teams. Sporting KC right back Chance Myers has been with the U.S. national team in Brazil.
WILL KLINSMANN'S MLS 25
MAINTAIN THEIR FORM? Myers is one of 25 MLS players in camp with the U.S. national team. They won't report to their MLS clubs until after the Feb. 1 match against South Korea. From the
intensive national team camp that featured multiple two-a-days to their MLS clubs beginning their second weeks of preseason training, it will be adjustment for the MLS 25. For Jurgen Klinsmann, he'll be particularly concerned that his key national team players build on their January work, not regress during the five weeks before the start
of the MLS season.