Projecting the 23 MLS opening-day lineups

The 2018 MLS season opens with six games on Saturday and four on Sunday. Here's the latest on all 23 teams with their projected opening-day lineups.

They take into account how teams have lined up in the last two weeks of preseason and current injuries. In most cases, recent international signings aren't incorporated into the opening-day lineup even if they are expected to eventually hold down starting spots. Three teams -- Chicago, Colorado and the New York Red Bulls -- have byes this weekend, so they have an extra week to get players healthy and incorporate new players into their lineups.

Only three of 23 teams are projected to start a majority of players eligible for the U.S. national team. Toronto FC and Seattle, which met in MLS Cup 2017, lead all teams with seven Americans. The fewest: New York City FC and Portland with one American in the starting lineup. (Portland's lineup has been updated to reflect an injury to Vytas.)

MLS Preseason:
Feb. 17: Summaries
Feb. 21: Summaries
Feb. 24: Summaries

Atlanta United (Saturday, at Houston). New signing Ezequiel Barco started with the first team in the first two games at the Carolina Challenge Cup and had one of the Five Stripes' two goals in the tournament. Jeff Larentowicz started in place of Michael Parkhurst at center back for the first two games in Charleston.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 4):
Guzan; *Escobar, Gonzalez Pirez, Parkhurst, Garza; McCann, *Nagbe; Almiron, Villalba, *Barco; Martinez.
*New players.

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Chicago (Saturday, vs. Tulsa Roughnecks, preseason). The Fire has been starting three draft picks in preseason: GA selection Mo Adams (Syracuse), Hermann Trophy winner Jon Bakero (Wake Forest) and Costa Rican Diego Campos (Clemson). Defender Jonathan Campbell will have surgery on Monday after suffering a facial fracture in the 0-0 tie with Nashville SC in Florida. Matt Polster, who earned his first U.S. cap in January, has been out with a knee injury.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 4):
Cleveland; *Ramos, Kappelhof, Dean, Vincent; McCarty, Schweinsteiger, *Adams; *Bakero, *Campos; Nikolic.
*New players.

Colorado (no game this weekend). The Rapids fell to Toronto FC, 2-0, at home in the first leg of their Concacaf Champions series. In the second leg, new coach Anthony Hudson should make a number of lineup changes.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 4):
Howard; Hairston, Ford, *Wynne, *Smith, *Castillo; Boateng, *Blomberg, *Price, Badji, *Mason.
*New players.

Columbus (Saturday, at Toronto FC). Even with the trades of Ola Kamara to the LA Galaxy (for Gyasi Zardes) and Justin Meram, the Crew has not missed a beat. It was the best MLS team in preseason, sweeping the Carolina Challenge Cup.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 3):
Steffen; Afful, Mensah, Abubakar, *Valenzuela; Artur, Trapp, Martinez, Higuain, Santos; *Zardes.
*New players.

FC Dallas (Saturday, vs. Real Salt Lake). On Tuesday, FC Dallas hosts Panama's Tauro, needing to make up a 1-0 deficit. Kellyn Acosta has been lost for 6-8 weeks after needing surgery to a repair a sports hernia.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 4):
Gonzalez; Cannon, *Ziegler, Hedges, *Nedyalkov, Ulloa, Gruezo; *Mosquera, Diaz, Barrios, Urruti.
*New players.

D.C. United (Saturday, at Orlando City). After finishing last in the Eastern Conference in 2017, United was busy during the offseason. Seven new players are expected to start in addition to Paul Arriola and Zoltan Stieber, who were signed at the end of the 2017 summer transfer window.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 3):
*Ousted; *Fisher, *Brillant, Birnbaum, DeLeon; *Moreno, *Segura, *Asad, Stieber, Arriola; *Mattocks.
*New players.

Houston (Saturday, vs. Atlanta United). The Dynamo fell to the New England Revolution in a shootout in the Mobile Mini Sun Cup championship game. Honduran Romell Quioto made his preseason debut in the second game in Tucson after missing much of training camp because of an illness.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 5):
*Seitz; K.Garcia, Senderos, Machado, Beasley; Cabezas, Alexander, B.Garcia; Wenger, Manotas, Elis.
*New players.

LA Galaxy (Sunday, vs. Portland). Despite a lot of offseason changes, the Galaxy has struggled. It lost its last three preseason games, conceding eight goals.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 2):
*
Bingham; *Feltscher, Ciani, *Skjelvik, Cole; *Kitchen, Pedro; Alessandrini, G. dos Santos, Boateng; *O.Kamara.
*New players.

Los Angeles FC (Sunday, at Seattle). LAFC doesn't have much depth to begin with, but it will be without Belgian center back Laurent Ciman and Egyptian winger Omar Gaber to start the season. On Sunday, Mexican star Carlos Vela was subbed out with an injury, the extent of which was not immediately known.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 3):
*Miller; *Beitashour, *Zimmerman, *Jakovic, *Moutinho, *Kaye, *Feilhaber, *Blessing, *Rossi, *Vela, *Urena.
*New players.



Minnesota United (Saturday, at San Jose). The Loons did not win a game and scored only one goal in three games in Charleston.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 4):
Shuttleworth; *Mears, Boxall, Calvo, Thiesson; Ibson, Schuller, Martin, Finlay, Molino, Ramirez.
*New players.

Montreal (Sunday, at Vancouver). Unsigned draft pick Kevin Krolicki started the last two games in midfield at the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 2):
Bush; *Raitala, *Diallo, Cabrera, *Petrasso; Piette, *Krolicki, *Taider; Piatti, Mancosu, *Edwards.
*New players.

New England (Saturday, at Philadelphia). The Revs won the Mobile Mini Sun Cup with a shootout win over Houston. There is still plenty of competition for starting spots up front. Teal Bunbury and Krisztian Nemeth are in the mix. Lee Nguyen, a hold-out early in the training camp, did not play in Tucson. Academy Watch: Kevin Vang, the 17-year-old son of Hmong immigrants, played in all three games in Tucson.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 5):
Cropper; Farrell, Dielna, Delamea, *Somi; *Zahibo, Caldwell; *Penilla, Fagundez, Rowe; Agudelo.
*New players.

New York City FC (Sunday, at Sporting KC). Between two trips to Florida, NYCFC was the only MLS team not involved in the Concacaf Champions League to play abroad, losing at Mexican club San Luis, 3-0. Academy Watch: Forward Esad Mackic, a 17-year-old Yonkers product, started in the scrimmage against Real Salt on Thursday and came on late in the game against Montreal on Saturday.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 1):
Johnson; *Tinnerholm, Callens, Chanot, Matarrita; *Medina, Herrera, Ring, Moralez, Villa, Wallace.
*New players.

NY Red Bulls (no game this weekend). The Red Bulls tied Honduran powerhouse Olimpia, 1-1, in the first leg of their CCL series. New signing Alejandro Romero Gamarra did not travel to Central America but should be available for the rematch on Thursday.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 4):
Robles; Murillo, Collin, Long, Lawrence, Felipe, Adams, Royer, Davis *Kaku, Wright-Phillips.
*New players.

Orlando City (Saturday, vs. D.C. United). The Lions will be without Sacha Kljestan, who is suspended for the first two games, and Dom Dwyer, who has a quad strain. New Paraguayan DP Josue Colman has also been injured, while Oriol Rosell only recently arrived from Portugal. The preseason surprise: rookie Chris Mueller with five goals.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 5):
Bendik; *Allen, Spector, *Tarek, *El-Munir; Johnson, *Mueller, *Lindley, Yotun; *Meram, *Pinho.
*New players.

Philadelphia (Saturday, vs. New England). Anthony Fontana, an 18-year-old academy product, is expected to start as the Union's No. 10 while Czech Borek Dockal's signing is completed. Another HG player, 19-year-old Auston Trusty, is slated to start at center back. A third teenager, 18-year-old Matt Real, could start at left back if Fabinho can't go.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 6):
Blake; Rosenberry, Trusty, Elliott, Fabinho; Bedoya, Fontana, Medunjanin; *Accam, Sapong, Picault.
*New players.

Portland (Sunday, at LA Galaxy). The Timbers broke out under new coach Giovanni Savarese, scoring seven goals and winning their final two games at the Mobile Mini Sun Cup to take third place. Swede Samuel Armenteros scored in all three games in Tucson. Updated: Vytas was injured (hamstring) in the final game in Tucson.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 1):
Gleeson, Powell, Mabiala, Ridgewell, Farfan, Olum, Guzman, *Polo, Valeri, Blanco, Adi.
*New players.

Real Salt Lake (Saturday, at FC Dallas). Winger Jefferson Savarino has returned to action after recovering from surgery to remove his appendix. 
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 4):
Rimando; *Henley, M.Silva, Glad, Phillips; Beckerman, Mulholland; Savarino, Rusnak, Plata; L.Silva.
*New players.

San Jose (Saturday, vs. Minnesota United). New head coach Mikael Stahre has plenty of options for his front six, having started Fatai Alashe, Magnus Eriksson and Jahmir Hyka and given Tommy Thompson lots of playing time in recent games.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 4):
Tarbell; Lima, *Quintana, Cummings, Salinas; Vako, Godoy, Jungwirth, *Eriksson, Hoesen, Wondolowski.
*New players.

Seattle (Sunday, vs. Los Angeles FC). The Sounders should confirm on Monday the extent of Jordan Morris' knee injury, but the news is expected to force the Sounders to reassess their roster moves. As it was, they traveled to El Salvador without Osvaldo Alonso, Kelvin Leerdam, Roman Torres and Victor Rodriguez, who are all injured.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 7):
Frei; *McCrary, Marshall, Alfaro, *Francis; Svensson, C.Roldan; Dempsey, Lodeiro, Shipp; Bruin.
*New players.



Sporting KC (Sunday, vs. New York City FC). Khiry Shelton started Saturday's game against Portland but left after 11 minutes with an injury and was replaced by Diego Rubio.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 4):
Melia; Zusi, Opara, Besler, Lobato, *Gutierrez, Ilie, Espinoza, *Croizet, Rubio, *Russell.
*New players.

Toronto FC (Saturday, vs. Columbus). Dutchman Gregory van der Wiel, who is expected to take over at right back, missed the first leg of the CCL series against Colorado because his girlfriend is pregnant, while and center back Chris Mavinga was held out with an abdominal injury. TFC has added another Spanish midfielder in Ager Aketxe.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 7):
Bono; *van der Wiel, Moor, Hagglund, Morrow, Delgado, Vazquez, Bradley, Osorio; Altidore, Giovinco.
*New players.

Vancouver (Sunday, vs. Montreal). The Whitecaps did not start center back Tim Parker, who has been on the trading block, in the two friendlies against the Galaxy, and they acquired center back Jose Aja from Orlando City on Saturday.
Projected opening-day lineup (USA-eligible players: 2):
Marinovic; Nerwinski, Waston, Maund, de Jong, *Juarez, Techera, Reyna, Teibert, Davies, *K.Kamara.
*New players.

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