Prior to the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the United States was pretty much a soccer backwater with a few cities enjoying a bit of competition through the NASL and other minor pro leagues. In the wake of the World Cup, which smashed attendance records, Major League Soccer was launched, eventually becoming one of the fastest-growing pro leagues in the world. Since then, these ten cities in the United States have become the best locales for American soccer fanatics.
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The Ten Best American Soccer Cities
1. Los Angeles, CA
The City of Angeles hosts two MLS giants in the LA Galaxy and their younger rivals LAFC, with El Trafico clashes as some of the must-see fixtures on the soccer calendar. Between the two teams, they amass a huge fanbase which makes LA the best city in the U.S. for the purists. The LA Galaxy have dropped off a bit since the David Beckham days, when the British Superstar made the move from Europe and Champions League competition, though they’ve still won 9 titles and will forever be the pioneering team of the MLS. While LAFC is emerging as one of the best teams in the league and were expected to do much better in the 2019 MLS Playoffs.
2. Kansas City, MO
Kansas City is a city rich with sports culture, with teams in most of the major leagues in the U.S., including their very own MLS representative Sporting KC. Kansas finished the 2019 MLS season in 11th after a string of really disappointing performances meant they would miss out on the opportunity to get their hands on the big prize. But as the team begins to evolve from simply a defensive-minded team, playing slow cautious football, to a more attack-minded unit. As things continue to progress, we may see Sporting KC pushing for a title.
3. Atlanta, GA
Atlanta United FC is managed by ex-Ajax and Barcelona player Frank de Boer, who has proved to be a revelation at the club. Atlanta won the MLS title for the first time in 2018, beating the Portland Timbers 2-0 in the final. They finished the 2019 season second in the Eastern Conference but lost out in the Playoffs to Toronto FC. Only formed in 2014, they have seen quick success. Also, they have one of the best fan bases in the league, with some of the sharpest kids in the league to boot.
4. Seattle, WA
The Seattle Sounders have been playing in the MLS since 2009 and until recently hadn’t seen much success, picking up their second MLS title last year. They'll likely be the favourite in the soccer betting odds for the 2020 season. They first won it in 2016 and since the end of that season, they’ve developed very well bringing in some top talent such as Raul Ruidiaz who scored in the final and finished the 2019 season top scorer. Sounders and American soccer legend, and ex-Premier League, star Clint Dempsey has been a pioneer for the club and brought about some memorable moments over the years.
5. Orlando, FL
Orlando City has never won an MLS title since becoming the 21st franchise in the MLS. A number of seasons littered in tragedy, a catalogue of individual errors costing the team points, internal conflict and surrounded by drama. Yet soccer in the U.S. has seen what this team is capable of when things tick, it’s just the consistency that the team lacks. Their kits are very much in keeping with the wonderful environment of Florida, create, colourful and very bright. There’s a lot of hope for the young squad and there’s an air of confidence about their chances for the 2020 season.
6. Washington, D.C.
One of the original teams, from way back when the MLS was founded, D.C. United have never found much success, only ever making it to the first round of the Playoffs. Recently, Man United and England legend Wayne Rooney played in the Capital. The lack of attacking prowess, coupled with an unsuccessful history, the owners need to reinvest in the team, if they want to turn the tides for this team. Although, they’re a veteran team and command a big following in their hometown.
7. Salt Lake City, UT
New head coach Freddie Juarez has made a great impact on the club since joining in 2017, then becoming head-coach in 2019. Under the previous manager Mike Petke, they had a vibrant figure on the sidelines and interviews, but he didn’t get the best out of his squad. Real Salt Lake enjoyed one of their best seasons last year, getting to the MLS Conference Semi-Finals only to lose out to the Sporting KC. Will this be Salt Lake's year, when the soccer free picks are made for the 2020 MLS title?
8. New York, NY
New York City boasts three major football teams, MLS representatives NEw York City FC and the New York Red Bulls, as well as Sky Blue FC, who play in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). New York City FC was long known for having David Dilla on their roster, but the club is about much more than that in 2020 having recruited a number of top players such as Jesus Medina and Ismael Tajouri-Shardi. Their Big Apple rivals the New York Red Bulls are an exciting counter-attacking team, not interested in aimless possession under Chris Armas. The Red Bulls have a strong squad, with players on their roster like hard-working winger Kaku, centre-backs Aaron Long and Tim Parker.
9 Dallas, TX
FC Dallas scraped their way into the 2019 MLS Playoffs, finishing the regular season 7th in the Western Conference. Despite not finding much success in the Off-season there is a lot of hope for the Dallas soccer scene. With great teams like the Mavericks, Stars, Rangers and Cowboys already established in the city, there’s always space for more sporting success. But, Dallas needs to keep hold of their players. In the past three years, they’ve let Mauro Diaz, Maxi Urruti and Roland Lamah all leave.
10. Portland, OR
Portland was right amongst it at the end of the 2019 regular season, finishing 6th but with just 7 points between them and 2nd place. Though the Timbers didn’t find a lot of success in the Off-season. The Portland fans are great and contribute to Timber’s home games providing the best atmosphere in the league. Between Diego Valeri and Diego Chara, Portland has some great fun creative players, which can compete with the very best in the league on their day.