1. Columbus Crew
Like Matias Almeyda, Caleb Porter is a proven head coach. He won MLS Cup with the Portland Timbers, produced one of the greatest college teams of all time at Akron University, and is now setting his stall out once more at the Columbus Crew.
Over the course of the final two and a half months of the 2019 season, the Crew were one of the best teams in MLS. They lost just two of their final 13 matches, acquired 21 points, which is playoff pace at least, and beat teams like the New York Red Bulls, Atlanta United and the Philadelphia Union, all of which made the Eastern playoffs.
Now Porter has added Darlington Nagbe as his press-resistant central midfielder, Lucas Zelarayan as that two-way, creative number 10, meaning that Pedro Santos can move back to the wing, and will welcome the return of Milton Valenzuela at full-back, a position crucial to Porter and the Crew. It is quite the assembly for a team that was already improving in its first year under the head coach.
The Crew are for real. Caleb Porter is for real. Anything but the playoffs would be underachieving.