MLS is Back: Top 3 surprising teams thus far

MLS, Orlando City, Chris Mueller (Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
MLS, Orlando City, Chris Mueller (Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images). /
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MLS, Orlando City, Nani
MLS, Orlando City, Nani (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

1. Orlando City

Oscar Pareja is one of the brightest coaches in modern MLS history. His FC Dallas teams were brilliant. Tactically stable, analytically driven, and inspired by a brilliant production line of young talent, his coaching skills were clear for all to see. Orlando City wanted a respectful figure to provide stability for an otherwise entirely unstable organisation.

Few doubted the astute nature of the appointment. Many expected Pareja to eventually have success in Orlando. But for him to come into his first season as head coach and revolutionise the team the way he has is testament to his qualities, and is hugely surprising for those watching.

Orlando always had talent. But they were never able to unleash it. Now, Pareja has developed a system that gets the best out of his players. Nani and Chris Mueller comprise one of the best wide partnerships in the league. Mauricio Pereyra is an excellent number 10, while the full-backs, Joao Moutinho and Ruan, are superb. Orlando went unbeaten in the group stage. They will qualify from Group A as winners with seven points out of nine.

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Pareja has turned around a formerly wretched franchise that has never even qualified for the playoffs. And he did it in his first season. That is both sensational and shocking.