MLS Cup droughts ready to end?
On Tuesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks ended their championship drought which started in 1971. This big moment in the NBA got us thinking, which MLS side is most likely to end their personal MLS Cup drought in 2021?
Of course, in MLS things are complicated a bit by the presence of the Supporters Shield, which in nearly every league in the world would be the standard for a champion.
But for this discussion, it is all about MLS Cup and which MLS team might get some mojo from last night’s NBA Finals win by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Here’s one rule: No club that entered MLS after 2011 is eligible for this list. If you haven’t been without a championship for a decade, it ain’t a drought.
The easy money
The New England Revolution might just be favorites to win the Supporters Shield given the balance of their squad and the fact that Bruce Arena is their head coach. This is a team that looks like the class of the Eastern Conference and is primed to build on last season’s playoff success, where they knocked off the Philadelphia Union.
They have never won MLS Cup, despite making the final four times since they were a founding member of the league in 1996. And those four appearances all came in a six year span ending in 2007.
The Revolution have difference makers in Carles Gil, Adam Buska, Gustavo Bou and Tajon Buchanan among others. And they have Arena, a master of the MLS Cup playoffs.
Also of note, the Revolution have never won the Supporters Shield either. That drought might change this year.
Not a bad pick
It won’t be easy to repeat as Shield winners but the Philadelphia Union could be poised to make a run instead at MLS Cup.
Of course, they have to navigate the Supporters Shield where they are the league’s lone standing team in the semifinals. But this is a side that is good at churning out results and is as balanced as any in the league. If they can get through the Revolution in the conference, their pressing style could be a tough match-up for any Western Conference side.
They entered MLS in 2010 and outside the Supporters Shield last year have never won a title.
Keep an eye on…
The Colorado Rapids are in a stacked Western Conference but are a solid team. A playoff run shouldn’t surprise anyone especially since they have a very good head coach in Robin Fraser. They need a bit more sizzle in the attack to be a frontrunner for MLS Cup but a team that last won the trophy in 2010 could be building towards something substantial.
The rest of the rest
FC Dallas has never won MLS Cup and their struggles this year aren’t promising…the New York Red Bulls, who like FC Dallas and New England is an MLS original franchise, are having a fine season but seem to historically lack the star power to make a playoff run…The Houston Dynamo last won MLS Cup in 2007 and are trending up under head coach Tab Ramos but are a year and a difference maker or two away from being serious cup contenders…DC United (2004) is improving but wildly inconsistent and can’t be seen as a playoff contender let alone a possible cup winning side.
Truthfully, not even worth mentioning the San Jose Earthquakes (2004) or Chicago Fire (1998) at this point. Real Salt Lake (2009)? Same issues there. Not close to being ready to compete.
CF Montreal hasn’t won MLS Cup or the Supporters Shield yet and while they don’t fall into the decade long drought qualification (they entered MLS in 2012) they are an interesting team to watch this year as they’ve navigated the season very well.