MLS' Disney Pro Classic Update
It's that time of year again. The Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic offers us our first look at eight MLS clubs before the season kickoffs March 8th. Here are three interesting takeaways thus far:
Columbus Crew To Take The East?
As a resident of the Buckeye state, I hear a lot about the Crew. Of course, living most of your life in Ohio makes you a very cynical sports fan (see: Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cincinnati Bengals). So, naturally, I held no high expectations for Greg Berhalter and company.
Their first match was against Toronto FC. I expected either a low scoring affair or a Crew loss. Instead, it was a 3-1 win with goals from Federico Higuain, Josh Williams and rookie Adam Bedell. Lightning strikes twice for the Crew a week later with a 1-0 win over Philadelphia Union thanks to a Higuain penalty kick.
Combined with the earlier win over Swedish side Malmo FF, the Crew are undefeated this preseason. That's right folks, the Crew have not lost a single match thus far in 2014... who would have thought?
Sporting KC Continues Stellar Run Of Form
Peter Vermes' squad is also taking part in the Pro Soccer Classic. Sporting KC drew a tough first fixture against the New York Red Bulls. KC won a hard fought 1-0 match thanks to a Jacob Peterson goal. The following week against Fluminense U23's, Sporting ran away with a 3-0 win.
Eric Kronberg was not the starting goalkeeper during the 3-0 blowout, neither was Andy Gruenebaum. Jon Kempin was the keeper that pitched the shut out against the South American's. Coach Vermes seems to have a solid stable of net minders ready for the regular season, which will come in handy with their daunting schedule.
Orlando City SC Show Promise
Two games into the Disney Pro Classic and the soon to be Orlando City has not lost a game. Granted, they have not won a game either. Orlando City faced a tough task against the Philadelphia Union and managed to fight to a 1-1 draw. Toronto FC was on the docket the following week and, thanks to a late Dan Jackson goal, earned them a second consecutive tie.
While these aren't rays of hope for the club who is a year away from being in the MLS, there is hope. If they are able to draw against some tough competition in the Pro Classic, then it's not a stretch to think that one or two dynamic players could easily make them competitive.