Grant Wahl's five MLS pitch plotlines for 2013
Can San Jose's Chris Wondolowski keep up his scoring pace?
The reigning MVP has 61 regular-season goals in the last three years, the most by an MLS player over any such period. Now that Wondo is a designated player, making $600,000 this season with the Earthquakes, he'll be expected to bag another 20 goals for a team seeking the league's best record again.
Whither Landon Donovan and Freddy Adu?
Just back from a 10-day self-discovery trip to Cambodia, Donovan has been on an unpaid sabbatical from the Galaxy since November, trying to rediscover the hunger that has brought him five MLS titles. (He'll play in April.) Meanwhile, Adu is in limbo in Philadelphia: The Union doesn't want him but doesn't want to eat the entirety of his $1 million-plus guaranteed contract either.
Can an MLS team finally reach the FIFA Club World Cup?
Back in 2010, the league named it a priority to have one of its teams win the CONCACAF Champions League and qualify for the Club World Cup—but it hasn't happened yet. Three teams have a chance, with the CCL quarterfinals starting this week: Houston, L.A. and Seattle. I give L.A., with Robbie Keane and the easiest opponent, the best odds.
Will Chivas USA continue to be an embarrassment to the league?
Under erratic owner Jorge Vergara, L.A.'s other club adopted a hard-line Spanish-language theme in the off-season, shedding non-Hispanic players at fire-sale prices—but hardly any fans bothered to show up at last week's home opener, a 3--0 loss in front of 7,121 people. It's time for the league to get involved.
In the end, will the regular season really matter much?