MLS 2020: Five newcomers to watch this season, including LA Galaxy star Chicharito Hernandez
The 2020 MLS season kicks off this weekend
There's been a lot of change in MLS over the last year. Stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney have left, and some young, new faces have arrived. Combine that with the addition of two new clubs in Inter Miami and Nashville SC, and the 25th season of MLS comes with the highest expectations ever in a league that's growing the by investing in young players and others still in their prime.
So with all of the new faces, including numerous transfers from Liga MX, who are the players you have to watch in 2020? Here are the five new signings that will make the biggest impact in MLS this season.
1 . Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez, LA Galaxy
The league's marquee offseason signing. Negotiations with Sevilla were rocky, but the Galaxy got their man in the end. He'll score plenty of goals and fill the seats out in Carson. He won't be Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and that could be a good thing in the end for a Galaxy team looking for a more professional, relaxed locker room. "Chicharito" should push to be the league's top scorer if he stays healthy, though his fellow Mexican star Carlos Vela across town will have something to say about that.
2. Alan Pulido, Sporting Kansas City
This guy can really play. I spoke with Pulido at MLS media day last month and he had an excitement about him and an eagerness to experience what the league is about. He told me that he spoke with his former Chivas coach Matias Almeyda who is with the San Jose Earthquakes and was convinced to come. He was great at Tigres, struggled in Europe and was revived at Chivas, averaging more than 10 goals a season across four campaigns. Good in the air as well as with his feet, he'll make a bigger impact than most think.
3. Jurgen Locadia, FC Cincinnati
I thought highly of Locadia when he was at PSV. He was electric and had some very nice seasons, scoring nine or more goals in five of six tries. He's dealt with injuries and just wasn't able to rebound at Brighton or Hoffenheim, hence the move to MLS. With attack dominating in MLS, he could have a big year if he stays healthy. He has the potential to push 20 goals and could look next level in many matches. His speed, shot and ability to get into space should help his new club improve on last season.
4. Edinson Flores, D.C. United
It may just be a rebuild year in the nation's capital. Wayne Rooney left for Derby, Lucho Acosta signed with Atlas of Mexico and Paul Arriola suffered a terrible knee injury that will see him likely miss a majority of the season. In comes Edinson Flores to carry the load. The Peruvian international had two nice seasons at Morelia in Liga MX and joins Ben Olsen's team to bring flair and a strong shot from range. He's talented, fast and can really terrorize defenders. Expect a big year from him, though it still might not be enough to get D.C. United into the playoffs.
5. Rodolfo Pizarro, Inter Miami
Inter Miami's star offseason signing is one coach Diego Alonso knows very well. The Uruguayan manager had Pizarro at his last job at Monterrey, and the 26-year-old Mexican instantly becomes one of the league's most talented players. Alonso also coached Pizarro at Pachuca several years ago, so this is a player he trusts. He's a creative, quick and smart player who brings instant attack to an Inter Miami team that will rely on young strikers. Inter will go as far as Pizarro takes the team in its debut year.
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