Let's hit the 2016 highlights so that we can get to the real story.
Seattle rode midseason addition Nicolas Lodeiro to an 8-4-2 record (28 pts, +8 GD) and their first ever MLS Cup.
In the finals they beat a suddenly-not-embarrassing Toronto FC team who had to overcome a 3-0 deficit to Montreal Impact in the semi-finals. That seemed to use up all their run-good however, as they were stymied by their former keeper Stefan Frei in the finals.
Both teams return almost all of their key players, with Seattle also getting Clint Dempsey back from a heart irregularity, and enter the 2017 season as 2 of the favorites for 2017 MLS Cup.
In the "Other Competitions" FC Dallas won their first trophy in almost 20 years as US Open Cup champs, and Toronto FC won their 5th Canadian Championship.
These two will join Seattle Sounders, Colorado Rapids, and New York Red Bulls in the 2017-18 CONCACAF Champions League.
The story of the offseason was the number of prime-age acquisitions joining MLS. Just a few examples:
Tito Villalba - 22 - Atlanta United FC
Miguel Almiron - 23 - Atlanta United FC
Josef Martinez - 23 - Atlanta United FC
Yamil Asad - 22 - Atlanta United FC
Carlos Carmona - 29 - Atlanta United FC
Nemanja Nikolic - 29 - Chicago Fire
Juninho - 28 - Chicago Fire
Jonathan Mensah - 26 - Columbus Crew SC
Cristian Colmán - 22 - FC Dallas
Carlos Cermeño - 21 - FC Dallas
Anibal Chalá - 20 - FC Dallas
Alberth Elis - 21 - Houston Dynamo
Romain Alessandrini - 27 - Los Angeles Galaxy
Francisco Calvo - 24 - Minnesota United FC
Josh Gatt - 25 - Minnesota United FC
Antonio Mlinar Delamea - 25 - New England Revolution
Miguel Camargo - 23 - New York City FC
Maximiliano Moralez - 29 - New York City FC
Alexander Ring - 25 - New York City FC
Yangel Herrera - 19 - New York City FC
David Guzman - 26 - Portland Timbers
Sebastian Blanco - 28 - Portland Timbers
Harold Cummings - 25 - San Jose Earthquakes
Marcos Ureña - 26 - San Jose Earthquakes
Jahmir Hyka - 28 - San Jose Earthquakes
Chris Mavinga - 25 - Toronto FC
Yordy Reyna - 23 - Vancouver Whitecaps
Fredy Montero - 29 - Vancouver Whitecaps
All of those players are DPs and/or have caps for their respective national teams, so there are a number of other promising players in their early-to-mid 20s who joined this offseason as well. And that is also leaving out a handful of 30+ established players returning to MLS like Jonathan Spector or Roy Miller.
Awwwwww yeah. I've waited years for this, and now it's all coming to reality.
We've got an owner throwing cash around like it doesn't matter.
He's poured about a billion of that cash into a new stadium.
And the fans have rewarded him with nearly 30,000 season tickets sold to date.
We've got a coach whose last 2 gigs were Barcelona and the Argentine National Team. We've got 3 young DPs from South America. We've got capped internationals at every starting position. We've got the best young American prospect in the game, the Powder Springs Pulisic
In all, we've got the most exciting team in MLS history
according to some.
And hopefully we can make the playoffs.
There's also a team from Minnesota who are building in a more standard (read: boring) MLS way. They do have a real nice logo though.
2017 MLS Cup Odds
+400 Toronto FC
+500 Seattle Sounders
+500 New York Red Bulls
+700 FC Dallas
+700 Los Angeles Galaxy
+1000 Colorado Rapids
+1500 Sporting Kansas City
+2000 DC United
+2000 Portland Timbers
+2500 New York City FC
+4000 Philadelphia Union
+5000 Montreal Impact
+5000 Real Salt Lake
+6600 New England Revolution
+6600 Vancouver Whitecaps
+7500 Columbus Crew SC
+7500 Orlando City SC
+7500 San Jose Earthquakes
+8000 Chicago Fire
+10000 Houston Dynamo
+13000 Atlanta United FC
+20000 Minnesota United FC
If I'm making bets, FC Dallas has a ton of talent that is familiar with each other and a fantastic coach. It also feels like Montreal is not getting enough love at 50:1 given how close they were to making MLS Cup last year. Yes, Drogba's gone, but he wasn't a major factor by the end of 2016 anyway.
It's gonna be a good year.