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Syracuse men’s soccer: MLS Season Preview

Another season with a solid smattering of Orange in the domestic league.

SOCCER: APR 02 MLS - CF Montreal at FC Cincinnati Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the Major League Soccer season kicking off tomorrow, February 25th, now seems as good a time as any to preview the former Syracuse Orange in the league. MLS is in it’s 28th season as the premier domestic league and the Orange are masters of putting players in the mix at the top flight of US Soccer at this point. With six active pros in the league, not to mention two abroad, I believe that puts them ahead of all other teams on campus for number of professional products actively playing.

Kamal Miller - CF Montreal

Fresh off the World Cup, where he started the entire group stage for the Canadian Men’s National Team, Miller was rumored heavily to be courted by a few European teams, but it seems at least this window, he’s staying put in Montreal. At this point, his name is in pen for the Artists Formerly Known as the Impact and has rounded himself into one of the more consistent center backs in the league over the last few years, especially noted for his passing and distribution out of the back. He’s entering his fifth campaign, third with Montreal after playing the first two in Orlando. Hard to believe it was that long ago that he and Miles were suiting up in Orange. Montreal opens their season against Inter Miami on February 25th at 7:30pm ET.

Miles Robinson - Atlanta United

Fresh off a ruptured Achilles tendon, Robinson is looking to round back into form. Prior to the injury he was touted as a lock for the US Men’s National Team and one of the best defenders in the league. If he can return to that state off his long rehab, Atlanta won’t have to worry about his side of the pitch, which could alleviate a few of their woes of late. His seventh year after being drafted, Robinson has been around the league for a while, being a starter with the club since 2019. We’ll continue to monitor how he looks returning from the almost year long setback. Atlanta opens their season against the San Jose Quakes on February 25th at 7:30pm ET.

Alex Bono - DC United

It felt weird to type “DC United” or anything that wasn’t Toronto FC after Alex’s name. The long time veteran, and the man who kicked off Mac’s Superdraft Pick Streak made his first move this offseason, leaving longtime home Toronto on a free after eight years in red. He will head to DC to compete with Tyler Miller, former Minnesota goalkeeper for the starting spot in Wayne Rooney’s side. The Baldwinsville native will have to make a name for himself in some new settings, while also welcoming his old club to DC right off the bat. DC opens their season against Toronto on February 25th at 7:30pm ET.

Ryan Raposo - Vancouver Whitecaps

A sage veteran at the age of 23, Raposo enters his fourth season in Vancouver after a standout Orange career. The winger made a name for himself last season, but with a formation shift for the Whitecaps will have to carve a name out for himself again, this time as possibly a fullback. Vancouver has been showing a 4-3-2-1 in preseason and that leaves traditional wingers out of the equation. That said, “Pollo Loco” as he’s apparently known to his Spanish speaking teammates for his tenacity and motor, can’t be counted out. He was last on the depth chart last season, but pushed his way forward to garner playing time and have a career season. Montreal opens their season against Real Salt Lake on February 25th at 10:30pm ET.

Abdi Salim - Orlando City FC

Salim was the only of the MLS Superdraft picks from 2023 to break an opening day roster. An athletic defender from Syracuse may have caught the eye of Orlando City similar to how one Kamal Miller did back in 2019 and they liked what they saw enough to take him in the first round at number 17 overall. Salim looks to be down the depth chart a bit as a rookie, but could work his way up as the season progresses. I was always impressed with his play in Orange and we’ll keep an eye on how often he sees the pitch. Orlando City opens their season against NY Red Bull on February 25th at 7:30pm ET.

Deandre Kerr - Toronto FC

His debut season saw him getting solid backup minutes and a presence on the depth chart after signing a homegrown deal with TFC. Kerr will enter his second campaign second on the depth chart at right wing and should again get rotational time. The young forward always impresses and could see more development after a full offseason in the squad and at the professional level. Toronto opens their season against Bono’s DC United on February 25th at 7:30pm ET.

2023 Superdraftees -

Russell Shealy - LA Galaxy

Amferny Sinclair - Real Salt Lake

Levonte Johnson - Vancouver Whitecaps

Buster Sjoberg - Vancouver Whitecaps

These guys may not have signed with the teams that drafted them, but likely we’ll see them pick up a domestic deal now that MLS roster compliance day is passed and work their way back to The Show (not that one).

Other recent domestic players of note -

Luther Archimede - Sacramento Republic FC

Massimo Ferrin - Halifax Wanderers

Nyal Higgins - FC Edmonton

Sergio Camargo - Cavalry FC

Chris Nanco - Free Agent, formerly Forge FC

We’ll be talking more about these folks as the rest of the domestic seasons get underway, keeping an eye on the CPL as well in the roundups this season. Obviously, you can always catch Tajon Buchanan for Club Brugge and Nate Opoku for OH Leuven whenever they’re on ESPN Plus as well.

Anyone interested in catching the Orange in action will need to have MLS Season Pass, through Apple TV, Apple’s first foray into live sports coverage. I can say so far I have been impressed with it, From a coverage standpoint, camera work and studio work, it’s been above average and that’s only been preseason so far. The package is $79 annually or free if you’re a T-Mobile customer (or know someone who is a T-Mobile customer and that will give you a code, which also comes in handy).