The author has changed but the deal is the same. MLS Free Kicks are back every Wednesday, with your weekly dose of quick takes, plot lines to watch and Power Rankings. So without further ado ...
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Speaking of those economic conditions (they seem to find their way into every discussion these days), the transfer market will be interesting to watch as the season unfolds.
Aside from a juicy Houston vs. Columbus clash on Saturday, the league's opening weekend features pitched battles that will offer a measuring stick for a number of teams. In the season's opening game on Thursday night, both Seattle and New York have a lot to prove. Colorado could make a quick impression with a result at Chivas USA, while we'll know a lot more about whether overhauled Toronto FC is worthy of the hype after its match with Kansas City. The game between New England and San Jose pits two squads going in opposite directions against each other, and Donovan gets his first glimpse of how his new mates respond to the big stage against D.C. For every team except Real Salt Lake, the talk is over: Kickoff calls (finally!).