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Hertha Berlin
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FC Porto
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1:30 AM GMT Mar 7, 2015
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Los Angeles Galaxy
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3:00 AM GMT Mar 7, 2015
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Columbus Crew

Melville: 10 MLS breakouts for 2015

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Leg 2Aggregate: 7 - 3
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Insider: Which team is MLS Cup favorite?

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10 MLS players set to break out in 2015

Now healthy, FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Diaz could very well lead MLS in assists in 2015.
Now healthy, FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Diaz could very well lead MLS in assists in 2015.

With a new collective bargaining agreement in place, Major League Soccer can look ahead to arguably the most promising season of its 20-year existence. Part of that excitement is due to the many emerging talents who are primed to break out this season as they will be thrust into the spotlight because of either an increased role within their team or a fresh start with a new club.

Here is a list of 10 players who are primed to step up this season and thrive in bigger roles. Keep in mind that this is not a list for guys like Gyasi Zardes or Wil Trapp, who have already earned acclaim as players who can consistently contribute within MLS. Instead, this list mixes a group of young players on the rise with more experienced players who are poised to have significantly bigger roles in the 2015 campaign.

That said, here's a list of 10 players likely to break out in the 2015 MLS season, including analysis from ESPN FC's Taylor Twellman.

Mauro Diaz |  Midfield | Age: 23 | Team: FC Dallas | Country: Argentina

Diaz was one of the league's most productive attackers at the start of the 2014 MLS season, scoring three goals and ranking fourth in the league in attacking-half touches before suffering a knee injury at the end of April. In his absence, Dallas immediately went on a seven-game winless streak, scoring just five goals and ranking in the bottom half of the league in chances created during the Argentinian midfielder's absence.

Diaz returned in July to lead Dallas to the MLS playoffs, and in 2015 the midfielder will be counted on to lead a speedy MLS attack that features Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez and Tesho Akindele. The midfielder's vision and creativity in the attacking half will complement the team's speed, and a healthy Diaz is likely to contend for the MLS lead in assists in 2015.


Crew Stadium now called MAPFRE Stadium after multiyear deal

The Columbus Crew reached a multiyear naming-rights deal for the stadium.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Crew Stadium will be called MAPFRE Stadium after the team signed a multiyear naming-rights deal.

The Columbus Crew SC announced on Tuesday it had reached the deal with MAPFRE, an international insurance company.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The team issued a release saying it was for multiple years and millions of dollars.

The team's home has been called Crew Stadium...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Columbus Crew SC sign Cedrick Mabwati

DR Congo international Cedrick Mabwati (middle) is on his way to Columbus.

Columbus Crew SC have announced the signing of Democratic Republic of the Congo international Cedrick Mabwati.

The midfielder, who is currently with his country at the African Nations Cup, was previously on the books at Spanish club Real Betis, who had loaned him to second division side Osasuna at the start of this season.

Capped nine times for DR Congo, the 22-year-old made appearances in each of his nation's group stage games in Equatorial Guinea, where they have advanced to the knockout stage.


By ESPN Staff

Crew acquire Rapids defender Chris Klute to complete draft deal

Chris Klute is on his way to the Columbus Crew.

The Columbus Crew acquired defender Chris Klute on Friday from the Colorado Rapids to complete a trade that was agreed during from Thursday's MLS SuperDraft.

The Rapids traded up from the 19th pick to the 14th to select Swedish defender Axel Sjoberg. In exchange, they gave the 19th pick to Columbus as well as "future considerations" that turned out to be Klute.

The 24-year-old Klute spent three seasons with the Rapids, where he made 55 starts and was named the team's Defender of the Year...