MLS GM survey: Toronto FC, Atlanta United tipped for standout 2018

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Brett Davis

Toronto FC remains the class of MLS — but Atlanta United may not be far behind.

That's the consensus, at least, from Goal's annual survey of MLS general managers, technical directors and sporting directors. Having become the first team in MLS history to claim a domestic treble last season, TFC has been tipped to repeat as MLS Cup champion in 2018 by the executives who know the league best.

Atlanta, meanwhile, finished second in the voting after a debut MLS campaign that saw Gerardo "Tata" Martino's side shatter attendance records while fielding one of the most dynamic teams the league has seen. The general managers are particularly bullish on Atlanta playmaker Miguel Almiron, pegging him as the odds-on favorite to claim MLS MVP honors.

The rules of the anonymous survey again were straightforward. Executives from the 14 clubs that agreed to participate were given 15 questions to answer about the teams, players, offseason moves and MLS rules. They were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel, and some voters chose to pass on certain questions.

So which club has delivered the best offseason moves? Which current MLS player would make the best head coach one day? Who are the best and worst general managers in MLS to negotiate with? Find out in Goal's full 2018 MLS GM survey below:

  1. Nick Turchiaro

    Which team will win the 2018 MLS Cup?

    1. Toronto FC — 8 votes
    2. Atlanta United — 3
    T-3. Los Angeles FC, New York City FC — 1

  2. Brett Davis

    Who will be the 2018 MLS MVP?

    1. Miguel Almiron — 7
    2. Sebastian Giovinco — 4
    T-3. Josef Martinez, Diego Valeri, David Villa — 1
  3. Troy Wayrynen

    If you were starting a team from scratch, which MLS player would you build around?

    1. Diego Valeri — 4
    T-2. Miguel Almiron, Michael Bradley — 3
    4. Sebastian Giovinco — 2
    5. Kellyn Acosta, Josef Martinez — 1

  4. Adam Hunger

    Which player is most likely to break out in 2018?

    1. Tyler Adams — 4
    2. Alphonso Davies — 2
    T-3. Luciano Acosta, Ezequiel Barco, Abu Danladi, Jeremy Ebobisse, Jonathan Lewis, Josef Martinez, Pedro Santos, Jefferson Savarino — 1
  5. Jerry Lai

    Which team has made the best offseason moves?

    1. Orlando City — 6
    2. LA Galaxy — 5
    T-3. Atlanta United, New York City FC, Sporting Kansas City — 1
  6. Buda Mendes

    Which MLS newcomer will make the biggest impact?

    1. Ezequiel Barco — 7
    2. Carlos Vela — 3
    3. Santiago Mosquera — 2
    T-4. Alejandro Romero "Kaku" Gamarra, Jesus Medina — 1
  7. Mike DiNovo

    Who is the most underrated player in MLS?

    T-1. Scott Caldwell, Diego Chara, Justen Glad, Yangel Herrera, Ola Kamara, Perry Kitchen, Jeff Larentowicz, Dax McCarty, Justin Meram, Alexander Ring, Jonathan Osorio, Tim Parker, Ilie Sanchez, Wil Trapp — 1
  8. Vincent Carchietta

    If you could add any MLS homegrown player to your roster, who would it be?

    1. Tyler Adams — 5
    2. Kellyn Acosta — 4
    T-3. Reggie Cannon, Alphonso Davies, Justen Glad, Jordan Morris, Paxton Pomykal
  9. Who is your pick for MLS Rookie of the Year?

    1. Chris Mueller — 4
    2. Jon Bakero, Tomas Hilliard-Arce — 3
    T-4. Francis Atuahene, Brandon Bye, Joao Moutinho, Eryk Williamson — 1
  10. USA Today

    Which MLS coach is the best tactician?

    1. Gregg Berhalter — 7
    T-2. Gerardo "Tata" Martino, Greg Vanney — 2
    T-4. Jesse Marsch, Peter Vermes, Patrick Vieira — 1
  11. USA Today Sports

    Which current MLS player could you see being a great head coach one day?

    1. Michael Bradley — 7
    2. Dax McCarty — 2
    T-3. Jeff Larentowicz, Michael Parkhurst, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Wil Trapp, Diego Valeri — 1

  12. Mike Dinovo

    Which MLS general manager or technical director is the best to negotiate with?

    T-1. Garth Lagerwey, Nelson Rodriguez — 3
    3. Niki Budalic — 2
    T-4. Gregg Berhalter, Tim Bezbatchenko, Brian Bliss, Manny Lagos, John Thorrington, Gavin Wilkinson — 1
  13. Steve Milne

    Which MLS general manager or technical director is the worst to negotiate with?

    1. Mike Burns — 6
    T-2. Matt Jordan, Garth Lagerwey, Nelson Rodriguez, Peter Vermes — 1
  14. Andrew Nelles

    If you were commissioner for a day, what one rule would you change?

    — Simplify the roster regulations (3 votes)
    — Merge the salary cap and allocation money into one budget (2 votes)
    — Increase the amount of allocation money available (2 votes)
    — Raise the salary cap
    — Give clubs more freedom to charter flights
    — Address the behavior of coaches
    — Play the conference finals before the November international break
    — Eliminate the away goals tiebreaker in the playoffs
    — Eliminate individual bonuses other than goals, assists and shutouts and maximize team bonuses
    — Find more playing time for young American players

  15. Kyle Terada

    Would you vote for or against U.S. Soccer adopting promotion and relegation?

    Against — 13
    For — 1