With the 2014 MLS season soon to kick off, Eastern Conference Champions and MLS Cup winners Sporting Kansas City are looking to defend the title.

Going into the New Year Sporting will start the season against Mexican club Cruz Azul on March 12 in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals.

The 2014 MLS season will bring new challenges after all-star goalie Jimmy Nielson retiring, a new focus on the CONCACAF Champions League, and several new players joining the team.

Sporting went to the top of their CONCACAF group with two wins and two ties out of four games, leading them to face five time CONCACAF winner and two time runner-up Cruz Azul.

The quarterfinal leg will be towards the start of the MLS season so dividing attention to one over another could lead to dangerous territory for the club. Several key signings in the form of goalie Andy Gruenebaum and midfielder Sal Zizzo will hope to create depth for the defending champions.

Several American stars will also be the main focus of the United States National Team.

Midfielder Graham Zusi and defender Matt Besler will not only have to be their best in the title defence but also must strive to make the plane to Brazil this summer!

Zusi, with his 18 appearances and 3 goals for the Red, White, and Blue, and Matt Besler gathering 12 appearances for his country, the USA will need all their reinforcements to be in top shape for their Group of Death in Brazil facing off against a Ghana side who have knocked them out of the last two World Cups, a Ronaldo driven Portugal, and a fierce German team.

The new season will be an all-out battle between several top clubs. And if 2013 was anything to base off of Sporting is a sure bet to be a major contender for the MLS Cup again.

Only time will tell how the National team will affect Sporting star duo of Zusi and Besler. With the club aiming at several trophies this season the fans have a good reason to be optimistic for the club.

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms