MLS PLAYOFFS

Soccer gurus see Sporting KC as favorite

Updated: 2012-11-02T04:59:39Z

So much for playing the “We get no respect” card.

Almost universally, MLS observers have dubbed Sporting Kansas City as one of the favorites to win the MLS Cup.

Four of MLSsoccer.com’s 10 editors picked Sporting KC to win, while four others predicted Sporting would reach the MLS Cup final before losing. ( Check out all the picks here.)

That pretty much cements Sporting KC as an overwhelming favorite in the Eastern Conference, especially with both senior editors, Simon Borg and Nick Firchau, and the managing editor, Jonah Freeman, dubbing Sporting KC as eventual champions.

Then again, for what it’s worth, six of those editors also had Sporting KC headed to Chicago for the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday, too.

Add Ives Galarcep, who runs Soccer by Ives, as a believer as well. He put Sporting KC atop his MLS playoffs power rankings. ( Check those out here.)

Still, count Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl as a believer. ( He picks Sporting KC to win it here.)

Wahl sees Sporting KC beating Real Salt Lake for Sporting’s second title of the season and second league crown in history.

That’s the best case scenario for Sporting KC and its fans, of course, because it means the championship game on Dec. 1 would be at Livestrong Sporting Park.

Borg and Firchau forecast the same matchup, while Freeman predicts Sporting KC to beat Supporter’s Shield winners, the San Jose Earthquakes, in the final — a game that would be played at Buck Shaw Stadium in California.

Galarcep seems to predict the same matchup along with FutbolMLS.com editor Kristel Valencia, who has San Jose knocking off Sporting KC in that matchup along with new media editor (and former Sporting KC writer) Andrew Wiebe.

Fellow new media editor Nick Rosano has Sporting KC taking down the reigning MLS champion, LA Galaxy, in the final — another matchup that would be at Livestrong, while MLSsoccer.com’s other new media editor, Matt Doyle, thinks the Seattle Sounders will avenge a loss to Sporting in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final at Livestrong.

Bottom line, don’t be shocked if the Cauldron goes crazy and “I believe we will win” chants ring out through Kansas City on Dec. 1.

| Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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