If there's one thing I've learned in my nearly a year of blogging about soccer, it's that you ain't no kind of blogger if you don't share your "predictions" about the upcoming season. So, without further mention of Freddy Adu, here are my thoughts on the upcoming MLS season.
Read into this however you will, I'm the same guy (as Joe will certainly remind me) who picked Greece to make the knock-out stage of the World Cup.Who will win the MLS Cup?
Real Salt Lake. While everyone will probably go with Los Angeles (who are good) and New York (who are really good on paper), I'll go with the deepest team with the best defense. They have a strong home-field advantage, a great coach in Jason Kreis and guys who can make things happen (Javier Morales, Arturo Alvarez, Kyle Beckerman). I think Salt Lake will beat ... Sporting Kansas City in the Final. Yeah, it's a homer pick, but I just made it.Who will win the Supporter's Shield?
Los Angeles, just like last year.Eastern Conference
1. New York Red Bulls*
2. Sporting Kansas City*
3. Houston Dynamo*
4. Philadelphia Union*
5. D.C. United
6. Columbus Crew
7. New England Revolution
8. Chicago Fire
9. Toronto FCWestern Conference
1. Los Angeles Galaxy*
2. Real Salt Lake*
3. FC Dallas*
4. Colorado Rapids*
5. Seattle Sounders*
6. San Jose Earthquakes*
7. Portland Timbers
8. Chivas USA
9. Vancouver Whitecaps
I think New York, Kansas City, Houston, Philadelphia get to the playoffs from the East. I've got Los Angeles, Salt Lake, Dallas, Colorado, Seattle and San Jose in the West.Other predictions
• I'll take Seattle to repeat for the third time in the U.S. Open Cup. It's a competition that I feel Kansas City should aspire toward, but I think the Gold Cup and the race for the MLS Cup could derail them.
• The rookie of the year will be Will Bruin (Houston).
• The season MVP will be a rested Landon Donovan (Los Angeles).
• The Golden Boot will go to Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia).
• Teal Bunbury (KC), Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia) and Juan Agudelo (NYRB) will get offers from Europe before the season is out.
• MLS's TV ratings will go up (slightly) this year on ESPN but not FSC.
I'd love to hear your predictions on the 2011 season. Am I off base? Do I have it all right?