Friday, April 06, 2007

2007 MLS Predictions

At long last, the season is finally here. Without much doubt, 2007 is the most anticipated season since the first. International signings have got the masses attention and television stations are actually promoting the games, but in the end, only one team will be king.

Between that coronation and now, there will be 195 regular and 11 post-season games. This is how I think those games will play out:

Eastern Conference
1. DC United - When Peter Nowak left the club and they traded away Alecko Eskandarian, I thought this was bound to be a rebuilding year for United. However, with the East being a little weak and with DC making some good acquisitions over the off-season, they look to be a force for yet another year. That said, they still have a big weakness in their backline. Add to it all the games they will play over the season and there is a chance of a slip up. Still, United looks strong.

2. Chicago Fire - Who knows how the Blanco signing will turnout, but Chicago should be okay regardless. The combination of Justin Mapp and Chris Rolfe is becoming something big. Add to it the skill of Thiago, Chris Armas and Jim Curtain and you have a team that can threaten and unlike last year, they don't have a never-ending road trip to start the season. Their weakness might end up being their youth and too much of a role given to Blanco.

3. New England Revolution - I can't get a good read on this team. They still have a talented core, but it seems like there is mayhem surrounding the club. Then again, last year the team was literally fighting amongst itself during the preseason and they ended up in the MLS Cup, so who can say. I expect the same thing you always get from the Revs, dangerous play at times followed by long periods of confusion.

4. Columbus Crew - As long as the injury clouds don't rain down on Columbus again this season, they should surprise a few. Andy Herron will provide them a much-needed attack while Danny O'Rourke will help sure up their defense. If they can get out of April with at least 9 points, they will have settled enough to sneak into the final playoff spot.

5. New York Red Bulls - Clint Mathis is the key to their attack; that is never a good way to win games. Young Joze Altidore should be able to pick up some of the slack, but at 17, expecting him to carry the club is too much. He should get some help great help from Claudio Reyna, but Reyna is just bound to miss at least a few games due to injury. This looks like another miss-mash season for the team from New York.

6. Toronto FC - Mo Johnson has put together the best team that he can and they will not be tossed about the way Real and Chivas were in their first year. They should have some good firepower up top, but the further back you go, the worse the team looks. They will bleed more goals then any other team this season.

7. KC Wizards - They didn't accomplish much last year and they really didn't change anything during the off-season, so why should we expect something different? With new ownership more focused on other aspects of the club, look for another disappointing year.

Western Conference
1. Los Angeles Galaxy - For all their troubles last year, defense was not one of them. They surrendered the second fewest goals of any team. The problem is, they also scored the second fewest. Their defense looks to still be as tough, so it comes down to offense. This is where Landon Donovan enters the story. He is looking to put last year to bed, and a red hot Donovan means trouble for everyone else. Add to it the skill of Nate Jaqua and the calm of Cobi Jones and you have a good chance at victory. One big problem, they have a lot of games scheduled, so they need some help off the bench.

2. Houston Dynamo - Very little movement in the off-season, but when you have a good team, you don't need to do much. They will continue to find ways to win games, however with international call-ups and a packed schedule that is bound to lead to exhaustion or injury, they will not have enough to win the difficult West. Still, they will be one of the most exciting teams to watch.

3. Colorado Rapids - It has been a busy off-season for the Rapids. New home, new colors and a bunch of new talent. This newness will lead to some scattered play at times, but with Herculez Gomez up top, Pablo Mastroeni in the middle and Zach Thornton between the posts, they should have enough to stay a contender.

4. FC Dallas - It seems odd putting FCD so low on this list, but I think their defense is going to be a bigger headache this season. Add to it that their biggest signing of the off-season, Adrian Serioux, comes to them injured, and you can see the problems starting to develop. The good news is they have Carlos Ruiz, Kenny Cooper and Roberto MiƱa, who should provide them good offense. However, with a backline that bleeds goals, they might need great offense instead.

5. Real Salt Lake - Everyone at the Real organization will be praying for one thing this season, 'don't let goalie Nick Rimando get hurt.' Their current keeper situation could easily turn them into the 2006 Columbus Crew of this season. Real has a good group, but they never seem to pull it together for long stretches. They're overall play will improve over last year, but they will still miss the post season.

6. Chivas USA - We will see just how good Bob Bradley was at the domestic level when his former team falters after last year's great success. Amado Guevara was their big pickup, but he doesn't balance out the loss of so much of their Mexican talent. The 2006 Chivas were a zigzag team that never figured out how to play offense and defense on the same night. This year, there will be no zig or zag, just poor play all around.


With the 'wild card' system in play, it is a little harder to pick this year's teams and who will play whom. However, I think that each conference will get four spots, with Real missing out to the Crew by less then 3 points. DC United will win the Supporters' Shield by at least 5 points. Anyway, here is my best guess:

DC United beats Columbus
LA beats Colorado
Houston beats Dallas
Chicago beats New England

Chicago beats DC
LA beats Houston

Chicago beats LA

The Wife's Picks

The wife thinks the East will win 5 playoff spots to the West's 3. She also thinks DC United will repeat as Supporters' Shield winners.

1. DC United
2. New England Revolution
3. Chicago Fire
4. New York Red Bulls
5. Toronto FC
6. Columbus Crew
7. KC Wizards

1. Houston Dynamo
2. LA Galaxy
3. Real Salt Lake
4. FC Dallas
5. Chivas USA
6. Colorado Rapids

DC beats Toronto
Houston beats New York
New England beats Real
LA beats Chicago

DC beats New England
Houston beats LA

DC 2-1 Houston

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home