Welcome to the first annual Before Extra Time predictions! I’m going to take a whack at making some predictions this year, so that you all can laugh when they are terribly wrong.
- Real Salt Lake- RSL has the depth and skill to make the long run and win the Supporter’s Shield.
- LA Galaxy- The Galaxy are good, but they’ll be content resting players every once and awhile to keep them in prime shape for a run at the MLS Cup.
- FC Dallas-The MLS Cup runners up still have a dangerous team, though they will miss Dax McCarty over the long haul.
- Seattle Sounders-The obvious/cliche make or break year for the Sounders. Did their early success lead to unsustainable expectations?
- Colorado Rapids-The MLS Cup Champions are going to have a hard road to repeat, but no one saw that from them last year either.
- Portland Timbers-Portland is going to surprise some established MLS teams this year; they will be closer to the Sounders model than the Union.
- San Jose Earthquakes-Some people are picking the ‘Quakes to repeat their success of last year; I don’t see it.
- Chivas USA-Chivas is going to have a decent defense, but a lack of offense is going to keep them where they’ve been recently. At the bottom.
- Vancouver Whitecaps-The Whitecaps are building for the long term; let’s hope it pans out for them.
- New York Red Bulls- As much as it pains me to say it, NYRB are far and away the class of the Eastern Conference. Although I wouldn’t mind it too much if this prediction were wrong.
- Houston Dynamo-Moving to the East is the best thing that could have happened to the Dynamo. Kinnear is reloading, not rebuilding, and he should be back in the playoffs this year.
- DC United-Homer pick alert! In a weak East, United has the (newly acquired) skill to rise back up into playoff contention.
- Columbus Crew-The Crew are going to be better than people think; they have a culture of success and I don’t see that fading too much.
- Sporting Kansas City-SKC will be contending in the East and I think they will just barely slip into the playoffs.
- Chicago Fire-They seem to want to be the NYRB of the midwest, like the Cubs are in baseball, but without actually doing anything splashy.
- Philadelphia Union-They will be better than last year, but so will everyone else.
- Toronto FC-A strange offseason struggle with DeRo is TFC in a microcosm.
- New England Revolution-Who am I to doubt Steve Nicol, but I just don’t see it this year from the Revolution.
Supporter’s Shield Winner: Real Salt Lake.
2W: LA Galaxy
2E: Houston Dynamo
1WC: Seattle Sounders
2WC: Colorado Rapids
3WC: Columbus Crew
4WC: Sporting KC
MLS Cup Champion: FC Dallas
My second bold prediction? DC United will bring back another US Open Cup. While the main focus will be on getting into the playoffs, I think that the US Open Cup is an attainable and worthy goal (probably more attainable than the playoff spot that I predicted). United is one of the few teams that puts real effort into the US Open Cup, and I think that will pay off this year with United’s first major trophy since 2008.
Who’s ready for First Kick?!