2011 MLS Predictions

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.

Western Conference:

  1. Real Salt Lake- RSL has the depth and skill to make the long run and win the Supporter’s Shield.
  2. 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.
  3. FC Dallas-The MLS Cup runners up still have a dangerous team, though they will miss Dax McCarty over the long haul.
  4. Seattle Sounders-The obvious/cliche make or break year for the Sounders. Did their early success lead to unsustainable expectations?
  5. 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.
  6. Portland Timbers-Portland is going to surprise some established MLS teams this year; they will be closer to the Sounders model than the Union.
  7. San Jose Earthquakes-Some people are picking the ‘Quakes to repeat their success of last year; I don’t see it.
  8. 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.
  9. Vancouver Whitecaps-The Whitecaps are building for the long term; let’s hope it pans out for them.

Eastern Conference

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. DC United-Homer pick alert! In a weak East, United has the (newly acquired) skill to rise back up into playoff contention.
  4. 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.
  5. Sporting Kansas City-SKC will be contending in the East and I think they will just barely slip into the playoffs.
  6. 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.
  7. Philadelphia Union-They will be better than last year, but so will everyone else.
  8. Toronto FC-A strange offseason struggle with DeRo is TFC in a microcosm.
  9. 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.

Playoff seeding:

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?!

3 responses to “2011 MLS Predictions”

  1. I have a hard time arguing with your East picks, though I’d put (S)KC above the Crew and only give the East 4 playoff spots. I think, though, that in the West you’re underestimating SJ and overestimating Seattle and Portland. Granted, I have to have love for (Convey and) SJ (you know me…), but that means I’ve paid good attention, and I think they have the tools to have another quietly good season and make the playoffs. I just don’t see Seattle getting it together enough to have a good season, and while Portland may be better than people expect, I don’t think that means much.

    BTW, nicely done on the blog.

    • If I had known about Seattle releasing Blaise Nkufo more than 30 minutes before the game, that definitely would have changed my picks. And I definitely might be buying too much into the Cascadia hype machine.

      I do know your love for the Convey, I’m just worried about whether Wondolowski can do it again. But it wouldn’t surprise me if they make it back to the playoffs again.

      • It’s true, I did have the advantage of a little more knowledge and a half of play with regard to Seattle when I wrote that, but it didn’t change my conviction, just reaffirmed it. Possibly because the only love I have for Seattle involves Kasey Keller, and I’m kinda looking forward to him moving on to other things so I can just hate them all around. And I unabashedly take my own attitude towards a team into account when making predictions. (Its why I never do March Madness brackets. I’d always have the Tarheels winning everything.)

        I’m a little worried whether Wondo can do it again too, but I’ve got some hope (possibly misplaced) for this new kid they’ve brought in from Tottenham, and for the rest of the forward core. The Quakes had a hell of a season for injuries last year, and if that can improve, I think they can get a little more consistency and a few more people on the scoreboard.

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