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2008 MLS Season Preview: Prediction Edition

Well, here they are. 

My predictions.

A bunch of meaningless nothingness really.

Just an opinion.

One that probably should be better informed too.

But hey, it’s a democracy (in theory).

Every man with an equal voice.

So get ready for mine to exercise my Constitutional Right to be wrong… about everything…

Obligatory MLS Power Rankings (03/24):

  1. Houston Dynamo: Why fix what isn’t broken? Houston won two in a row with that theme, and I see no reason #3 isn’t inevitable. They don’t have the most talent, but in the big games, they are the best “team”. Everyone contributes.
  2. DC United: DCU made the necessary offseason acquisitions to stay in their place of prominence. They just won’t win this year, they will occassionally embarass opponents.
  3. Chivas USA: There’s more depth this year, Guzan is fantastic (once he heals) and Preki continues to demand (and get) the best from his players. Akwid approves.
  4. New England Revolution: Critical losses prevent the Revs from reaching (and losing) MLS title game fourth consecutive time. Marv Levy toasts Natty Light with Jim Kelly & Thurman Thomas.
  5. Chicago Fire: Blanco bumps the Fire to the next level. If Rolfe and Mapp are healthy and the defense plays physical soccer, this team could join the elite.
  6. FC Dallas: Toja is a juggernaut of activity. If he controls the flow for 90 minutes, they will always compete. If he tires, so will the former Burn’s chances.
  7. Kansas City Wizards: I love Jimmy Conrad. I don’t know why. My therapist doesn’t either. But his leadership is dreamy. Jimmy, the Wiz and the Louse will continue to improve all year.
  8. Colorado Rapids: Gomez makes this team dangerous offensively (for pretty much the first time ever). With Pablo and a fantastic keeper to boot, the Rapids will make the playoffs and the Dick will explode with joy (I can’t believe that’s actually an accurate statement…)
  9. New York Red Bulls: So much offense with Altidore and Angel, yet so much inexperience and so little depth on defense. NYRB will fail in ’08, but they’ll still be fun to watch.
  10. Los Angeles Galaxy: Sir Golden Balls of Manchester will delight the crowds, but the defense will disappoint and Lalas will be forced out, regrow the goatee and develop an herbal cure for mad cow disease. (This is probably my most accurate prediction yet)
  11. Columbus Crew: One man a team does not make. Schellotto will be a handful for opposing defenses, but the Crew will continue to stagnate at the league’s back end. That sounded disgusting.
  12. Toronto FC: FC needs some eleventh hour deals to get done this week, otherwise they will languish at the bottom. You just can’t get it done with the offensive weapons they have now.
  13. San Jose Earthquakes: I know! Better than Utah’s bunch? You bet. At least they have a good defense. Though, I guess that doesn’t really matter if you never score.
  14. Real Salt Lake: I’ll believe it when I see it Real fans. Though, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see them higher up “Real” soon (wow… worst… pun… ever… typed…)

And here is how I think they’ll finish in 2008:

East:

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

West:

  1. Houston
  2. Chivas
  3. FC Dallas
  4. Colorado
  5. Los Angeles
  6. San Jose
  7. Real Salt Lake

Supporters’ Shield in ’08….? DCU. Why? Why not? They’ve won it two years in a row and appear to be better this year than last.

The MLS Cup will be won, once again, by Houston. For my reasoning, just read the above paragraph. Same thing. Better now than before. Three-peat likely. Eight-peat still not ruled out. Yes, the Alan J. Rothenberg Trophy will likely reside in Houston at season’s end. The Alan J. Rothenberg Trophy? Doesn’t have a “Stanley Cup”-type ring to it, does it?

MVP is difficult to predict in any league, but it’s even tougher in MLS where every year there are new faces from various places around the globe. Will “the Louse” exceed EJ’s goal tally in KC and take the Wiz to the top of the East? Will Beckham bend a dozen or so set pieces into the net and make the Gals a contender once again? Who knows?

So, for MVP I have to go with the guy who is going to make the biggest difference to his team. It may be crazy for me to even suggest it, but I think it’s gotta be Blanco.

Wha?

He’s 35! (I know!)

He’s out of shape! (I know!)

He’s still a playmaker who can singlehandedly win a game! (I think!)

Coach of the Year? I would love to say Kinnear since he perpetually gets the most out of the least, but I have to go with Gullit. If he can get Beckham’s bunch into the playoffs after last year’s debacle, he’ll have performed a miracle.

So, that’s it folks. Hope you enjoyed the previews. Within the end of the week we will have our first results. It’s a good time to be a fan of MLS soccer, so please take the time now to convert as many people as you can.

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