Thursday, February 28, 2019

2019 MLS Predictions

Remember when I promised at the end of 2018 that I wouldn't fill this blog with solely preseason prediction columns and/or cheap looks back at what I got wrong when the seasons end? Two months in to 2019 and I'm doing a terrible job of that already. I personally blame Kingdom Hearts 3 for that, but since this blog is not about explaining the intricate plot details of a game I have waited for since I was sixth grade, let's focus on a new season starting this weekend: MLS. The league that is constantly changing, growing and evolving by the second is beginning a new campaign, and even now as some teams try to break free of single entity's chains, the league still feels as wide open as ever. With that, here are some predictions that are sure to be wrong in May, let alone October:

Eastern Conference:
1. Atlanta
2. Red Bulls
3. DC United
4. Union
5. Crew
6. Impact
8. Toronto FC
9. Fire
10. Orlando
11. Revolution
12. FC Cincinnati

Western Conference:
1. Sporting KC (Supporters Shield)
3. Timbers
4. Sounders
5. Galaxy
6. Real Salt Lake
7. Minnesota
8. FC Dallas
9. Colorado
10. Vancouver
11. Houston
12. San Jose

MLS Cup 2019: Sporting Kansas City vs. New York Red Bulls

Award Predictions:
MVP: Zlatan (obviously)
Coach: Jim Curtin
Defender: Walker Zimmerman
Rookie: Andre Shinyashiki
Golden Boot: Zlatan
Comeback: Jordan Morris

Zlatan will singlehandedly will a broken LA Galaxy team to the postseason after a two year absence. Atlanta United will still be very good, but with everyone gunning out to beat them, inconsistencies will slip in with a manager that hasn't ever hit his stride outside of Holland. MLS' best and most consistent team will be Sporting Kansas City, and that should allow them to outlast everyone and win the Cup. The best surprises will be the Union taking to Ernst Tanner's style better and quicker than anticipated, Montreal mastering a counter-attacking style to make the postseason, and Minnesota United finally making with a core of solid MLS veterans to push that team over the line.

One final predictions: CBA negotiations starting after MLS Cup in November are going to be wild, nasty and fascinating. How much if at all will the league's structure change?

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