Friday, February 28, 2020

2020 MLS Predictions

With MLS' 25th season about to get underway, here's a prediction column with my likely to be wrong thoughts about the new season. If you want more detailed analysis of certain aspects of the new season, you can find it here. With that said, here are conference predictions and more for 2020:

Eastern Conference:
2. Atlanta United
3. Toronto FC
4. Columbus 
5. Philadelphia
6. New England Revolution
7. DC United
8. Inter Miami
9. New York Red Bulls
10. Orlando City
11. Montreal Impact
12. Chicago Fire
13. FC Cincinnati

Almost every team in the East has the potential to be something greater than what they were, or what their predictions say they could be. One could argue that almost every team in the East can make a playoff push. In reality, about nine teams have a realistic playoff argument, and only three or four can be guaranteed a spot. Inter Miami as an expansion team is closer to LAFC and Atlanta United than Minnesota or FC Cincinnati, but there are quite a few unknowns that keep them from being a playoff team at this time. The most surprising non-playoff team is probably the New York Red Bulls, who are at the bottom of the league in payroll, and constantly punch above their weight. But this season, with this deep a table, that doesn't seem feasible anymore.

Western Conference:
1. Seattle
3. LA Galaxy
4. Portland
5. FC Dallas
6. Sporting KC
7. Minnesota
8. San Jose
9. Real Salt Lake
10. Colorado
11. Houston
12. Nashville
13. Vancouver

With Seattle's shocking CCL exit, they now have more time to focus on MLS exploits, and they will be angry. They're going to be really angry. They often stumble in the early parts of MLS seasons and that could happen again, but it's more likely that their focus is sharpened even further now. LAFC will have more CCL exploits which will affect their league form, and winning a trophy is more important than another points record. Sporting Kansas City is one playoff team that didn't make it a season ago because the standards they have will allow them to improve defensively after a horrific season last year. RSL are a team that have intriguing roster questions to answer, and their preseason hasn't answered them in a cogent way. Nashville SC is much more like FC Cincinnati and Minnesota compared to their other expansion bretheren.

Supporter's Shield Winner: NYCFC
East Champ: NYCFC
West Champ: LAFC 
MLS Cup 2020 Winner: LAFC

MLS MVP: Nico Lodeiro (SEA)
Golden Boot: Josef Martinez (ATL)
Newcomer: Chicharito Hernandez (LAG)
Comeback: Milton Valenzuela (CLB)
Rookie: Henry Kessler (NE)
Defender: Eddie Segura (LAFC)
Goalkeeper: Stefan Frei (SEA)
Coach: Ronny Delia (NYCFC)

Last year, my predictions were fairly disastrous. That's why there's never a bad time to try again. 

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