Published on February 16th, 2017 | by Jeff Engelhardt1
MLS Season Predictions
Is it too early for MLS season predictions? No!
We’re not going to wait for the big-time influencers to release their predictions before we make our bold choices. We’re going into this without that safety net. We’ll either crash and burn or look like geniuses. Let’s get to it.
Let me just start out by saying I am both very good and very bad at preseason predictions. Last year, I picked Toronto FC to beat Seattle in the MLS Cup and FC Dallas to win the U.S. Open Cup. But I also picked Vancouver to win the Suppoters’ Shield. So I’m a mixed bag.
As far as the Fire’s outlook for the 2017 season, I’m going to repeat a lot of what I said last year. I feel good about the direction of the team, a last-place finish would be a monstrous disappointment and a playoff spot is no guarantee despite the good vibes right now. The talent level in MLS gets better every year and 2017 is no exception. Atlanta United is coming in hot and ambitious and a team like New York City FC announced its title aspirations with the addition of Maxi Moralez. And of course Toronto FC is still the class of the conference.
But the time for excuses has long passed for the Fire. This is the year the club must take a step forward. The league is bringing the All-Star game, the front office is investing and there is a real chance to win back some fans. The club needs to be in the playoff hunt come October or there will be a lot of jobs (and fans) being lost.
1. Toronto FC 2. New York City FC 3. Montreal Impact 4. New York Red Bulls 5. DC United 6. Columbus Crew 7. Chicago Fire 8. Atlanta United 9. Philadelphia Union 10. New England Revolution 11. Orlando City FC
1. Seattle Sounders (SS) 2. Portland Timbers 3. FC Dallas 4. LA Galaxy 5. Sporting Kansas City 6. Colorado Rapids 7. Houston Dynamo 8. Real Salt Lake 10. Vancouver Whitecaps 11. San Jose Earthquakes 12. Minnesota United
Toronto FC over FC Dallas
US Open Cup
New York City FC
My reputation for nailing predictions precedes me, so please take the following write-up as gospel (Also, please don’t look up my past predictions. Just rest assured they were perfect).
My thoughts on the Fire are similar to what they were last year, in what turned out to be my only career misfire: On paper, there’s more than enough talent here to where another “defense” of the Wooden Spoon should not occur. The top of the conference is still stacked compared to the Fire, but the team has enough pieces where it should at least be competing for one of the last playoff spots heading into fall. As Jeff mentioned above, there are too many things working in the Fire’s favor this year for them to blow this opportunity to ascend to respectability and bring fans back into the fold. Luckily, my crystal ball shows the Fire making good on their promise to bring watchable football back to the Windy City.
1. Toronto FC (SS) 2. Montreal Impact 3. New York Red Bulls 4. NYCFC 5. Philadelphia Union 6. Atlanta FC 7. Chicago Fire 8. DC United 9. Orlando City 10. Columbus Crew 11. New England Revolution
1. Seattle Sounders 2. FC Dallas 3. LA Galaxy 4. Portland Timbers 5. Colorado Rapids 6. Sporting Kansas City 7. Real Salt Lake 8. Houston Dynamo 9. San Jose Earthquake 10. Vancouver Whitecaps 11. Minnesota United
FC Dallas over Toronto FC
US Open Cup
New York Red Bulls