2012 MLS Season Preview: Bold Predictions

2012 MLS Season Preview: Bold Predictions

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 9, 2012
  • 1 Comments
  • 2012 MLS Season, 2012 MLS Season Preview, Bold Predictions, Chicago Fire, Eastern Conference, Features, Houston Dynamo, Los Angeles Galaxy, Major League Soccer, MLS Cup, Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, Toronto FC, Western Conference

It is that time again, the new season is here and I will make my annual Bold MLS Season Predictions.

Last year I did alright in some predictions, and pretty poorly in others. In years past I’ve always thrown out a few random predictions to mix things up a bit so this isn’t just another predictions post out there. You may like what I say or think I’m crazy, either way I try to have a bit of fun with this each year.

I’ll start off with some early awards predictions, followed by some random stat predictions, and finally the season outcome I see happening.

Early Award Predictions:

Below are some predictions for each end-of-season award. I left a few off that I really don’t care about, why we vote on things like the Ref of the year is still beyond me. I’ll give you my top three for each since that is how we have to vote on it anyways.

Goalkeeper:

  1. Nick Rimando (RSL) – Always a frontrunner for this award, I think he’ll have a solid enough season to finally win this award.
  2. Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas) – Another always in contention for this, I’d expect his level of play to be better this season after a disappointing finish to the 2011 season.
  3. Stefan Frei (Toronto) – I really like Toronto this season and Frei has always had the talent, this year he and his club finally “get there”.

Defender:

  1. Jamison Olave (RSL) – The guy is still a beast.
  2. George John (FC Dallas) – He’s back for the season and will be looking to secure a big contract at the end of the season.
  3. Geoff Cameron (Houston) – He’ll keep them in most games this season, and probably help them win a few too.

Newcomer:

  1. Kris Boyd (Portland Timbers) – Love the early look I got of him last week in a preseason game. He’s a natural goal scorer and one that will do very well in MLS.
  2. Hamdi Salihi (D.C. United) – A lot rests on how he messes with Dwayne De Rosario but the guy just scores goals. Should be fun to watch.
  3. Blas Perez (FC Dallas) – Another guy that is expected to score goals this season, he’ll have a tall order in front of him to lead Dallas but so far he looks good.

(Note: this will easily change as newcomers join the league in the summer)

Coach:

  1. Peter Vermes (Sporting KC) – I think KC has a chance to be really special this year.
  2. Bruce Arena (LA Galax) – LA is strong and if they can do well in the Champions League and win another Supporters’ Shield then there is no doubt he’ll win this or at least be in contention to again.
  3. Aron Winter (Toronto FC) – A wild pick in one sense but I do like where he is taking this club.

Rookie:

  1. Kelyn Rowe (New England) – This kid fits in perfectly in the midfield for Jay Heaps. Something about him there makes me think this will be a really good first season for Rowe.
  2. Darren Mattocks (Vancouver) – A lot depends on how much time he gets on the field but he showed flashes of how talented he is in the preseason.
  3. Luis Silva (Toronto FC) – Don’t sleep on this kid for a moment. Silva fits into Winter’s 4-3-3 perfectly.

MVP:

  1. Javier Morales (RSL) – I expect big things from him after a tough 2011.
  2. Mauro Rosales (Seattle) – A guy that nearly won the award last season. I’d expect more of the same from him in 2012.
  3. Landon Donovan (LA) – He’s always in the mix really and with a slightly more favorable schedule this season, he should continue to put up big numbers.

Next MLSer to move to Europe:

  • Brek Shea (FC Dallas) – It will happen before long…I keep saying after the Olympics.
  • George John (FC Dallas) – Same as Shea, it will happen before we know it. Third time will be the charm but likely after this season is over.
  • Geoff Cameron (Houston) – Throwing this one out there, I’ve always been a fan of Cameron’s game and as he gets more time with the national team, his stock should rise for clubs overseas.

2012 WVH Bold Predictions:

  1. MLS will get 4 clubs in CCL knockout stage after this fall’s group stage – LA, RSL, Seattle and Toronto will all make a return to the knockout round after getting through the group stages this fall.
  2. A MLS club will win the USOC – Not a stretch but go a head and bet on a MLS club winning it again, my money is on Seattle again to make it four in a row. Though that new format certainly makes it more interesting for another team to win it all.
  3. Four clubs add DPs this summer – With the Young DP rule in effect, look for Chicago, DC, Dallas and New York to all add DPs this summer.
  4. A couple more Yanks return home – Just a hunch as always but given Rangers financial woes, at least Carlos Bocanegra will return to MLS, maybe even Demarcus Beasley will as well.
  5. The 20th club will be announced…and it will be New York. Yeah surprise, surprise. I think some kind of deal gets worked out in this year to add New York. Not sure which group will be part of it or where a stadium will be but something will get done.
  6. But a deal with Orlando comes up as well…yes team number 21. I said this was a bold prediction page now didn’t I? I think something also gets worked out in Orlando and they’ll enter MLS a year after NY does.
  7. A late run this season will help…Portland – While the East certainly is weaker I do think a late run to get into the playoffs will be done by a Western side. The Timbers have the talent and the chops to get through the West.
  8. Golden Boot winner will be…Danny Koevermans (Toronto) – I’ve been saying how much I like Toronto and a big part of it comes down to how well Koevermans looked late last season. He has the size and skill to deal with MLS defenses and I think he has the chance to bag at least 18 goals.
  9. Mauro Rosales will lead the league in assists – I’d say he’ll get 15 assists this season.
  10. US will finish with a bronze medal in the Olympics – Qualifying will be one thing but I do see the US doing well in London.

Playoff Predictions:

Eastern conference order of finish: Sporting Kansas City, Houston Dynamo, Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC, New York Red Bulls, Chicago Fire, D.C. United, Columbus Crew, New England Revolution, Montreal Impact

Western conference order of finish: LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas, Portland Timbers, Colorado Rapids, San Jose Earthquakes, Vancouver Whitecaps, Chivas USA

Darkhorse clubs: Portland and Chicago

I like both sides to be fairly sneaky this season but Chicago will just barely miss out in a surprisingly crowded East.

Supporter’s Shield Winner: Sporting KC

Notes: With the unbalanced schedule, KC has a chance to get a ton of points on a much weaker conference while clubs like LA, Seattle and RSL will be fighting it out behind them. The unbalanced schedule really opens up nicely for KC to win the Shield this year as they have the talent to do it and the lack of non-MLS games to deal with (only the USOC is on the slate so far outside of MLS).

MLS Cup Winner: LA Galaxy

Notes: They may have to go on the road to win the Cup this year but I think they’ll repeat. Just too much talent not to.

  • John

    Like the write-up. No doubt MLS improves each and every season. Agree on 24 clubs. Think Orlando 2015 is almost a lock, maybe ’16 if MLS really wants NY as #20 for whatever reason. The league is pushing for NY in 2014 but may have to be 15 or 16 depending on stadium/ownership.  Really don’t see the MLS sitting on 20 teams for a few seasons like I did a couple years back. MLS really wants NY2 and Orlando really wants the MLS. Come 2016, a few other cities will be much more realistic and ready for an MLS team come that time too. Also, once 21 happens, 22 has to be a priority especially as it looks like keeping conferences is a priority.