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After Sporting Kansas City, the MLS East is wide, wide open

Mar 6, 2012, 1:21 PM EDT

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I’m in the writing business, not the prognostication business. Heck, if I were better at predicting winners and losers in sports, I could probably make a little scratch on the side – and give up my night job as towel boy at the local tub club. (It ain’t pretty, believe me.)

That said, sometimes the writing business and prediction business do cross streams, which is always dangerous, as we know. It’s especially dangerous when it comes to Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference this year. It’s Sporting Kansas City’s title to lose; after that, it’s a big ol’ nine-team grab bag. It’s wide, wide open.

Anybody who says they know what’s going to happen in the 2012 version of MLS Eastern Promises is probably fibbing a bit.  Fact is, they’re just guessing. Just like I did when I put together my Eastern Conference preview for SI.com.  They are educated guesses, but guesses just the same.  I noticed that one of the best in the business, Goal.com’s Kyle McCarthy, likes New York and Columbus just a little more than I do.  Here’s Kyle’s complete, comprehensive Eastern Conference preview.

My worries about New York have everything to do with some untested pup standing between the pipes and a back line that may yet be very good – but it’s newly assembled and still needs to prove that to me. Bottom line … well, here’s what I said in my own Eastern preview:

It’s really hard to say which way things might go around Red Bull Arena. So much depends on chemistry (i.e. Marquez) and the health of a certain Frenchman (Henry). He’s 34, and those bothersome heel issues probably aren’t in for a drastic improvement. If Henry falls in form or misses time due to injury, a dandy offense suddenly looks more mortal.

I like Houston for second, but Dominic Kinnear’s crew  must dodge the slow starts that have afflicted Orange versions past. The Dynamo did manage a pretty good start last year (3-1-3 in March and April), but they’ll be stretched this year with seven on the road to get going. (BBVA Compass stadium, just outside downtown Houston, opens May 12.)

The rest of my guesses picks went like this:

  • 1. Sporting Kansas City
  • 2. Houston Dynamo
  • 3. Chicago Fire
  • 4. New York Red Bulls
  • 5. D.C. United
  • 6. Philadelphia Union
  • 7. Toronto FC
  • 8. Columbus Crew
  • 9. New England Revolution
  • 10. Montreal Impact
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