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ProSoccerTalk’s preseason predictions for: Conference champs, MLS Cup winner

Mar 1, 2013, 4:02 PM EDT

2012 MLS Cup - Houston Dynamo v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

ProSoccerTalk’s Noah Davis says …

As for conference champions, I like D.C. United and the LA Galaxy. Ben Olsen can work magic, except it’s not really magic, it’s just hard work. Perry Kitchen will continue to develop into a leader and Nick DeLeon and Chris Pontius will lead the attack (barring injury of course, a big if with those two). As for the Galaxy, it’s a boring pick, but it’s the right one. The squad is too good, too skilled, too well-coached to suffer through another early-season slump.

On MLS Cup: Seattle Sounders. I don’t know; I just have a feeling. The playoffs are such a crapshoot, and it’s about time, you know?

ProSoccerTalk’s Richard Farley says …

As conference champions, I like D.C. United and the LA Galaxy.

Confession: I was the main push behind putting San Jose number one on our list two weeks ago, but now knowing a bit more about the Earthquakes and Galaxy, I’m flipping the script. I think San Jose is in survival mode to start the season, given their injuries. I also get the feeling they’re taking the long view of the season and might be willing to sacrifice points in April and May to get their guys ready for September and October. I think LA’s defense and Robbie Keane will keep them decent through the third act of the Donovan saga, and given how tight the West could be, I think that’s enough to switch the order.

In the East, I like D.C.’s team to continue improving. I’m not sold on the changes Sporting’s had to incur, and I think Ben Olsen and team will take a lot of pride in not only competing for the conference but potentially taking the Supporters’ Shield. This is D.C., after all.

For MLS Cup, I’ll take the Houston Dynamo.

Why now when they couldn’t win in 2011 or 2012? Because come December, I think Houston’s going to have the best team in the league. I’m not sure Dominic Kinnear is going to ride them so hard that they take the East, but come playoff time, I expect them to make their now-typical run. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a third-straight LA-Houston final, and nine months out, I like the Dynamo to take that one.

ProSoccerTalk’s Steve Davis says …

I’d like to be bold and pick Seattle to make the big breakthrough in the West – but I just cannot quite get there. The LA Galaxy back line is just too much better, and Robbie Keane will get 14-16 goals easily if he can carry all that momentum from the back half of 2012 into this year.

In the East – Here’s where I rescue this post from the rather boring prospect of all three of us picking the same doggone teams! – I’ll take the New York Red Bulls to slip past a D.C. United team that I do like a lot. (Man, the East is just stacked and packed this year, eh?) RBNY is just a shade under-strength on the outside midfield spots, but powerful everywhere else. Plus, if the look under Mike Petke most closely resembles a 4-2-3-1, they don’t really have flank midfield spots. Speaking of Petke, the players seem to be taking to him, and that added element of chemistry will go far. So, yes, I’m going there. I am picking the Red Bulls, ignoring the flashing red lights of history!

MLS Cup champion? I’m going back to the LA Galaxy. Reason: By summer, Landon Donovan will be dashing about at Full Donovan, and I can only assume a Frank Lampard or a Kaka will be bouncing around and getting the job done at the Home Depot Center. Three-peat! I’m calling it.

(MORE: full roster of PST preseason predictions and previews)

  1. tylerbetts - Mar 1, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    I like Houston to win the Supporter’s Shield this year.

    First of all, I think Dom Kinnear might be the best manager in MLS (side note: how about a top ten managers power ranking as part of the season preview? Could be interesting – the experience and record of Arena? The youth and quick success of Kreis? The promise of Olson? The rotating door in Toronto?). I also think Dom is able to look at the last two cup finals – both losses for Houston – and think to himself “what if those hadn’t been played in L.A.?”

    Second, I look at what Houston has done in the off season. Which was a whole lot of addition and not a lot of subtraction. Then. I look at the fact that their best players are young enough to fight through a long, tiring season, good enough to win in MLS, hungry enough to not want to keep being the bridesmaid, and not-quite-good-enough to be eyeing Europe (that’s key, as it keeps the team from potentially losing a big piece during the Summer Transfer Window).

    Finally, I factor in that home field advantage they’ve built. Amazing stadium. Amazing crowds. Damn good results.

    I look at all of that, and – while I’m not a betting man – I’d put money on Houston to have the best regular season record.

  2. crnelson10 - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    Sporting KC wins the cup this year, Benny Feilhaber finally becomes what we all want him to be. Teal Bunbury comes back with a vengeance, and bags 15+ goals. These are my predictions. The only thing I’m basing these on are that I like Feilhaber, I have a good friend that lives in KC, and I’m drinking Shiner.

  3. charliej11 - Mar 2, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    I love the comment on how the playoffs are a crap shoot the year after you probably forecasted that correctly and completely were destroyed picking the Supporters Shield.
    People need to get over it already. MLS is not going to the more fair, but many times very boring regular season only….not going to happen…..ever……EVER.

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