I really don’t have a comprehensive take on the new MLS season for several reasons (a busy work schedule, a week out of town, and because I simply did not want to do it). It is also one of those things guaranteed to be wrong. I know I thought the Crew to be a borderline playoff team last year, well they did get into the playoffs and did pretty well if I remember.
As for this season, I have a better outlook than Fox Soccer Channel’s Bobby McMahon. I will just let him say it:
When you are sitting on top there are only two options – staying there or moving down. I don’t think the Crew will see another season like the last one so I’m predicting a 6th place finish for Columbus in the East.
Sixth? Really? Yes, it will be a struggle to repeat last year’s results, but 6th place is a big drop for a team that lost only one starter and have two options to replace him. And yes, Robert Warzycha is a rookie coach, but there is still too much talent on this team.
McMahon’s pick for first in the East, the New York Red Bulls. They had a lot of players out on Thursday, but I don’t think the one’s coming back are New Ronaldo, Kaka, or Messi. Like I said, these things are hard to do and you are guaranteed to be wrong.
Where do I see the Crew, anywhere between 1st and 3rd in the East. The team could coast in the Western Conference, but a lot of teams got better in the East. The other top teams I see in the league, Toronto FC’s rebuilt offense will score some goals if Vitti is the real deal and DeRosario shows up (not a sure thing), Kansas City also intrigues with their Argentine addition, and Chicago brings back a lot of talent from a very good team last year.
Really, I have very little idea of how the season will turn out. The preseason is a best guess of teams that will be struck by injury, bad luck, and bad form throughout the season. To borrow a phrase: “All predictions guaranteed to be wrong, or your money back”.