TFC were predicted to lift the Phillip F. Anschutz trophy by more club executives than any other team in MLSsoccer.com’s preseason survey of general managers, technical directors and sporting directors, with the Reds taking home 40 percent of the vote just a few months after falling agonizingly short against the Seattle Sounders.
The return of Sebastian Giovinco was no doubt a big factor in that prediction. One year after not even finishing in the top-three for the award, the Italian superstar was the GMs runaway pick for 2017 Landon Donovan MLS MVP.
Of course, Giovinco and Toronto are far from the only movers and shakers in MLS. We asked the leader of every club’s technical staff 14 different questions about the best teams, players, stadiums and offseason moves ahead of the start of the season, with 15 of the 22 getting back to us by the deadline earlier this week.
Here are their responses:
Which club will win MLS Cup?
- Toronto FC – 6
- FC Dallas – 4
- New York City FC – 2
- Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, Orlando City – 1
Which club will win the Supporters’ Shield?
- FC Dallas - 10
- Toronto FC – 2
- New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders, Montreal Impact – 1
Who will win the MVP award in 2017?
- Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC) – 11
- Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle) – 2
- Kaka (Orlando City), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal) – 1
Who will win the Golden Boot in 2017?
- Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC) – 7
- David Villa (NYCFC) – 3
- Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) – 2
- Cyle Larin (Orlando City), Bradley Wright-Phillips (NY Red Bulls), Cristian Colman (FC Dallas) – 1
Will an MLS club win the current CONCACAF Champions League?
- No – 12
- Yes, FC Dallas – 2
- Yes, New York Red Bulls – 1
Which player was the best acquisition of the offseason?
- Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United) – 9
- Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire) – 2
- Sebastian Blanco (Portland Timbers), Haris Medunjanin (Philadelphia), Maxi Moralez (NYCFC), Carlos Carmona (Atlanta United) – 1
One of McCarty’s votes included an entry that paired him with fellow Fire midfielder Juninho
Which club improved itself the most this offseason?
- Chicago Fire – 7
- Atlanta United FC – 5
- Orlando City, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo – 1
Which 2016 playoff qualifier is most likely to miss out in 2017?
- Colorado Rapids – 7
- Philadelphia Union – 4
- Real Salt Lake – 2
- D.C. United, LA Galaxy – 1
Which is the most underrated team heading into 2017?
- Columbus Crew SC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Chicago Fire – 2
- Atlanta United FC, New England Revolution, Toronto FC, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact, Minnesota United FC – 1
Which player will be the breakout star of 2017?
- Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United) – 4
- Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) & Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps) – 3
- Kekuta Manneh (Vancouver Whitecaps) – 2
- Alberth Elis, Nemanja Nikolic, Luciano Acosta – 1
Who’s the best young prospect in MLS?
- Kekuta Manneh (Vancouver Whitecaps) – 6
- Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps) – 4
- Ian Harkes (D.C. United), Jack Harrison (NYCFC) – 2
- Miles Robinson (Atlanta United) – 1
Which club has the best academy in MLS?
- FC Dallas – 8
- Atlanta United FC, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake, Philadelphia Union, Orlando City, New York City FC, LA Galaxy – 1
Which is the league’s toughest away venue?
- Providence Park (Portland) – 4
- CenturyLink Field (Seattle) – 3
- Children’s Mercy Park (Kansas City) – 3
- Orlando City Stadium (Orlando), Avaya Stadium (San Jose), Rio Tinto Stadium (Salt Lake), BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston), StubHub Center (LA) – 1
Which conference will be the most competitive in 2017?
- East – 8
- West – 7