Seattle celebration

Come MLS preseason prediction time, it’s like we all spent the offseason at a Holiday Inn Express. We’re all experts! We all know what this famously predictable league has in store!

Don’t believe us? Just ask! Hell, you don’t even have to. We’ll volunteer the wrong answers, and we’ll say/write/tweet them until they feel like the most obvious thing in the world. The Crew are going to be one of the best teams in MLS history, duh. The Sounders are in for a down year, for sure. Concacaf Champions League? Plan the parade now.

Then the games begin … and it quickly becomes clear that none of us have any of the answers! Let me remind you now – as if I haven’t told you dozens of times before – that MLS prognostication is a combination of boredom and self-aggrandizement. It’s harmless fun and a good way to kill time until opening day, but all those piping hot takes aren’t worth much with the benefit of hindsight.

It’s the end of May, less than a fourth of the way into the 2021 season, and we’ve officially reached prediction-rollback time. We’ve been found out. Then again, who are we kidding? This is MLS. What seems dumb and shortsighted now might make perfect sense again in two months.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and compare our winter predictions with reality. It won’t be pretty, but it will be entertaining! You’ll see I peppered your replies to this tweet with my own takes/regrets/banter.

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It’s been a good run among the MLS uber elite, but the Seattle Sounders got worse…

Boy, I was convinced! No Jordan Morris … no like-for-like replacements for Kelvin Leerdam, Gustav Svennson or Joevin Jones … their big signings were Kelyn Rowe and Fredy Montero, both of whom seemed to be past their primes or on their way there … then Nicolas Lodeiro got injured and, well, it seemed like Seattle were going to struggle to reach the heights of the past five years.

At the very least, it’d be another slow-ish start, right? Maybe? Possibly?

The response from Raul Ruidiaz, Nouhou, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Joao Paulo, Will Bruin, Brian Schmetzer et al. …

Chicharito’s offseason #grind was just for the ‘gram…

I mean, there were aspects of the #grind that were for Instagram. The production value was pretty high! But it wasn’t just for show, and the results were there immediately for both Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and the Galaxy. It’s honestly been inspirational, and I urge you to watch his interview on Extratime.

The man wants to do two things: score goals/win and talk about his approach to life. So far, he’s getting plenty of opportunities to do both.

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This is FINALLY MLS’ year in Concacaf Champions League…

Not much to say about this one other than…

Real Salt Lake and CF Montréal are destined for the bottom of the table…

I would like to apologize to Djordje Mihailovic, who called out all the Montréal slander from the jump. Even though Club de Foot lost last weekend to FC Cincinnati, they’re much better than I expected them to be. Congratulations go to the players and Wilfried Nancy, though it must be said that the wheels can always fall off as they did last Saturday.

As for RSL, who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Between the results (eighth in PPG) and the redemption stories (Rubio Rubin MVP candidate, you gotta love it), this is an easy team to root for … even if most of the “experts” out there figured they’d be at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Minnesota United FC are a Supporters’ Shield contender…

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I’m not a doctor, dentist or lawyer, but I know this season hasn’t gone the way Adrian Heath might have planned so far.

Then again, there’s a DP No. 9 (Adrien Hunou) and TAM winger (Franco Fragapane) coming into the team and they’re starting to eke out results. I fully expect things to get better – and a lot better, mind you – in Minnesota, but they’re playing catchup after being much fancied in preseason.

The Chicago Fire are poised to take a big step forward…

\\ takes a massive, nose burning swig of Malort **

It’s been a rough year to decide you’ll support the Fire, as I so wisely decided back in March!

Double trouble! The 2019 version of LAFC and Carlos Vela are back…

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You’re reading the words of a man who felt that predicting an LAFC double behind another Carlos Vela MVP campaign barely qualified as a bold prediction! I’m gonna say … that I still think it could all happen!

What if Vela comes back from the break refreshed? LAFC are only nine points off Seattle, and this is MLS! MLS Cup? Forget playoffs past, they got this. OK, maybe not the double, but some of that prediction is still alive…

GIVE ME 2019 CARLITOS, POR FAVOR!

The Columbus Crew are destined to make history, perhaps even win a treble…

For what it’s worth, I don’t like milk. Fresh, spoiled or otherwise. I’ll put a dash in my coffee and eat cereal a couple of days a week – I’ve mastered the spoon tilt to minimize milk consumption, though cereal obviously must be wet to consume properly – but you’ll never catch me drinking it straight.

That’s a convenient way for me to delay admitting that we might have been a TAD too high on the Crew after that MLS Cup run!

Josef Martinez is back! Like all the way back…

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Yeah, we might have gotten too excited about the return of our favorite sneering, Orlando-trolling, 20-goal scorer. The best thing we can do is give Martinez time. Remember, Morris needed it when he came back from his ACL injury, and then was even more dominant than before.

I don’t know that Josef’s fate will be the same in Atlanta, but I know we got a little ahead of ourselves in preseason. I blame the extra-long offseason.

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