Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Way Out West

Surprise, surprise, I'm late upon late with this. Don't take it as a lack of interest. I am very much looking forward to two races in the Western Conference - the one for the top three spots and the one for the last three playoff berths. Both should be highly entertaining

Seattle

Just so you know, this pick is not a reaction to their start - I had this order of finish worked out back on opening day and have stuck to it. Getting Morris back and having Rodriguez fit from the start puts the Sounders attack on another level. They're deep everywhere and a legit Shield contender.

Sporting KC

Speaking of teams being deep everywhere... Sporting comes close (I'm slightly concerned about their center forward stable). Their midfield crew, which is the heart of the team, looks about as crisis-proof as any league team ever has. They will control games more than any other club, even if that doesn't always lead to a victory.

LAFC

This team will score, that's for sure. I am a little concerned about the depth on the back half of the field, though. Bob Bradley will usually figure something out, however, so they should be close to the top all season long.

LA Galaxy

The defense is much improved, and I have the feeling they aren't done adding players at the back. The midfield also looks better, if only from a cohesion standpoint. And then, of course, there's Zlatan. He alone is worth a handful of wins, provided they can keep him on the field.

FC Dallas

This team is a work in progress under a new boss, but it says here they will be fine once the creases are ironed out. At the same time, they are going to need a few young players to break out and naturally that's always an iffy proposition. Still, I'm betting they get enough from the kids to reach the postseason.

Houston

We all know the attack, and specifically the counter, will produce. However, if they keep having to do without Cabezas, this playoff place could slip away because without him the back remains a question mark. The good news is Rodriguez looks like a breakout ace, and that extra support scoring can paper over some cracks in the defense.

Real Salt Lake

To be truthful, I'm not quite sure what to do with these guys. They seem like a playoff team on paper, but coach Petke is doing some odd things (like moving Rusnak wide) and they just can't seem to settle on a center back tandem. Plus, the new DP center forward isn't seeing so much field time. It's all a bit kooky... and yet, I feel like they'll pull it together before too long. If not, there are a couple clubs primed to bump them out of the postseason.

Portland

This one isn't easy to talk about. I respect the Timbers, especially that veteran midfield crew. But Valeri, Chara and Blanco can't do always everything forever. Until this team finds more reliable production up front, a trustworthy back line staff and some midfield depth to give the old guys a breather, this team kiiiinda looks like it will go from MLS Cup to playoff spectators. I really do hate to say it.

Minnesota United

It took all my strength to hold them out of the top seven, and I'm well aware that could be an error. The arrivals of Alonso and Gregus gives them an actual, bona fide midfield foundation for the first time, which only makes Quintero more dangerous. The defense is defintely improved, but will need time to gel into a unit. If Finlay and Molino can get back to their old selves, the Loons become a bit scary (even if I'm not entirely sold on their strikers). That's a big if for two guys coming back from knee injuries, though.

Colorado

They are far, far better than they were last year, no question. The attack is worlds better and the midfield is more complete. The defense, however, is still going to lose them a handful of points. And in this league, a handful of lost points is enough to keep you watching the playoffs from the couch at home.

Vancouver

I warned everyone that Hwang is a stud, and that's already been proven after just a few rounds. On the other hand, aside from Montero, I'm not impressed with their attack replacements and the back line is even more of a mess than it was last season. Even with a clever new coach that will keep them in a lot of games, this should be a long year.

San Jose

Good luck, coach Almeyda. I don't think the Quakes have enough speed or inherent individual intention to play his religious man-marking system, so he'll need to adjust on the fly. The main problem is that the roster needs another transfer window or two; the back half needs a lot of work and the front half has some decent pieces that don't quite fit together.









- Greg Seltzer

2 comments:

Jamie said...

Portland?

Greg Seltzer said...

Thanks for the catch. Left it sit on my notepad somehow. Fixed.