MLS Regular Season Prediction Review

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | View Comments

Fortuneteller's Hands Above Crystal Ball

Standing up and taking one's medicine on predictions gone wrong is a humbling experience.  Not that there's any real shame in failing to nail down a league rife with parity and year-to-year shifts; MLS is a harsh mistress, and those trying to tame her nothing but gluttons for punishment.

2010 was particularly tough because of the amount of mid-season player movement that occurred, the World Cup break wreaking havoc on some teams but not affecting others, and surprise performances by the likes of Chris Wondolowski throwing a wrench into conventional wisdom.

Below are my pre-season predictions, made on March 23rd, compared with the final standings.  For a broader look at how bloggers, writers and prognosticators did predicting the league, see Peter C's roundup at MLS Talk.

My projected Eastern Conference standings:

1. Columbus Crew
2. Chicago Fire
3. DC United
4. New York Red Bulls
5. Toronto FC
6. New England Revolution
7. Philadelphia Union
8. Kansas City Wizards

Playoff Teams: Columbus, Chicago

The actual Eastern Conference Standings

1. New York Red Bulls
2. Columbus Crew
3. Kansas City Wizards
4. Chicago Fire
5. Toronto FC
6. New England Revolution
7. Philadelphia Union
8. D.C. United

Playoff Teams: New York, Columbus

Hey, that's not too bad...I pegged the number of teams that would make the playoffs from the East, and while I was wrong about Chicago, they really should have been better than they were. I certainly missed on New York, likely wondering about the usual difficulties foreign coaches have adjusting to MLS.

DC United stands out, of course. I apparently was way more optimistic about Curt Onalfo than anyone had reason to be. Bonus points for pegging spots 5-7, I think.

My projected Western Conference standings:

1. Seattle Sounders
2. Real Salt Lake
3. Los Angeles Galaxy
4. Chivas USA
5. Colorado Rapids
6. Houston Dynamo
7. FC Dallas
8. San Jose Earthquakes

Playoff Teams: Seattle, RSL, LA, Chivas, Colorado, Houston

The actual Western Conference standings:

1. Los Angeles Galaxy
2. Real Salt Lake
3. FC Dallas
4. Seattle Sounders FC
5. San Jose Earthquakes
6. Colorado Rapids
7. Houston Dynamo
8. Chivas USA

Playoff Teams: LA, RSL, FCD, Seattle, San Jose, Colorado

Woops. I totally overrated Chivas, completely underrated San Jose and FC Dallas, gave the Sounders a bit too much credit, and shortchanged the Galaxy (though not by that much). All that being said, I don't think my predictions missed the mark by a wide margin.

For the record, I had Seattle winning the Supporters Shield.

My finals prediction is still in play (Seattle v. Columbus), but I wouldn't stand by it now.  Provided life doesn't screw with me, I'll post my revised playoff predictions sometime tomorrow.
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