It was only as I read MLS Underground's power-rankings that a notion finally cemented itself in my head: for all the conventional wisdom heading into the season - e.g. DC United will be killer; Landon Donovan and Nate Jaqua will eat up Beckham's crosses; Toronto FC will suck at the back; etc. - there are some wildly divergent opinions floating around about how a few of the clubs will pan out.
I can't prove these by linking to examples - or, more accurately, I won't because I'm...so...damn...sleepy, but these are the ones that come to me now:
- Toronto FC: In spite of a nearly univeral belief their defense will suck (though, out of curiosity, how many have actually seen the relative mystery players in action), I've seen these guys both in and out of the playoffs for picks.
- New England Revolution: They'll either survive Dempsey's departure and Joseph's frustration or they won't - never both.
- Chicago Fire: Of all the teams in the league, I think the take on these guys swings the widest. No one has them winning - due mainly to DC - but I'm seeing a lot of late stuff thinking Chicago will do all right. For some reason, I think they're going to suck.
- Columbus Crew: Similar to the Fire, but they occupy a range similar to Toronto's: no one expects greatness, but most opine they'll be respectable - with the exception of the few predicting outright failure; though, for the record, more predict outright failure for Toronto.
Moving West now...
- FC Dallas: Another team picking up late, favorable notice. Gets me wondering if this is down to the two South Americans they signed; seems like that's calling a horse without seeing it on a tip from a stranger. Then again, that's no less rational than my call on FCD.
- Colorado Rapids: Not a big swing, to be honest, but this team seems to have a lot of people guessing.
Los Angeles Galaxy, kinda: I'd say LA gets inside this group, but only just. While most people agree they're overloaded in terms of games, I suspect a majority thinks they'll be a live threat if they reach the playoffs; it's whether they reach the playoffs where people tend to split.
As for the rest, I think they look like so: DC United - league's best, let's hope they blow it; Chivas USA - generally bad with a scattered few predicting glory; Houston - generally viewed as the league's "second team"; Real Salt Lake - only the optimists see them as playoff-bound; Kansas City Wizards - I could be the only one who thinks they'll break their playoff curse; Red Bull New York - kind of the mirror-image of Chivas; viewed as generally competent with a few predicting outright failure.
And, I'm spent. Have a good weekend.