SBI’s MLS 2012 predictions

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Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com

The 2012 MLS season likely holds a number of twists, turns and surprises, but as we try and project what will happen about nine months from now, we've come to a consensus on one thing: The MLS Cup winner will be emerging from the Western Conference again.

Out of eight SBI writers, five have picked the Los Angeles Galaxy to repeat as champions, while others have pegged Real Salt Lake, the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas as the eventual cup holders, which would keep the Anschutz Trophy in the West for the fourth straight year. All but one have the Galaxy maintaining the Supporters' Shield for the third straight season.

As for other preseason prognostications, opinions are a bit more divided. The races for league MVP and Golden Boot yield a number of viable candidates on the eve of the season opener, while the influx of international talent should make for a heated competition for Newcomer of the Year.

Let us know your picks for the upcoming season in the comments section below, but here are SBI's staff predictions for the 2012 MLS season:

SBI'S 2012 MLS SEASON PREDICTIONS

MLS CUP

Ives Galarcep – Los Angeles Galaxy

Avi Creditor – Galaxy

Adam Serrano – Galaxy

Franco Panizo – FC Dallas

Thomas Floyd – Galaxy

Joey Samuel – Seattle Sounders

Caleb Sonneland – Real Salt Lake

David Gubala – Galaxy

SUPPORTER'S SHIELD

Galarcep – Galaxy

Creditor – Galaxy

Serrano – Galaxy

Panizo – Galaxy

Floyd – RSL

Samuel – Galaxy

Sonneland - Galaxy

Gubala – Galaxy

LEAGUE MVP

Galarcep – Fredy Montero, Seattle Sounders

Creditor – Mauro Rosales, Seattle Sounders

Serrano – Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy

Panizo - Brek Shea, FC Dallas

Floyd – Donovan

Samuel – Montero

Sonneland – Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City

Gubala – Shea

GOLDEN BOOT

Galarcep – Montero

Creditor – Danny Koevermans, Toronto FC

Serrano – Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes

Panizo – Edson Buddle, Los Angeles Galaxy

Floyd – Buddle

Samuel – Koevermans

Sonneland – Montero

Gubala – Dominic Oduro, Chicago Fire

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Galarcep – Luis Silva, Toronto FC

Creditor – Silva

Serrano – Silva

Panizo – Silva

Floyd – Andrew Wenger, Montreal Impact

Samuel – Kelyn Rowe, New England Revolution

Sonneland – Rowe

Gubala – Rowe

DEFENDER OF THE YEAR

Galarcep – Geoff Cameron, Houston Dynamo

Creditor – Cameron

Serrano – Cameron

Panizo – Cameron

Floyd – Cameron

Samuel – Carlos Valdes, Philadelphia Union

Sonneland – Cameron

Gubala – Cameron

GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR

Galarcep – Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake

Creditor – Rimando

Serrano – Rimando

Panizo – Rimando

Floyd – Rimando

Samuel – Rimando

Sonneland – Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire

Gubala – Josh Saunders, Los Angeles Galaxy

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Galarcep – Hamdi Salihi, D.C. United

Creditor – Kris Boyd, Portland Timbers 

Serrano – Blas Perez, FC Dallas

Panizo – Boyd

Floyd – Salihi

Samuel – Boyd

Sonneland – Boyd

Gubala – Boyd

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

Galarcep – Kofi Sarkodie, Houston Dynamo

Creditor - Dilly Duka, Columbus Crew

Serrano – Michael Lahoud, Chivas USA

Panizo – Duka

Floyd – Ike Opara, San Jose Earthquakes

Samuel – Danny Mwanga, Philadelphia Union

Sonneland – Will Bruin, Houston Dynamo

Gubala – Luis Gil, Real Salt Lake

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Galarcep – Opara

Creditor – David Ferreira, FC Dallas

Serrano – Steve Zakuani, Seattle Sounders

Panizo – Opara

Floyd – Zakuani

Samuel – Ferreira

Sonneland – Ferreira

Gubala – Zakuani

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56 Responses to SBI’s MLS 2012 predictions

  1. bmvaughn says:

    No one willing to take a chance on Eddie Johnson as comeback player of the year?

  2. John says:

    With the imbalanced schedule, methinks a team from the east will win the supporter’s shield… Sporting KC, maybe? It will be a huge advantage for them only playing LA, Seattle, et al only once this year.

  3. Charles says:

    I was just about to post that. Although if Zakuani comes back, he has to get it.

  4. Air Jordanz says:

    Good point. I like anything that gives me hope LA won’t be able to repeat for a 3rd year.

  5. Charles says:

    It really is, can the power teams of the West overcome a tougher schedule enough to beat out the extreme parity in the East.

    They should have predicted the leaders in the West and the East. I would guess there would be a huge amount of teams picked in the East.

  6. Since 82 says:

    Pretty safe picks from the SBI crew.

  7. Andy in Atlanta says:

    I think he wins it going away.. I see 15-20 goals from Eddie this season…

  8. gigi says:

    deff agree as duka being the most improved player- he is playing at a diff level now. But not to sure i agree with oduro being the highest scorer, i think teams are gonna figure him out this season and how to deal better with his pace.

  9. soccerroo says:

    I was about to say the same thig about Ferreira in Dallas. It may come down to who’s team has the better year.

  10. GSScasual says:

    NYRB with the cup, supporters shield, and USOC… (say it every year) heres to hopes

  11. Dave says:

    And I wouldn’t feel too nervous if SKC did have to play LA twice. While LA crushed them during that horrendous 10-match start, the match in KC was much closer.

    But yeah, agree that SKC will benefit from imbalanced schedule perhaps enough to grab the Shield. In fact, unless NYRB plays like they do in Fifa 12, it’s tough to think of a real challenger to SKC as long as they play in the same form we saw in that final five months of last season.

    What could derail SKC: Zusi doesn’t continue his creative awakening, an injury to Besler or Collin, or the evaporation of Convey’s crossing ability.

  12. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    What would you have them do, pick New England for the SS, DC for MLS Cup, and Juan Agudelo for MVP?

  13. soccerroo says:

    What makes you think Eddie can score that many goals? I think he only scored 15 once when he was with KC in 2007. I can see 5-10 but not sure he gets near the golden boot race.

  14. 20 says:

    New England actually looks like they will improve this year. Definitely won’t win the SS, but that midfield is one of the best in MLS..

  15. John says:

    Ryan Meara for Rookie and GK of the year.

  16. Ian says:

    My prediction: Another awesome season for MLS fans

  17. abc says:

    Duka, Opara, Gil, Mwanga… aren’t those guys good already?

  18. Hoggan says:

    That’s utterly ridiculous. Maybe he scores that many for the Tacoma Stars. Personally I don’t see why he should even start ahead of Ochoa.

  19. EARL says:

    That’s hilarious. Ochoa is out of shape and doesn’t have nearly the skill set, both technically and athletically, as Eddie Johnson. Not to mention the experience; over 40 caps with the national team and a dozen goals. Johnson failed in Europe, which is much more impressive than failing in Mexico, as in Ochoa’s case. On top of that, Ochoa demonstrated his willingness to work by showing up to camp in poor enough shape to have Sigi call him out to the media. In fact, Ochoa’s fitness was cited as a primary reason for Seattle’s willingness to trade solid talent for Johnson.

    15-20 goals across all competitions is not at all utterly ridiculous. Saying Ochoa should start ahead of Johnson, however, is.

  20. CMac says:

    Yeah, we, as fans, should collectively agree that the SS is pretty meaningless this year. That makes me sad inside.

  21. Pepe says:

    Adam Cristman for MVP. You heard it here first.

  22. RLW2020 says:

    both Joseph and Fielhaber are top midfielders but besides that NE’s midfield does not stack up to most teams, no way they should be “one of the best”.

  23. chris says:

    Johnson looked good in the few minutes he got on Wednsday

  24. BSU SC says:

    MLS Cup Champions: Seattle Sounders

    Supporters Shield: LA Galaxy

    League MVP: Alvaro Fernandez (this will be the season when he lives up to the hype)

  25. Chris says:

    It’s gonna be great when the Dynamo lift the MLS Cup in their new stadium. I’ll take unheralded any day of the week.

  26. G? says:

    Feels like this was written before sounders-santos… Homer-dom aside, we looked incredible for a first game against a team that’s better on paper than la.

  27. Aljarov says:

    Surprised no one picked Keane, or Henry for that matter to top score.

    Those that picked Buddle – really? More goals than Keane?

  28. PD says:

    sure bets: LA, SKC, Seattle, RSL
    good bets: Houston, Columbus
    teams to watch this year: Toronto, Portland, New England, Montreal
    teams to disappoint unexpectedly: Philly, Dallas
    “meh” teams: New York, Chicago, DC, SJ, Chivas, Vancouver

  29. Herman Edwards says:

    Why not?!

  30. SBI Troll says:

    No love for Omar Jamrock Cummings?

  31. 2ndsnares says:

    Sounders get no respect ` i disdain the fans + team on principle…but as an impartial observer, I felt that nobody in the league was as good as their first XI [ even without zakuani]. Problem was rosales went down too and the crippled sounders were quite a bit worse than LA.

    With everyone healthy i find it intriguing that nobody thinks they’ll claim hardware this year

  32. Ycontrol500 says:

    LOL Honestly, I’m pretty sure everyone was pondering the possibility of Eddie Johnson.

  33. Cabrito says:

    Most improved team…..SJ Earthquakes!

  34. abc says:

    New York and Vancouver are hardly “meh” teams… I’d bet money they both finish with far better records than your “teams to watch” New England and Montrealol.

  35. Eugene says:

    Do you guys all drink from the same faucet or something? There is hardly any variability in your responses.

    I’m happy so many of you guys picked LA to repeat with the Shield or the MLS Cup, because that almost certainly implies that it’s not going to happen!!

  36. agnigrin says:

    Becks is out for most of the season after he is cut down and badly injured by Houston’s Cameron in a rematch of last year’s final. Mike Magee punches Cameron in the nose after Becks goes down and he is suspended for 3 months! Donovan loses more hair and is missing in action because Becks can no longer feed him the ball. Juan Pablo Angel scores 4 hat-tricks for Chivas. Freddie Montero is thrown in jail for hitting up on more jail bait!! Ryan Meara has 11 clean sheets and leads the Red Bulls to the MLS Cup final vs LA. In that game Juniho throws a ball at Marquez and is red carded. Titi scores the first goal and only goal. Red Bulls win MLS Cup 2012!

  37. Joe says:

    Not even one word on Matteo Ferrari ???
    He will be Defender of the year…

  38. Since 82 says:

    I wasn’t implying that they are “wrong” just noting a lot of commonalities.

  39. Lost in Space says:

    More likely Marquez once again complains that the players around him aren’t good enough and decides to stop playing (again). Henry goes on to commit more detestable (tacky) fouls and is finally suspended by the league. NYRB implode again and the coach is finally fired @ mid-season. Agudelo begins getting real minutes under the new coach and wins the Golden Boot…but NYRB’s get knocked out during the 1st round of the playoffs.

  40. WileyJ says:

    +7 lol SSFC!

  41. shake says:

    Keane will have Euros, Buddle will be there for all games with a couple exceptions like if he gets called to US qualifying. Keane will have the highest goals to games played ratio though.

  42. shake says:

    gambler’s fallacy.

  43. jlm says:

    that is what i was going to ask

  44. Shady says:

    Good call Ives on Sarkodie as the most improved player, but you will be wrong as it will be another Akron alum by the name of Michael Nanchoff.

  45. jlm says:

    a good year from mwanga would be a big improvement though and i guess it shows how high these players’ ceilings really are.

  46. jc says:

    No Meara for rookie of the year? has a chance to play an important role for a playoff contender

    Eddie Johnson and morales should atleast been mentioned for comeback player.

    Also how is galaxy suppose to win the supporters shield without a strong central defense? Boyens is terrible. Seattle and RSL are the most balanced team in MLS.

  47. agnigrin says:

    Yawn…

  48. agnigrin says:

    Belch

  49. fischy says:

    Comeback Polayer of the Year votes do not go to players coming back to MLS after a stint in Europe. The award is meant for someone “coming back” from something dramatic — injury or life crisis.

  50. fischy says:

    Sometimes it goes to someone who sucks for a year or two after being really good, and then returns to greatness, but would not go to someone returning from abroad.

  51. Kasey says:

    More like the Sounders win it in LA on the final game of the season. Gals fans burn Beckman in effigy .. Mayan 2012 curse unfolds

  52. SSFC Supporters says:

    The cups are ours in 2012

  53. SJ says:

    You have to win a playoff series first.

  54. Kasey says:

    Christian Sivebaek will be blowing your mind.