1. DC United - actual finish: 1
Sweet--nailed it! Alright, given how pretty much everybody and their second cousin, twice-removed, on their mother's side had decided in pre-season that Houston and DC would sprint well ahead of the chasing pack, this wasn't a terribly impressive pick. Nevertheless . . . nyah, nyah, told you so! Uh, huh, that's what I'm talking about, baby!
2. Houston Dynamo - actual finish: 3
Not bad, not bad. Off by a wee bit, but the Dynamo only finished a point out of second place and if they only could have won that last match with Chivas, the runner-up spot would have been a reality. Still, considering the fact that I expect them to walk away with the West, I'll have to admit to a minor failing here.
3. FC Dallas - actual finish: 5
Whoops! Not that the difference between 3 and 5 is huge, and in the early going this season, Dallas did indeed look like a top 3 or 4 side, but in the final reckoning, they were well off the pace of the SuperLiga spots and given another month of competition, they may very well have been dragged into the scrap for playoff spots.
4. Chivas USA - actual finish: 2
I fully expected Chivas to overachieve this year, I just didn't give them enough credit for how much. Nevertheless, I'll chalk this one up as a bit of a win as I don't think too many others made much of Chivas' chances. Of course, in saying this, I've failed to mention that I thought the Chivas renaissance would be sparked by a reformed Amado Guevara--whoops!
5. Kansas City - actual finish: 8
Well, KC came apart a bit in the second half of the season to totally screw this particular pooch. They still did make it to the playoffs, though not as handily as I had assumed that they would. The big surprise here has to be the fact that I had assumed they would be a defensive force, when in fact they were quite the opposite. Win some, lose some . . .
6. New England - actual finish: 4
Steady as usual, though I didn't expect them to be as close to the top as they ended up in the final reckoning. The strange thing is that I can't shake the feeling that New England underachieved a bit in the regular season, yet they still finished above where I picked them to. Weird! MLS moves in mysterious ways.
7. LA Galaxy - actual finish: 11
Damn Galaxy! Let me rephrase that - damn Alexi! Let's just assume for a moment that Alexi resists the tinker bug and gives Frank Yallop the keys to the jalopy for the entire season. Based on what we saw in the late going when Lalas couldn't interfere, I have to assume that the Galaxy would have finished much higher if Big Red keeps his ugly mitts off the squad.
8. NY Red Bulls - actual finish: 6
2 places--that's the Angel difference? Actually, I think that without Juan Pablo's goals, New York misses the playoffs this year. I underestimated what Arena could do given his excellent record in the league. Of course, I also tempered my prediction with a warning that Reyna needed to stay healthy for NYRB to challenge. Reyna--healthy? What was I smoking?
9. Chicago Fire - actual finish: 7
Alright, hands up--who thought that Blanco would have a bigger positive impact on his team than Beckham had on his? Note the word "positive." I was absolutely convinced that Blanco would destroy team chemistry, wouldn't adapt to the style of play in MLS, and would, in general, be a spectacular bust. Of course, that was before Osorio rode in on his white horse to save Chicago. Can you imagine the fireworks had Sarachan still been in charge and that team still been struggling? Though I'll be the first to admit that I was massively off-base regarding Blanco, I'm still tempted to believe that he and Sarachan would have clashed, resulting in a big crash and burn for the Fire.
10. Colorado - actual finish: 10
Bam! Got this one too, though I expected that they'd be shipping the goals without Cannon to save their non-Canadian bacon. The problem instead turned out to be getting the goals, though the results are pretty much the same. Bland is as bland does, and it's a miracle that Clavijo still has a job.
11. Toronto FC - actual finish: 13
I called for them to struggle, particularly at the defensive end, but I didn't think they'd finish bottom. I'm still convinced that if they hadn't suffered the huge injury crisis mid-season, they would have finished at least a couple of places higher up the table.
12. Columbus - actual finish: 9
Sigi did better than I thought he would getting this young team organized. Of course, bringing in Schelotto mid-season didn't hurt either as his experienced hand on the rudder nearly guided the Crew to the post-season. As it stands, he pretty much carried the Crew to those final two victories. Without those six points, they finish eleventh, much closer to where I had anticipated. And I'll fervently ignore any claims that if he stays healthy, the Crew are a playoff side, regardless of how much I agree with said claims--that's my "prognosticator's prerogative." Deal with it!
13. Real Salt Lake - actual finish: 12
They needed a win on the last day of the season not to finish dead last, as I had predicted, but they were still out of touch at the bottom alongside Toronto for the last month or so of the season, so I'll claim a win on this one. Still, this is RSL--picking them to finish down at the bottom is hardly risky, is it?
So, I got 7 of 8 playoff sides, with the one I didn't get, Chicago, being my predicted ninth-placed finisher. I managed to call the Supporters' Shield and had 3 of the 4 SuperLiga sides in my own top 4. I'll take those numbers, plant my spear in the ground, shake my fist at the skies, and claim prognostication victory. But I will concede to underestimating Chicago, and in particular Mister Blanco. Despite KC and LA having relatively disappointing seasons when held up to the light of my predictions, I still think that the Fire have been the biggest surprise to me. And imagine my horror when I read back through those old prediction posts and came across this tasty morsel . . .
. . . but then Blanco will arrive to assassinate their season as only the Hunchback can. The only positive news is that they shouldn't be around to haunt DC in the playoffs.Wow, I sure can call them, can't I? You may now commence laughing at my expense.