And now Part III of our MLS Predictions. We dropped a man along the way though. J Rodius stayed back at basecamp because he got stuck in a circular debate revolving around Mike Magee, Chad Barrett and Adam Christman. It’s still going and will be for a few months we understand.
The No, Here You Take It, Award (Most Assists)
Biggie: Sebassssss Le Toux dododododo will have the most assists out of me, the MLS and you. Sorry this wasn’t in haiku.
Jason Price: Well, it would have to be Landon Donovan. But the Union will score a bucket of goals this year. Sebu Le Toux had 11 assists last year and that number very well could go up.
Jay Bell: Javier Morales. The team around him is stacked this season. Ferreira and Le Toux should again be among the league leaders. Despite his attitude, Beckham should easily be in the top 5 if he stays healthy.
Fred. C’mon, Fred? It won’t be Landon either. With Beckham back in the fold, Donovan loses some service-based assists. Without Buddle. Less assists. Pushed up the field as a striker. Less assists. I’m not sure Donovan, who finished top five in assists in 2010 for the first time since 2007, isn’t going to have more goals this year.
Sebastien Le Toux gets better this year, gets another finisher in Carlos Ruiz and has more teams eyeballing him in the attacking third. Draw defense-dish-dime.
Oh and your sleeper here? DC United’s about to have a Dax Attack.
Rookie Of The Year
Jason Price: This is very tough. I’d love to see Demetrius Omphroy get it. And while I think Perry Kitchen is the best rookie in this class, I see it most likely going to someone like C.J. Sapong or Kofi Sarkodie who should both start and have high profiles and be impact players for their
Jay Bell: Gotta go with the easy answer here: Perry Kitchen. Arguably the best player in this year’s class and it doesn’t hurt that he has Dax McCarty in front of him.
Biggie: Perry Kitchen is going to get it done. And also engage the hype machine and kick it into very high gear. The next big American such and such! Not that he isn’t, he will just get handed the crown way too soon. Take it easy internet.
Matthew: You know in the past six years a defensive-minded player has won the ROY of the year award five times. Lone exception, Mr. Andy Najar last year. Kitchen’s going to be great, but pencil in the 2nd attacker to get it in two years. Hoosier Daddy? That’d be Will Bruin.
Biggie: Andy Najar on what is quickly becoming a stacked DC United team (I hope, I’m not a United fan but
the first MLS Cup final is one of my fondest memories of MLS when I was in grade school) and again, the internet will fight over him. Poor kid, he is going to let down a lot of people before he even steps onto a full national tea
Jason Price: Ike Opara. Very impressed with what he showed last year. Excellent talent.
Jay Bell: Ike Opara. I know I know, easy answer again. He’s just that good. Ream, Bunbury and Mwanga should have solid second seasons. Do not sleep on Collen Warner, Chris Schuler and Michael Stephens.
Matthew: This one comes down the wire. Ultimately, Teal Bunbury lives-the-strongest in 2011. Everyone likes Ike, except me. (Actually I like Ike, alot, just not as much as Boo-Boo for this one).
Most Overplayed Joke: MLS Mustaches or Shellys Hyndman’s Jacket
Jay Bell: The jacket. Mustaches can surprise you and they come in all shapes and sizes. Variety > quality.
Biggie: Forgive my tangent but I think both are hilarious. Hyndman shopping in the whatever era that jacket is from makes me laugh every time I see it. I also love the ridiculous mustaches. I think they build character, and character is exactly what this league needs. It needs more personas, more jokes, more flavor. Having lots of MLS guys on twitter is a great start, and I think one player (the guys who grows the worst/grossest) from each team has to have one, and then they take a picture with all of them together, call it the Mustache Club and make a cheesy 1980′s sports poster and distribute it everywhere. And a commercial. Why not?
Jason Price: The Champions League.
Matthew: Easy, mustaches. But you know what else? Take it easy on those MLS Twitter hashtags okay. (Note: Mustaches for charity work. That said, the more mustaches that aren’t for charity, the less the impact the mustaches for charity has.)
MLS Player Most Likely To Go OJ in 2011
Jay Bell: Conor Casey. The guy always seems like he is about to lose it.
Biggie: I imagine you mean OJ Simpson? I can’t think of anyone offhand who looks like they might go kill some people, except Matt Reis. I mean please, just look at this picture of him. What is he thinking about? Why your untimely demise I imagine.
Matthew: The Philly Union front office dodged a bullet this year. By dropping Michael Orozco and picking up a veteran keeper, they averted a local Danny Califf South Street meltdown.
The Los Angeles Galaxy, did not though.
The set-up? Perfect for David Beckham to bring the attention to MLS with a high-speed chase through Beverly Hills and the surroundings after Chad Barrett launches another ball into space and Bruce Arena decides the team’s best bet for a playoff closer is to overpay to bring the mystique of Cobi Jones back from the Cosmos to his homeland.
Don’t believe me? Watch what happens if Beckham gets left an England national team roster and wants to go on loan, but Tim Leiweke puts his foot down…somehow.
Supporters Shield Winner
Biggie: RBNY. Because that is all Hans wants. And what HANS WANTS HANS GETS.
Matthew: No surprise here. Real Salt Lake. Thekey parts already have chemistry and the new components fit nicely.
Jason Price: Which really is much more interesting than the MLS Cup of course. While I think that LA, Dallas, RSL and NY have to be the frontrunners, I have a sneaking suspicion that the Dynamo will have a strong campaign.
Jay Bell: Real Salt Lake. RSL should be stronger down the stretch without CONCACAF Champions League matches. If the schedule was not balanced this season, then I would give the edge to the New York Red Bulls.
This team can’t afford to lose this guy in 2011.
Jay Bell: Philly cannot hope to have a good season without a substantial contribution from Sebastian Le Toux.
Jason Price: Excellent question. Marco Pappa.
Biggie: This may seem cliche, but he is the only guy on a roster of old guys that is that definitive game breaker, Mr. Landon Donovan. I mean, he really defines world class, and I don’t think that exists on any other roster. Not only that, he now has a compatriot in the league of people I refuse to boo regardless of the jersey that they are wearing, and that is CD9. Not sure why this is relevant or anyone cares, but I feel like sharing. I guess it shows my level of respect/love for LD even though he plays for LA.
Matthew: I’ve got to give something to Javier Morales and this prediction seems appropriate. Last year, 1st round exit, no Morales. Year before? Morales, MLS Cup. Real Salt Lake has big expectations and most of them will be carried through the season and post-season by Morales.
Newcomer of the Year, non-rookie
Jay Bell: Teemu Tainio; Great pedigree at a weak position in MLS. Backe and crew have done a good job so far with player signings. I’m keeping my eye on Omar Bravo and Jay Demerit too.
Biggie: Ah yes, the newcomer of the year. That would be Livestrong Stadium in Kansas City. I know the midwest gang is stoked about it and I love soccer specific stadiums, they make me happy inside. So there you go, by far the best newcomer that the MLS will see this year.
Jason Price: Alain Rochat and Jay DeMerit are going to have to shoulder a lot of responsibility for Vancouver. I think they’ll do well in what should be a very frustrating season for the Caps.
Matthew: Does FC Dallas’s shiny new striker Fabian Castillo count as rookie? Doesn’t play like one.
Best Non-American (US) National
Jay Bell: I’m having trouble deciding between Marco Pappa and Omar Cummings.
Matthew: Omar Cummings, Marco Pappa, David Ferreira and (cough) Andy Najar all deserve consideration here. I’m going to be different and punt–literally–and give them to the man that is Swiss, but who’s defense is anything but Swiss Cheese, Stefan Frei. Oh and DeWayne DeRosario is that good. He’s just got a little too much Allen Iverson in him.
Biggie: Thierry Henry, who like his second year at Barca will be fit and settled. Then he will shred defenses and make me dream of The Invincibles and how much fun FIFA 2002 was. Then I will go cry on my PS2 which I just recently found again.
Jay Bell: All four wildcard playoff teams will come from the Western Conference. That kind of wildcard, right?
Biggie: The west scoops all the extra playoff spots again. I don’t actually think this is likely, but they are wildcard playoff spots (by American definition) and you did say wildcard prediction. Even though wildcard keeps making me think of wildcats.
Jason Price: Irving Garcia goes to the Mexican league and gets major minutes.
Matthew: Most of these predictions will be….right!