It is once again time for some staff predictions here at Big D Soccer. We have polled our writers on some topics both FC Dallas related and MLS related to share with you all before we start the new season tomorrow. Feel free to do the same in the comments section below.
After the season is up, we'll look back on these predictions and have a few laughs about them.
FC Dallas Predictions:
Biggest worry going into the new season:
Drew: Health. If guys like George John and Mauro Diaz aren't able to stay healthy for the long haul, this could be another long season.
Jay: Team chemistry. There are a lot of new faces and a lot of young players on this squad. Can Pareja and the few veterans this team has get the youngster integrated into the system and gelled while also learning to play together themselves?
Brian: George John's health.
Taylor: Chemistry. With a new coach and all the changes that have been made this offseason, chemistry is the biggest issue for FCD. You can have all the talent in the world and still fail if you don't have chemistry.
What excites you most going into this season:
Drew: Easily the addition of Oscar Pareja. The club has a new energy surrounding them with him back in town as the manager.
Jay: Pareja. I know this seems an easy cop out pick, however, we all know this team needed a fresh outlook after the years of the Schellas Hyndman era and the Hunts made sure that they got the man they wanted. OP has been hard at work implementing his style at FCD. Now we will see if the players will respond in kind.
Brian: New coach! OSCAR PAREJA IS BACK!
Taylor: Oscar Pareja implementing a more attacking style of play. FCD will score goals. A lot of them. If Mauro Diaz, Fabian Castillo, and Blas Perez gel, FCD will have one of the best attacking trios in MLS.
Who will be the top goal scorer for FCD:
Drew: Blas Perez. As long as he is healthy for the full season, there is little doubt in my mind that he won't get at least 12 or 14 goals...if not more.
Jay: Blas Perez is the easy choice here. With Panama playing a minimal schedule this year Blas will be able to devote all of his attention to FC Dallas. With new help coming in on the wings and with Mauro being moved into the full time #10 role, Blas seems primed to become the elite striker we've seen glimpses of over the past two seasons.
Brian: Blas Perez
Taylor: Blas Perez. Assuming Perez stays healthy, he will be the top scorer. He is proven to be one of the best attackers in the MLS. Under Oscar Pareja, FCD will attack much more than in recent seasons. This will help Perez score even more.
Who will be the top defensive player for FCD:
Drew: George John. When healthy he is still arguably one of the best center backs in MLS.
Jay: Hendry Thomas. While much has been made of the offensive firepower added this offseason I really believe that Hendry Thomas will show to be the key addition to the Hoops lineup in 2014.
Brian: Matt Hedges
Taylor: In my opinion, Hendry Thomas is the key to the Hoop's defense. He provides that bite that every team needs. Having a guy like Thomas in front of the backline will help astronomically.
Who will be FCD's MVP:
Drew: Mauro Diaz.
Jay: Hendry Thomas. Again I really think that he will shine this year and bring the entire team up a notch. He's the guy this club has needed in the midfield and will prove to be the piece missing the last few seasons.
Brian: Mauro Diaz...I hope.
Taylor: It will come down to either Perez or Thomas. Perez will be the guy tallying all the goals. But, Thomas will be the guy doing all the dirty work in the midfield.
One bold FCD prediction:
Drew: FCD will announce their USL PRO club at some point in the 2014 season. That will give them plenty of time to get their ducks in a row in terms of coaches, players and everything else for 2015.
Jay: Cobi Span will be the unheralded pick up of the year.
Brian: FC Dallas wins the US Open Cup!
Taylor: Brace yourselves...FC Dallas will win the U.S. Open Cup. Yeah I said it. FCD hasn't faired well in the USOC in recent years. But, with all the depth the Hoops have this year, I can see FCD going far and possibly even winning it.
Biggest story you're going to follow outside of FCD this year:
Drew: How many MLS players go to Brazil is a big deal to me. We're already seeing how big of an influence the league is having on the USMNT this year alone.
Jay: The Eastern Conference. The Eastern Conference has taken a major step forward this offseason and I am very interested to see how teams like DC, Philly, and Toronto fair this year with all of their additions.
Brian: Toronto's progression and how Michael Bradley settles in.
Taylor: Has to be the guys in Toronto. How Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe, Gilberto, and our old friend Jackson will do. It will be very interesting to see how quick they can develop chemistry. When they do, I'm guessing it will be some brilliant football.
Who is the top team in the Eastern Conference
Drew: Sporting KC is still the top team in my mind.
Brian: NYRB, but DCU will challenge under Olsen, finally
Taylor: Sporting Kansas City. No doubt these guys are still the best. It is very rare to keep a championship team so intact.
Who is the top team in the Western Conference
Drew: LA. Bruce Arena and company have done some solid work this offseason.
Jay: Portland Timbers.
Taylor: Portland. Caleb Porter has the Timbers looking good. The acquisitions of Norberto Paparatto and Gaston Fernandez will only make them even better.
League MVP prediction
Drew: Robbie Keane. Without a ton of international call-ups this year, Keane should continue to improve his already ridiculous stats with the Galaxy.
Jay: Diego Valeri. I feel like the Argentine is poised for a huge break out year and has the ability to lead this team to some great things.
Brian: Graham Zusi.
Taylor: I don't see Mike Magee repeating here. Has to be Robbie Keane. This guy can flat out score goals. He also has great vision and will produce numerous assists.
Golden Boot prediction
Jay: Robbie Keene. The guy is just too good to not think he'll win this award.
Brian: DP GAM, EDDIE JOHNSON!
Taylor: Well, there is no more Camilo Sanvezzo. So, I'm going to go with my MVP choice Robbie Keane. Marco Di Vaio and Mike Magee might have something to say about that though.
Which five Eastern Conference teams will make the playoffs (seeds 1-5)
2. New York
5. New England
3. NE Revs
5. Either DC or Philly
3. Sporting KC
5. DC United
Which five Western Conference teams will make the playoffs (seeds 1-5)
4. San Jose
5. FC Dallas
2. LA Galaxy
5. Either FCD or Vancouver
3. LA Galaxy
4. FC Dallas
Supporter's Shield prediction:
Brian: NYRB for the repeat
Taylor: Portland Timbers. They are almost unstoppable at home. If they rack up the points at home, and do half decent on the road, they will definitely be at the top of the table.
MLS Cup prediction
Drew: LA over New York in the dream match up for MLS.
Jay: SKC repeats in a final against Portland.
Brian: LAG and DCU go to PKs in Donovan's final curtain call. LD steps to the spot....
Taylor: Los Angeles Galaxy crush Sporting Kansas City's hopes and dreams of winning back to back championships, by beating them in overtime in dramatic fashion.