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Big D Soccer: 2018 Staff Predictions

It is that time of the year again!

MLS: MLS CUP-Seattle Sounders vs Toronto FC Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The new season is here and we’ve asked our staff to make some predictions that are sure to go very wrong this season. Here is what we see happening this season.

What excites you most about the upcoming season?

Jeff: It’s a fresh start, a new opportunity to get fired up again.

Ben: Having Mauro back again. It’ll be fun watching him destroy body language takes this year.

Cody: The number of new faces that Dallas should get to try out this year. There is a lot of depth in this squad and I hope to see it get used.

Nathan: The possibility of youngsters getting a lot of minutes

Etan: FC Dallas’ exciting young homegrowns and draft picks getting game minutes.

Jared: Putting last year’s “collapse” to bed.

Ryan: Mosquera. This guy could be that spark that we need and have missed since that other left winger left us. It’ll be fun to see how the team evolves with him coming in.

Jack H: Whether or not FC Dallas can return to form with their new roster. In addition, would love to see Reggie Cannon get some laying time this year. Hopefully, Pareja continues his youth movement.

Scott: Seeing how young guys like Reggie and Paxton grow, as well as (hopefully) seeing some soccer that reflects anything but the second half of 2017. I’ll take anything.

Mo: Change for the better. The potential to see the ghosts of last season put to rest with a bounce-back playoff run makes me smile. Mauro Diaz looks like he is back in his Super Mauro fashion, and I am excited to see him back to MVP-like shape. I am glad MLS soccer is back, and I am looking forward to a competitive season from our Dallas boys.

Jack R: Seeing how FCD can incorporate their depth into team rotation and tactical versatility.

Andrew: The kids! Cannon, Pomykal, and Atuehene are the future. Also, the real return of Mauro Diaz.

Preston: This is a new look team, a restructured defense, and a shiny new DP that could really change the attack. Don’t forget a fully fit Mauro.

Drew: Seeing some fresh faces, new lineups and probably most of all, having the south end of the stadium finished with the new Hall of Fame opening.

Jason: Reggie Cannon

Jose: All the new faces, and the recommitment to youth. I’m excited to see some redemption, after last seasons collapse.

What worries you the most going into the season?

Jeff: The defense, the offense, the midfield. I feel pretty good about the keeper position though! Just a lot of unknowns.

Ben: Getting repeatedly screwed by VAR again.

Cody: That Papi won’t give players the chances to impress. He was very stagnant with the lineups last year and I hope that changes this year. Also, no more Tesho please.

Nathan: This work in progress offense and defense.

Etan: FC Dallas’ offense going stale.

Jared: This team is closer to the one that failed last year as opposed to the one that was flying high at the beginning of the season.

Ryan: Our CB depth is a little scary. And our defense isn’t as firm. Which is why I’m excited about what Mosquera will do...might have to score more.

Jack H: If Mauro Diaz and Tesho Akindele endure a bad season, it may conclude their time with the team.

Scott: I’m worried that the documented struggles are all mental and have almost nothing to do with the team’s talent. If this is the case, a fresh start might not be enough and it might take a bigger roster overhaul to inject new life into the squad. My hope is, though, that this is where a coach like Oscar can shine.

Mo: This offense has done nothing so far to make me think that it has improved since last year. I worry that the defense will do its part and that we will not be able to score enough to turn those losses into draws and those draws into wins.

Jack R: Are we really a different team going into this season? Or are we just trying to do the same thing with different players?

Andrew: I’m most worried that our offseason makeover doesn’t fix the problems from last season: a Swiss cheese defense and apathetic attack.

Preston: The demons of 2017. I am slightly worried they haven’t been fully shaken off yet.

Drew: Chemistry. It disappeared in 2017 and as much as I would like to believe it will return, I just remain doubtful.

Jason: The defense. Is Matt Hedges capable of recovering his 2016 Defender of the Year form?

Jose: Lack of Morale and team cohesion. This was a big issue last year, and needs to be resolved early in the season, or it will sink the team (again).

Who will be FCD’s Golden Boot winner in 2018?

Jeff: Maxi Urruti

Ben: Maxi Urruti

Cody: Maxi Urruti

Nathan: Michael Barrios

Etan: Maxi Urruti

Jared: Maxi Urruti

Ryan: Maximiliano Urruti. This dude is an engine. And can find the back of the net.

Jack H: Maxi Urruti (but we all know we want Colman)

Scott: Maxi Urruti

Mo: Michael Barrios. He will reap the rewards of Mosquera’s trouble on the wings and outscore the rest of FCD’s strikers.

Jack R: Maxi Urruti- It’s hard to pick anyone but Maxi at this point.

Andrew: For better and worse - Maxi Urruti

Preston: Maxi Urruti

Drew: Maxi Urruti

Jason: Maxi Urruti

Jose: Maxi Urruti

Who will be FCD’s top defender in 2018?

Jeff: Anton Nedyalkov

Ben: Matt Hedges

Cody: Matt Hedges

Nathan: Matt Hedges

Etan: Matt Hedges

Jared: Matt Hedges

Ryan: Matt Hedges

Jack H: Matt Hedges

Scott: Reto Zeigler

Mo: Reto Ziegler. The anchorman will help shore up a leaky defense last year and help bring those pesky goals against statistics back to reality while pounding home a couple of goals in the process and grabbing an assist or two in the process.

Jack R: Matt Hedges is still the man.

Andrew: Matt Hedges

Preston: Reto Ziegler

Drew: Carlos Gruezo

Jason: Reto Ziegler

Jose: Reto Ziegler

Who will be FCD’s Team MVP in 2018?

Jeff: Mauro Diaz

Ben: Mauro Diaz

Cody: Mauro Diaz

Nathan: Mauro Diaz

Etan: Matt Hedges

Jared: Mauro Diaz

Ryan: Jesse Gonzalez

Jack H: Kellyn Acosta

Scott: Mauro Diaz

Mo: Carlos Gruezo. With Kellyn Acosta struggling with health, Gruezo will quietly have another solid year and help keep the midfield in order.

Jack R: Mauro Diaz- Anyone that isn’t picking Diaz forgot how good he is when healthy.

Andrew: Mauro Diaz

Preston: Maxi Urruti

Drew: Mauro Diaz

Jason: Mauro Diaz

Jose: Santiago Mosquera


Biggest story (non-FCD related) you’re following.

Jeff: Atlanta United and keeping their momentum

Ben: Zlatan coming to LA. Of course I hate the Galaxy- more than Houston, but less than the inventors of soccer- but having that dude in the league for a year and a half is too good to pass up.

Cody: How will the big MLS purchases pan out. Guys like Barco are the future of the league and I hope he proves he was worth the money.

Nathan: USMNT Head Coach search - who will be next?

Etan: LAFC’s inaugural season.

Jared: Miami FC - Nah, just kidding, no one cares about that. Probably the next round of expansion (Cincy vs. Sacramento) or Columbus Crew to ATX.

Ryan: USMNT coaching search. It’s huge for the program especially after the election. Need to start rebuilding at some point.

Jack H: How will Seattle cope without Jordan Morris?

Scott: How LAFC fares in their debut season and does their first campaign look more like Atlanta’s or Minnesota’s.

Mo: Who will be tasked to lead the USMNT in its revamp? What type of changes will happen (if any) at the USSF level and how will not making it to the World Cup affect our chances of landing more of those dual-eligible players?

Jack R: MLS2ATX

Andrew: The final expansion team and the possible relocation of Columbus. Both could be tied together.

Preston: Liverpool’s progress in UCL

Drew: The MLS expansion race is always intriguing to me but outside of that it may have to do with what players come in this summer after the World Cup.

Jason: #MLS2ATX and #SaveTheCrew

Jose: Toronto FC, are they a dynasty in the making?

Who will win league MVP

Jeff: Miguel Almiron

Ben: Sebastian Giovinco

Cody: Sebastian Giovinco

Nathan: Sebastian Giovinco

Etan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Jared: Miguel Almiron

Ryan: Sebastian Giovinco

Jack H: David Villa

Scott: Diego Valeri

Mo: Miguel Almiron

Jack R: Josef Martinez

Andrew: Albert Rusnak

Preston: Sebastian Giovinco

Drew: Sebastian Giovinco

Jason: Sebastian Giovinco

Jose: Sebastian Giovinco

Who will win the MLS Golden Boot?

Jeff: Sebastian Giovinco

Ben: Sebastian Giovinco

Cody: Josef Martinez

Nathan: David Villa

Etan: Josef Martinez

Jared: Josef Martinez

Ryan: Sebastian Giovinco

Jack H: Sebastian Giovinco

Scott: Josef Martinez

Mo: Josef Martinez

Jack R: Josef Martinez

Andrew: David Villa

Preston: Sebastian Giovinco

Drew: David Villa

Jason: David Villa

Jose: David Villa

Playoff prediction the Eastern Conference finish (teams 1-6):

Easter Conference Prediction

Name 1 2 3 4 5 6
Name 1 2 3 4 5 6
Jeff Toronto NYCFC Atlanta NYRB Philadelphia Orlando
Ben NYCFC Toronto Columbus Atlanta Chicago DCU
Cody Atlanta Toronto Chicago NYCFC NYRB Montreal
Nathan Toronto Columbus Atlanta NYRB NYCFC Chicago
Etan Atlanta Toronto Chicago NYCFC DCU NYRB
Jared Toronto Atlanta NYCFC NYRB Orlando Columbus
Ryan Toronto Atlanta NYCFC Orlando NYRB Columbus
Jack H Toronto Atlanta NYCFC NYRB Chicago Orlando
Scott Toronto NYCFC Atlanta Columbus Chicago NYRB
Mo Atlanta Toronto Orlando NYCFC Columbus Philadelphia
Jack R Toronto Atlanta NYCFC NYRB Orlando Chicago
Andrew Toronto Atlanta NYCFC NYRB Orlando Chicago
Preston Toronto Atlanta Columbus DCU NYRB NYCFC
Drew NYCFC Toronto Atlanta Columbus NYRB DCU
Jason Toronto Atlanta NYCFC Orlando Columbus NYRB
Jose Toronto NYCFC Atlanta Orlando Columbus NYRB

Playoff prediction the Western Conference finish (teams 1-6):

Western Conference Prediction

Name 1 2 3 4 5 6
Name 1 2 3 4 5 6
Jeff RSL FCD Seattle SKC Portland Vancouver
Ben FCD RSL Vancouver Houston LA Galaxy Portland
Cody FCD Portland Vancouver Seattle SKC Houston
Nathan RSL Seattle San Jose FCD Vancouver Houston
Etan FCD LA Galaxy Portland SKC Seattle Houston
Jared Portland SKC RSL FCD Seattle LAFC
Ryan Portland LAFC LA Galaxy Houston FCD Seattle
Jack H SKC Portland Vancouver FCD Seattle LA Galaxy
Scott Portland Seattle RSL FCD LA Galaxy SKC
Mo Vancouver RSL SKC Portland FCD San Jose
Jack R Seattle Portland San Jose FCD RSL SKC
Andrew SKC Portland Seattle RSL Houston FCD
Preston Vancouver Houston FCD LA Galaxy SKC Seattle
Drew RSL Portland Seattle San Jose FCD LA Galaxy
Jason San Jose Portland Seattle RSL Vancouver FCD
Jose Seattle Portland Vancouver FCD SKC RSL

Who will win the Supporters’ Shield?

Jeff: Toronto FC

Ben: NYCFC

Cody: Atlanta United

Nathan: Toronto

Etan: Atlanta United

Jared: Atlanta United

Ryan: Toronto FC

Jack H: Toronto FC

Scott: Toronto FC

Mo: Atlanta United

Jack R: Toronto FC

Andrew: Toronto FC

Preston: Toronto FC

Drew: NYCFC

Jason: Toronto FC

Jose: Toronto FC

Who will win MLS Cup?

Jeff: Toronto FC

Ben: FC Dallas

Cody: Chicago Fire

Nathan: San Jose Earthquakes

Etan: FC Dallas

Jared: Toronto FC

Ryan: FC Dallas

Jack H: Atlanta United

Scott: Atlanta United

Mo: Orlando United SC

Jack R: Atlanta United

Andrew: NYCFC

Preston: Atlanta United

Drew: Atlanta United

Jason: Real Salt Lake

Jose: Toronto FC