Earlier this week, Major League Soccer released their 2013 schedule, which will be the earliest start and latest end since its inception in 1996. The first game is set for March 2nd, with MLS Cup staged on December 7th. Regardless another sign is around the corner (although you could not tell that with the weather outside).
Here is some key games to watch out for:
March 2nd: Vancouver Whitecaps hosts Toronto FC in an all Canadian Derby; Seattle Sounders hosts the Montreal Impact.
March 3rd: 2012 MLS Cup Champions LA Galaxy battles the Chicago Fire.
Also that same day, in a rematch of the Eastern Conference final, Houston Dynamo hosts DC United.
March 16th: Montreal Impact hosts Toronto FC.
March 17th: the first MLS superclassico between Los Angeles rivals the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA.
May 5th: Rematch of the MLS Cup between Los Angeles Galaxy against the Houston Dynamo.
October 27th: Last Regular season game on the Schedule between Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy from Seattle.
A minimum of thirty games in Canada will go on TSN/TSN2 and RDS. No television schedule has been released for Canadian fans.
However, MLS Live, which streams almost all the games live, for around $60.00 U.S. is a sweet deal if you are looking to see the best up and coming major professional sports league has to offer. I recommend it!
Now, here is some early predictions I feel will happen this year:
Two out of the three Canadian teams will make it to the playoffs, with Vancouver the best bet.
Chris Wondolowski will not get as many goals as last year.
Expect at least one MLS expansion announcement (one to New York), possibly another (my gut tells me somewhere in the mid-west US), and a moving of a franchise (Chivas USA to San Diego).
The Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy will make the playoffs, but will not face off again in the MLS Cup. My wild prediction says one of the Chicago Fire/DC United from the Eastern Conference against either Seattle Sounders/Real Salt Lake from the Western Conference for MLS Cup Final December 7th.
Most improved teams: New England, Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, Portland Timbers, Chivas USA,
Most disappointing teams: New York Red Bulls, Los Angeles Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City.
First Coach to get fired: Tough call. Bruce Arena of the LA Galaxy is the most under the gun.
Announcer to watch out for: Arlo White: NBC Sports Network. I must say at the beginning of last season when NBC Sports Network took over, I had low expectations for them considering they did not have my favorite North American soccer announcer JP Dellacamera. However, by season’s end his announcing style has won me over. A former BBC soccer broadcaster, White’s enthusiasm, talent and knowledge of the “Beautiful Game” this side of the Atlantic is making him the “Joe Buck” of North American soccer.
So there is my early thoughts. I am going to put this out to you folks there in Johnston Nation. Which predictions are the most realistic?
Drop me a line on the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org