Well, here’s how this fan sees the season playing out.
EASTERN CONFERENCE top 7 (aka the playoff teams)
- Philadelphia Union
- New England Revolution
- New York City FC
- Atlanta United
- Toronto FC
- Orlando City
- Columbus Crew
One team that might sneak into the playoffs: Chicago Fire
WESTERN CONFERENCE top 7 (aka the playoff teams)
- Seattle Sounders
- Nashville SC
- Sporting KC
- Colorado Rapids
- LA Galaxy
- Portland Timbers
One team that might sneak into the playoffs: FC Dallas
The top three clubs in each conference appear to be ahead of their rivals. If that’s the case, then here are some questions to consider:
-Will Philadelphia finally get over the hump and win a title? The Union have been one of MLS’ more consistent sides in recent years, but a championship banner continues to elude the club.
-How much will New England drop off? A club that seem destined for the 2021 championship didn’t even make it to MLS Cup. Will that shocking finish serve as an impetus to advance further in 2022?
-Are the champs good enough to repeat? Winning back-to-back titles in MLS is rare (2012 was the last time it happened), so history suggests NYCFC won’t be the last team standing this year.
-Is Seattle the league’s best side? It sure looks that way, and there’s a deep reservoir of success to tap into as the Sounders seek to win another title.
-Nashville SC continues to win and often by smothering its opponents with defensive intensity. Will the move to the West and the longer road trips interrupt the team’s success?
-Sporting KC seems to always be in the championship conversation at the beginning of the season and in the what-went-wrong conversation at the end. Will that again be the message in 2022?
Put it all together, and I think MLS Cup 2022 is won by…