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Coffee with the Caps, Friday February 24

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MLS: Canadian Championship Final-Toronto FC vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all had a lovely week and are ready for a break — and the start of the MLS season.

That’s right, hope your Apple TV logins are ready, your Bloodlines kit purchased (or not, as the case may be) and that you have come to terms with the new playoff format because, ready or not, here we go.

This column traditionally serves as my terrible, no good, very bad predictions for the upcoming season, predictions that almost always are comically wrong. In fact, fanbases across the country probably are rooting for me not to have confidence in their teams, as that probably is a better sign for your prospects.

Nonetheless, we persist.


  1. Philadelphia
  2. New York Red Bulls
  3. FC Cincinnati
  4. Orlando City
  5. Columbus Crew
  6. Toronto FC
  7. NYCFC
  8. New England Revolution
  9. Charlotte FC
  10. Nashville SC
  11. Atlanta United
  12. Inter Miami
  13. CF Montreal
  14. Chicago Fire
  15. DC United


  1. LAFC
  2. Seattle
  3. FC Dallas
  4. Austin FC
  5. LA Galaxy
  6. Sporting KC
  7. Portland Timbers
  8. Vancouver Whitecaps
  9. Real Salt Lake
  10. Minnesota United
  11. San Jose Earthquakes
  12. Colorado Rapids
  13. Houston Dynamo
  14. St. Louis City SC

MLS Cup: LAFC over Orlando City

Golden Boot Winner: Brandon Vazquez, FC Cinci

Voyageurs Cup: Hopefully the Caps????

When I sat down to do these, I was struck by how there are a lot of teams (even more than usual) who I could see finishing third or tenth and anywhere in between. Take Portland, who have a strong XI but very little depth and rely on an aging core. Everything could cut right and they make a run — or they could flame out.

I am high on New York Red Bulls and think they are a dark horse contender. This was a team that drug its way to a top four finish, signed a proven goal scorer in Dante Vanzeir, who may well win the golden boot and seem to have a leg up in a weird eastern conference. I am pretty high on teams with a good offseason, because I’m buying into the Orlando City hype, though I think it might take some time for things to gel.

In the west, I see a return to the mean for Austin FC and Real Salt Lake and a return to the mean in a good way for Seattle and Sporting KC, though I think the latter still has questions on if Erik Thommy and Willy Agada perform as they did down the stretch last year.

This opens up a door for the Caps. I think this is a team that should finish higher than eighth. Frankly, the way it is currently constructed, I think eighth would be a bit of a disappointment. This is a team that should comfortably be in the playoffs — but they’ve been so inconsistent under Vanni Sartini that I have a hard time feeling comfortable with that outcome.

Indeed, the expectations should probably be a solidly midtable finish, if not a bit better, as well as another run at the Voyageurs Cup. Toronto FC have solidified their flashy signings with some nice pieces, including Sean Johnson and Matt Hedges, but they fall firmly in the “could win it all, could go down in flames” category. Vancouver is solidly better than CF Montreal also — unless they step on a rake, they should be in the championship again.

I’m fairly agnostic on CONCACAF Champions League performance. The Caps got a favorable first round draw and should make the most of it, though anyone mistaking Real Espana for a pushover is going to be mistaken. Beyond that, I just don’t want to see them embarrass themselves — if you lose to a Liga MX giant, so be it. But play some good soccer and do the league proud.

I think we’ll see some runs of really nice soccer. The midfield pieces all fit together well and have had some time to gel in the 4-3-2-1; as long as Andres Cubas can stay healthy, I feel good about that unit. I’m still uncertain of Sergio Cordova up top but I’m trying to keep an open mind and think his strengths dovetail nicely with how the Caps play. And the defense will surely (hopefully?) be an improvement on last year, as well the goalkeeping.

Will that be enough to get the team to where it wants to be? That remains to be seen. But this is clearly a decisive year and I can’t wait to spend it here with you all.

Best of the Rest

Oh yeah, Sergio Cordova is signed, sealed and delivered. A look at the new man

The predictions from the “experts” (anyone who tries to predict MLS, myself included, is a fool) have been all over the place for the Caps

The always interesting, now annual GM survey from the Athletic has some fun tidbits on Leagues Cup and beyond

San Diego and Las Vegas remain the frontrunner for MLS’ 30th team, Commissioner Don Garber said this week

Canada qualified for the U-17 World Cup with a win over Puerto Rico. The women, meanwhile, fell to Japan in a 3-0 SheBelieves Cup loss