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The 2012 Union: Looking at the predictions

We here at Philly Soccer Page take a lot of pride in our news roundups. We’re all Union addicts anyway so, if we’re spending our free time trying to find Philadelphia Union and other soccer-related news from across the web, why not share the fruit of that labor with you, the reader? Saves you a some time doing it yourself and we can always rely on you bringing our attention to something we may have missed.

Aside from player signings and blockbuster announcements like the Le Toux transfer, much of what falls into the Union category of the news roundups during the offseason often takes the form of rumor. Rumor naturally leads to speculation and, when the offseason becomes the preseason, the height of speculation are predictions about what the final standings will look like. To the extent that they are part of a season preview, which themselves run the gamut from very informative to total crap, such predictions can be an entertaining, and sometimes provocative way, to get some interesting conversations started in the comment section. The best predictions are informed judgements from respected commentators about how a particular team’s offseason moves compare to those of other teams around the league. One thing is for sure: When you start seeing our news roundup getting filled up with final season predictions, you know that First Kick is only days away.

Below is a chart showing the predicted final Eastern Conference standings of the Union in 2012 from 30 different season previews published over the past couple of weeks. (The sources of the prediction and the predicted finish are listed below. This is by no means a scientific survey—no doubt I’ve missed a few.)

The season finish that was most predicted in those 30 previews was fourth place in the East (nine predictions). At one each, the least predicted finishes were first and second place. (Mark Rogondino at MLSsoccer.com not only predicts the Union will win the Eastern Conference, he thinks they will win the Supporters Shield and host LA Galaxy at PPL Park in the MLS Cup final, bless his heart.) A total of four sources predict the Union will finish between first and third and so earn a guaranteed playoff berth. The majority of predictions—16 in total—were for a fourth or fifth place finish, which would mean a wild card berth. Ten sources predict the Union will finish anywhere from sixth to eighth place, among them some heavy hitters from the likes of Sports Illustrated, Goal.com, Four Four Two and, cough, PSP (damn you Dan Walsh!). I have not come a across any season previews that predict the Union will finish in ninth or tenth place.

So, what does all mean? Like the predictions themselves, absolutely nothing.

Just as much of the news in the offseason is little more than a way for all of us Union junkies to get our Doop fix during the four long months between the end of a season and the start of another, none of these predictions can tells us how the team will actually play. Who will start? What formation will the team play? Will the new signings make the difference? Which young player will have a breakout season? Which rookie will make a mark? How will this young team handle the pressures of a long season. Will Year Three be a step forward or a step back? Will the Le Toux’ transfer continue to cause nightmares, recriminations and naughty words to be tweeted to Peter Nowak’s Twitter account? Will this team be any damn good?

Who knows.

But on Monday night at 9:30pm, we will all of us begin to know when eleven men wearing the blue and gold take the pitch in Portland in the Union’s season opener. And hopefully, come October, we’ll have more answers than questions.

In the meanwhile, aside from the usual rumor and speculation, we’ll always have power rankings to look forward to.

Outlet     Finish
Mark Rogondino (MLSsoccer.com)

1

Spreegogs

2

Kansas City Daily Herald

3

WV Hooligan

3

The Province

4

Mercury News

4

ISportsWeb

4

Spread.com

4

NASR

4

NW Sports Beat

4

New Engand Soccer Today (a)

4

Fox Soccer

4

The Examiner

4

Boston Globe

5

The Guardian

5

Soccer America

5

Kansan.com

5

Oregonian

5

Flairweekly

5

Soccerfanbase

5

FIFA 2012

6

ProSoccerTalk

6

SI (Davis)

6

Four Four Two

6

Goal.com

7

Stumptown Footy

7

Philly Soccer Page

7

The 11

7

Goat Parade

8

SI (Wahl)

8

9 Comments

  1. I love the Union – season ticket holder since Day 1 – but even I don’t expect the Supporter’s Shield, let alone a 1st place finish in the Eastern. That’s not to say I wouldn’t love that, just trying to being realistic. I would be ecstatic with a 2nd or 3rd place finish & thus earn the chance to host the 2nd leg of the Conference Semis. Either way, tomorrow we DOOP!!

  2. on mls talk podcast one guy predicted 6th and the other said last place.

  3. Pingback: The 2012 Union: Looking at the predictions | Local Philadelphia News Aggregator

  4. Hey Ed, don’t forget that I said it wouldn’t surprise me if they finished in second! ;) (Or 3rd, 4th, 5th … Yeah, that’s what happens when their preseason happens out of our view.)

  5. The early reviews are almost always based on everyone else’s reviews. If the reporters who wrote/assembled them said they’ve reviewed game tapes from the Latins we’ve imported and talked to scouts and attended camps/combines/practices to come up with them, then fine. But don’t you get the feeling they’re written with a hangover? Most predict NYRB to finish higher, and write with the caveats that they have no defense, a keeper with less experience than ours (!), Rafa Marquez’s winning attitude (!), and Luke Rogers stuck in legal limbo. Those same arguments about a young keeper knock the U down. Logic is absent from these. I think the second best D got better. I think our midfield play got deeper with Gomez. The challenge will be to see if we can finish.

    Somewhat related: The Flyers last year traded away 2 players who were the face of the franchise, combined for bushels of goals, and replaced them with a bunch of rookies. They lead the NHL in scoring.

  6. Ed Farnsworth says:

    More predictions for how the Union will finish in the Eastern Conference standings. The Sports Network and the Kansas City Star have them finishing in eighth. At MLS Talk, each writer makes a prediction with Daniel Feuerstein having the Union finishing in tenth place, Robert Hay in eighth place, and Earl Reed in third place. At Chicago Fire Confidential, another panel of writers make their predictions with Guillermo Rivera predicting the Union will finish in sixth, Hottimeinoldtown.com’s Tweed Thornton predicting an eighth place finish, and Total-mls.com and Fire Confidential’s Jeff Krause also predicting a sixth place finish. Waking the Red has the Union finishing seventh.

  7. As I read thru the season predictions, I tried to be objective with where the Union are in relation to our Eastern Conference foes. I think SKC and Dynamo are the class of the east, while Montreal, Columbus and the Revs will prop up the bottom of the table. I currently put the Union in a mosh pit of teams (DC, Fire, TFC & NYRB) that will battle it out for a playoff spot. Injuries, international duty and chemistry will determine where the 2012 Zolos ultimately finish. I’m most concerned that an injury anywhere in the defensive corps could dash any hopes of a repeat trip to MLS Cup playoffs.

  8. Pingback: The Philly Soccer Page » Union news & match previews: Let’s doop this thing!

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