The MLS season kicked off last night with one expansion franchise playing their first ever match. Atlanta United have to wait one more day to get off and running. While we wait as impatiently impossible, let’s take a look at what the experts who’ve covered the league for so long think about our bunch. There’s no doubt that the club’s technical staff have assembled a talented team. The question is can they come together as one and gel? Here’s what the world of MLS thinks:
- SB Nation’s crack team of soccer writers have Atlanta United finishing in 6th.
- Paul Tenorio of FourFourTwo is optimistic about Atlanta. He predicts they’ll finish 5th in the Eastern Conference and make the playoffs. He also gives Julian Gressel and honorable mention for the Rookie of the Year award.
- Brian Sciaretta of American Soccer Now thinks the Five Stripes will squeak into the playoffs in the 6th and final spot. He does offer his cause for concern over the club’s depth, “Behind the glitz and the glamour, Atlanta lacks depth and that can be especially difficult for expansion teams.”
- NBC Sports’ Pro Soccer Talk had a five-writer panel give their conference standings predictions. Below are the five opinions.
- Joe Prince-Wright has them finishing in 6th
- Nick Mendola has them finishing in 4th
- Andy Edwards has them finishing in 10th
- Kyle Bonn has them finishing in 3rd
- Matt Reed has them finishing in 2nd(!)
- MLSSoccer.com unfortunately has Atlanta just missing the playoffs in 7th place in the East. But, the good news, they have tabbed Miguel Almiron as Newcomer of the Year.
- Sports Illustrated’s three soccer scribes let their voice be known. Grant Wahl has United finishing in 6th. However, both Brian Straus and Alexander Abnos have them missing the postseason without giving a specific finish.
- FOX Sports’ Nate Scott restores hope with a predicted 4th place finish and even adds, “They're young, ambitious, talented, and if they come together quickly, we could see an expansion side win MLS Cup.”
As for our prediction? It seems rather obvious:
East Predictions:— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) March 1, 2017