By Keira Smith // @keiramunsmith
Trees were uprooted, ice and snow swirled, barges on the Hudson River came loose from their anchors and careened down the Hudson River. It was Friday’s anticipatory MLS 2018 Bombogenesis to kick off the season. In most of MLS territory, we start the season with vicious weather and we end that way.
So, as the season kicks off for NYCFC in literally minutes against Sporting Kansas City, I will share my very non-scientific but loosely intuitive predictions for the NYCFC season. (An aside: Anyone else do the Myers-Briggs personality assessment? Fun self assessment. I recall I was an INFJ. But I digress…)
Ten things that may or may not happen in 2018:
1- I say this first so fans can savor every moment, even the bad ones: This will be the last season for David Villa and head coach Patrick Vieira. I think Villa will stay and run his youth academies in the US, perhaps shuttling back and forth to Europe. All conventional wisdom states that Vieira will be offered a team to manage in Europe. He’ll stay the full NYCFC season but this will be it.
2- Maxime Chanot will be injured again relatively early in the season putting Cedric Hountondji and Sebastien Ibeagha into the mix, more fiercely competing for time at center back.
3- Striker Jo Inge Berget will recover from his injury and score a few goals and draw a few fouls. He’ll give Villa a bit of a rest in physical games. (He’s a Viking!) He will become a fan favorite.
4- Villa and Jesus Medina will have some chemistry pains for the first few months with which fans will be frustrated. They’ll get into a groove but Wallace and/or Matarrita will leave for international matches for Costa Rica changing the lineup a bit.
5- Ebenezer Ofori will quickly get playing time and make a positive impact at midfield with his quick pace. Sort of the opposite of Andrea Pirlo.
6- This one is my wildest: Goalkeeper Sean Johnson will have a mild injury and backup keeper Brad Stuver will be in for three to four games due to his good showing in training and the preseason. (See, it wasn’t useless) However, Johnson will come back in full form.
7- There will be terrible calls against our defense by the referees, with continued resistance throughout the league to VAR but it will be used more often than last season.
8- Rivals New York Red Bulls will not be an issue this year. Most of the NYCFC players with PTSD from prior losses to them are gone, so the psychological factor is removed. We will defeat them twice and tie once.
9- Our biggest challenges in opponents will be Atlanta United and Toronto FC. Both LA Galaxy and LAFC will give us good matches with strong play. We will lose to a weaker team like Minnesota United or San Jose Earthquakes.
10- Sorry guys, but I don’t predict that we will win the MLS Cup. This league makes it almost impossible to predict the winner but my money would be on Atlanta.
Enjoy every moment of this season as if it’s our last. And bundle up. For most of us, it’s cold out there.
Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @keiramunsmith
Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale