I’m just a few moments from heading to the stadium. It’s a good day for soccer, a little damp, cool, just a typical Seattle day. Hope some of you were able to get on the live chat. I need to do it again one of these days.
There will be more on the blog later, but I leave you with these quotes from ESPN MLS analysts John Harkes and Alexi Lalas in their season preview. Thanks to ESPN for sending them over:
Which “Designated Player(s)” will have the best season this year and why?
Harkes: “I think Freddie Ljungberg (Seattle) could have a good season. His past few seasons have been hampered by injuries. I’ll be interested to see how he adjusts to the MLS. The ‘Designated Player’ that continues to impress me is Juan Pablo Angel. I think he is the hardest working striker in the league. The Red Bulls have some holes to fill and Angel is a solid player to build around.”
Lalas: “It’s hard for the Crew’s Guillermo Barros Schelotto to improve on 2008 but I think he’ll pick up where he left off. Luciano Emilio in D.C. had a poor 2008, so he has the best chance of improving and D.C. will need him to regain his scoring touch in a hurry.”
Seattle Sounders joining Chicago Fire as being the only expansion team to win the MLS Cup
Harkes: “Chicago’s run to winning the Cup was incredible. [Then head coach] Bob Bradley did a phenomenal job with that team and people did not expect them to make it that far. The team (Chicago) had a great defense and that’s what teams need to win. Unless the Seattle Sounders add a few more signings, I do not think they will be able to do what Chicago did.”
Lalas: “If Seattle makes it to MLS Cup, I will chug a Starbucks Vente Cafe Latte on the live telecast. Yes, the potential to scorch my vocal chords exists, and I’m sure there are those who would love to see me eat my words and lose my voice.”
Early favorites to play in the 2009 MLS Cup
Harkes: “Houston has been strong in recent years, and I like what [Head Coach] Dominic Kinnear is doing with the club. D.C. United learned their lesson last season and will be ready to make a strong push into the playoffs. My dark horses are San Jose and Kansas City.”
Lalas: “These are my surprise teams: In the West – if Chivas stays healthy, and that’s a big if, then I see them making their first MLS Cup. In the East, I like Toronto to finally get it together and make a run.”