The 2016 MLS season kicked off on March 6. Last year, the Portland Timbers took home the MLS Cup and NY Red Bulls grabbed the Supporters’ Shield (best regular-season record). Unlike last season, 2016 doesn’t look like it will have any major shake ups. No expansion teams. No franchise changes. No conference realignments. That should make for some pretty easy predictions, right?
The only major news to break leading up to this season was the signing of legendary USMNT keeper Tim Howard to the Colorado Rapids, who will start after the second transfer window in July if all goes according to plan. But with their dismal display last year (9-10-15, 37 pts), putting them above only Chicago Fire in the overall standings, many are asking: will Howard be enough to turn things around?
So far, with only five to seven games played, both the Western and Eastern Conferences remain wide open. FC Dallas (4-2-1, 14 pts), Sporting Kansas City (4-0-2, 12 pts), and Real Salt Lake (3-2-0, 11 pts) lead the Western Conference and also the overall table. The Montreal Impact (3-0-2, 9 pts), Philadelphia Union (3-0-2, 9 pts), and Orlando City SC (2-2-1, 8 pts) head the East.
Real Salt Lake remains the only team without a loss, while the poor old Columbus Crew (0-2-3, 2 pts) are the only team without a win.
As it stands, the Western Conference holds the top-five spots in the overall standings. However, with almost 30 games to go, that will undoubtedly change.
As usual, the LA Galaxy (4/1) are the early favorites to take home the MLS Cup. Although their start to the season has been lackluster (2-2-1, 8 pts), their history and star-studded roster puts them in pole position.
Of course, defending champion Portland (9/1) are a hot pick this season, as are FC Dallas (9/1), who finished second-overall in the regular season and made it to the semifinals before being eliminated by the Timbers.
Also high on the list are the Kansas City Wizards (12/1), NY Red Bulls (16/1), and, of course, the Seattle Sounders (17/1).
As always, picks this early in the season are destined to change and we’ll update them as the season progresses. But here are the current odds!
Odds to win the 2016-17 MLS Cup:
LA Galaxy: 4/1
Portland Timbers: 9/1
FC Dallas: 9/1
Kansas City Wizards: 12/1
New York Red Bulls: 16/1
Seattle Sounders FC: 17/1
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: 17/1
Orlando City SC: 20/1
Toronto FC: 20/1
Columbus Crew: 24/1
Montreal Impact: 24/1
New York City FC: 25/1
San Jose Earthquakes: 25/1
DC United: 33/1
Real Salt Lake : 33/1
Houston Dynamo: 40/1
New England Revolution: 50/1
Philadelphia Union: 50/1
Colorado Rapids: 75/1
Chicago Fire: 100/1
(Photo Credit: Albumen (Sounders FC v. FC Dallas) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)