The MLS website just put out an article featuring all of their editors predicting which team will win the MLS Cup this season. Most of them obviously gave the stock answer of RSL and one guy even predicted FC Dallas to take the title in what would be an enormous upset, but surprisingly our Colorado Rapids got some love from the editors as well, namely Media editor David Agrell.
My head says RSL, but my heart says San Jose. However, my gut is calling for the Rapids — and I'm going with my gut on this one. Had it not been for a few moments of insanity late in Saturday's game vs. RSL, the Rapids would be heading into the playoffs having earned wins against each of the league's elite in recent weeks. Smith's Rapids are impressive at both ends of the field: The Cummings-Casey connection is brutally effective, and the defense looks sharper than earlier in the season. Also, they're in the weaker East bracket and they open their postseason against a sputtering Crew. I understand all the hype surrounding LA, New York, Seattle and Salt Lake, but this just feels like Colorado's year. Could we be looking at a Rocky Mountain Cup final? postseason, with much discussion surrounding the playoff format and the neutral site finale.
And strangely, Simon Borg was incredibly vague and didn't really tell us who would win the cup final, but seemed to be hinting Rapids.
New York have arguably the easiest road to the final of any playoff team. Which is why they won't make it. Instead, Colorado will be crowned East champs and will meet FC Dallas, who will emerge from a grueling West bracket. And so a new MLS Cup champ will be crowned after what will prove to be a heavily scrutinized and hotly debated postseason, with much discussion surrounding the playoff format and the neutral site finale.
SBnation's football editors - including myself - did a quick playoff preview earlier yesterday as well, where we all chose which team we would put our money on, our surprise candidate for an upset and a team we'd give no chance. Besides the flurry of RSL votes, only one guy saying that San Jose has a shot and Dave Clark furthering the "Sounders fans need to get over themselves" meme, it's noteworthy that someone other than myself - Kevin from Cartilage Free Captain to be precise - gave the Rapids a shoutout.
The points I've seen been made are all valid. Colorado going through the East will have one of the easier roads to the final through Columbus and perhaps San Jose if an upset were to occur. They do have the best striker tandem in the league and they do have a great bit of form going into the playoffs as well. Still... the Rapids getting some love in MLS Cup predictions. Color me surprised.