Say what you will about the millimeter-deep tradition, crazy competitive format and overall lack of identity in Major League Soccer—at least it’s not predictable. I’m reasonably certain I could name the next 10 Premiership winners, in order, plus runners-up, with at least 50 percent accuracy (pending future transactions on the Moscow stock exchange, professional assassinations, etc.). Meanwhile, nobody has any idea who will boss the show in MLS next year, or even next week.
The “defending champion” Los Angeles Galaxy? Out—done before the league’s brutally short play-off tournament even begins. Cross-corridor rival Chivas USA? Just over a year ago, Los Goats Yanquis looked like a bad marketing ploy in search of a team (and a hairdresser), but they’re in the playoffs this time ’round. Formerly untouchable DC United? They are, shall we say, now decidedly touchable. Cup-winning Chicago? Just got nuked 4-1 by wretched Columbus. At home.
So who will wear American soccer’s tin’n’plastic crown? We just can’t wait, can we, to find out!?!