The start of a season is always filled with the most hope no matter what happened the season before or in the entire history of the club. That is, until halfway through the season when you feel like you will die of a broken heart. With the international clubs kicking off and everyone in high spirits, I’m going to make some predictions.
Bundesliga – Bayern Munich. This was a no brainer. Bayern have won the title 27 times. They have won so much they can’t fit all the stars above their crest. They have a roster filled with talent. Borussia Dortmund gets a mention solely on the grounds that I love Christian Pulisic.
La Liga – Barcelona. They lost Neymar last season, and they went on to win the league without him. Barcelona’s most notable signing is Chilean center midfielder Arturo Vidal. Real Madrid will still be contenders. I think Gareth Bale will get the minutes he’s been after. Without Ronaldo they are missing that spark to score EVERY single game, and that will be sorely missed.
Serie A – Juventus. They get extra style points for having the best abs in soccer on their team. Ronaldo has been a magnet for attracting other skillful players to join the squad. They have won the past 7 seasons. Juventus was already dominant with a deep run into the UEFA Champions League, but this season that continued dominance is assured.
Ligue 1 – Paris St. Germain (PSG). PSG have won the French league five out of six times. Their roster is a list of all stars: Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani, Ángel Di María, Thomas Meunier, Julian Draxler, and Dani Alves. I didn’t even know there were other teams in the league. Honorable mention, USMNT baby, Tim Weah.
English Premier League (EPL) – Manchester City. The EPL title has not been retained by the reigning champions since 2009. I think Pep Guardiola, one of the greatest coaching minds in soccer, looks at statistics like that as a mountain to conquer. Liverpool will battle it out with them for first place. But in the EPL, anything can happen and any squad can win: look at Leicester City’s championship season a few years back.
*In the US we like to have a regular season winner and then playoffs to determine the champions. This is different than Europe where if you win the season, you win the league. There are no playoffs. So, for each league there are two winners. This can sometimes make it harder to predict. It’s all about the team that peaks towards the end of the season.
MLS – Atlanta United will win the Supporters’ Shield, the most wins in the league during the season. I’m predicting NY Red Bulls to win the playoffs.
NWSL – NC Courage. Everyone else is playing for second place. They have already secured the regular season victory. They are the version of last year’s Manchester City. The Courage lost to the Portland Thorns in an intense and somewhat controversial championship match last year. They are ready to plow through any team in their way this year.
USL – FC Cincinnati (FCC). FCC are currently in first place in the Eastern Conference standings, and I predict they will be the regular season champions. FCC have acquired Portland Timbers striker Fanendo Adi and former San Jose midfielder Fatai Alashe. If Adi does not go out on loan to an MLS club but finishes out the season in the USL, then I predict them to win the playoffs. If they do not have Adi, then I predict SAFC’s nemesis Sacramento Republic to win the playoffs.