Published On: Fri, Mar 2nd, 2018

2018 predictions: Supporters' Shield, MLS Cup, MVP, and more

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The staff at theScore FC have submitted their predictions for the 2018 MLS season. Armen Bedakian, Michael Chandler, Anthony Lopopolo, and Daniel Rouse were tasked with picking a winner of the Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup, and other individual awards. Here’s who they see taking home the prizes:

Most Valuable Player

Bedakian Chandler Lopopolo Rouse
David Villa Romain Alessandrini Miguel Almiron Sebastian Giovinco

There wasn’t a consensus as to which of the league’s marquee men might stand atop the pile at season’s end, though there were few surprises in the quality of the players chosen. Last year’s MVP Diego Valeri is missing, but stars like Sebastian Giovinco and David Villa are present, as expected.

Golden Boot

Bedakian Chandler Lopopolo Rouse
Josef Martinez Sebastian Giovinco Jozy Altidore David Villa

Josef Martinez may have made a strong case for last year’s Golden Boot had he avoided lengthy spells on the sidelines, and while the Atlanta United striker will hope for more playing time, he’ll face stiff competition from the likes of Toronto FC‘s attacking duo or, perhaps, the Chicago Fire‘s Nemanja Nikolic.

Rookie of the Year

Bedakian Chandler Lopopolo Rouse
Joao Moutinho Francis Atuahene Tristan Blackmon Mason Toye

All four players named came from the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, though they may not be afforded equal playing time by their respective clubs. LAFC‘s Joao Moutinho is the obvious one to watch, having been drafted first overall.

Coach of the Year

Bedakian Chandler Lopopolo Rouse
Bob Bradley Greg Vanney Patrick Vieira Greg Vanney

Toronto boss Greg Vanney gets two nominations, with New York City FC tactician Patrick Vieira and LAFC’s incumbent coach Bob Bradley also earning a nod. Vanney will be expected to equal – if not surpass – his team’s 2017 achievements, while Bradley must shape a new team in California.

Newcomer of the Year

Bedakian Chandler Lopopolo Rouse
Felipe Gutierrez Gregory van der Wiel Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Carlos Vela

Carlos Vela and New York Red Bulls maestro Alejandro “Kaku” Romero could get their MLS careers off to a flying start, while other options include TFC’s latest defensive signing Gregory van der Wiel, who could emerge as the league’s best right-back by year’s end.

Goalkeeper of the Year

Bedakian Chandler Lopopolo Rouse
Zack Steffen Tim Melia Stefan Frei Alex Bono

With Bill Hamid no longer calling MLS home, another wide-open award could be handed to the tried-and-true Stefan Frei or Tim Melia, or new stars like Alex Bono or Zack Steffen – though don’t rule out Brad Guzan or Nick Rimando.

Defender of the Year

Bedakian Chandler Lopopolo Rouse
Lamine Sane Chris Mavinga Kendall Waston Justin Morrow

Two TFC defenders are selected for this category, while Kendall Waston of fellow Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps also earns a nod. Newcomer Lamine Sane of Orlando City gets a nomination (a result of his European experience with Werder Bremen and Bordeaux), but Ike Opara and Matt Besler are out.

Comeback Player of the Year

Bedakian Chandler Lopopolo Rouse
Yura Movsisyan Brad Guzan Kei Kamara Giovani dos Santos

All four players selected here endured tumultuous and trying 2017 campaigns, albeit for different reasons. Guzan came into Atlanta and had a mixed time despite winning the starting role, but may emerge as a leader this season. Yura Movsisyan could become a star reborn, while Kei Kamara and Giovani dos Santos failed to match expectations in 2017 but could play key roles in 2018.

Supporters’ Shield

Bedakian Chandler Lopopolo Rouse
Atlanta United Toronto FC New York City FC Toronto FC

Last year’s Supporters’ Shield winner Toronto gets two votes backing a repeat, and there is a consensus prediction that the topper of the league’s regular-season table will come from the Eastern Conference. Will it be NYCFC, Atlanta, or another team – perhaps from the West?


Bedakian Chandler Lopopolo Rouse
Toronto FC Toronto FC  Toronto FC Toronto FC

The one category that met with complete consensus: reigning MLS Cup champions Toronto should repeat. With the combination of star-studded attacking players, the leadership of Michael Bradley, the sheer quality in depth, and newcomers like Van der Wiel and Ager Aketxe, it seems there’s little doubt MLS’ greatest-ever team has what it takes to go back-to-back in 2018.

(Photos courtesy: Getty)

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