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2017 MLS predictions: FC Dallas and Toronto FC pegged as early favorites

SB Nation Soccer bloggers also predict Atlanta United will be a playoff team in their inaugural season.

MLS: FC Dallas at Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting how any MLS season will turn out is pretty hard. Just look at last season, for an example. The MLS Cup winners failed to make the playoffs, as did the team they beat in the final. Toronto FC went from barely making the playoffs to nearly winning MLS Cup, while the Vancouver Whitecaps went from finishing second in the West in 2015 to missing the postseason entirely last year.

That said, last year’s standings seem to have played a significant role in determining where SB Nation’s soccer bloggers think this year’s teams will finish.

For instance, the LA Galaxy’s loss of head coach Bruce Arena doesn’t appear to have eroded anyone’s faith in their ability to contend for trophies this season. And despite the acquisitions of former New York Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty and Designated Player Nemanja Nikolic, our writers don’t see the Chicago Fire picking themselves out of the league’s basement.

FC Dallas and Toronto FC were both pegged as a pretty strong favorites to win their respective conferences. The Seattle Sounders, the defending MLS Cup winners, were a picked as a strong second and New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls are expected to fight it out for a first-round bye in the East.

If there’s one team our bloggers were willing to take a chance on, it looks like it was Atlanta United. The expansion outfit was picked as the sixth-place finisher in the East with 14 of our 32 respondents predicting a playoff appearance and one bold soul even suggesting they’d win the East.

Our bloggers weren’t nearly as bullish on fellow expansion side Minnesota United. They were picked to finish last in the West and not a single blogger predicted they’d make the postseason. Adrian Heath’s side has their work cut out for them if they want to avoid embarrassment in their first season as an MLS club.