Believe me, I do feel silly posting this after the Boston Breakers defeated the Washington Freedom 2-1 tonight (well done, Lauren Cheney).
But after aggregating a variety of preseason rankings from these sources (Women’s Soccer Weekly, Soccer By Ives, Soccer America, Daily Soccer Fix by Scott French, The Equalizer and Richard Farley and Ray Curren of Set Piece Analysts) and then dividing the figure using 4th grade math, we have a general consensus of where various commentators think each team will finish.
I love WordPress but there are some things about WordPress that I don’t love, such as not being able to post a chart from Microsoft Word. So if you want to see the numerical breakdown click this: wps predictions
And these are the totally unscientific results. Be warned of decimals:
1.3) Sky Blue FC
2.75) Saint Louis
3.5) Boston Breakers & FC Gold Pride
4.1) Washington Freedom
6.6) Chicago Red Stars
7.1) Philadelphia Independence & Atlanta Beat
And here are All White Kit’s results which I’ll probably regret the instant they’re published. Short recaps because you’ve probably heard it all before:
1.) Sky Blue FC – Despite losing GK Jenni Branam for some time, they’ve still got the best squad in the league, hands down. Only additions, no major subtractions. And their midfield is a WPS All-Star team.
2.) Boston Breakers – Best defense in the league, plus an improved midfield and Lauren Cheney leading the line. Boston will difficult to contain on both ends of the field. Watch for Cheney to have a seriously fantastic year. Boston could be the surprise of the season.
3.) FC Gold Pride – Marta, Abily and Sinclair will taper up the holes in an otherwise average squad led by a coach who had yet to earn his stripes. The defense is a major worry.
4.) Washington Freedom – Very little tampering with last year’s solid squad which bodes well for 2010. Huffman will be a worthy replacement for Lindsey and Wambach and de Vanna will continue to be the best working tandem in WPS. Organization, goals and a tidier defense will propel the Freedom to a solid season.
5.) Saint Louis – Not everything is always perfect inside a perfectly-manicured house. SLA has one of the best squads on paper (particularly in midfield) but what happens if something happens to Eniola Aluko? Coach Barcellos needs to find the perfect system that suits some very talented players. The midfield could be a little bloated and there are still injury concerns around Lori Chalupny and Daniela. The squad is full of wonderful suppliers but only one guaranteed scorer. That’s a lot to ask of one player (trust me, I’m a Liverpool fan). This could negate their excellent defense and stacked midfield.
6.) Philadelphia – The lack of guaranteed goal scorers is a major worry as Rodriguez is really a second-year rookie. But with Karina LeBlanc, Heather Mitts and Allison Falk at the back at least they could give up less than goals than they score.
7.) Chicago – Chicago has practically started from scratch which is a major worry for a second-year team. The squad is loaded with offensive talent but it will be wasted if not directed properly.
8.) Atlanta – Too many questions marks surround a team that’s made up of moving parts. Both the team and the coach lack the experience required (which isn’t really their fault).
Best Goalkeeper: Hope Solo
Best Defense: Boston Breakers/Amy LePeilbet
Best Midfield: Sky Blue FC/Sonia Bompastor, Washington Freedom
Best Forwards/Highest Goalscorer: Washington Freedom/Abby Wambach
Most Improved Team: FC Gold Pride
Best College Draftee: Lauren Cheney
Best Coach: Tony DiCicco
Best International: Marta
Best First Year International: Ramona Bachmann, Atlanta Beat (Despite all the nasty things that have been said about the Beat)
Coach Whose Seat Is Already a Little Warm: Emma Hayes
2010 WPS Champions: Sky Blue FC
Pretty safe picks, minus the Saint Louis shout. Here’s to a fantastic season.