Union Dues Staff USL PRO Preseason Predictions
It’s March, the time of year when fans of another sport that involves putting a round ball into a net fill out brackets with their predictions. The staff of USL PRO contributors at the Union Dues aren’t afraid of prognostication, so here we present some predictions of our own. Don’t worry. We’re going to stick with the league we love, USL PRO. After all, it’s March, and first kick is less than a week away.
The chart below shows how members of the Union Dues, those who cover USL PRO, predict that teams will finish at the end of the regular season. Ray Stellhorn is the USL PRO Editor for the Union Dues, and his local club is Harrisburg City Islanders. Chad Hollingsworth and Josh Brokaw are USL PRO contributors, and their local teams are Dayton Dutch Lions and Pittsburgh Riverhounds, respectively. The average position for each team is also listed, providing a composite look at how our staff thinks the teams will finish. The red line indicates the cutoff to qualify for the playoffs.
It probably comes as no surprise that Orlando, Charleston, and Rochester dominate our selections in the top three spots. Orlando City is a fantastically run organization with talent to spare, and everyone knows it. Only Chad was brave enough to select someone other than Orlando at the top spot, and he’s gambling that Luzunaris and Brettschneider are going to pay huge dividends for the Rhinos. Ray was the only writer to put Rochester outside the top three. While he’s confident that Rochester will have considerable success, he believes that they’ll drop some matches to clubs in the south that have gotten stronger.
Richmond and Wilmington actually finished in a tie for fourth place when all the predictions were averaged. Ray has Wilmington ranked all the way up at third. Chad and Josh both wonder about the ramifications of Corey Hertzog’s absence. Conversely, Josh and Chad have Richmond placed relatively high, while Ray is cautious due to the loss of Ronnie Pascale.
Rounding out the playoff picks, based on the averages are Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Charlotte. Chad feels that Pittsburgh’s roster is vastly improved through some key additions, but he doesn’t see them leaping five spots in the standings compared to 2012. Josh picked Harrisburg in the 10th spot simply to raise the ire of his editor. Charlotte is a bit of a wild card with 17 new players on the roster.
This leaves Los Angeles, Dayton, Tampa Bay, Phoenix and Antigua out of the playoffs. None of us can really be certain what to expect from the expansion sides, but we all seem certain that they’ll be better than Antigua. A last place finish by the Barracuda was the only unanimous pick by the staff.
So there you have it, our predictions for the 2013 USL PRO regular season. Do you think we got it right, or do you think we were out celebrating a bit too hard on St. Paddy’s Day? Either way, leave a comment and let us know.