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Posted by on Apr 5, 2013 in Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Minnesota United FC, NASL, Recent, San Antonio Scorpions, Tampa Bay Rowdies | 0 comments

The Union Dues Staff NASL Apertura Preseason Predictions

The Union Dues Staff NASL Apertura Preseason Predictions

 

We’re a month into the MLS and a couple of weeks into USL PRO but now it’s the NASL’s turn to kickoff the 2013 season, this time in a different way. During an eventful offseason of changes in the NASL, the league has been split into two seasons during the spring and summer time. The spring season is called Apertura while the summer season is called Clausura, just in case you were confused.  The winner of each season will face off in The Soccer Bowl for a chance to be the NASL Champions of 2013.  There won’t be anymore playoffs, making every game matter.

Here at The Union Dues, our NASL writers decided to make some bold predictions for the Apertura season. Aaron Flynn is the NASL Editor for The Union Dues, and his local club is the San Antonio Scorpions.  TJ Gulenchyn is a Minnesota United fan, who covers Minnesota and FC Edmonton. Andy Sturm is an Indianapolis supporter who covers Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and Tampa Bay Rowdies.  Hunter Pages covers and supports the Carolina Railhawks.  Each one of our staff members posted their predictions for how each team would finish at the end of the Apertura season.  The first place team would have an automatic slot in the Championship at the end of the two seasons.

Aaron Flynn’s Predicted Table

1. Minnesota United FC
Minnesota completely rebranded the team this offseason. New name, crest, kits, and players. The new owners of Minnesota United FC have put together an excellent team that will be hard to beat, especially the 2012 Golden Boot Winner and Golden Gloves Winner.
2. San Antonio Scorpions
San Antonio Scorpions have lost some of the bigger names but continue in their knack of finding talent from one of Hankinson’s many contacts across the globe.
3. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Tampa Bay Rowdies have had a tough preseason but with talent like Mulholland the Rowdies can pull together another successful season.
4. Carolina Railhawks
Carolina will struggle with many things like scoring which will hurt them and make the Railhawks a middle of the table team.
5. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers
Ft. Lauderdale Strikers will look to be a competitive team but will start off slow which makes them fall to near the bottom of the table.
6. FC Edmonton
FC Edmonton won’t be able to stay consistent throughout the entire season. I can see them start strong but fall to the wayside as the spring season progresses.
7. Atlanta Silverbacks
Atlanta Silverback’s new logo will be the only new thing for this team as they find themselves, yet again at the bottom of the NASL.

Other Writer’s Thoughts:

  • TJ- I’m really not sure Tampa is gonna have it this year. Though they played MLS teams for the most part in preseason, they still couldn’t get it done against Orlando. They just aren’t showing the same spark as before. However, Mulholland and Coach Hill have a few tricks up their sleeve. Other than that, pretty similar.
  • Andy- What Hunter said to you, I kinda agree with. Tampa may struggle in the back, and I’m never sure how new blood is going to mesh until we see crunch time.
  • Hunter- Tampa has the possibility of being third but they may lack some organization at the back with Jeff Attinella gone to Real Salt Lake. The other factor will be how well their additions mesh with the current core. I dont think that third is unachieveable for them, just unlikely. As far as Atlanta goes (see my reaction to TJ’s Predictions).

 

TJ Gulenchyn’s Predicted Table

1. Minnesota United FC
Minnesota’s new additions of top players in league history makes them obvious favorites

2. San Antonio Scorpions
San Antonio will still have solid talent but not the scoring power they had last season.
3. Carolina Railhawks
Carolina has a solid core of the team remaining
4. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers
Strikers show consistency and highly competitive group
5. FC Edmonton
Eddies have produced scoring not seen last year in this preseason
6. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Tampa doesn’t seem to be as solid without Jeff Antinella in the pipes and has had a hard time getting rhythm in preseason
7. Atlanta Silverbacks
Atlanta don’t look like they are going to turn it around this year unless they signed and unknown superstar.

Other Writer’s Thoughts:

  • Aaron-   I can’t see the Rowdies ranked anywhere lower than 4th place at the end of the season. Everything else is spot on though.
  • Andy- We practically picked opposite of each other, and for good reason. We have basically the opposite views on how the teams are gonna do this year. New blood doesn’t always trump lasting chemistry, and the Eddies won’t have the scoring like they showed in the preseason. How many times have we seen a team in ANY sport do well in preseason type outings, then completely bomb it in the regular season?
  • Hunter- I am ok with these picks until number 5. Edmonton while playing well in the preseason, I don’t think their goal scoring will translate into the NASL season. Beating Abbotsford Selct 6-0 isn’t particularly the best gauge for goalscoring. Atlanta should be higher up as they have brought in several CONCACAF internationals and are probably going to look like the team that posted the leagues best record over the last nine regular season games.

 

Andy Sturm’s Predicted Table

1. San Antonio Scorpions
San Antonio has the most solid team this Spring season.
2. Minnesota United FC
Minnesota has some great players, but I’m worried about their chemistry.
3. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers
Ft. Lauderdale looks solid, but not enough.
4. Carolina Railhawks
Carolina won’t have the amount of scoring needed to be higher.
5. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Tampa will play above their level but they have work to do.
6. Atlanta Silverbacks
Atlanta will surprise by not being at the bottom of the table.
7. FC Edmonton
Edmonton just won’t be able to keep the scoring going and will falter mid-season.

Other Writer’s Thoughts:

  • Aaron- I pray this is how the table looks at the end of the season.  I feel like Week 1′s matchup between San Antonio and Minnesota is a preview for the NASL Championship. The other consistent thing is that Minnesota United seems to be everyone’s pick as a favorite to win it all.  I don’t think that the team that beat the Chicago Fire in a preseason friendly is going to have any problems with chemistry this season.
  • TJ- Pretty similar to mine but I just don’t know if San Antonio will do as well without Campos or Sattler. Same could be said about Tampa without Antinella. I still think you need to give Edmonton a little more credit, granted they were playing college teams but if they have the confidence now it may translate to league play.
  • Hunter- I actually have no real complaints about this table. Maybe give Minnesota the edge over San Antonio because, come on, it’s Manny Lagos and he always seems to pull his locker rooms together. Fort Lauderdale and Carolina are pretty much a toss-up. Come on, give Atlanta a little more love (still better than the other two though).

 

Hunter Pages’ Predicted Table

1. Minnesota United FC
Minnesota appears to be the only team that has taken the new format seriously and went out and purchased the players to give them the best shot at the soccer bowl. The past two league MVPs and last year’s best goalkeeper add something special to this already special team.
2. San Antonio Scorpions
San Antonio have a good team yet again and a new stadium to boot. However they wont be able to stay at Minnesota’s pace and will finish just a few points off United.
3. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers
Fort Lauderdale was a very good counter attacking team last year one that caused many teams fits throughout the year. They remain the same this year. Good on the counter but a few new faces, particularly David Foley and Ivan Guerrero. Third place for them.
4. Carolina Railhawks
The Carolina RailHawks look primed for a mid table finish unless something happens to their back line. The team will probably concede some easy goals unless Clarke brings in some reinforcements in the back and if he doesn’t then it will be another rough start to the first half of the season.
5. Atlanta Silverbacks
Atlanta will finally break out of the bottom two this season and will continue to build on what they accomplished late last season. This is a team that has Technical Director, Eric Wynalda’s, name all over it with the additions of Richie Menjivar and Reuben Luna being added to the team.
6. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Tampa lost many key players from last season and will probably struggle in the first half of the season to find their way with the new players.
7. FC Edmonton
Things in Edmonton are changing for the better, but change can take time. You won’t see Edmonton out of the bottom two this first half of the season.

Other Writer’s Thoughts:

  • Aaron- Yikes! Tampa finishing lower than Atlanta? The Silverbacks are working to rebuild but I don’t see them digging out of the cellar anytime this season. Maybe they’ll pull a Chivas USA and shock the league.
  • TJ- Strikers I think will come in with too little too late and will fall to the middle of the pack. I don’t think Atlanta will break out this year. If they lock up their defense they might have a shot to get to 5th place. Totally agree with Tampa, they are not going to be title contenders this spring. And again I think Edmonton can rise up.
  • Andy- I’m glad we can see along the same lines, aside from our top two. Yes, Lagos can pull his locker rooms together, but I can see San Antonio taking the Apertura. Their core is solidly in tact, enough so that I think they steal it from Minnesota.

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