2017 MLS Futures: New Favorites After Transfer Period?

Chicago taking on the Revolution
Photo Credit: MD Fai Salzaman CC License.

The MLS secondary transfer window has shut and so has the chance for teams to make any midseason improvements. Unlike the European transfer period — which saw new records set — there weren’t too many shake-ups for the MLS over the summer.

D.C United, who have toiled at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, have made some much-needed changes. Midfielders Zoltan Stieber and Russell Canouse signed for undisclosed amounts, and USMNT youngster Paul Arriola is leaving Mexico’s Club Tijuana for over $3 million.

Pedro Santos left Portuguese side Braga to aid the Columbus Crew, who are locked in a fierce battle to hold onto their playoff spot. And most notably, Jonathan dos Santos left Villarreal to join the ailing LA Galaxy for a whopping $5 million.

With some clear favorites emerging over the regular season, it’s time to update the numbers. Who will win the conferences? And who will go onto win the MLS Cup? 

 

 


2017 MLS ODDS

EASTERN CONFERENCE REGULAR SEASON

  • Toronto FC (12-8-3, 44 points): 7/3
  • Chicago Fire (12-5-5, 41 points): 3/1
  • New York FC (12-4-7, 40 points): 4/1
  • New York Red Bulls (11-2-9, 35 points): 9/1

While the two New York teams are performing well, it’s Toronto FC and Chicago Fire who have truly been impressive this season.

After falling just short in the MLS Cup final last year, TFC has come back stronger than ever. With Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore spearheading the attack, and Michael Bradley controlling the midfield, Toronto is projected to lead the conference and is favored to take the MLS Cup.

Chicago Fire has managed to completely reinvent themselves this season. After finishing dead last in 2015 and ‘16, they’re now among the favorites to win not only the Eastern conference but the MLS Cup. A complete overhaul of the of the technical staff, and the signing of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolics, has created a completely new club.

Both NYCFC and NY Red Bulls are within reach of the top. FC has been saved time and time again by former Barcelona star David Villa, and the Red Bulls have a lethal striker in Bradley Wright-Phillips.

WESTERN CONFERENCE REGULAR SEASON

  • Sporting KC (9-10-4, 37 points): 3/1
  • Seattle Sounders (9-7-7, 34 points): 4/1
  • FC Dallas (9-7-5, 34 points): 4/1
  • Houston Dynamo (9-7-7, 34 points): 6/1

Sporting KC leads the West by three points. After that, it’s complete gridlock for second-place. Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas, Seattle Sounders FC, and Portland Timbers are all tied on 34 points.

Kansas City is currently unbeaten in nine games, but their streak has been riddled with draws. Still, with only four losses this season, they lead the lackluster Western Conference. New recruit Gerso Fernandes has been pivotal to their success and could make all the difference this season.

The Sounders, Dallas, and Dynamo are all in contention for the top spot. But given how congested the Western Conference is, they’re also all at risk of losing their playoff spot entirely. 

MLS CUP

  • Toronto FC: 79/21
  • Chicago Fire: 22/3
  • Sporting KC: 9/1
  • Seattle Sounders: 10/1
  • New York Red Bulls: 10/1
  • FC Dallas: 11/1
  • New York FC: 12/1
  • Atlanta: 19/1

The winner of the Eastern playoff should be the favorite to win the MLS Cup (especially if it’s Toronto or Chicago). Sporting FC is the West’s best hope, while Seattle and Dallas also have a decent shot.

As expected, the New York teams are among the favorites and, on a good day, they’re capable of beating any MLS side.

But it’s Toronto FC that stands above the rest. After losing to Seattle in a shootout in the MLS Cup final last year, TFC is going all out for a second shot. With perhaps the most well-rounded roster in the MLS, they definitely have the strength and consistency to go all the way.