In 2016 most pundits think the West is stacked. That isn't a surprise. Portland Timbers FC won the title, while FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps both showed that youth can be fun. The talent on the LA Galaxy and our own Seattle Sounders cannot be denied either, though both teams have question marks.
When the Sounder at Heart staff predictions took place, Oba was already gone, but the team had not lost its opener to Sporting KC. Overall we are bullish on the year. Most see a major and a minor trophy, maybe multiples of each. Most also foresee a home MLS Cup Playoff game.
And while the trophy expectations of staff and readers (a poll was included in the player specific predictions) is strong, the confidence in where the club will finish in the West is less so. About 10 percent thought Seattle wouldn't see a home game in the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Who is the competition?
For staff it is clearly Vancouver and Dallas, with two Eastern Conference teams sliding in (maybe as Shield or Cup contestants).
Readership is much more varied in their answers. Dallas was at 46.5 percent, Portland at 18.4 percent, and Vancouver with 17.1 percent of readers thinking they'd be the most likely team to keep Seattle from getting a trophy. Frankly, everyone expects the West to be brutal. The Galaxy pulled in 9.9 percent with a smattering of support for Crew SC and Toronto FC.
Losing one game shouldn't change these results. Seattle is still a good team with depth questions at forward (where youth has to be the solution) and defense (though that's due to health issues opening the year).