It’s time once again for my bold predictions for the upcoming MASL season. With all of the offseason shuffling going on the Pacific Division, this will be one of the most intriguing playoff races to watch. So, let’s dive into the predictions!
1.) San Diego will lead the league in scoring: Last year, the Sockers had 166 goals, putting themselves in the middle of the pack when it comes to goals scored. In the offseason, they’ve added Christian Gutierrez, a high scoring midfielder, Taylor Bond, Christian Segura, and Leonardo de Oliviera. Add these players with the likes of Kraig Chiles, Brandon Escoto, and Erick Tovar, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for goals galore.
2.) Nick Perera will be in the running for Most Valuable Player: At the start of last season, yours truly was very excited about the thought of watching Nick Perera at the OnCenter in Syracuse. But, after three games, he was traded to Tacoma. He made quite the impression on Stars fans when he finished the season with 20 goals and 10 assists for a Tacoma team that made the playoffs. In order for Tacoma to have a successful 2018-19 season, Perera will need to, and will have, an MVP caliber season.
3.) Chris Toth will start one-half of the games for Ontario this season: Currently, Ontario has three goalkeepers on their active roster, including Toth. I could see Ontario taking the “San Diego” approach, and have two keepers split time with Toth. Claysson de Lima would be that second keeper.
4.) Turlock will have a hard time reaching its win total from last season: They will be playing the likes of San Diego, Monterrey, and even a improved Rio Grande Valley team more this season, so the chances for wins will be few and far between. It will be a tough season for Turlock, and Express fans should be ready for it.
With all of this being said, it’s a three horse race for two playoff spots. San Diego is pretty much a lock. So, out of Ontario and Tacoma, who gets the nod? I’m going to go with a rematch of last season’s playoffs, and go with the Stars. I think the additions of former MLS star James Riley, and Matt Clare, will help Tacoma get that second playoff spot.
San Diego will move on in the hunt for the Ron Newman Cup and dispose of Tacoma in the divisional playoffs. Who will they face in the conference finals? Find out in my next article, when I look at the Southwest Division!
1.) San Diego
San Diego over Tacoma in the playoffs