My final predictions for the upcoming MASL season lead me to the Southwest Division, where the weather is probably much nicer than here in Central New York. So, let’s get predicting!
1.) Monterrey will have a playoff birth before the end of February: This division is Monterrey and everyone else. A high caliber team last year, and you bring in the Tayou brothers? Hold onto your hats Flash fans, and start planning your playoff trip at the end of February. Two games to watch for before then: home vs. San Diego in December, and away at Tacoma in January. Besides that, it should be smooth sailing.
2.) Rio Grande Valley will be the most improved team of the season: Last season, I was pretty high on the Barracudas, due to several former Syracuse Silver Knight players on the roster. Antonio Manfut has gone to Ambush Nation, Luiz Mota is hanging out with Mickey and Minnie in Orlando, and Moises Gonzalez has yet to re-sign. So Rio Grande Valley goes out and gets Wilo Martinez and Carlos “Popper” Hernandez from Monterrey, Gustavo Rosales from Soles de Sonora, and Diego Zuniga, formerly of the Baltimore Blast. Head Coach Genoni Martinez will rely on these players to guide Rio Grande Valley to success in the upcoming season.
3.) Cameron Brown will break his own Sidekicks record for most consecutive games with at least one goal: For Dallas to make a run at the second playoff spot, Cameron Brown will need to have a career year. When he played for Dallas in 2016-2017, he racked up 29 goals and 16 assists for the Sidekicks, with at least one goal in 26 straight games. Expect more of the same from Brown in the 2018-2019 season.
4.) El Paso will have the worst record in the MASL this season: Sorry, Coyotes fans. When you’re in a division with Monterrey, and playing the likes of San Diego, Tacoma, and Ontario, you’re bound to lose a few. This title could be held by several teams in the league such as St. Louis, Harrisburg, or Mississauga, but I see El Paso taking it this season.
So, who makes the playoffs? Monterrey could pull fans out of the stands to play in March, have them play the rest of the season, and still make the playoffs, so they’re in. If you want bold, here it goes: The Barracudas WILL make the playoffs. The key factor will be the experience that the new players will bring to the Barracudas. Monterrey will move on in a sweep of Rio Grande Valley come playoff time.
2.) Rio Grande Valley
4.) El Paso
Monterrey over Rio Grande Valley in the playoffs
So, my final four is as follows: Utica, Milwaukee, San Diego, and now Monterrey. What happens next? Tune into my playoff prediction article coming soon!