Part of me doesn't even want to go here. The opinions of the so-called experts will have no bearing on what actually happens in the unpredictable MLS, nor will any self-respecting Rose Citizen be swayed by the opinion of some outsider whose knowledge of Portland begins with Powell's Books and ends with Voodoo Donuts.
On the other hand, there are quite a few people on the internet who like to make predictions about the distant future with relation to soccer (and not in a fun way), so we might as well talk about them.
We at Stumptown Footy are of course guilty of this folly as well, and in some cases our predictions about other teams were not so well received. So it's only fair that we should share with our readers the range of opinions people out there have about our team.
Timbers fans will find to their satisfaction that, overall, the internet expects the team to at least challenge for a playoff spot again. One has the team finishing as high as 4th, while the lowest predictions don't stray far from the last playoff spot. Most of the predictions see as tipping points 1) whether Kris Boyd succeeds in becoming in MLS the goal scorer he was in Scotland, and 2) whether the team as a whole can learn to win away from home. Those seem to be the top two things many Timbers fans are anxious about as well.
After the jump we'll take a look at a small sampling of opinions, and then we'll poll you for your opinion on the matter.
We might as well start with the prediction made by a committee that comprises the managing editors of all the MLS team blogs on sbnation ... plus three more Sounders fans added for good measure. I guess it's only fair, since they invented soccer, but anyway they picked the Timbers to miss the playoffs. Moving on...
Citing such positives as the energy brought by the Timbers Army and the Kris Boyd signing, Parker pins the Timbers' playoff hopes on an improved road form.
Wahl puts the weight of the playoffs on Kris Boyd's shoulders and concludes he will take them there. FC Dallas, on the other hand, will not get there, by Wahl's analysis, because of the uncertainty around Brek Shea and George John and their trials in Europe.
Kyle McCarthy, Goal.com - 5th
McCarthy, too, thinks Kris Boyd represents the last piece of the puzzle the Timbers require to make the cut.
Unlike some of the other pundits, Davis doesn't have a lot of faith that the Timbers will improve their road record sufficiently to extend their season beyond October.
Matt Makara, MLive.com - 5th
The fella who sits in the cubicle next to mine is pretty new at this blogging thing, but Makara's name might as well be added to the list of bloggers who think Boyd is going to push Portland over the bar. You owe me a budget spreadsheet, Matt.
Where in the Western Conference table will the Timbers finish in 2012?
First (6 votes)
Second (1 vote)
Third (14 votes)
Fourth (37 votes)
Fifth (37 votes)
Sixth (6 votes)
Seventh (0 votes)
Eighth (0 votes)
Ninth (2 votes)
103 total votes