SI.com Staff
Tuesday October 25th, 2016

On the eve of the MLS playoffs, with 12 teams set to vie for the 21st MLS Cup, it's a perfect time to look back on how we thought the season would play out. 

In March, prior to the beginning of the season, we made our picks for the campaign ahead. We took some chances, we picked some low-hanging fruit and offered a roadmap that some teams and players most definitely followed–while others veered well off our course.

Below is a sampling of the questions we posed back to Grant Wahl, Brian Straus, Liviu Bird and Alexander Abnos in March and the responses that accompanied them. For our full questions and answers, you can read our original predictions here.  

Without futher ado, onto the carnage:

Who will win MLS Cup?

What we said in March

We had two votes for FC Dallas, albeit on the back of the arguments that Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo would lead the way. With Castillo shipped to Trabzonspor and Diaz out with a torn Achilles, FCD will have to win despite being without the star tandem. We also had single votes for the star-heavy LA Galaxy and Toronto FC.

Verdict: Still in the game! FC Dallas is the reigning Supporters' Shield winner and is gunning for an unprecedented domestic treble, while LA and Toronto FC remain in contention–at least until their first-round knockout matches take place Wednesday. Should they both advance, they'd face the No. 2 seed in their respective conferences: the Colorado Rapids and NYCFC.

Planet Futbol
MLS Playoff Power Rankings: Who is most likely to win MLS Cup?

Who will be MLS MVP?

What we said in March

Reigning league MVP Sebastian Giovinco earned a vote, while two were in Kei Kamara's camp and one in Didier Drogba's.

Verdict: Oof. Giovinco certainly has a case to go back-to-back, with his 17-goal, 15-assist season going criminally overlooked. After that, though, it ain't pretty. Kamara earned himself a one-way ticket out of Columbus after a spat with Federico Higuain, and it sure looks like Drogba's season is going to be remembered more for his late-season tantrum and expulsion rather than the goal-scoring spree with which he arrived in Montreal.

Planet Futbol
MLS Golden Boot contenders Villa, Wright-Phillips take wildly contrasting paths

Which eight teams will miss the playoffs?

What we said in March

All four from our expert panel figured the Colorado Rapids wouldn't be one of the last 12 standing, and the same goes for the Philadelphia Union. We also had three pick that NYCFC would miss out. All four also expected San Jose and Houston to struggle and miss the boat. Nobody picked reigning champion Portland or 2015 runner-up Columbus to miss the playoffs.

Verdict: Welp, that's a giant whiff on Colorado. The Rapids contended for the Supporters' Shield, earned a playoff bye and their six losses tied for the second-fewest in the league. There was also little faith in Patrick Vieiria to get the most out of NYCFC's cavalcade of stars in his first year as manager, yet the club earned a first-round bye. The Union certainly qualified, but they hobbled in while going winless in their last seven matches. Aside from a few other spot misses, the general consensus that Chicago, San Jose and Houston would finish below the red line was spot on. 

Who will be this season's breakout player?

What we said in March

Votes were cast for FC Dallas's Mauro Diaz, Portland's Lucas Melano, Montreal's Harry Shipp and Seattle's Jordan Morris.

Verdict: A little hit or miss here. Diaz (five goals, 13 assists) and Morris (12 goals, four assists) were great and should be candidates for MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, respectively, but Melano never panned out in Portland, and Shipp never really settled in Montreal after the stunning preseason trade from Chicago.

Planet Futbol
Sounders' Jordan Morris embraces the expected, unforeseen pressures in Seattle

Who will be the biggest marquee summer signing?

What we said in March

Tim Howard and Zlatan Ibrahimovic earned a split of the vote.

Verdict: From a production standpoint, it's got to be Nicolas Lodeiro. He transformed Seattle's season and transitioned seamlessly from Boca Juniors to MLS. From a pure shock value, though, it didn't get much grander than Landon Donovan's stunning return from retirement to the league where the MVP trophy is dedicated in his name. Howard joining Colorado certainly had a big impact, while lower under the radar was Matteo Mancosu's impact on, well, the Impact.

Sadly, Ibrahimovic was just rumor fodder and wound up at Manchester United. But there's always hope for next year.

Planet Futbol
Unencumbered Landon Donovan free to enjoy bit role in LA Galaxy comeback

Which American will score the most goals?

What we said in March

Unsurprisingly, U.S. national team stalwarts Chris Wondolowski, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore earned the selections.

Verdict: Wondolowski scored in double digits for an MLS record seventh straight season, tying Morris and the resurgent Chris Pontius with 12 goals to top the American scoring charts. Altidore was close behind with 10 in 23 games, while Dempsey's season was cut short with the frightening diagnosis of an irregular heartbeat. He managed eight goals in 17 games.

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