The Sporting KC brain trust - (L-R) John Pascarella, Peter Vermes, Kerry Zavagnin - USA TODAY Sports
"Okay, hold your horses," you're all thinking, and you'd be quite right. It is WAY too early for broad, not to mention impossible, predictions of history-making grandeur. But let's call a spade a spade: this team is good. Really good. How good will only be known over the course of the next 8-9 months, but the pieces are certainly there.
SKC have a loaded back line. When MLS Best-XI Collin is the weakest link in the back five, you know you're pretty solid. Midfield is stacked, though less familiar with each other than other corps on the pitch. Uri Rosell looks like the real deal at DM, and Nagamura and Feilhaber both are capable of performing at a high level. The front line, with Convey, Bieler, and Zusi, is capable of high-quality finishes nearly every time down the pitch. And depth? This team's got plenty, with the likes of CJ Sapong, Peterson Joseph, and others waiting in the wings (and that's not even counting Teal Bunbury and Jacob Peterson as they return from injuries).
What does it all mean? It means expectations are rightly high, and the pressure is on. I'm sure I'm not the only one that was concerned the first 30 minutes of Saturday's opener at Philadelphia, but it's a good reminder that even great teams have poor stretches during a game. In the end, it's the results that matter, and SKC got theirs on Saturday. They were clearly the better team over the full 90 minutes, and took all three points. They'll have to improve to truly contend for all the trophies they're eligible for this season, but the foundation is very much there.
Back to the title...I'm not predicting a 34-0-0 season for Sporting Kansas City. I do think that something like 65-68 points is possible, and anything under 60 would have to be considered a disappointment (for reference, SKC had 63 points a year ago in winning the Eastern Conference regular season). The East is probably a better conference this season than the West, top to bottom. Teams like Montreal, DC, and even Toronto are going to be better. Houston is always out there waiting to dash our hopes once again. But I will say this: I think very strongly that the sky is the limit for this club this season. With any luck, we could be celebrating quite a bit, just not every single game...