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MLS pundits predict big year for Dynamo

27 February 4:31 pm

MLS pundits predict big year for Dynamo

By Jonathan Kaplan

With only four days to go before the first game of the 2013 season, the editors at MLSsoccer.com are busy with their season opening predictions. Yesterday, they looked at which players have a chance to win the Budweiser Golden Boot award. Today, they looked at which goalkeepers have a chance to take home this year's Goalkeeper of the Year award.

It's no surprise that there was Dynamo representation in each category.

First up is the Golden Boot, awarded to the player who scores the most goals in the regular season. Included on the list are some big names including Robbie Keane, Thierry Henry and Eddie Johnson. MLSsoccer.com editor-in-chief Greg Lalas, however, went outside the box with his selection and chose Dynamo forward Will Bruin.

The former Generation adidas striker is entering his third year in the league. He scored 12 goals during the regular season last year and added another four in the playoffs to help the team advance to the MLS Cup final. After an off-season training with the U.S. men's national team and his first cap for the USMNT at BBVA Compass Stadium, some pundits believe Bruin could break the 20-goal mark in 2013. Here is what Lalas had to say about Bruin:

He quietly hit 12 goals last year, good for ninth-most in the league. With the creative Boniek García alongside for a full season and the newly arrived Omar Cummings running defenders in circles, he has a shot at 20 this year.

Today, the MLSsoccer.com editors offered their choice for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Care to guess who Director of Video Jason Saghini chose? None other than Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall. Here is what Saghini had to say about the Dynamo goalkeeper:

This is a long time coming, but Hall has gotten better and better each year.

Hall was named to the MLS All-Star team in 2011 and has backstopped the Dynamo to the last two MLS Cup finals.

Individual Dynamo players are not the only ones getting love from sports pundits. Over at SI.com, soccer writers Grant Wahl and Avi Creditor both predicted the Dynamo to be lifting the trophy in December.

Creditor: The Dynamo made the MLS Cup final each of the last two seasons. They had no major defections. They added a potential impact (and MLS Cup-winning) forward in Omar Cummings and filled out other depth needs. Bruin is coming off a 12-goal campaign as he enters his third MLS season. Boniek Garcia gets an entire season in MLS instead of joining midway through the campaign. They don't have to start the season on a lengthy road trip while the construction of their home stadium is concluded. This is a battle-tested, playoff-experienced team that knows how to win when it matters.

Wahl: Lost in the focus on whether Los Angeles can become the first MLS team to three-peat is the possibility that Houston could also make its third straight MLS Cup final. Dominic Kinnear has given a postseason coaching masterclass the last two years, and Houston should be even better this season with a full year of MVP candidate Boniek García and Ricardo Clark, to say nothing of Brad Davis, rising target man Will Bruin and the addition of Omar Cummings. My sense is we'll see a third straight Houston-L.A. final, but this time it'll take place in Texas.

Elsewhere around the internet, Brian Straus of Sporting News calls Houston the "class of the Eastern Conference."

So what do you think Dynamo fans? Is this Will Bruin's year to take home the MLS Golden Boot award? Is it Tally Hall's time to break through the clutter of top MLS goalkeepers and claim his position's top prize? Let us know below!