The Major League Soccer (MLS) is the top professional soccer league in the United States and Canada and we have here five MLS predictions ahead of October regular season winding up.
The MLS is different from most leagues around the world, which can be quite confusing for those who don't know the format.
The arrival of Lionel Messi however, has ignited the interest of most football lovers around the world into the MLS; and to this effect, more people have come to know how the league schedule and operation looks like.
For the 2023 season, 29 teams participated in the league, with Saint Louis entering the fray as an expansion team. With the addition of St. Louis City SC, the arrangement was broken down to 15 teams in the Eastern Conference and 14 teams in the Western Conference.
Unlike many top-flight leagues around the world, MLS does not have promotion or relegation even though lower division leagues exist in the USA and Canada.
As a closed league, the same MLS teams compete every year, no matter their position in the standings the season prior.
Let's now delve into our MLS predictions of the 2023 season.
Five MLS predictions
FC Cincinnati to end the regular season on top
Cincinnati leads the overall table at the time of writing and should they continue their good form, they'll be on track to claim the Supporters’ Shield which is awarded to the league leaders at the end of the season.
So far in 2023, FC Cincinnati has only dropped two points at home, a meeting with potential top-of-the-table challengers New England Revolution earlier last month that resulted in a draw.
FC Cincinnati are, at least for now, the best team in MLS, just as it was once the best team in the United Soccer League (USL) and except dropping drastically off in form, they look set to finish the regular season on top and get to the playoffs.
Lionel Messi to fall behind Hany Mukhtar
Miami has 10 games left in the MLS regular season. That doesn't sound like enough games for Messi to catch up on the top goal scorer in the league considering the Argentine is getting to the tail end of his illustrious career, and Mukhtar himself will score more goals.
Granted, the World Cup winner is scoring goals like crazy right now with eight in his last five games, but with 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying games coming up in September for Argentina, it's possible Messi could miss some games for Miami to stay fresh for his country.
We also know that Messi will be going up against some squads that are straight-up struggling defensively in the 10 games that are left for Inter Miami in the league, still we're backing the Argentine to come short of the top scorer gong.
Hany Mukhtar to win Golden Boot
Hany Mukhtar is the leading top scorer in the MLS with 13 goals under his belt.
The Nashville SC attacking midfielder has scored 13 goals in 13 games, and looks set to go home with the top scorer award with only 10 games left to the end of the regular season.
Saint Louis to advance to MLS playoffs
Saint Louis debuted in the Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the Western Conference in 2023 as an expansion team. So far, they've performed beyond expectations. As the MLS enters its second stanza, you can almost comfortably call Saint Louis a surefire playoff team, barring something just truly spectacularly bad. We're backing the debutants to get to the playoffs with ten games left.
Inter Miami to not finish bottom
We believe the acquisition of Lionel Messi will change the fortunes of the club; this is already evident in Inter Miami's performances in the games the Argentine has featured so far in the Leagues Cup.
The world's best player has the ability of making everyone around him become good themselves, and we're fairly confident the positive energy around the Barcelona legend will transition into the team's MLS performance going forward.
At the time of writing, Inter Miami is stationed bottom of the league standings but in October when the regular season comes to a close, Miami should find themselves out of the last spot.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago