MLS Playoffs First Round
Wednesday, October 28th
(4) D.C. United vs. (5) New England Revolution
Think of the worst possible way you could end your season heading into the playoffs. Now multiply that by 10 and you get D.C. United. Their embarrassing 5-0 loss to Columbus to close the season will do them no favors as they host the Revs in this one-game playoff. New England backed into the playoffs, but have the attacking firepower to beat anyone. With Jermaine Jones finally healthy, they go to D.C. and knock them out of the playoffs.
Winner: New England Revolution
Confidence Rating: 60%
(4) Seattle Sounders vs. (5) LA Galaxy
What a crazy season it’s been for the defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy. They began slow, made a slew of great roster additions and became the best team in the league. Somewhere along the way, they lost their focus and slipped all the way down to the fifth seed in the West. This means they must go to possibly the most intimidating atmosphere in MLS for a one-game playoff. Seattle isn’t exactly clicking on all cylinders either, but with the home crowd behind them and Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, they pull it out in the end.
Winner: Seattle Sounders
Confidence Rating: 55%
Thursday, October 29th
(3) Montreal Impact vs. (6) Toronto FC
All hail Didier Drogba. He is the new king of MLS and we all shall bow to him. What an unbelievable turnaround it’s been for the Impact since they signed the former Chelsea legend. His two goals on Sunday helped them beat TFC. With Toronto’s defensive struggles and Montreal’s impressive home field advantage, it’s hard to see anything different happening when the two face off again on Thursday.
Winner: Montreal Impact
Confidence Rating: 70%
(3) Portland Timbers vs. (6) Sporting Kansas City
SKC snuck into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth and have been in some atrocious form of late. The Timbers are hitting their stride at the perfect time with Fanendo Adi and Darlington Nagbe leading the way. Their 9 goals in their final two regular season games are a cause for optimism. They continue their hot streak in front of the raucous Timbers Army and advance.
Winner: Portland Timbers
Confidence Rating: 65%
MLS Playoffs Conference Semifinals
Sunday, November 1st
Highest Remaining Seed vs. (1) New York Red Bulls
The Supporters’ Shield-winning Red Bulls will take on the highest remaining seed in the East after the one-game playoffs. According to my prediction, that team would be the New England Revolution. No matter who they end up playing, be careful with this pick. Playing away during the first leg of a two-legged playoff is a tricky task. RBNY could play it safe and attempt to sit back and counter for the away goal. A draw is likely, but a narrow win for the Revs is not out of the question.
Highest Remaining Seed vs. (1) FC Dallas
Western Conference champs Dallas will take on the highest remaining seed in the West. That would be the Seattle Sounders if I’m correct. This would be a very difficult match-up for Dallas. In this first away leg, Seattle would be the pick thanks to their amazing home support. Same goes for if they end up playing the Galaxy. The only club they’d be favored over away from home is Sporting KC.
Lowest Remaining Seed vs. (2) Columbus Crew
The Crew would match-up against Montreal if my predictions are accurate. Columbus is a difficult team to judge. They always play well in the regular season, but seem to struggle in the postseason. Montreal is the pick if that pairing occurs. If they play D.C., then it’s the Crew.
Lowest Remaining Seed vs. (2) Vancouver Whitecaps
Is a Cascadia Derby match-up on the cards? If my picks are correct, Portland would take on the Caps in the conference semifinals. What a tasty pairing that would be. Both offer talented attacking players and solid overall teams. Portland would have to be favored at home. If it happens to be Seattle they play, the same goes. Pick the home team.