MLS Playoff Predictions: Who’s out after the first round
The MLS regular season ended Sunday, but fans won’t have to wait long to see their qualified teams back in action as we draw close to the start of the postseason.
The race for the MLS Cup starts today with a series of single knockout-matches played by the teams positioned below first and second place in their respective conferences. The teams with better ranking will have a slight advantage as they will be hosting the games.
The following are my thoughts and predictions for the first round of the exciting MLS playoff matches:
The first playoff game of the Eastern Conference will be held today by D.C. United, ranked fourth, who will take on New England Revolution, ranked fifth. United arrives to this game from losing to Columbus Crew by an immense margin of 5-0 in the last week of the regular season, while New England defeated New York City FC 3-1. The last time these two teams faced each other was in July, in a game that D.C. won 2-1. There is no clear favorite for this game, but I believe that D.C. United will take it 2-1 due to its home field advantage. It will be up for the United’s defense to stop Charlie Davies, New England’s top goal-scorer who had 10 goals for the season.
The second playoff game of the Eastern Conference will take place on Thursday when Montreal Impact, ranked third, receives Toronto FC, ranked sixth, just four days after having played in the last week of the regular season. Montreal defeated Toronto this past Sunday, 2-1, in an intense match that ended with two identical backheel goals from Didier Drogba. The clear favorite is the hosting team, Montreal, who have won their past three games. Meanwhile, Toronto comes to this game after losing their last two games of the season. My prediction for this game is Montreal 3, Toronto 2- only because Toronto has Sebastian Giovinco, the top goal-scorer of the season. with 22 goals. so we can expect a couple of goals from him.
The first game of the Western Conference will be played by the Seattle Sounders, ranked fourth, as they measure up against LA Galaxy, ranked fifth, tonight after the first game of the Eastern Conference. The home team, Seattle, arrives to this game after winning their last game of the regular season, 3-1, against Real Salt Lake. LA Galaxy arrives with a disadvantage as they have not won in their past three games, recording one tied game and two end-of-season losses. The last time these teams met was at the beginning of this month in a regular-season game that concluded in a tie. The favorite team for this match is the Seattle Sounders, who I predict will win 1-0. The support from one of the top fan clubs in the nation should not be taken for granted by the Sounders, who with Obafemi Martins as their best striker, will try to please their fans by defeating the LA Galaxy and one of the top scorers of the season, Robbie Keane
The second game of the Western Conference is on Thursday when the Portland Timbers, ranked third, collide with Sporting Kansas City, ranked sixth, for the pass to the semifinals. The Timbers arrive to this game after beating the Colorado Rapids 4-1, which made it their third straight win in the last stages the regular season. Sporting Kansas City also won their last game of the season by defeating the LA Galaxy 2-1. The last time the Timbers and SKC met was in the beginning of the month when Portland lost at home 0-1. The favorite team to win this game is clearly Portland, who only allowed 39 goals this season, and will rely on its defense to stop SKC, and its top goal-scorer Dominic Dwyer, who scored 12 goals this season. I predict that Portland takes this game with a large-margin score of 4-0.
Here are the times for the games:
Wednesday Oct. 28
D.C. United vs. New England Revolution 6:30 PM CT
Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy 9PM CT
Thursday Oct. 29
Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC 6PM CT
Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City 9PM CT
D.C. United 2-1 New England Revolution
Seattle Sounders 1-0 LA Galaxy
Montreal Impact 3-2 Toronto FC
Portland Timbers 4-0 Sporting Kansas City