Here we are: at the end of the MLS regular season and the beginning of the playoffs. The playoffs are what make MLS such a unique and enjoyable soccer league, and with a new playoff format with a larger playoff field, more fan bases than ever are dreaming of MLS Cup immortality. But who will take home the league’s most coveted trophy? Here are our picks for each round of the MLS playoffs.
2015 MLS Playoff Field:
(1) New York Red Bulls (knockout round bye)
(2) Columbus Crew (knockout round bye)
(3) Montreal Impact vs. (6) Toronto FC
(4) DC United vs. (5) New England Revolution
(1) FC Dallas (knockout round bye)
(2) Vancouver Whitecaps (knockout round bye)
(3) Portland Timbers vs. (6) Sporting Kansas City
(4) Seattle Sounders vs. (5) LA Galaxy
(3) Montreal Impact over (6) Toronto FC
If you’ve seen Montreal’s Didier Drogba play – or have seen Toronto’s poor defense – then you understand why we’re making this pick.
(5) New England Revolution over (4) DC United
New England has a lot of talent and made a great run in these playoffs just last year. DC has stumbled lately, and was absolutely spanked by Columbus on Decision Day.
(3) Portland Timbers over (6) Sporting Kansas City
The Timbers are getting hot at the right time. The beat Colorado handily on Decision Day and have been great for the past few weeks.
(4) Seattle Sounders over (5) LA Galaxy
Seattle seemed so promising this season, but things haven’t broken their way. Still, we think they have the talent to survive the first round at home.
(1) New York Red Bulls over (5) New England Revolution
New York was booted from the playoffs last year by New England, and we think they’re ready for revenge. New York has more than enough talent to make it to the conference finals this year: they’re clearly the class of the East.
(1) FC Dallas over (4) Seattle Sounders
As with New York, we’re more than willing to ride the Dallas hype into the Conference Finals. Dallas finished seven points ahead of the next-best Western Conference team.
(2) Columbus Crew over (3) Montreal Impact
Columbus is coming into the playoffs red hot. They’ve been playing well for months and absolutely embarrassed DC United on Decision Day.
(3) Portland Timbers over (2) Vancouver Whitecaps
Can Cascadia survive this matchup? We like the Timbers, who are peaking at the right time, over an overachieving Whitecaps team that isn’t quite of the caliber of the other teams that earned a bye.
(2) Columbus Crew over (1) New York Red Bulls
Can anyone beat the Red Bulls? We think so. Columbus has been building their confidence for a while now, and New York, while they’ve gotten the results, has occasionally looked shaky over the last month of the season (they needed a questionable penalty to earn the eventual winning goal against last-place Chicago on Decision Day).
(1) FC Dallas over (3) Portland Timbers
We have a lot of faith in Portland, but we just think there’s too much of a gap between these two teams to hope for an upset. Portland’s Cinderella story will end in Dallas, and FC Dallas will move on to play for the Cup.
MLS Cup Finals:
(1) FC Dallas over (2) Columbus Crew
We’re high on the Crew, but we’re picking Dallas here because they’ll enjoy home field advantage in the Finals if our picks are correct. FC Dallas has been superb all year – the Red Bulls needed a tiebreaker to wrest the Suppers’ Shield from them – and we think they’ll finish the job this postseason.