MLS Playoffs: Contenders and Pretenders

The MLS Playoffs start on October 19th. Here are my match-up predictions based on the released bracket.

Tis the season for playoff soccer.

The MLS Playoffs kick-off this week, and the bracket is out. There are some great match-ups to look at, but before we even dive in to the picks, let’s think of who is for real in this bracket.

There are a few great teams that are in this run but I do think their easily exposed.

The playoff format in the MLS is interesting because of aggregate scoring. Is it better to be a scoring team, or a defensive team?

It’s really up for debate.

It is proven that great goal scorers in the playoffs are tough to stop.

Team by team, let’s list out the contenders and pretenders.

The Contenders

West Contenders:

(1) LAFC- The top seed in the west, and they posses the best goal scorer in the league. They’re the team to beat.

(2) Seattle Sounders- The most well-rounded team in the tournament. They can definitely win the West.

(6) Portland Timbers- A well-coached team with the chance to upset Salt Lake early. Defensive-minded with some tactical offense.

(5) LA Galaxy- You just can’t count out the LA Galaxy ever.

East Contenders:

(1) NYCFC- Just like the top seed on the other side, they can score in bunches. This team can win it all.

(2) Atlanta FC- After their run last year, and the majority of their core still around. I can see a deep run by Atlanta.

(3) Philadelphia Union- No chance they lose in the first round, and their home field is so solid.

(5) DC United- Just like LA, it’s just a team you can never count out.

The Pretenders

West Pretenders:

(3) Real Salt Lake- They’ve been slowing down towards the end of the year. I’m not sure they can handle the potential fire power Portland can bring to the table.

(4) Minnesota- They’re just not a team to contend just yet. The young talent just isn’t experienced enough to get the job done in the 4/5 game.

East Pretenders:

(4) Toronto FC- They’re a team that has the aura of playoff losing around them. It’s not going to be great.

(6) NY Red Bulls- I don’t even think the Red Bulls are a playoff team based on how they’ve played recently. Easy bounce first round.

Breaking Down the Bracket

East First Round:

(2) Atlanta v (7) New England- Atlanta

(3) Philadelphia v (6) NY Red Bulls- Philadelphia

(4) Toronto v (5) DC United- DC United

West First Round:

(2) Seattle v (7) Dallas- Seattle

(3) Real Salt Lake v (6) Portland- Portland

(4) Minnesota v (5) LA Galaxy- LA Galaxy

Eastern Conference Semifinals:

(1) NYCFC v (5) DC United- NYCFC

(2) Atlanta v (3) Philadelphia- Atlanta

Western Conference Semifinals:

(1) LAFC v (5) LA Galaxy- LA Galaxy

(2) Seattle v (6) Portland- Seattle

Eastern Conference Finals

(1) NYCFC v (2) Atlanta- Atlanta

Western Conference Finals

(2) Seattle v (5) LA Galaxy- LA Galaxy

MLS Cup Final

(2) Atlanta v (5) LA Galaxy- Atlanta

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