The MLS Playoffs begin this Wednesday and Sunday’s #DecisionDay was filled with drama.
Below are the final standings for the 2018 MLS season:
Eastern Conference – Total Points
1. New York Red Bulls – 71
2. Atlanta United FC – 69
3. New York City FC – 56
4. D.C. United – 51
5. Columbus Crew – 51
6. Philadelphia Union – 50
Western Conference – Total Points
1.Sporting Kansas City – 62
2. Seattle Sounders FC – 59
3. Los Angeles Football Club – 57
4. FC Dallas – 57
5. Portland Timbers – 54
6. Real Salt Lake – 49
Other notable highlights:
- The New York Red Bulls clinched the Supporters’ Shield edging past Atlanta United with a total of 71 points – a new single season record.
- LA Galaxy came up short against the Houston Dynamo and their playoff dreams were cut short. Will this be the last time we see Zlatan suit up for LA?
- Alphonso Davies scored a brace and played his last game in a Whitecaps shirt as he prepares for his highly anticipated Bayern Munich move.
As the dust settled and the Knockout Round schedule finally cemented, we take a look at the match-ups and chime in on who we think will advance:
New York City v Philadelphia
NYC and Philly occupied the 3rd and 4th place slots just last week. Unfortunately, the Union didn’t finish the season with the same grit that flourished all year, as they had to settle for 6th place with 50 points and giving up a home game. On Sunday, NYCFC put 3 past Philly for a 3-1 win at Yankee Stadium.
If Philadelphia plays anything like this weekend, they might as well not even suit up. It will take a lot from Jim Curtain and his young defensive line to fix the errors and freeze David Villa and Co. Curtain’s praise for his young defense can’t be taken away; it just seems the pair of 20-year-olds can’t rise when it matters most.
789 Prediction: New York City 2 – 1 Philadelphia
D.C. United v Columbus
I’m thinking this will be an entertaining match. So much at stake.
D.C.’s revival with their new, soccer-specific stadium. Columbus’s rescue from relocating to Texas.
Rooney’s influence on the field to help D.C. reach a 10-match unbeaten streak. Columbus’s Zardes tallying 17 goals this season after playing right-back last year.
Both fan bases thirsty for silverware to show that the originals from MLS still have what it takes to compete in MLS 3.0.
But, D.C. is playing at home. and they. are. on. fire.
789 Prediction: D.C. United 3 – 2 Columbus
Dallas v Portland
The Timbers went for 15 unbeaten games from April to August and a stretch like that can pretty much guarantee a playoff spot. Their coach made a tactical decision on Sunday and rested a plethora of their starters, but it cost them. If they would have walked away with a W against the Whitecaps, this match was set to take center stage at the daunting Providence Park instead of the other way around.
On the other side, Dallas has seen a similar playoff path. Going 12-3-6 at the start of the season gave them a nice cushion for a shaky end to their season. To add more fuel to the fire, Max Urruti only has two goals since May..
789 Prediction: Portland 1 – 0 Dallas
LAFC v Real Salt Lake
RSL watched #DecisionDay from the comfort of their living rooms, as they needed Houston to upset the Galaxy to send them through to playoffs. The Dynamo did just that, and now Real travel to Banc of California to take on MLS’s most recent newcomer.
The fact is, LAFC set the record for the most points from an expansion side ever and, let’s face it, Real are in the post-season due to sheer luck on decision day.
Additionally, RSL have the worst road record of any West playoff team and LA have beaten them twice already this season.
789 Prediction: LAFC 3 – 0 Real Salt Lake