This past weekend saw the end of the MLS regular season, with the New York Red Bulls winning the Supporter’s Shield and #1 playoff overall seed. Several other teams, including the Chicago Fire, saw their seasons end. The playoff race was tight, with only a few teams out of the running for a spot. The remaining teams are good squads, most of whom should feel they have a shot at going on a run to MLS Cup. When you think back to the recent past, before expansion, you might have 8 of 12 teams make the playoffs. And some of those teams were bad.
Speaking of bad, we will once again attempt to prognosticate and pick our playoff bracket. The results of recent year’s predictions would have been truly hilarious if not for our safe choice of picking the L.A. Galaxy from the west…
So anyway, here’s the bracket:
And now, the Beemsville picks…
In the knockout rounds, we will take the Seattle Sounders over Colorado and the Houston Dynamo over Montreal. Safe choices here. Montreal has been fading for months, and we just don’t think the young Colorado team can pull the upset at Century Link field.
The West Semi-finals will be fun to watch: rivalry games and contrasting styles in these home-and-home matchups.
- Real Salt Lake v. L.A. Galaxy – a great match-up between two of the West’s most consistent winners. Think the Galaxy’s injury concerns are valid, with two of their best – Donovan and Gonzalez less than 100%. So we will take Real Salt Lake.
- Seattle Sounders v. Portland Timbers – Cascadia rivalry with old-school NASL roots. Seattle has the talent edge but haven’t looked good down the stretch. The Timbers, meanwhile, have peaked at the right time and have confidence. Advantage: Portland.
The East Semi-finals are a little more difficult due to the erratic nature of some of the teams.
- Sporting Kansas City v. New England Revolution – we haven’t seen the Revs enough to know how good they really are; however, we have seen KC plenty of times. Sporting have the quality and the defense, but his one makes me nervous, because the Revs have some dynamic young guys. Still, we will take Sporting KC.
- New York Red Bulls v. Houston Dynamo. We believe in Petke power. Also, this year’s Dynamo don’t seem as strong as the recent vintage. Red Bulls win this one.
Oh, look at that – we took the top four seeds. How brave of us…
- Western Conference Final – Real SL v. Timbers: With so much on the line, Salt Lake has the experience advantage on the bench and in key positions on the field. The midfield battles for this one will be intense. Although we really like Caleb Porter and his Timbers crew, the Rimando-factor in goal is the decider. Real Salt Lake will emerge.
- Eastern Conference Final – NY v. KC: The health and wellness of the Red Bulls could figure prominently here. They are much older and injury prone at key positions all over the field. If they limp into this matchup after rumbling with Houston, they’re done. KC seems like the safer bet here, but we think fortune will favor NY (for once). Red Bulls win and survive.
MLS Cup – Real Salt Lake v. NY Red Bulls. Small market v. Large market. Petke v. Kreis as the latter continues his audition for the expansion New York coaching position. Beckerman and Morales, Henry and Cahill. This would be a great matchup and fantastic showcase for the league at Red Bull arena. Finally, Real Salt Lake get the national pub they deserve. A big redemption song moment for the Red Bulls. We would be pretty pumped up for this MLS Cup. But it’s really hard to pick a winner over a month away. Who will be healthy? Who will be in form? Real Salt Lake seem like the safer choice again – less likely to melt down, more likely to be healthy. But we’re going with Petke power again. MLS Cup Champs: NY Red Bulls.
With NBC and ESPN stepping up the TV coverage, you’ll be able to tune in and enjoy. Should be a lot of fun. Just please, please – not another Galaxy-Dynamo final…