MLS Playoffs – Sizing Things Up

MLS Playoffs – Sizing Things Up

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 10, 2007

It isn’t easy right now to figure out who will exactly be playing who in a couple weeks once the MLS Playoffs kickoff. But it is always worth taking a stab at figuring that out before it starts. Most of the clubs know right now if they are in or not, while there are a couple that are still confused and in the mist of a mess that is the last couple playoff spots.

I feel like taking more time breaking things down again like I said I would earlier in the week. Team-by-team here, because I am just cool like that!

Already Sizing Up The Expansion Draft and Superdraft:
Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake

Never once really expected either club to reach the playoffs. I did think at the start of the season that the Reds would be a little better than they were and at least half-way contend for a spot and at one point they were. However injuries and poor play killed both teams early. Real has been able to pick up the pieces of a horrible start with some solid play as of late, so things are looking respectable for next season.

Should Be Dead but Still Breathing Somehow:
Columbus Crew, Colorado Rapids

I said at the beginning of the season that the Crew would be the 8th and final club to reach the playoffs and piss everyone off. Well, I was wrong with that with their recent play and flopping really. Lots of work to do to even think of reaching the playoffs and then they will need some help along the way from other clubs. Pretty much they should just look towards next season here. End strong and hope for the best really I think is what the Crew need to focus on now.

Colorado should have been better than they were this season. I really thought they would be a dark-horse in this season but time and time again they disappointed me and plenty of their loyal fans. It comes down to poor play and poor coaching. Fernando Clavijo should have been fired in the summer months but it wasn’t done. Many of their youngsters should have been brought up sooner and not rode the bench while their team struggled. For a team with the best reserve club in the league, too bad it hasn’t translated onto the senior squad.

Wrote them off months ago but somehow they are still alive:
LA Galaxy

Wouldn’t this be something if the Gals made the playoffs? Everyone from ESPN down to little bloggers like myself wrote this club off well before Beckham even stepped foot onto a MLS pitch and look at what a weird, long road they have gone. They should be dead with Toronto and Real but with four straight wins and a big one recently over Houston, this club is still ticking here. Every game will pass now with what should be a blow to the Gals’ hopes and probably a win will end up from the them. Three games left against clubs that they can beat will make this real interesting in the final weeks.

And somehow they will make it:
Chicago Fire, Kansas City Wizards

Chicago started off real strong and then dropped real fast in May and June, got a new coach, players and got some players returning from injury. Now they are one of the hotter teams in the league. Still the toughest schedule around and they are finding new ways to get things done even if it is a draw. I still believe they will end up in the 7th spot when it is all said and done. A weird friendly Cruz Azul before their DC game this week. Who schedules friendlies for the end of the season? I guess the Fire front office thought they were dead in the water a while back when they did that or something.

KC is another club that got off to a hot start but is finishing very weak. I honestly have never been supportive of this club this season, even when they were doing well. Probably one of the most overrated clubs in the league (along with New York) this season. Still has a room to be fine and make the playoffs with other clubs below them playing this weekend against clubs that they won’t beat. They really only need a win to be fine but with two road games I don’t know if that will happen. Any club that gets them in the first round should be happy I think, the Wizards may be the least threatening club in the playoffs (next to Dallas).

They’re In, but what’s next?:
East: DC United, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls
West: Chivas USA, Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas

DC and Chivas are slugging it out for the Supporter’s Shield trophy. New England is getting ready to host New York, Houston is hoping to secure a home-field advantage either games Dallas, KC, or Chicago (most likely Dallas). And then Dallas and New York are probably just happy to be there.

One thing about New York too, they could slip down to the 8th spot with a couple losses and have to play Chivas or Houston. Good luck with that if they do.

I will say aside from Chicago, anyone facing Dallas, New York and KC should feel alright about their first-round chances as those club don’t pose a real threat in my mind to advance. However if LA makes it, Chivas or Houston will not want to face the Gals in the opening round. That would be the upset there. Of course the Gals have to make it in for that to happen. I kinda think it would be 2005 all over again if that was the case.

Expected Match-ups:
DC United v. Chicago Fire
New England Revolution v. New York Red Bulls

Chivas USA v. Kansas City Wizards
Houston Dynamo v. FC Dallas