- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On October 24, 2011
- 2 Comments
- 2011 Hot and Not, 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs, 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Wild Card, Features
The 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs are set. We have 10 clubs going for the big prize next month in Los Angeles and we start on Wednesday with the first wild card round in league history with FC Dallas hosting the New York Red Bulls. Lots of clubs are going into the playoffs in different paths and form.
Since the playoffs are all about getting hot at the right moment, it is worth looking at who is currently hot and who is not.
– Who’s Hot –
Los Angeles Galaxy: They’ve been hot nearly all season long. Yes, they did lose two of their final five games but both game with a lot of young talent on the field for Bruce Arena. The key guys like Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Juninho, and Omar Gonzalez are rested and will be rested for the start of the playoffs for them on Saturday. If things work out in their favor they could end up playing New York (boy, wouldn’t the league love that). This team has the talent and the home field advantage throughout the playoffs to win it all this season. Having to only play one road game in the playoffs sets them up perfectly.
Seattle Sounders FC: One loss in their final five games, it came in the middle of the CCL run, so I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into it. The Sounders get a cold Real Salt Lake team to open the playoffs, a team that they split the season series with. MVP candidate Mauro Rosales should be healthy again for the post season run – which only helps the tough Sounders attack be even more difficult to break down.
Houston Dynamo: They may be one of the hottest clubs going into the playoffs, now the two seed in the East. They are winning on the road now after going the majority of the season without one. Geoff Cameron and the defense is playing very well these days and the offense is doing enough to win games. I view this team to be very dangerous in this playoffs – they get a down Philadelphia squad in the first round and could have potential to host a conference final game should KC get upset in the semifinal round.
Sporting Kansas City: Another hot, hot team going into the playoffs, the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Peter Vermes has this club playing very well on both sides of the ball. I do worry a bit about their go-all-in mentality to their attack. A quick team could expose them in the back. Still, saying this, KC is very dangerous and could go deep into this playoffs with their offense.
– Who’s Not –
Real Salt Lake: No wins in their last few games going into the playoffs has a lot of people concerned for the three seed. They will get Kyle Beckerman back for the playoffs. A rested Beckerman is a good thing for RSL. Jason Kries has to find a way to wipe his team into a new gear here. We know they can be tough at home but Seattle does pose a tough challenge for them in the opening round. If they go down early at home, it will be really tough to figure that they’ll be able to play catch up on the road.
Columbus Crew: They had two wins in their last five games but when those wins come against bottom-tier clubs like New England, it is hard to know if this club is really serious here. I thought Chicago exposed a lot of weaknesses in the Crew over the weekend that can be used by the Colorado Rapids on Thursday. Going to Denver also isn’t a good start for the Crew as they lost ten times away from home this season.
FC Dallas: Two wins and three losses in their last five. I’d throw out that final “L” though as it came with reserves on the road against a club that had nothing more to play for except for one player’s quest at the Golden Boot. Dallas rested key starters like Brek Shea, Kevin Hartman and Daniel Hernandez for this Wednesday’s contest but we honestly have no idea what Dallas squad we’ll see this week. If we see the rested squad that tore through Chicago a couple weeks ago, then a win seems likely against New York. But if the club shows up like they did last Tuesday in the Champions League, then it will be a long, disappointing winter in Dallas.