2013 MLS Playoffs Preview

2013 MLS Playoffs Preview

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 30, 2013
  • 2013 MLS Playoffs, 2013 MLS Season, Features
Who will win this shiny trophy in December? (Getty Images)

Who will win this shiny trophy in December? (Getty Images)

I wanted to get to this earlier in the week but time got away from me a bit. The second season begins tonight in Major League Soccer with the knockout round of the playoffs. Four teams compete to move on to the final eight.

Here is how I see the entire playoffs shaking out in the end:

Eastern Conference

Knockout Winner: Houston

This is really a coin flip between the Dynamo and Impact. The home field advantage is what comes into play and takes over though for Houston. The Impact are good but have largely been bad down the final stretch of the season. Only one win in their last eight isn’t good enough for me to have confidence in them on the road.

Conference Winner: Sporting KC

To me, Sporting is a team that can get it done on the road (8-5-4 away from home this year). Add that in with the past two years and you have a group of players that are going to be willing to lay it all on the line to get it done. New York is hot, no doubt about it and if we get a SKC-NY conference final, it will be a good one for sure. I just think the experience factor that SKC has is going to play a big part in this playoffs.

Western Conference

Knockout Winner: Seattle

Another one where home field advantage just plays enough of a factor for me to take the Sounders. I love what Colorado has done this season and where that club may be headed but Seattle is talented and experienced in the playoffs. The Rapids have won four out of their last eight but have also lost the other four games in that stretch. Seattle on the other hand has one win in their last eight with four losses as well. They stumbled to the Rapids in their last meeting but you can’t expect another 5-1 blowout in this meeting. Not when so much is on the line.

Conference Winner: LA Galaxy

As much as I think Portland could do it, and they are certainly capable of it, I just think the experience factor plays in big for LA. As long as Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez can stay healthy for four games, the Galaxy will win the West.

Players to watch

Diego Valeri (Portland) – Much of how Portland does rests on how Valeri is doing. He appears to be healthy as the Timbers head into the playoffs which is great news for the Rose City supporters.

Gyasi Zardes (LA) – LA needs a third threat outside of Keane and Donovan, and the young Homegrown forward is that threat. I really do expect big things out of the rookie in these playoffs.

Soony Saad (Sporting KC) – Sporting needs a guy offensively to really step up in these playoffs and I think Saad is that guy to do it. He’s young, energetic and with the pieces around him, he can be very dangerous at times.

Dax McCarty (New York) – As McCarty goes, so will this Red Bull team. If he struggles in stretches of the game, I see the Red Bulls failing.

MLS Cup Pick

Sporting KC

I don’t see the three-peat happening here. SKC will have the home field advantage in this one and will lock down their second title in club history. The timing just feels right given how good their defense is and how tough they can be on the road.