MLS Playoffs: Knockout Round Prediction

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Ayansa Mergia '21, Staff Writer

 The 2018 MLS Playoffs begin today and the journey continues until the MLS Cup on December 8th. The New York Red Bulls and Atlanta United are the favorites in the east.  Could the Wayne Rooney-led D.C. United make a run? These our the first knockout round matches.  

 FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers

 FC Dallas got a shocking 1-2 loss on the road against the lowly Colorado Rapids in their final match of the regular season. They were actually great in the first half and even taking an early lead. However, they fell apart in the second half and eventually conceded two late goals. Portland also met a loss in their final match of the regular season, against Cascadia rivals Vancouver. Can they be the winners? Prediction 2-3, the Portland Timbers.   

New York City FC vs Philadelphia Union 

New York City FC did great in their last match of the season against Philadelphia and secured the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference. That loss plunged Philadelphia to the 6th spot of the league table, still over the playoff line; the two teams will now fight in the quarter-finals. Prediction 2-0 in favor of New York City. 

D.C. United vs Columbus Crew

The team that was not expected to make it all. D.C. United have been amazing since Wayne Rooney arrived. The Black and Red scored a home playoff game thanks to a final day draw and will host Columbus at Audi Field. D.C. United looks dangerous right now with Wayne Rooney’s quality and leadership. The Columbus Crew have also been amazing with Gyasi Zardes scoring 19 goals this season. Can Rooney and Zardes make the difference? I personally think D.C. United will win 3-0.                                           

Los Angeles FC vs Real Salt Lake

Los Angeles finished the 2018 MLS regular season as the 3rd-place team in the Western Conference, following a 2-1 defeat at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. Los Angeles will be the big favorite against Real Salt Lake because of the team’s danger in the attack with the likes of Carlos Vela and Adama Diomande leading the way. The only issue they have is making sure there is enough defensive strength in midfield. Prediction 3-1 in favor of Los Angeles.

The MLS Cup will take place on Dec 8.  The team with the best regular season record will host the final. You can see updates on MLSSoccer.com, ESPN, and FOX Sports GO.