By: Joey Pumo
The regular season has come to an end. This season has been something like no other. It was special. After the long awaited break due to COVID-19 the MLS was actually able to have a mostly normal season. Throughout the season, there were 27 teams that battled for the 14 playoff spots but in the end only the best were left.
Philadelphia Union #2 v. New York Red Bulls #7 (East)
The first game of MLS Cup is at 1:30pm on 11/20. This I think will easily go to the Union. I think they are on a different level than RBNY. They are in better form and have the players to make a deep run in this tournament. RBNY have young maestro Caden Clark who has been quiet for his standards this season. Kacper Pryzbalko in good form will be too much for RBNY. I think Union take this one 2-0.
Sporting Kansas City #3 v. Vancouver Whitecaps #6 (West)
The second game is at 4pm on 11/20 and these two teams have already met twice this season splitting the points evenly. Kansas City has the better goal differential in the tie, however Vancouver won the most recent tie between the two teams. Sporting Kansas City is being lead by Daniel Salloi who has been top 5 in MLS for total points this year and Vancouver is being lead by Brian White who has been their main man. For my prediction I am saying 3-1 Sporting Kansas City.
New York City FC #4 v. Atlanta United #5 (East)
I know I am biased but I think this will be the most exciting match of the first round. These two teams are oozing with quality players. NYCFC have golden boot winner Taty Castellanos who scored 19 goals on the season, while it looks like 2018 MLS MVP and golden boot winner Josef Martinez has started to look like his old two acl self. I think Atlanta takes this game 2-1. Goals from Josef and the game winner from Araujo. This game kicks at 2pm on 11/21 and expect it to be quite the matchup.
Portland Timbers #4 v. Minnesota United #5 (West)
Both teams have had their goods and bads this season. Minnesota I think is currently looking better of the two and Minnesota United is looking for redemption after almost making it to the MLS Cup final last year losing to Seattle. A very different looking team from last year but Timbers have them on their radar. I think the Portland Timbers will fall to the in form Minnesota United on 11/21 at 4pm 3-2.
Nashville SC #3 v. Orlando City #6 (East)
Nashville being an absolute pleasure to watch all season having the least amount of losses all year. They are lead by MLS point leader Hany Mukhtar who has been getting it done for them all season. Daryl Dike has been back and scoring for Orlando regaining his championship form at the right time. Orlando I think will upset Nashville in penalties. Nashville know how to tie a game so I have this one going the full 120 and some. These two battle it out on 11/23 at 7pm.
Seattle Sounders #2 v. Real Salt Lake #7 (West)
This matchup I feel is the most one sided compared to the rest. I think there should be no issue for Seattle. They should easily make work of RSL and move on to the next round. You never know though, I could be wrong and RSL could upset the ddefending champippns… I don’t see it happening I say Seattle takes the cake and wins 4-1. This match kicks off at 11/23 at 9:30pm.
The games will be broadcasted on ESPN, FS1, Univison, UNimas, and ABC. All game times are central time.