By: Joey Pumo
The MLS playoffs are now into the quarterfinal stage of the tournament. The first game has already been played and the Portland Timbers are on their way to the Western Conference Final and will either play Real Salt Lake or Sporting Kansas City. These two teams will play each other Sunday for a chance to meet Portland in the Conference Final. The Portland Timbers won their semi final against the top seed in West, Colorado Rapids. It was heartbreak for Colorado Rapids as they lost the match in the final minute of regulation off a corner that lead scramble in the box that allowed Portland to take the advantage.
Sporting Kansas City will play Real Salt Lake for the other spot in the Western Conference Finals. Salt Lake won their first game on penalties and had a grand total of 0 shots. They parked the bus and were able to squeeze a victory out over the Seattle Sounders. I do not think that they will be able to do that again because they will not win MLS Cup playing the way they played against the Sounders. I think Sporting KC will win but it will be a low scoring game because I do see Salt Lake playing similarly to how they played against Seattle.
No teams in the East have played yet for a conference final spot. The first game is Philadelphia Union v. Nashville SC. Nashville has been on a roll with Hany Mukhtar leading the charge. Scoring two goals in the first round he help lead Nashville into the current round. The Union coming off a win with a last minute effort from center back Jakob Glesnes against the New York Red Bulls. The Union and Nashville are seeds 2 and 3 respectively so I think this is going to be a really good game. I think Hany Mukhtar is in too good of form right now to stop now. He will guide Nashville through to the next round.
The number one seed New England will play the 4th seed New York City. In the last round, New York did not allow Atlanta United into the game. They pressed them high up the field and forced Atlanta to break them down. I think New York could pull off an upset if they play as good defensively, but they will need to finish their chances if they want a chance of beating New England. New England is by far the favorites to win the whole thing and they now are fully healthy and will defeat New York City.
So this is how I see the conference finals looking like:
Eastern Conference: New England Revolution v. Nashville
Western Conference: Sporting Kansas City v. Portland Timbers