IN his second MLS Play-Off article for us, Will Dyer (@w2Dyer) shares his verdict on who will claim ultimate glory.
MLS Cup | 28th October – 6th December 2015
Somewhat of a surprise package for the me this season. I really don’t know why I overlooked them in pre-season. The likes of Fabian Castillo have really set the competition alight. Castillo himself has been called up for Colombia and at just 24 is rated as the most exciting youngster in the division.
FCD’s midfield is littered with creative Latin players but they also have a balance with the powerhouse of Ryan Hollingshead. Unlike most of their rivals they have shared the goals around the team. Not one player reaching double figures in the regular season is more of a positive than a negative in many ways and shows their versatility.
Dallas get a bye to the Semi-Finals where they will host the lowest seed of the winners in the Conference Quarter Finals. That means they certainly avoid Portland Timbers and possibly Seattle Sounders depending on the results.
Sounders are unbeaten in eight and have well and truly put that poor patch of form behind them. That was all down to the interruption of the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the absence of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins through injury.
FC Dallas have a fearsome home record this season winning 13 of 17 at home, the best return in MLS. Seattle aren’t too far behind on 11 home wins and the fact that both are Western Conference sides, who’ve been strong at home and finished in a seeding that has won the MLS Cup on more than one occasion I think both are worth a bet.
Galaxy have a history in this competition but they are terrible travellers and are a no go for me. They are always poorly priced, only Fire and Dynamo have worse away records in 2015 and they have not looked like much of a team lately.
Vancouver have a very strong back four and the best away record in MLS but they are winless in their last four on the road now and have been wasteful of chances in games all season.
Timbers are perennially unpredictable and are the lowest scorers of the 12 qualifiers. It’s possible they could go far but in truth I’m not too confident.
Sporting Kansas City
I have similar views on Sporting Kansas City. They’ve been out of form in the run up to the post-season and for me don’t have what it takes to lift the trophy.
New York Red Bulls
In the East, I’ve mentioned my reservations on New York Red Bulls for the last few weeks and I’m not budging. They are the favourites but I’m not backing an Eastern Conference team who frequently make hard work of games they should cruise through.
Crew are dangerous, the joint second top scorers in MLS this season but I don’t think they are the complete package; their 53 conceded is only superior to Toronto’s defensive record.
The Reds are a similar team, strong up front but too weak at the back to support with any degree of confidence, especially when/if coming up against Western Conference opposition.
United have been terrible for months. They are nifty at home and they have a strong history in the post-season but their inferiority in possession should be their downfall.
New England Revolution
New England Revolution for me look underrated and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go a lot further than a lot of people expect. They have experienced heads in every position.
Like New England I think Montreal will be underrated in the Play-Offs and this well-rounded team can certainly make an impact. I will be supporting them in their matches against their Eastern Conference foes.
Good luck with whatever bets you have. I will be posting tips for every game and trying to watch as much as I can. My rough guidelines are to oppose Eastern Conference sides, back home teams, back home teams in-play in games that go to extra-time and to avoid short prices on goals-based bets.