Major League Soccer Conference Semifinals Predictions


With Leg one of each Major League Soccer Conference Semifinal completed, Major League Soccer’s newly implemented away-goals rule has already made its mark. Two matches featuring away goals put those clubs at an early advantage, one that could come in handy. In what may eventually become the greatest MLS Cup Playoffs in history, we take a look at the second legs of the current matches to determine who will punch their tickets to the Conference Finals. 

Eastern Conference

DC United v. New York Red Bulls

Leg One: New York Red Bulls 2-0 DC United

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In what may be the most intriguing match in this round of the playoffs, the New York Red Bulls will look to hold a 2-0 lead in their match at DC United. The regular season Eastern Conference Champion’s DC United will need to completely change their current form if they want to even think of advancing. The New York duo of Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips thrashed United’s defense last time out. New York’s offensive advantage was extremely clear with the Red Bulls out-shooting their opponents 17 to 9. If the same results holds in the second leg, the Red Bulls will easily take this series.

The only hope for DC United in the match is too shut down the deadly New York offense. Eliminating chances for Henry and Wright-Phillips will play key roles in determining the outcome of this match. If United can shut down the Red Bull offense and take advantage of some attacking opportunities, DC United just might be able to find their way into the Eastern Conference Finals. Any goal for the Red Bulls will be endgame for the offensively weakened DC United.

Prediction: DC United 1-1 New York Red Bulls; New York Red Bulls wins series

New England Revolution v. Columbus Crew

Leg One: Columbus Crew 2-4 New England Revolution

Losing only once in their last thirteen league matches, the New England Revolution clearly have the momentum. After suffering a league worst eight game losing streak earlier this season, the Revolution revitalized their squad with the signing of United States International Jermain Jones. Since arriving in New England, Jones had appeared in eleven matches, scoring twice with three assists. Joining the squad in the second match of their current thirteen match run, Jermaine Jones led the club to its best finishing position since 2007.

Columbus on the other hand, which qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2011, will need a massive turnaround to advance any further in the playoffs. The Crew managed a late penalty during the closing moments of the series first leg, but will still need to defeat New England by at least three goals to advance. The only real hope for Columbus will be in the sides attack. Columbus will need attack early and often, while also limiting any opportunities for the Revolution. Barring a miracle though, it is highly unlikely that Columbus will see play any more matches after this Sunday.

Prediction: New England Revolution 2-2 Columbus Crew; New England Revolution wins series

Western Conference

Seattle Sounders v. FC Dallas

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Leg One: FC Dallas 1-1 Seattle Sounders

The Supporter’s Shield Champions Seattle escaped Dallas with a 1-1 draw after falling behind early. Dallas Converted a first half penalty thanks to a reckless challenge by Marco Pappa in the 34th minute. If Seattle want to win this series, they cannot afford more idiotic mistakes. In a match that was dominated possession wise by Dallas, Seattle did take the majority of the scoring chances. However forwards Dempsey and Martins were both kept quiet by the Dallas defense. Goalkeeper Raúl Fernández also contributed with seven saves, keeping Dallas in the hunt for the win. If Dallas is to win at Seattle, the game-plan for their last match is the perfect blueprint.

Keeping the Sounders off the scoreboard and the crowd at CenturyLink Field quite will play a major part in determining the outcome of this match. If Dallas can score an early goal, the side may just be able to hold Seattle with its good defense. The Sounder’s will need to do just the same. Scoring an early goal will convince the home crowd of the side’s chances, inspiring the side to a possible win. The winner of this match-up will almost definitely be the favorite for the Western Conference Final, with both clubs having showed good form as the season drew to a close.

Prediction: Seattle Sounders 2-0 FC Dallas; Seattle Sounders win series

Los Angeles Galaxy v. Real Salt Lake

Leg One: Real Salt Lake 0-0 Los Angeles Galaxy

After losing out on the Supporter’s Shield in the last week of the season, Los Angeles will definitely be looking to make a run at their fifth MLS Cup. Being Landon Donovan’s farewell tour only adds intrigue and emotion to the club’s matches as many will be looking for Donovan to end his career on the highest of highs. The United States all-time leading scorer will need to contribute at home if the club wants to make it to the Conference Finals. After the first matches 0-0 result, any goal scored in this match could be the series winner.

Los Angeles do have the star power advantage in the match, with Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane expected to lead the side to victory. Real Salt Lake will counter with Kyle Beckerman and the league’s best goalkeeper, Nick Rimando. In what will be a must see match, where any mistake can cost the clubs the win, it will be the most discipline side that take this match and punches their ticket to the Conference Finals.

Prediction: Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 Real Salt Lake; Los Angeles win series

Playoff Rankings

With both Vancouver and Sporting Kansas City eliminated from the playoffs, the rankings have slightly changed. Once again, the rankings are not based on each clubs ability or strength, just on their chances to win the MLS Cup.

1. Seattle Sounders

2. New England Revolution

3. Los Angeles Galaxy

4. New York Red Bulls

5. DC United

6. FC Dallas

7. Real Salt Lake

8. Columbus Crew


Vancouver Whitecaps


Sporting Kansas City

Seattle maintains the top spot in the rankings even with the draw at FC Dallas. However, the Supporter’s Shield Champions should be able to win at home and advance to the Western Conference Finals. Los Angeles, following their draw at Real Salt Lake drop a spot, only because of New England’s domination of Columbus. The end of season form for New England has carried over into the playoffs and the Revolution are looking like title contenders more and more every day.

The Red Bulls also moved up thanks to the play of its attacking duo in Henry and Wright-Phillips. If the attack continues at its current pace, it will be no shock to see the club contending for an MLS Cup title. DC United drop to five comes after their 2-0 loss at New York, but can turn the result around and just might have a shot at winning the match. FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake and Columbus Crew round out the remaining clubs, as each look to turn the tables and advance to their respective Conference finals.