MLS Playoff Predictions: East Table
With the playoffs fast approaching, I decided to make my predictions on who will move into the post-season. I'm going to start with the heavily contested eastern table. The results could completely change after every match. Many teams in the mid table are only separated by no more than five points. Without further ado, here is my predictions.
1. Sporting KC
Head coach Peter Vermes has built his squad to go the distance and despite recently being blanked by DC United, KC looks to be one of the best teams in MLS. Striker Dom Dwyer is making a strong case for MVP and with the combined goalkeeping efforts of Eric Kronberg, Andy Grunebaum and young hero Jon Kempin, KC looks ready to face the best of the west.
2. DC United
Discounted midway through the season as a legitimate threat, United has burned through the standing to solidify a spot in the top of the table. Captain Bobby Boswell has led a stifling defense that, combined with all-star net minder Bill Hamid, makes teams have to be in perfect form to score, let alone win.
3. New York Red Bulls
The Red Bulls are on fire with Golden Boot front runner Bradley Wright-Phillips and “The Maestro” Thierry Henry leading the way. While New York's defense has some major question marks, their offense more than makes up for it. In the muddled picture that is the east table, they should ride their hot streak into the playoffs.
4. Columbus Crew
You just read that correctly. I am stating that I believe the Crew will be making the 2014 playoffs. Ethan Finlay and Justin Meram have stepped up to provide a lethal attack and captain Michael Parkhurst has led a stable back line that has bent, but not really broke. Steve Clark is doing well in his debut MLS season. DP forward Federico Higuain continues to wreck havoc in the midfield. This combo has allowed them to ride a string of impressive performances.
5. New England Revolution
This is hard to write because Toronto FC and Philadelphia Union are all possible candidates to make the playoffs. Nevertheless, I believe that the signing of USMNT standout Jermaine Jones will be the little push that the Revs need to claw into the final spot. Defense is still a concern, as is consistency, but there seems to be a lot of heart in the squad. That alone can make the key difference.
Teams that just miss the cut:
1. Toronto FC
This may look wrong to a lot of people, but truth be told it even looks a little wrong to me. Toronto has done well this season, but have been spastic as of late. Keeper Joe Bendik has done well with Brazilian international Julio Cesar returning to Queens Park Rangers. Toronto looks like a playoff teams some moments and others are just sub par. I believe they will miss the playoffs on either goal differential or by less than three points.
2. Philadelphia Union
Interim head coach Jim Curtin has turned this squad around. Forwards Conner Casey and Sebastian Le Toux have stepped up with the attack. While Union have done a complete turn around, they are not better than the teams above them... yet. Once the midfield straightens out this squad could be dangerous.