MLS West Playoff Predictions
With the season winding down I will now take a look at the western table. Unlike the east, this one is pretty much set in stone, minus who will be in first at the end. Let's skip the introduction and examine the high flying west table and where I think they will finish.
To say the Galaxy are on fire is an insult at this point. After humiliating the Colorado Rapids 6-0 and currently holding a +27 goal differential, there is not a better team in MLS right now by far. Young striker Gyasi Zardes has really stepped up in a big way. Most recently he surpassed Diego Fagundez's record for most goals scored by a homegrown player in a season. This is a team no one wants to face right now.
Seattle Sounders FC
Another team in a great run of form are the Seattle Sounders. While overshadowed by the Galaxy, Clint Dempsey and company have been stringing together win after win and have turned in solid performances all around. What could cause them problems late season is Obafemi Martin's proneness to getting red carded. At this point everyone wants a Sounders-Galaxy match.
Real Salt Lake
All time shut out leader Nick Rimando and company are set up in a great place to finish the season. After Alvaro Saborio returned from injury in the best way, scoring five seconds after hitting the field, the RSL offense is looking to cause more damage. The entire squad has put in a very strong showing in recent week and I see them continuing the run into post season. All this squad needs to do is stay semi-healthy and we could see a return to the MLS finals.
Midway through the year it looked like the FC Dallas ship was going to go full Titanic. Red cards and injuries were mounting and the points were not. Nevertheless, the squad has pulled together and have earned some good results and are now sitting in a great spot above the red line. Some questions still remain on the defensive end, but the squad looks like they will make the post season.
This is a hard spot to pick because the three teams that can hold this spot are all lacking good runs of form. Portland is currently in the spot and always puts on a good show with a high octane attack. Most of this is undone by the horrific defense that either gives up points or forces draws. The Timbers will have to really work on locking up the back line to stay above the line.
Teams that just miss the cut:
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The Whitecaps have a very talented squad. That said, their poor finishing has lead to a 411 minute goal drought. At this point I think we can already start discussing what Vancouver will need to fix in the next transfer window. In fact, Kei Kamara has mentioned that he wants to play for Vancouver or Sporting KC.
Colorado looked like a shoo in just over a month ago. Now the rapids are tumbling off a cliff and so far there is no relief in sight. It's hard to rebound from a 6-0 loss to the galaxy mentally and I believe we will see this team more shaken in the coming weeks. With injuries and red cards mounting, this squad is in a very bad spot right now.