Oct 19, 2014; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan (10) in action during the Galaxy
The MLS Playoffs are right around the corner with only one more week left in the regular season. In the Western Conference, four of the five playoff spots have been locked in with two teams fighting for the last one.
Vancouver will host a beaten and battered Colorado side as Portland travels Dallas. I know Portland and Vancouver are still fighting for that last playoff spot, but I want to take a look at who may be coming out of the West to play in the MLS Cup. That seems to lend itself to Vancouver being the favorite to clinch that 5th seed, but as most of you know, anything can happen in this wonderful game.
The playoff seeding is still up for grabs with none of the top 4 seeds being decided yet. Seattle and the LA Galaxy are playing each other which will decide the Supporter’s Shield winner (the 1 and 2 seed as well). Real Salt Lake takes on Chivas midweek as FC Dallas takes on Portland. Salt Lake and Dallas are both looking for that number 3 seed so that has yet to be decided.
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Let’s put the undecided seeds aside and take a look at the teams that have clinched a spot, Seattle, LA, Salt Lake and Dallas. I want to look at each of these four teams and discuss which one of these four I think will represent the Western Conference in the MLS Cup.
First off, there are two favorites that I think most would put ahead of the rest, and those are Seattle and LA. That comes with good reason as well. They have shown their quality all year and that shows as they sit atop the Western Conference. Both teams have been primarily led by their attack with each having a true MVP candidate (Robbie Keane for LA and Obafemi Martins for Seattle).
You also have Real Salt Lake who has their own claim to quality on the field. They may not have the biggest and most recognizable names like Seattle and LA, but the way they play as a unit cannot be overstated. That sense of unity and commonality is something that has led Real Salt Lake to not just make the playoffs year in and year out, but do some damage in the playoffs as well.
FC Dallas have continued to lurk near the top of the Western Conference throughout the season. They started off extremely hot, then went cold. Throughout the summer though they went hot again and now have themselves firmly in the playoffs and looking to clinch that 3 seed. Look for them to cause some trouble in the playoffs. If you need reason for that, look to their 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy recently.
With all of that being said, I think the LA Galaxy will make it to the MLS Cup out of the Western Conference. I think they are too dominant, even for the attack driven Sounders. While we can debate which attack is better, the Galaxy’s or Sounders’, I want to focus on the defensive side of things.
It is no secret that this is Seattle’s biggest weakness. They have struggled all year trying to find a back four that can consistently perform. Now that has been hidden a lot by the goal scoring combo of Martins and Dempsey, but it will be exploited by the LA Galaxy. Meanwhile, LA’s defense is very solid.
Robbie Rogers has been great at left back and looks to have found his new home there. Gonzalez and DeLaGarza are rocks in the central of the defense and the veteran Dan Gargan has done very well at right back as well. In my opinion, it will be the defense of the LA Galaxy that will make it to the MLS Cup. It is a given that the likes of Seattle and LA will score goals, but the LA Galaxy defense has a better chance at making stops than does Seattle.
Let me know what you think and who is your pick to make it out of the West in the playoffs in the comment selection below.