Major League Soccer

Which team is most likely to pull a first-round upset in the MLS playoffs?


Photo by Rick Osentoski/ISIphotos.com

The 2010 MLS Playoff field is set, and some intriguing matchups highlight the first round.

In the West, the reward for the Los Angeles Galaxy winning the Supporters' Shield is a date with the Seattle Sounders, one of the league's most in-form teams. Defending MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake also has a bit of a handful in the first round, drawing an FC Dallas team that didn't lose in 19 matches before dropping its last two games of the year, including a loss at Rio Tinto.

In the East, top-seeded New York has to find a way to stop San Jose and red-hot Chris Wondolowski, while the second-seeded Columbus Crew must overcome the loss of its starting goalkeeper to shut down the Colorado Rapids' in-form strike tandem of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings.

Do you see any upsets happening in the first round? Cast your vote after the jump:

How did you vote? Which favorite do you see making a premature exit from the postseason?

Share your thoughts below.

  • aRSenaLUSA

    LAG are going to lose to Seattle. Seattle will have to face RSL in the RioT and won’t have what it takes. Leaving RSL with another visit to the championship game.


  • Rory

    RSL-Colorado Rocky Mountain MLS CUP Final!

    Shame we’ll all have to go to Canada to see the game though. Should be plenty of seats as TFC fans aren’t scooping them up.


  • adiddy

    NYRB are prone to slip-ups and this team (i.e., late star additions Henry and Marquez) has not spent long playing together.

    That said, I’m rooting for a LA-NY Final that ends with Beckham crying as Los Toros triumph.


  • dan

    Appears that any team could win the MLS cup this year…. when it is all said-and-done I believe this is the best field of 8 teams for the playoffs in MLS history.


  • kpugs

    I am praying for the Sounders to just blast L.A. out of the water to once again prove that Beckham does not a trophy make and once again remind Lando that he’s an idiot for handcuffing himself to this league. And I believe they can and will do just that.


  • scott

    It’s hard pick for me. I would like LA or seattle to win the cup (since United was out way back in March). but since they are playing each other first round i’m going with Sounders


  • Aristotle

    It would seem that I’m not the only one who thinks Seattle may beat the Galaxy. I think Nkufo will have to get more involved again for it to happen, though.


  • Colin

    Total goals scored in MLS play this year, LA v. Seattle: 7-1. Sounds like LA has already blasted Seattle out of the water…


  • Emerald_City_Jason

    Tough question with so much parity—really only a San Jose win would qualify as an upset in anything but the most narrow sense.


  • E-dizzle

    It is so funny how people quickly forget that the Galaxy take it to another level in the playoffs.


  • k

    Don’t see how any of them are upsets when you have the top 4 teams playing each other and the bottom 4 teams playing each other; just stupid.


  • Luis F

    That was a different Seattle team and a different LA team. LA’s form has dropped off significantly, and Seattle’s second half was as hot as LA’s first half. The games from earlier this year are meaningless. The matchup will depend on the ability of Seattle’s wide players to punish LA’s slow outside backs.


  • Justin O

    I think the Galaxy have a shot at an upset victory, but the poll won’t let me vote for them in any case.


  • Lisa NYC

    The top four teams in the league are the top seeds in the playoffs. I don’t see how you can call the East Conference playoffs the bottom four seeds.


  • Toropug

    It wil be LA and NY in the finals, because thats MLS’s wet dream. If your team is playing either of these watch out for the ref. If you need proof just watch Donovans “assist” to Becks last night. Total BS and it will get worse as the playoffs go.


  • Lorenzo

    I don’t think anyone who follows MLS thinks that really any situation can yield an upset.

    No one team is significantly better than the other in any of these match ups.


  • Travis

    If Salazar or Stott is assigned to either LA vs SEA game then Seattle will be in trouble. Both of those refs got tons of hate for the sounders


  • Charles

    This isn’t the NBA. Although Stott really did screw up the call against Seattle yesterday.

    And a late penalty against Colorado kept Seattle out West.

    hmmm…just kidding this is NOT the NBA, if it becomes the NBA count me out.


  • Colin

    So what’s the big difference then, Luis? The Galaxy’s “slow outside backs” had no problems against Seattle during the first two games… In fact, I’m pretty sure one of those “slow backs” (Dunivant) scored in the 4-0 rout in Seattle (and was completely unmarked).


  • RLW2020

    if eddie gavin is in net for the Crew then I will bet a lot of money on the Rapids taking that series!

    Seriously tho I like the Rapids over the Crew. LA vs. SEA is the most difficult matchup for sure.

    Second round match-ups:
    COL vs. NY
    LA vs. RSL

    NY – LA


  • Luis F

    The difference as far as Seattle goes is pretty significant. Freddie Ljungberg went out the door, Blaise Nkufo came in, and the team has clicked ever since. The addition of Nkufo has made it very hard for teams to provide support to the outside players to handle the pace of Zakuani and Nyassi. Earlier in the year, teams (like LA) would deny Montero space and double Zakuani. That left Ljungberg with space, and he created. But Montero was always too deep, and the other forward was not very good (be it Levesque or Pat Noonan). To summarize, Seattle’s speed was easily dealt with while Ljungberg was here.

    Now with Nkufo, there is a target man that provides space and time to Montero, and that teams have to respect, meaning they can’t support the outside backs as they did earlier this year. That allows Zakuani and Nyassi to operate in space and be more effective. That’s why Seattle has been red hot since after getting rid of FL and adding Nkufo, and that’s why the scores from the earlier LA games are irrelevant.


  • Fred Garvin

    I have to agree 110%.

    If Seattle can get past LA then I have no worries about us going to the Final. I know LA is gonna come out gunning. SSFC are gonna have to win this one the hard way.


  • JoeW

    I pick Colorado and Seattle BOTH to advance. Here’s why:
    –LAG has trouble with speed and Seattle (especially on turf) is a quick team.
    –Colorado has altitude and Columbus has had poor form the past month+

    I haven’t seen enough of FCD’s form in the past month to predict how they’ll do combined with RSL has a really strong home advantage. Given the recent loss at Rio Tinto, I suspect RSL is likely to advance. In the other match, I like RBNY’s form and they’re the most tactically versatile side in the playoffs.


  • St. Addi

    The greatest strength of MLS is that all of these series could realistically go either way. The biggest stretch, as is represented in the poll, would be Dallas beating RSL.


  • DomiNate

    Another key point- Early in the season teams didn’t have to respect Nyassi because he wasn’t scoring goals and his crosses weren’t accurate. Over the last month or so he has 6 goals and his service has dramatically improved.


  • Fred Garvin

    Getting past LA is more of a bother. The Sounders -earlier in the Season were used by the Galaxy. If we can get past them I’ll worry about RSL -if they actually advance.


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