SBI's 2017 MLS Playoff Predictions

SBI's 2017 MLS Playoff Predictions

MLS Playoffs

SBI's 2017 MLS Playoff Predictions

 

Playoff season is upon us, and that means it’s time to predict how things will play out when the best teams in MLS collide.

MLS play always tends to be unpredictable, especially when the postseason rolls around, but the SBI editorial staff took a crack at mapping out the upcoming playoff picture. There are sure to be some major surprises along the way, and plenty of gloating from anyone who can accurately predict the results of what should be a crazy month of soccer.

With that said, here are SBI’s staff picks for the 2017 MLS Playoffs:

RYAN TOLMICH, Managing Editor

WEST

Knockout Rounds: Whitecaps beat Earthquakes, Sporting KC beats Dynamo

Semifinal Round: Timbers beat Sporting KC, Whitecaps beat Sounders

Conference Final: Timbers beat Whitecaps

EAST

Knockout Round: Fire beat Red Bulls, Atlanta United beats Crew

Semifinal Round: Toronto FC beats Atlanta, NYCFC beats Fire

Conference Final: Toronto FC beats NYCFC

MLS Cup Final: Toronto FC beats Timbers

Regardless of what happens over the next month or so, Toronto FC will be in the conversation as one of the best teams in MLS history. A win at BMO Field to close the season would all but lock up the debate of whether or not they are the best. There’s motivation aplenty for Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and co. and, with pieces like Justin Morrow and Victor Vasquez playing a vital role, TFC has a chance to prove its a juggernaut unlike any seen in MLS history.

JOE TANSEY, Assistant Editor

WEST

Knockout Rounds: Whitecaps beat Earthquakes, Sporting KC beats Dynamo

Semifinals: Timbers beat Sporting KC, Sounders beat Whitecaps

Conference Final: Sounders beat Timbers

EAST

Knockout Rounds: Fire beat Red Bulls, Atlanta United beats Crew

Semifinals: Atlanta United beats TFC, NYCFC beat Fire

Conference Final: NYCFC beats Atlanta United

MLS Cup Final: NYCFC beats Sounders

NYCFC has flown under the radar a bit with the success of Toronto and Atlanta in the East, but they’re poised for a big postseason run. Having MLS Cup at Yankee Stadium might not be great for optics, but MLS Cup will have plenty of fireworks with David Villa scoring the game-winning goal and cementing his legacy as one of the best players ever in MLS.

JOE HOJNACKI, Assistant Editor

WEST

Knockout Rounds: Whitecaps beat Earthquakes, Dynamo beats Sporting KC

Semifinal Round: Timbers beat Dynamo, Whitecaps beat Sounders

Conference Final: Timbers beat Whitecaps

EAST

Knockout Rounds: Fire beat Red Bulls, Atlanta United beats Crew

Semifinal Round: Toronto FC beats Atlanta United, NYCFC beats Fire

Conference Final: Toronto FC beats Atlanta United

MLS Cup Final: Toronto FC beats Timbers

Toronto FC set an MLS record for most points in a single season for a reason. They are far and away the best team in the more competitive Eastern Conference. Nothing will be able to stop Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and that entire squad from lifting the cup at the end of this tournament.

PARDEEP CATTRY, Staff Writer

WEST

Knockout Round: Earthquakes beat Whitecaps, Sporting KC beats Dynamo

Semifinal Round: Timbers beat Earthquakes, Sounders beat Sporting KC

Conference Final: Timbers beat Sounders

EAST

Knockout Round: Red Bulls beat Fire, Atlanta beats Crew

Semifinal Rounds: Toronto FC beats Red Bulls, Atlanta beat NYCFC

Conference Final: Toronto FC beats Atlanta

MLS Cup Final: Timbers beat Toronto FC

MLS Cup is TFC’s to lose, and this being MLS, the expected outcome won’t come that easily. The Timbers win even in a season where the East has reigned supreme on the back of MVP candidate Diego Valeri.

GLENN CROOKS, Staff Writer

WEST

Knockout Rounds: Earthquakes beat Whitecaps, Dynamo beats Sporting KC

Semifinal Round: Timbers beat Earthquakes, Sounders beat Dynamo

Conference Final: Timbers beat Sounders

EAST

Knockout Rounds: Red Bulls beat Fire, Atlanta United beats Crew

Semifinal Round: Toronto FC beats Red Bulls, NYCFC beats Atlanta United

Conference Final: Toronto FC beats NYCFC

MLS Cup Final: Toronto FC beats Timbers

TRISTAN D’AMOURS, Staff Writer

WEST

Knockout Rounds: Whitecaps beat Earthquakes, Sporting KC beats Dynamo

Semifinal Round: Timbers beat Sporting KC, Sounders beat Whitecaps

Conference Final: Timbers beat Sounders

EAST

Knockout Rounds: Red Bulls beat Fire, Atlanta United beats Crew

Semifinal Rounds: Toronto FC beat Red Bulls, Atlanta United beats NYCFC

Conference Final: Atlanta United beats Toronto FC

MLS Cup Final: Atlanta United beats Timbers

Atlanta United has the firepower to start with positive momentum in the knockout round and create a surprise run to the final. There, they will deny the Timbers to fully write in Atlanta’s place in league history.

JOE GOLDSTEIN, Staff Writer

WEST

Knockout Rounds: Earthquakes beat Whitecaps, Dynamo beat Sporting KC

Semifinal Round: Timbers beat Earthquakes, Dynamo beat Sounders

Conference Final: Timbers beat Dynamo

EAST

Knockout Rounds: Fire beat Red Bulls, Atlanta United beats Crew

Semifinal Round: Toronto FC beats Fire, Atlanta beats NYC

Conference Final: Toronto FC beats Atlanta

MLS Cup Final: Toronto FC beats Timbers

The most important player to TFC is Victor Vazquez. As long as Vazquez stays healthy, they can beat any of the other playoff teams through sheer will. The Eastern Conference is stronger than the West top to bottom, and the top of the East is too good for whoever survives the West.

LARRY HENRY, Staff Writer

WEST

Knockout Rounds: Whitecaps beat Earthquakes, Sporting KC beats Dynamo

Semifinal Round: Timbers beat Whitecaps, Sporting KC beat Sounders

Conference Final: Timbers beat Sounders

EAST

Knockout Rounds: Red Bulls beat Fire, Atlanta United beats Crew

Semifinal Round: Toronto FC beats Red Bulls, Atlanta United beats NYCFC

Conference Final: Toronto FC beats Atlanta United

MLS Cup Final: Toronto FC beats Timbers

Toronto FC is looking to shake off the heartbreaking final defeat to the Sounders from a year ago, and this year is one where they get it done in prime fashion. No matter how many men you stick on Sebastian Giovinco, the star forward will carry the Canadian club to the 2017 MLS Cup.

JASON MITCHELL, Staff Writer

WEST

Knockout Rounds: Earthquakes beat Whitecaps, Dynamo beat Sporting KC

Semifinal Round: Timbers beat Earthquakes, Sounders beat Dynamo

Conference Final: Sounders beat Timbers

EAST

Knockout Rounds: Fire beat Red Bulls, Atlanta United beats Crew

Semifinal Round: TFC beats Atlanta, NYCFC beats Fire

Conference Final: TFC beats NYCFC

MLS Cup Final: TFC beats Sounders

Anything can (and usually does) happen in the MLS playoffs. But for the first time in recent memory, it feels relatively safe to pick the Supporters’ Shield winner to hoist MLS Cup. TFC outplayed the Sounders for most of last year’s final, and has dominated the league from wire-to-wire in this record-setting season. The Anschutz Trophy heads north of the border in 2017.

CARL SETTERLUND, Staff Writer

WEST

Knockout Rounds: Whitecaps beat Earthquakes, Dynamo beat Sporting KC

Semifinal Round: Timbers beat Dynamo, Sounders beat Whitecaps

Conference Final: Sounders beat Timbers

EAST

Knockout Rounds: Red Bulls beat Fire, Atlanta United beats Crew

Semifinal Round: Toronto FC beats Red Bulls, Atlanta beats NYCFC

Conference Final: Atlanta United beat TFC

MLS Cup Final: Atlanta United beats Sounders

Everything breaks Atlanta’s way in the playoffs, including Bradley, Altidore and co. with another letdown in a big spot. Mercedes-Benz Stadium is rocking and United’s Designated Player strategy becomes the model for the rest of MLS.

JOEL SORIA, Staff Writer

WEST

Knockout Rounds: Earthquakes beat Whitecaps, Dynamo beats Sporting KC

Semifinal Round: Timbers beat Earthquakes, Dynamo beats Sounders

Conference Final: Timbers beat Dynamo

EAST

Knockout Round: Fire beats Red Bulls, Atlanta United beats Crew

Semifinal Round: Toronto FC beats Atlanta United, NYCFC beats Fire

Conference Final: Toronto FC beats NYCFC

MLS Cup Final: Toronto FC beats Timbers

A historic season is only historic with some silverware when all the dust settles. Toronto FC’s historic fierce attack and disciplined backline will prove to be too much for Caleb Porter and his Timbers in the MLS Cup Final.

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