MLS Week 34: SBI staff predictions

MLS Week 34: SBI staff predictions


MLS Week 34: SBI staff predictions


Sunday is shaping up to be one of the most dramatic days in Major League Soccer history.

The final day of the regular season kicks off with two playoff spots and the Supporters’ Shield up for grabs, along with all 12 playoff seeds.

Atlanta United and the New York Red Bulls are in contention for the Supporters’ Shield and the No. 1 seed in the East, while Sporting Kansas City, LAFC and FC Dallas are in the mix for home-field advantage in the West.

On the other side of the standings, Columbus and the LA Galaxy need wins to secure spots in the postseason, while Montreal is still alive and needs some help, and Real Salt Lake is hoping Houston can knock off the Galaxy.

All 11 games will be played simultaneously with kickoff occurring at 4:45 p.m. ET.

Here are the SBI editorial staff’s predictions for Sunday’s 11 matches:

Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United

Ives Galarcep: D.C., 2-1. The Fire will make things tough, but the streaking D.C. attack will overwhelm Chicago’s shaky defense in the second half.

Larry Henry: D.C., 3-0.  A strong first-half caps off a sensational end of the season for D.C.

Joe Tansey: D.C., 2-1. Ben Olsen’s side faces a bit of a challenge from the first half before Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta take over again.

Joe Hojnacki: D.C., 1-0. Chicago has nothing left to play for and won’t be motivated enough to stop a red hot D.C. United team that’s rolling into the playoffs.

Jimmy Mack: D.C., 3-1. Wayne Rooney and Co. have been on fire as of late, and they finish the season strong heading into the Playoffs.

Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas

Ives Galarcep: FC Dallas, 2-1. Playing at altitude is always a challenge, but FC Dallas will shake off a strong effort from Kellyn Acosta to secure the victory.

Joe Tansey: FC Dallas, 3-0. FC Dallas puts itself in the best position possible to clinch the No. 1 seed in the West.

Joe Hojnacki: FC Dallas, 2-1. FC Dallas will do all they can to get back into the top two in the West, thankfully a trip to lowly Colorado is just what they need.

Jimmy Mack: FC Dallas, 2-1. FC Dallas are in a fight to claim one of the top two spots in the West, and they’ll do what they can by beating the Rapids in Colorado.

Larry Henry: Draw, 1-1. FC Dallas misses out on the top spot out West as the Rapids spoil the party late with an equalizer.

Columbus Crew vs. Minnesota United

Ives Galarcep: Crew, 3-0. The Loons are terrible on the road and the Crew are desperate to make the playoffs and ride a Gyasi Zardes double to victory.

Joe Tansey: Crew, 3-1. In front of their raucous home supporters, the Crew surge into the postseason.

Joe Hojnacki: Crew, 1-0. The Crew save their playoff lives in the very last day thanks to some late heroics, perhaps from Justin Meram.

Jimmy Mack: Crew, 3-2. Columbus desperately need a win to stay above the red line, and Berhalter’s side will do just enough to sneak into the postseason

Larry Henry:Crew,  1-0. A late winner for the Crew push them into the playoffs but it isn’t enough to propel them past D.C. for fifth.

Sporting Kansas City vs. LAFC

Ives Galarcep: Sporting KC, 2-1. This should be the best game of the day, with Carlos Vela causing problems, but SKC ultimately prevailing behind a Diego Rubio winner.

Joe Tansey: Sporting KC, 1-0. Peter Vermes’ side clinch home-field advantage in the West with a tight win over the expansion side.

Joe Hojnacki: Draw, 2-2. Both teams have seeding to play for and it will result in two skilled teams playing fast, attacking soccer that are unable to separate themselves.

Jimmy Mack:  Draw, 2-2. SKC need a result of any kind to seal the top spot in the West, and while a high powered LAFC team will push them, Sporting KC will do just enough to get the result they need.

Larry Henry: Draw, 2-2. In a back-and-forth affair in KC, the visitors cannot overtake SKC who clinches the top seed out West.

LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo

Ives Galarcep: Galaxy 2-1. Who else, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores both goals to secure the playoffs and cement his status as an MVP candidate.

Joe Tansey: Galaxy, 3-1. Everyone thinks Zlatan will star again, and he’ll score once, but it’ll be Romain Alessandrini who delivers the playoff-clinching strike.

Joe Hojnacki: Galaxy, 2-0. Zlatan does what Zlatan does and he wills the Galaxy into the playoffs with two goals on the final day of the season.

Jimmy Mack: Galaxy, 4-2. Zlatan has been playing coy regarding his future in MLS, but he’ll help the Galaxy back to the postseason with a win against Houston.

Larry Henry: Galaxy, 2-1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic puts up another stellar performance as the Galaxy clinch a playoff place on Decision Day.

New England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact

Ives Galarcep: Revolution, 2-1. The Revs are only playing to be the spoiler, and that’ll be enough as they catch the desperate Impact on the counter a few times to keep the Impact out of the playoffs.

Joe Tansey: Impact, 3-2. The underrated Ignacio Piatti once again drives the Impact to a victory, but it won’t be enough with the Crew winning their finale.

Joe Hojnacki: Draw, 1-1. The Impact do all they can to climb black into the postseason, but they won’t get their away win as their attack goes cold when they need it most.

Jimmy Mack: Draw, 2-2. Montreal came close, but a draw combined with the Crew’s victory over MNUFC keeps the Impact on the outside looking into the playoffs.

Larry Henry: Draw, 2-2. The Impact miss out on the playoffs after only grabbing a draw in Foxborough vs. eliminated NE.

New York City FC vs. Philadelphia Union

Ives Galarcep:

Joe Tansey: Union, 1-0. The Union grind out their seventh road win against an underwhelming NYCFC side to clinch the No. 3 seed in the East.

Joe Hojnacki: Draw, 0-0. Both teams will be content with what they have in the playoffs and will simply look to stay healthy.

Jimmy Mack: NYCFC, 3-1. NYCFC hasn’t been in their best form lately, but they’ll get a win and end the regular season on a high note.

Larry Henry: Union, 2-1. After a poor refereeing decision went against them a week ago, the Union use two second-half goals to claim third place over NYCFC.

New York Red Bulls vs. Orlando City

Ives Galarcep: Red Bulls, 4-0. Expect goals early and often as the Red Bulls overwhelm the visiting Lions, putting the pressure on Atlanta United to get a result.

Joe Tansey: Red Bulls, 5-0. The Red Bulls emphatically twist and shout their way to the Supporters’ Shield with some help from Toronto FC.

Joe Hojnacki: Red Bulls, 3-0. The Red Bulls will make one last emphatic charge towards the Supporters Shield with BWP spearheading the effort.

Jimmy Mack: Red Bulls, 4-1. RBNY desperately need a win to have any hope of winning the Supporters’ Shield, and they’ll put the smack down on Orlando at home in their push for the league’s top spot.

Larry Henry: Red Bulls, 3-1. Despite their beatdown of Orlando City, the Red Bulls miss out on the top spot in the East.

Seattle Sounders vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Ives Galarcep: Sounders, 3-0. The Wondo Watch will have to wait till 2019 because Stefan Frei and the Sounders will pitch another shutout and roll to a comfortable win.

Joe Tansey: Sounders, 2-0. Seattle will control the game from the start, but only score twice as it feels comfortable against the struggling Quakes.

Joe Hojnacki: Sounders, 2-0. There’s nothing much the lowly Quakes can do to earn anything at CenturyLink Field.

Jimmy Mack: Sounders, 3-0. After a terrible start to the season, Seattle completes its second half surge and cements itself as the West’s #3 team

Larry Henry: Sounders, 2-0. Seattle concludes an amazing run to the end of their regular season schedule with a comfortable win.

Toronto FC vs. Atlanta United

Ives Galarcep: Toronto FC, 2-1. Atlanta United falls short in its bid for a Supporters’ Shield as Jonathan Osorio and Sebastian Giovinco play the spoilers.

Joe Tansey: Draw 2-2. The Reds muster up a significant result to keep the Five Stripes from capturing the Shield and the No. 1 seed in the East.

Joe Hojnacki: Atlanta United, 2-1. Last year’s Shield winners pass the torch to this year’s version.

Jimmy Mack: TFC. 3-2. Toronto pull off maybe the shock of the season here, defeating Atlanta United, giving the Supporters’ Shield to the New York Red Bulls.

Larry Henry: Atlanta United, 4-0. Atlanta stamps their foot on top spot in the East with a steamrolling over TFC.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Portland Timbers

Ives Galarcep: Whitecaps, 2-0. The Timbers stumble on a day where Alphonso Davies puts on a show in his MLS farewell.

Joe Tansey: Timbers, 2-0. Similar to Seattle, Portland will dictate the pace of play and cruise to an easy victory.

Joe Hojnacki: Timbers, 1-0. The Timbers got what they needed last week but still have seeding to fight for, unlike the Whitecaps, who just want to end it.

Jimmy Mack: Draw 1-1. Vancouver doesn’t have much to play for, and Portland won’t be able to jump Seattle to earn a home playoff game, so a draw keeps Portland in 5th place.

Larry Henry: Timbers, 1-0. Fifth place is sealed for the Timbers who miss out on a higher place due to Seattle’s victory.

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