SBI's MLS Week 34 Predictions

SBI's MLS Week 34 Predictions

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SBI's MLS Week 34 Predictions

Eight Major League Soccer teams have clinched playoff berths, but that’s all that’s been settled with two Sundays left of play across North America.

Zero teams are locked into specific playoff seeds, and seven teams are jostling for the final two playoff positions in each conference.

Sunday’s action, which is separated by conference (East games at 3 p.m. ET, West games at 5 p.m. ET), should provide some clarity to the postseason races, but there’s a good chance the results will just set the tone for a dramatic Decision Day.

Here are the SBI Editorial Staff predictions for MLS Week 34:

Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire (3 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Ives Galarcep: Atlanta United, 2-0. With the Supporters’ Shield in play, the Five Stripes dominate the Fire, even without Miguel Almiron, as Josef Martinez nets a double.

Joe Tansey: Atlanta United 3-1. Amid all the Tata Martino to Mexico speculation, Atlanta United moves one step closer to the Supporters’ Shield behind a Julian Gressel brace.

Joe Hojnacki: Atlanta 3-0. Nothing will stop Atlanta from moving within a game of claiming the Supporters Shield in their second ever season, least of all the Chicago Fire.

Jimmy Mack:  Atlanta 4-1. Atlanta are looking to take one more step toward their first club trophy in the Supporters’ Shield, and Chicago won’t be able to put up much of a fight at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Larry Henry: Atlanta 2-0. The Five Stripes quest of both the Eastern Conference title and Supporters Shield continues with another home win.

D.C. United vs. New York City FC (3 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Ives Galarcep: D.C., 2-1. Safely above the red line now, D.C. can set its sights on s higher playoff seed and beating a struggling NYCFC could mean another climb.

Joe Tansey: D.C. 3-2. The Black and Red throw a wrench into the seeding from No. 3 to No. 6 in the Eastern Conference by continuing their hot run of form.

Joe Hojnacki: D.C. 1-0. Wayne Rooney and D.C. United keep rolling at the expense of a still slipping New York City FC.

Jimmy Mack:  Draw 2-2. D.C.’s resurgence led by Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta continued in the midweek, but NYCFC will find a way to earn a result at Audi Field.

Larry Henry: D.C. 2-1. D.C. is clicking at the right time and that trend continues with Wayne Rooney being at the forefront of another win.

Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC (3 p.m. ET, ESPN+, TVA Sport)

Ives Galarcep: Impact, 3-1. With the playoffs still a remote possibility, the Impact should overwhelm a TFC side coming off a midweek match and playing out the string.

Joe Tansey: Impact, 1-0. Despite being eliminated from the playoffs by D.C.’s win, the Impact win the final 401 derby of 2018.

Joe Hojnacki: 1-1 Draw. TFC steps up in the big rivalry game, but not enough to defeat Montreal, who are motivated by their slim playoff hopes.

Jimmy Mack: TFC, 2-1. Montreal desperately need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, and even there’s not much left to play for this year for Toronto, the Reds will steal a win on the road against their Canadian rivals.

Larry Henry: TFC, 2-1. The Impact’s playoff hopes take a major blow with a home defeat to rivals TFC.

Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew (3 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Ives Galarcep: Crew, 2-0. The Crew need to build some momentum heading into the playoffs and there are few better teams to gain some momentum against than the struggling Lions.

Joe Tansey: Crew, 4-1. The Crew are in the most vulnerable position in the East, with D.C. right on their heels, but a win over Orlando keeps them in fifth place.

Joe Hojnacki: Crew, 2-1: Justin Meram has a big game against his old team and he helps the Crew clinch the playoffs.

Jimmy Mack: Crew, 2-1. Orlando has won just one MLS game since May 6. They’ve allowed an MLS record 72 goals. They’ve done nothing to show that they can beat a solid Crew team, even at home.

Larry Henry: Crew, 2-0. Orlando City continues to count down the minutes to the postseason as the Crew score a pair of second-half goals.

Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls (3p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Ives Galarcep: Red Bull, 2-1. The Union have played well, but the Red Bulls have the Supporters’ Shield in their sights and will halt the streaking Union.

Joe Tansey: Draw 3-3. An early goal opens up a contest both teams need to win their respective playoff standing. A late Aaron Long equalizer forces the I-95 rivals to share points.

Joe Hojnacki: Draw 1-1. The Union have nothing left to play for with their playoff place sewn up, but they have enough in the tank to stall the Red Bulls and their Shield hopes.

Jimmy Mack: Red Bulls 3-1. The Red Bulls have to keep pace with Atlanta if they have any hope of winning the Supporters’ Shield, and they find a way to do it on the road against a strong Union side.

Larry Henry: Draw, 1-1. The Union fight back for a home draw and will need the final day of the season for a chance at third place.

FC Dallas vs. Sporting Kansas City (5 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Ives Galarcep: FC Dallas, 2-1. Sporting KC is coming off an impressive midweek win, but FC Dallas is too tough at home and holds onto first place in the West.

Joe Tansey: Sporting KC, 3-0. Sporting KC was my pick to represent the West at MLS Cup in the beginning of the year and I’m riding with them to take hold of the No. 1 seed in the West.

Joe Hojnacki: Draw, 2-2. Both teams are gunning for that top spot in the West and they won’t be able to separate themselves here.

Jimmy Mack: FC Dallas, 2-1. Sporting KC is coming off a huge midweek victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, but FC Dallas is just too good at home and will earn the result in a massive Western Conference battle.

Larry Henry: Draw, 2-2. The race for the West’s top spot comes down to the final day as FC Dallas hangs on for a point against SKC.

Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders (5 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Ives Galarcep: Sounders, 1-0. The Dynamo are tough at home

Joe Tansey: Dynamo, 2-1. Alberth Elis’ late game-winner hands Houston a consolation scalp at home near the end of a disappointing season.

Joe Hojnacki: Sounders, 2-0. The Sounders have their playoff spot in hand and the battle for seeing will be enough to get three points against the apathetic Dynamo

Jimmy Mack: Draw 2-2. The Dynamo are eliminated from the playoffs, but they’re a decent home side with some dynamic attackers who can score, so they’ll do enough to get a result against a Sounders side on just four days rest.

Larry Henry: Sounders, 2-1.  Just like in Orlando midweek, the Sounders score early and hold on for another road win.

LAFC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (5 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Ives Galarcep: LAFC, 3-0. The Whitecaps see their playoffs hope ended at the hands of an LAFC side starting to find a real rhythm.

Joe Tansey: Whitecaps, 3-2. The Whitecaps somehow cling to life in the race for the No. 6 seed in a wide-open affair.

Joe Hojnacki: LAFC, 3-1. Vancouver’s season ends with a poor showing on the road against an LAFC team still hoping to creep into the top two in the West.

Jimmy Mack: LAFC, 3-0. The Whitecaps were demoralized midweek and will be without their top scorer Kei Kamara who was shown a red after the match for grabbing Johnny Russell’s neck. LAFC is simply too strong a team to overcome.

Larry Henry: LAFC, 3-0. Bob Bradley’s side continues an amazing debut MLS season with a thrashing of Vancouver.

Minnesota United vs. LA Galaxy (5 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Ives Galarcep: Galaxy 4-1. The Loons are tricky at home, and the Galaxy’s defense has been known to lay eggs, but this time it’s the Galaxy attack that runs over the Minnesota defense.

Joe Tansey: Galaxy 5-0. This is the best chance for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score five goals in a game and he’ll come close in a rout.

Joe Hojnacki: Galaxy 2-1. The Galaxy get a big day from Zlatan and take their playoff lives into Decision Day next week.

Jimmy Mack: Draw 3-3. Neither side has a good defense, with a combined 125 goals allowed this year, so this game will be a fun game full of goals that ultimately ends in an unsatisfactory draw.

Larry Henry: Minnesota 2-1. The Loons have struggled for points of late but a late winner helps them knock off the Galaxy at home.

Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake (5 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Ives Galarcep: Timbers, 2-0. RSL will feel good after its midweek win against New England, but road struggles have plagued Mike Petke’s side all season and the Timbers are too tough at home to falter in this huge West showdown.

Joe Tansey: Real Salt Lake 2-1. After beating New England on Thursday, Real Salt Lake makes its final playoff push with a road win in Portland.

Joe Hojnacki: Draw 1-1. Neither side separates themselves in a hard fought draw as Portland clinches a playoff spot, but RSL puts theirs off until next week, or not at all.

Jimmy Mack:  Portland 2-1. The Timbers are still hoping to earn somehow earn a home playoff game, so they’ll take care of business at Providence Park against an RSL team right on the playoff bubble.

Larry Henry: Draw 1-1. RSL continues to hang onto a playoff spot with a point in Portland.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids (5 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Ives Galarcep: Earthquakes 2-0. The Cellar Dweller Derby pits the worst teams in the West in a clash that only matters for draft order purposes. This one should be ugly, but Chris Wondolowski breaking the MLS goal record would make it historic.

Joe Tansey: San Jose 6-5. The MLS toilet bowl is the worst game of the weekend, which means by MLS logic, it’ll be the most entertaining.

Joe Hojnacki: Draw 0-0. Both teams just want the season to end as quickly as possible

Jimmy Mack: San Jose 1-0. The two worst teams in the West won’t exactly make for an exciting matchup, but the Quakes find a way to get a goal somewhere and squeeze out a win at home.

Larry Henry: San Jose 3-2. With not much to play for other than pride, a four-goal first half eventually sees the Quakes edge the Rapids in the West’s basement battle.

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