MLS Playoffs tips: Can Rooney keep DC United going?
So things are starting to get serious now! The MLS regular season has come to an end and we now know the 12 clubs involved in the playoffs that begin tonight.
A dramatic final day defeat for the LA Galaxy means we won’t be seeing Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the post season.
The reward for the top two teams in each Conference is byes through to the second round of the playoff format. Eight sides including a Wayne Rooney-inspired DC United must compete in knockout round first.
Top spot in each league gets the lowest ranked team still left in in round two. Second place has to make do with whoever is the highest profile after the first knock-out.
But who’s actually made it?
In the Eastern Conference New York Red Bulls snatched the coveted Supporters Shield from Atlanta United’s grasp on final day.
The Red Bulls picked up their third shield win in six years – and a record points tally – after a ‘Decision Day’ win over Orlando City.
This should re-energise them as they watch the drama unfold alongside second-placed Atlanta.
Sporting Kansas City will be a team feared by everyone. The Wizards finished top and will play the lowest ranked team after the first knock-out round.
They will be joined by Seattle Sounders with a bye to round two. The Sounders edged out LAFC to take the second-spot and will most likely take on Los Angeles or FC Dallas.
Let the Play-Offs begin!
The first round is a straight shoot-out! Win or your season is over.
Here’s how they line-up…
NYFC FC v Philadelphia Union – Wednesday 31st October– 11:00pm
The East kick things off as third-placed New York City take on sixth placed Union.
It will be a case of de ja vu for these two after NYC FC saw them off on Decision Day.
David Villa could turn on the style for the home side.
FC Dallas v Portland Timbers – Thursday 1st November – 01:30am
Dallas stumbled into fourth place in the West after losing their last three games of the regular season.
Premier League fans may remember Maynor Figueroa from his time at Wigan Athletic. His side are 3/4 to make home advantage count with a win.
The pair drew both their matches in the regular season. A stalemate in the match betting is 13/5.
DC United v Columbus Crew – Friday 2nd November – 12:00am
DC were bottom of the standings when Rooney arrived. But the former Manchester United man formed a deadly duo with Luciano Acosta and has fired them into the post-season party.
The Black and Red are 23/20 to win the game. But The Crew are 9/2 for victory. They have beaten their opponents this season and boast Federico Higuain and Gyasi Zardes in their ranks.
Los Angeles FC v Real Salt Lake – Friday 2nd November – 02:30am
Real Salt Lake sneaked into the play-offs because of LA Galaxy’s slip up. But they have conceded eight goals in their last three games.
LA are 2/1 to win with the game featuring Over 3.5 goals. The Claret and Cobalt are 19/4 to cause a surprise.
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication