The 'Other' Football....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

MLS Cup 2006 : Playoff Predictions

By Alan Clark, Tuesday October 17th, 2006.

I'm back! I've been away, taking time to watch the 'Beautiful Game', working on my MLS data for Football Manager 2007 (a.k.a Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007) and generally getting the disappointment of WC06 out of my system.

So, after my blogging sebaticle, it's time to review my preseason predictions:

First up, the Eastern Conference:

Eastern Conference:
Chicago Fire (1st) - Actual - 3rd
New England Revolution (2nd) - Actual 2nd
New York Red Bulls (3rd) - Actual 4th
DC United (4th) - Actual 1st
Columbus Crew (5th) - Actual 6th
Kansas City Wizards (6th) - Actual 5th

I'll take solace in the fact that I went 4/4 on the qualifiers for the playoffs, even if my order was a little out. I believe I'll invoke this get out of jail card "To be honest, the top 4 could go any way". As it turns out, DC were the team in 2006 and rightly won the Supporter's Shield, though the somewhat backed into the playoffs after a poor run of result to round out the year.

KC were in with a shout all the way to game 32 of the regular season, but given EJ's no-show season, they didn't really deserve it. The one good piece of news out of KC this year was new ownership and a lifeline. I'm glad, it doesn't help anyone to play musical chairs with the teams in MLS.

Next up the West. Plenty of surprises there....

Western Conference:
FC Dallas (1st) - Actual 1st
Houston Dynamo (2nd) - Actual 2nd
Los Angeles (3rd) - Actual 6th
Colorado Rapids (4th) - Actual 4th
Chivas USA (5th) - Actual 3rd
Real Salt Lake (6th) - Actual 6th

4/6 spot on in the West, but who saw the defending 'Double' champs LA choking - even without WC-bound Landon and the dire guidance of the Grim Reaper (aka Steve Sampson)?

Still, I correctly predicted 7/8 playoff teams and 5/12 placed exactly as I touted.

Not bad, I could probably have made some money off of that, were I not in a country with inexplicable and contradictory online gambling laws.

So, to the bracket.....

East:

Conference Semi Finals:

DC vs NY : Result DC. DC stumbled a little to end the regular season, but NY were far from on fire. It's a great rivalry, but I don't see NY pulling this one out. However, with the Supporter's Shield winner earning little more than the right to play their #1 rival in a two game aggregate series - starting on the road! - then anything could happen. This one is an upset in the making perhaps.

Score : DC to take both games, narrowly. I'll go with 1-0 at NY, 2-1 at home.

NE vs CHICAGO : Two good teams, both in decent form ahead of the post-season. Steve Nicol overcame some adversity (namely rumblings and dissention in his camp) before guiding the Revs' to 2nd place and home field advantage (which really is little advantage in a two leg tie). Chicago also overcame the mother of all road trips to start the season. Seem to plave plenty of fire power, something NE has struggled for despite boasting some blue chip offensive talent.

Score : NE to take it on aggregate goals. Fire to take game one 2-1, with the Revs 2-0 in game 2. This one is so close, an errant red card, or poor PK call could decide the tie.


West:

Conference Semi Finals:

FCD vs COLORADO : I don't envison any trouble here for the 'Super Hoops', but just like DC, they've reversed over the finish line.

Score : If this one goes according to talent, this could be a blow out.

HOUSTON vs CHIVAS : Hmmm, seems - dare I say it - that Chivas have Houston's number. Could that really happen? Can DeRo find one of his patented Goal of the Season contenders to decide this? One thing's for sure, it should be the best game of the semi's with two of the league's most attractive, attack-minded teams locking horns.

Score : Upset is possible, but I'm going to play it safe and say that the Dynamo will squeak through. 4-3 on aggregate.

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