MLS Playoff Knockout Rounds Preview

By  Jonathan Willis

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

MLS Playoff Knockout Rounds Preview

The MLS Playoffs are set and 12 teams will duke it out for the chance to win the MLS Cup in December. On Wednesday and Thursday, the knockout rounds will take place featuring one-off battles between the No. 3 seed and No. 6 seed and between the No. 4 seed and the No. 5 seed in each conference. The lower seed will host all four games, with the winner taking on either the No. 1 seed or No. 2 seed in their respective conference this weekend.

The Eastern Conference games will be televised on FS1, UniMas, and TSN, while the Western Conference games will be televised on ESPN2, UniMas, and TSN.

MLS Betting Odds at

There have been no soccer betting odds released for the matches as of yet because Decision Day was Sunday. Expect MLS betting lines to be up no later than Tuesday morning.

New York City FC vs Philadelphia Union

For the third straight season, New York City FC started the season looking like one of the best teams in the league only to fade down the stretch. Now, NYCFC are out to avoid the postseason woes that have plagued them over the last few years. They have yet to win a playoff series, but neither have their opponents, the Philadelphia Union.

This is just the third time the Union have made the postseason in their nine-year history. Philadelphia backed into the postseason after two straight losses, and coincidentally enough their last loss came against NYCFC. NYCFC beat the Union 3-1 on Sunday, so there will be familiarity when these teams meet again on Wednesday evening.

FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers

You have to be incredibly disappointed right now if you’re an FC Dallas fan. The club was in first place at the start of the month, but three straight losses sent them tumbling down the standings and now they must face a very good Portland Timbers team that went on a 15-game unbeaten streak in the middle of the year.

Both of these teams prefer to counterattack, so it will be very interesting to see how this one shakes out in terms of possession. Neither team may want to hold the ball for possession for too long to try to make the perfect pass for fear of giving up a break on the other end.

DC United vs Columbus

The decision to add Wayne Rooney in the middle of the season turned out to be an incredible one that sparked one of the best turnarounds we have ever seen in the MLS. DC United were floundering at the bottom of the Eastern Conference before Rooney came aboard, and he has turned them into one of the better teams in the league. Just getting to the postseason was incredible enough, but getting this club to host a playoff game deserves an award of some sort.

Columbus has one of the better defenses in the MLS, but someone outside of Gyasi Zardes must step up for the Crew on the attack. Zardes has 19 goals on the year, yet no one else has proven to be a consistent option.

Los Angeles FC vs Real Salt Lake

LAFC are likely to be the biggest favorite of the knockout rounds per the soccer betting odds. Real Salt Lake backed into this spot and only got in after a historic collapse from the Los Angeles Galaxy on the last day of the regular season. RSL have given up an incredible 58 goals on the season, and there is plenty for LAFC to exploit in this back line.

The newest team in the league has surpassed all expectations in its first year, and now the trio of Carlos Vela, Adama Diomande, and Diego Rossi have LAFC poised for more. They were one of the highest scoring teams in the regular season, and LAFC are expected to roll into the conference semifinals.

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