MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs LA Galaxy

Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs (Western Conference Semifinal – Second Leg) – Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Sunday, November 6 – 14:00 ET (19:00 GMT) 

Match Odds: Colorado 1/1 – Draw 11/5 – LA Galaxy 11/4 

Match Preview

A place in the Western Conference Final is up for grabs on Sunday as Colorado Rapids welcome LA Galaxy to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the biggest game of the 2016 MLS campaign for these sides.

Colorado have work to do, they fell to a 1-0 defeat in the first leg last weekend. They are still more than in the game and know they are capable of progressing.

The Rapids now haven’t beaten Galaxy in their last three attempts, but the last meeting here ended with a Colorado win.

Pablo Mastroeni’s side are under a huge amount of pressure to perform, they just need to keep a calm mentality and start well. If they can get an early goal, or most importantly, the first goal in the game, the momentum will swing their way.

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LA Galaxy’s fate is in their own hands, avoid defeat and they’ve reached the Western Conference final, yet this game will be anything but straightforward.

Bruce Arena will be fully aware his side are going to be under pressure from the moment they step out to warm up. The Colorado fans are going to do everything possible to make this an uncomfortable atmosphere.

Giovani dos Santos’ strike was enough to give Galaxy a lead into the second leg, but it is a slender one, he, like many of LA’s star-players are going to have to dig deep and show what they’re made of.

Galaxy have plenty of players with big-game experience they will be relying on here. The LA defence are going to expect to face more than one shot on their goal as they did in the first leg, so it is important they’re switched on from the get-go.

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Team News

Colorado Rapids are expecting to be without Dillon Serna and Marlon Hairston for the second leg. Mastroeni’s starting XI are going to have to give everything from the off to ensure they give Galaxy their hardest game of the season.

LA Galaxy will be without Gyasi Zardes, while Steven Gerrard remains a doubt as continues to struggle with a hamstring injury.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: W/W/L/D/L

LA Galaxy’s last five: L/W/D/W/W

Key Stat: Fortress – Colorado are unbeaten in their last 17 games at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. They need to make their home advantage count if they’re going to progress.

Key Player: Brian Rowe – The Galaxy ‘keeper is going to need to be at his best. Colorado are going to throw everything at him in this tie, he will be relied on as the last line of defence. Rowe will be looking to slow the game down all the while the result is in Galaxy’s favour, that will break up the flow of the tie and frustrate the Rapids.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-1 LA Galaxy – Colorado to fall short in the semis. This has the makings of a cagey game with little to split the sides, much like the first leg. Galaxy will be looking to finish the job off, but know they could well regret not bringing a bigger advantage into the second leg if they’re not careful.

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MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs Toronto FC

Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs (Eastern Conference Semifinal – Second Leg) – New York City FC vs. Toronto FC

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Sunday, November 6 – 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT) 

Match Odds: NYCFC 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – Toronto 21/10

Match Preview

New York City FC welcome Toronto FC to Yankee Stadium on Sunday in the second leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal with a place in the Eastern final up for grabs.

There is a huge amount of work for Patrick Vieira’s side to do if they are to progress here. They suffered a sucker-punch in the first leg, conceding twice in the last six minutes to lose the game 2-0.

New York City FC fans will be behind their team from the off, they will be expecting their star-players to step up and be counted for.

One thing NYCFC have in their favour is their home form. They have been scoring freely at Yankee Stadium, eight in their last two, and they’re unbeaten in eight, winning seven.

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As previously mentioned, Toronto FC have their two-goal advantage, which they wouldn’t have thought of having heading into the last ten minutes in the first leg last weekend.

Greg Vanney will be expecting his side to put on a professional display and not present NYCFC with easy chances.

While Toronto don’t want to be sitting back and playing a defensive game, they can expect NYCFC to come at them. They will get chances on the counter and with their strike-force it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them score.

If Toronto can keep things tight in the first half New York City will become even more desperate and mistakes will inevitably come, they have to be patient and make sure they get the job done.

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Team News

New York City FC to remain without both Connor Brandt and Shannon Gomez.

Toronto FC have a full fit squad ahead of the second leg.

Key Points

NYCFC’s last five: W/W/L/W/L

Toronto FC’s last five: L/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: New York City FC have scored at least two goals in nine of their last ten home games. They will need to repeat that feat without conceding to take the tie to extra time at the very least.

Key Player: Frank Lampard – Many will suggest the spotlight is on his teammate David Villa to perform, but Lampard has always been the man for the big occasion throughout his career, scoring vital goals. He will be a huge concern for Toronto who, like Lampard’s opponents throughout the last two decades, will struggle to pick him up when he is in the right place at the right time.

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Score Prediction

New York City FC 2-1 Toronto FC – Heartbreak for NYCFC who will fall at this stage. Whatever the outcome they have had a superb season and are making progress. Everything is in Toronto’s favour and they should surely be able to get the job finished off here.

MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs New York Red Bulls

Competition: MLS Playoffs (Eastern Conference Semifinal – First Leg) Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls

Venue: Stade Saputo – Sunday, October 30th – 15:00 ET (19:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Montreal Impact 6/4 – Draw 11/5 – Red Bulls 17/10

Match Preview

Montreal Impact welcome New York Red Bulls to Stade Saputo for the first leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal clash in the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.

This is a huge tie for Montreal, who desperately need to put an end to the Red Bulls’ incredible run of form to give them any chance of reaching the Eastern Conference final.

Mauro Biello will be feeling ecstatic at how his Montreal side demolished DC 4-2 in the Knockout Round on Thursday evening, but he will be slightly frustrated at the way they conceded two very late goals.

The only meeting between these two in Montreal during the regular season ended with a 3-0 win for the Impact. They would definitely take a repeat of that scoreline, but this is going to be a very cagey contest, with both sides looking to ensure there’s still all to play for in the return leg in a week’s time.

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Eastern Conference winners, New York Red Bulls eased past Philadelphia on the final day of the regular season to earn a bye through the Knockout Round. They have had extra time to prepare for this game and should be firing on all cylinders.

Jesse Marsch will have his side pumped and ready to take on Montreal and will be urging them to remember form means nothing when it comes to games as important as this.

The Red Bulls have beaten Impact in their last two meetings, although both of those games were at Red Bull Arena, so they will be expecting a hostile atmosphere here.

If New York keep a clean sheet in this tie you have to fancy them to progress in the second-leg. Montreal know they have to take a lead to Red Bull Arena, so the visitors may well have a slightly more cautious approach this weekend, although an away goal would certainly be a boost.

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Montreal were eliminated from the playoffs last season at this very stage, despite winning their home tie in the first-leg, so they can take nothing for granted against a very strong opponent on Sunday evening.

Team News

Andres Romero remains Montreal Impact’s only injury concern. It remains to be seen whether Didier Drogba will return to the side following his soap opera saga in the last few weeks. He sat out of Thursday’s win over DC, with Matteo Mancosu shining up front in the Ivorian’s absence.

New York Red Bulls are expecting to be without four for this tie as Gideon Baah, Connor Lade, Justin Bilyeu and Daniel Royer are all out. Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips will be looking to continue his fine form here.

Key Points

Montreal Impact’s form: W/W/D/L/W

New York Red Bulls’ form: D/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: The Red Bulls are unbeaten in their last 16 MLS outings.

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – The obvious choice. Montreal Impact need their midfield maestro to be on top form to take a lead into the second leg. He can change a game in a flash and will need to be at his creative best once again here.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact Ignacio Piatti

Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 1-1 New York Red Bulls – This has the makings of a tight game, as most first legs do. Montreal are going to find the confident Red Bulls difficult to deal with and a draw would be an unsurprising result, but would certainly suit the visitors better.

MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders

Competition: MLS Playoffs (Western Conference Semifinal Second Leg) – FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Sunday, November 8 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)

Match Odds: FC Dallas 10/11 – Draw 5/2 – Seattle Sounders 3/1

Match Preview

FC Dallas face Seattle Sounders on Sunday evening in the crucial second leg of their Western Conference MLS Playoff Semifinal.

The first leg ended with Dallas losing 2-1 late on after Clint Dempsey’s wonder-goal earned the Sounders a vital win. This tie is far from over though and Dallas will be aware of that.

FC Dallas boast brilliant home form, winning nine of their last ten, and they have the ability to turn this around. But recent form against Seattle would suggest this is going to be a tough task, having only won one of their last five against Sunday’s opponents.

Dallas have scored 24 goals in their last ten games, so are in great form in front of goal and there are plenty of positives despite being behind on aggregate. Dallas didn’t finish top of the Western Conference by chance.

Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas

Seattle Sounders have done half the job, but this a bigger challenge than the one they faced last week.

Dempsey’s late winner was a huge moment for them in the tie, but conceding the Dallas away goal was a real blow and could prove to be their undoing.

Sounders need to approach this positively and not be overly cautious. If Dallas sense any nerves it could be an evening of disappointment for the away side.

Seattle haven’t lost to Dallas this season (W2 D1) with the only meeting between the sides at Toyota Stadium ending 0-0, so Seattle know they have a great chance of progressing but will have to be at their best.

Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers

Team News

FC Dallas have three injury concerns. Rolando Escobar is out, while Bakary Soumare and Kellyn Acosta are doubts.

Seattle Sounders have seven injury concerns as Roman Torres, Andres Correa and Andy Craven are out. Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Leonardo Gonzalez and Marco Pappa are all doubts.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ form: D/W/W/W/L

Seattle Sounders’ form: D/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Fortress – FC Dallas have won nine of their last ten home matches in Major League Soccer.

Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The Dallas star netted his side’s only goal in the first leg and FCD will need him to be at his best if they are to progress. His pace can cause any side problems and he could be the real star on Sunday.

Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas Fabian Castillo

Score Prediction

FC Dallas 3-1 Seattle Sounders – Dallas to turn the tie around and advance. You have to feel their crucial away goal will prove to be the difference in this one. If they are to score early on, the Sounders have to push, which will inevitably leave gaps in their defence. This one will be well worth the watch as goals look inevitable.

GALLERY: Exclusive photos from Seattle’s first leg playoff win over FC Dallas

Seattle Sounders managed to rally from a goal down to win the first leg of their MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinal with FC Dallas last night.

Fine goals from Andreas Ivanschitz and Clint Dempsey turned the tie on its head after Fabian Castillo gave Dallas an early lead with an important away goal.

The second leg will be played at Toyota Stadium next Sunday night with the winner advancing to the Western Conference final against either Portland or Vancouver.

Check out exclusive photos from the game at CenturyLink Field below, courtesy of Denise McCooey.

Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas  Marco Pappa Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas Celebrate Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas Obafemi Martins Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas Fabian Castillo Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas Fans