SBI staff’s MLS playoff predictions


Photo by David Bernal/

When it comes to MLS playoff predictions, there's one thing that the SBI staff can agree on — the 2011 MLS Cup winner will come from the Western Conference.

Which team ends up getting the job done is another story.

After sampling six SBI MLS writers, the Los Angeles Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake are the three prime candidates to lift the MLS Cup trophy at the Home Depot Center on Nov. 20. The Galaxy received the most votes to win it all (three), followed by the Sounders (two) and RSL (one). Four writers picked Sporting Kansas City to finish as the other finalist, while Houston and Philadelphia received single nods apiece to reach the final.

So how will the rest of the playoff bracket unfold? Here's how we see the conference semifinals, finals, and MLS Cup final playing out:




Sporting Kansas City over Colorado

Houston over Philadelphia

Los Angeles over New York

Real Salt Lake over Seattle


Sporting KC over Houston

Los Angeles over RSL


Los Angeles over Sporting KC



Sporting KC over Colorado

Houston over Philadelphia

Los Angeles over New York

Real Salt Lake over Seattle


Houston over Sporting KC

Real Salt Lake over Los Angeles


Real Salt Lake over Houston



Sporting KC over Colorado

Houston over Philadelphia

Los Angeles over New York

Seattle over Real Salt Lake


Sporting KC over Houston

Seattle over Los Angeles


Seattle over Sporting KC



Sporting KC over Colorado

Philadelphia over Houston

Los Angeles over New York

Seattle over Real Salt Lake


Sporting KC over Philadelphia

Los Angeles over Seattle


Los Angeles over Sporting KC



Sporting KC over Colorado

Philadelphia over Houston

New York over Los Angeles

Seattle over Real Salt Lake


Sporting KC over Philadelphia

Seattle over New York


Seattle over Sporting KC



Colorado over Sporting Kansas City

Philadelphia over Houston

Los Angeles over New York

Seattle over Real Salt Lake


Philadelphia over Colorado

Los Angeles over Seattle


Los Angeles over Philadelphia


How do you see the playoff bracket unfolding? Who do you see winning it all?

Share your thoughts and predictions below.

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45 Responses to SBI staff’s MLS playoff predictions

  1. D says:

    Ives, either you or Adam are right. The others deserve to be sent off the team, direct red! Don’t let them predict another MLS cup until 2013. Go Galaxy.

  2. agnigrin says:

    All the teams you guys picked to win MLS Cup are exhausted after having played a very long season with most playing over 46 games to date… I say one of the teams who have played less 40 will fair better than you guys think as they will be fresher…

  3. T says:

    To be honest who are the teams that could win the Cup: LA,Seattle,RSL,SKC/Philly. Based on what I’ve seen the Western Conference will once again claim the trohy for the third consecutive year.

  4. gas huffer says:

    Metro all the way. FACT.

  5. tbkh says:

    I’m predicting RSL to beat SKC in the final. Despite their disappointing season, I still think RSL is the most balanced team in the league.

  6. sammysounder says:

    Anyone can win it in such a short time-frame.

  7. Nate RSL says:

    I don’t see LA winning the series against NY. Sure, LA is in better form, but NY has proven that they can rise to the challenge against LA. This year, NY tied 1-1 in LA, and won 2-0 in NY. I’m not a fan of either team, but that’s not a good sign for LA.

    Looking back at their record, LA has lost or tied against all of the playoff teams except two: Colorado and CBus. Of the teams on their side of the bracket, LA has the following record:
    RSL – L(4-1); W(2-1); GD= -2
    Seattle – W(1-0); T(0-0); GD= +1
    NY – T(1-1); L(2-0); GD= -2

    Of the 2 game series they’ve had this year, LA has only come out on top against Seattle. That is foreboding sign for LA fans. If they were in the East, their record would be the following:
    Philly – W(1-0); T(1-1); GD= 1
    Colorado – W(3-1); W(1-0); GD= 3
    Houston – W(1-0); L(3-1); GD= -3
    Sporting KC – W(4-1); T(2-2); GD= 3

    LA performed much better against the Eastern bracket teams. This may not be the most effective way to compare the results, but it shows what the 2 game series results were this year.

    As an RSL fan, I’m hoping NYRB pulls off the win so we have the potential to host another Western Conference Final.

    Go RSL!

  8. Raisa says:

    Please remember the 2nd time that they played each other. in the 2nd game they had half new players and half regular players. No LD or Robbie! This time their is a possibility that they will play and might smack NY. I love both teams but I go with LA first.

  9. reality says:

    Sorry. New York isn’t winning this.

  10. Chupacabra says:

    And the handful of regular starters from LA who did play in that match had just played nine games in four weeks and were visibly exhausted.

  11. spencer says:

    All I know is the best 3 and most likely teams all have to play each other on the way to the final. So I will take LA, RSL, or Seattle, whoever survives the hard side beats the winner of the easy side.

  12. SWED says:

    Some thoughts:

    Houston over Philadelphia
    Philly’s first trip to the playoffs will be a learning experience — similar to Seattle’s learning experiences the past 3yrs in the playoffs.

    Los Angeles over New York
    If they hadn’t lost McCarty and the Gunnar Solli, I would give NY a chance. LA has too much depth.

    Seattle over Real Salt Lake
    Unless Salt Lake scores 3 at home, I have a feeling SEA is going to unleash it at home this year and take the series.

  13. A wise man once says:

    Seriously, you screwed up this whole page just to say that? I could hardly even read it T_T

  14. T says:

    I don’t even know what you said, are you saying go Union? Because they will be “going” out of the playoffs soon, as they are too inexperienced for this competition. :-D)

  15. T says:

    Really, King Henry will not obtain his crown!(-______-)

  16. blag says:

    I am a Houston fan, but I do not see why people keep mentioning Houston has more experience with the playoffs considering that almost none of this team is part of the previous houston teams that made it to the playoffs. In just this season, over half of the team is new to the squad. And Philly has good chunk of their starters who have seen playoff action before. So I do not buy into this whole Philly no experience thus loose thing.
    That said, I still believe Houston pulls this off. Though, the team sure does have a habit of proving me wrong :'(.

  17. Rabid RBNY says:

    Heard that in ’08.

  18. Mike Caramba says:

    All-wildcard final. NYRB over Colorado. WILDCARD, SNITCHESSSSS!

  19. Edwin in LA says:

    The game RSL won 4-1 was one without Omar, Donovan, I think Juninho might of missed it and Ricketts was also absent, Saunders is now much better after having to split the season with Ricketts.

    Game in NY it was clear LA didn’t care any more, they had clinched the SS already basically and had the easy game at home vs the Goats, the priority in that week was the CCL since they had fallen behind!

  20. Edwin in LA says:

    Finally some objectivity!

    You are correct blag.

    Only 5 players have playoff experience, and success in their experiences.


    Ashe is a 6th one but he didn’t really play much in the playoffs when Houston had their 2 MLS Cup run, played a little in 09 but not much if any. Hainault started in 09 that’s it, 3 games of playoffs, sure Adu has twice as that.

    But you look at the rest, Hall he is amazing but no experience, Cruz or Watson none, Moffat has he ever had any? I never heard of him until now? Oh wait Columbus, but I know he did not start or played much lol that was all Gavin, Carroll, Evans, Rogers and Schelotto
    Luis Camargo barely has 10 games in MLS, and the forwards I don’t think any of them have much experience past garbage time by Weaver, and that’s pushing it?
    Maybe Clark had a little experience?

  21. gbdg says:

    skc mls champs.

  22. Gnarls says:

    None such team.

  23. VADCUfan says:

    …and they didn’t, personally I hope they get to the final then bomb out like 3-0 or 3-1.

  24. Neruda says:

    RSL needs to tap into their experience on their way to last years CCL final and pull come together for the win. That competition was pressure packed and against good teams. They will be getting Beckerman back, Morales is almost match fit and the back line is together again. Seattle is also much better with Rosales so RSL has to put up some goals in their home leg. This will be the an exciting series.

  25. Rabid RBNY says:

    Since none of the writers picked RBNY for the MLS Cup I enterpreted “this” as the current series with LA. NY can beat LA. Even then The Rapids proved you can be an ok team playing well to win the cup. RBNY has a momentum going.

  26. Rabid RBNY says:

    So true.

  27. Test says:

    When did they both play in their 3rd jerseys? When was this pic taken?

  28. jeff says:

    What i dont get when people say that the MLS cup doesnt mean anything is… when people say, “it doesnt matter, anyone can get hot”

    so does this mean that the knock out stages of the WORLD CUP mean nothing because a team can get hot? should the WORLD CUP be an even home and away between every country in the nation???? look at the world cup champions by numbers, and you can pretty much see that what everyone can agree are the best nations in the world at soccer have the most titles (or the only titles) meaning, best teams win the tournaments, its not luck.

  29. jeff says:

    that should say, “should the world cup be an even home and away between every country in the world”

  30. dan says:

    Avi Creditor is on crack

  31. gigi says:

    IDK what you are talking bout KFC is gonna be champs! Their chicken has the most expierience!! DUH

  32. La Cries.. and Cries again says:

    RBNY also had half of their team missing for most of the year due to injuries or call ups and yet the wins, losses or ties still counted. So dont give an excuse abt LD or Robbie not playing. If they are a good team then they should prove their worth on the field. So far LA has proven they they can not beat RBNY.

  33. fischy says:

    He’s seriously overestimating Houston, and probably overstating RSL’s case, to. RSL are a very talented team, but they’re just not in good form right now..and that’s usually what carries the day in the MLS playoffs.

    Adam also is off his gourd in picking Colorado over KC. In fact, I think the whole crew is being a little too dismissive of KC’s chances. Four of six have them in the Final, but none of them think they’re going to win? I guess I wouldn’t have picked them to win, either — until I saw these picks. Right now, KC is as good as any of those Western teams, so I’m giving them even odds to win.

  34. RB says:


    In the end, you can debate what’s good and bad about any playoff system. I for example was just noting the screwiness that if Colorado does manage to surprise most prognosticators and get by KC, their “reward” will be to play a single-elimination game on the road at the home of a team who finished below them in regular season play.

    But once the system (however screwy) is in place, you go out and play and see who can win in it. Teams don’t win it by luck. They win it because the do better in the system than everyone else.

    Or as someone put it above, quit making excuses — the results on the field still count, and if one or another team “deserves” to win, then that team should make sure that actually happens on the field of play instead of whining about it later or denigrating the winners.

  35. ciscokid says:

    Actually they’re not. But they are a good young exciting team capable of surprising one of the western sides. Just not as good. Not yet.

  36. Vic says:

    Redbulls should win. Defense very strong lately. Ream playing much better now that he doesn’t have Marquez yelling/cursing at him in Spanish the whole game.

  37. Rabid RBNY says:

    Packers made the playoffs on their last game of the season last year and won the Super Bowl. The Cardinals were 10 and a 1/2 games out of the Wild Card in August and won the World Series. Anything any team did during the regular season means nothing. After all this is America. We have a playoff system here and that’s the way it is.

  38. USA says:

    That Galaxy kit is sick…Hope they bust it out for the playoffs

  39. Scott A says:

    Just because you’re not capable of real grassroots support without having to be told how to construct your support by your masters doesn’t mean everyone else is unable to.

  40. Steve says:

    Let’s go Landon…Bring the Cup home where it belongs

  41. Samson says:

    Rafa was right…Ream needed a wake-up call…Red Bull is back

  42. Gunnar says:

    wear those menacing uniforms also please

  43. Gnarls says:

    “Unless Salt Lake scores 3 at home…”
    You called it. Good luck now, Seattle.

  44. Brent McD says:

    Not a Galaxy fan at all, but those kits are beautiful

  45. Sparta Riverside says:

    How dare you speak of psuedo-football!!!