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MLS Cup Playoffs 2013: Schedule and Predictions for Entire Postseason

Nov 3, 2013; Carson, CA, USA;   Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan (10) makes a shot on goal in the second half of the Western Conference Semifinal Leg 1 game against Real Salt Lake at StubHub Center. Galaxy won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
Steven CookContributor IIINovember 6, 2013

The Major League Soccer playoffs are just getting started, and the upcoming action is certain to excite with some of the most memorable games of the entire season.

While the New York Red Bulls stroll into the postseason sporting the most points from the regular season, there are plenty of other contenders threatening to become champions and take home the MLS Cup.

Let's take a look at the schedule and predictions for the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Eastern Conference Semifinals: Second Leg
MatchupDate/Time (ET)
Real Salt Lake vs. L.A. GalaxyThurs., Nov. 7 at 9 p.m.
Portland vs. SeattleThurs., Nov. 7 at 11 p.m.
MLSsoccer.com
Western Conference Semifinals: Second Leg
MatchupDate/Time (ET)
New York vs. HoustonWed., Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.
Spoting KC vs. New EnglandWed., Nov. 6 at 9 p.m.
MLSsoccer.com
Eastern Conference Finals
MatchupDate/Time (ET)
First LegSat., Nov. 9 at 2:30 p.m.
Second LegNov. 23 or 24 (TBA)
MLSsoccer.com
Western Conference Finals
MatchupDate/Time (ET)
First LegSun., Nov. 10 at 9 p.m.
Second LegNov. 23 or 24 (TBA)
MLSsoccer.com
2013 MLS Cup
MatchupDate/Time (ET)TV
West champion vs. East championSat., Dec. 7 at 4 p.m.ESPN
MLSsoccer.com

Up-to-date TV schedule here courtesy of MLS Soccer 

 

Eastern Conference Finals: New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution

Nov 3, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; New York Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave (4) walks off the field after receiving a red card during the second half of the eastern conference semifinal game at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TO
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

Neither the Red Bulls nor the Revolution have secured their spot in the finals, but I expect both to do so on Wednesday night and eventually compete for the right to go to the MLS Cup. 

It's no secret how the Red Bulls have emerged as the league's top club throughout the season, as they boast two players in Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill who have excelled at the Premier League level. They combined for 22 goals during the season.

The Revolution have enjoyed their own offensive success under Diego Fagundez, who put up 13 goals during the regular season, and midfielder Kelyn Rowe. But they won't be any match for the most dominant team in the MLS right now.

Expect the experience of New York and the allure of winning their first championship to outweigh New England's promising campaign. 

Prediction: Red Bulls advance

 

Western Conference Finals: LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers

Nov 3, 2013; Carson, CA, USA;   Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran (2) and Los Angeles Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant (2) go for the ball in the second half of the Western Conference Semifinal Leg 1 game at StubHub Center. Galaxy won 1-0. Mandatory Credi
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

As of Wednesday, both of these clubs were entering the second leg of the conference semifinals up one goal, and they should both advance and take care of business in those second legs.

It's usually the case that the Galaxy come into any matchup as the favorite—or at least the most talked about team—but that may not be the case this time around. Portland finished atop the West with 57 points to L.A.'s 53. 

Despite the Timbers' lead in the standings, the Galaxy are able to boast arguably the MVP of the league this season in Robbie Keane alongside the face of the league in Landon Donovan. When those two get going, it's typically game over. 

Keane has been able to keep his Premier League form and prove why he's captain of the Ireland national team this season with 16 goals, and I expect him to strike at least once against Portland in a would-be Western Conference Final showdown.

Prediction: Galaxy advance

 

MLS Cup

Oct 27, 2013; Harrison, NJ, USA; Fans cheer during the second half of a game between the New York Red Bulls and the Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls defeated the Fire 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret which two clubs in the MLS boast the most internationally relevant talent, and it's not a coincidence that they would face off in the MLS Cup.

How tough is it to split hairs between this matchup?

New York has been the best team this season, but there's no doubting that the Galaxy are the best MLS team in the last decade. 

It could go either way, but I think the leadership of Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill motivating the Red Bulls to take advantage of their first Cup appearance since 2008 will bring them through. Playing for the Cup is nothing new to the Galaxy, but for New York, it'll only add more of a spark.

Prediction: Red Bulls win the title

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