By Alex McMahon
With the postseason approaching, every MLS match is crucial
The race for the playoffs is well underway but the MLS remains as unpredictable as ever. DC United have led the Eastern Conference for the majority of the campaign but a few suspect results in recent weeks has opened the door for Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls. In the Western Conference, meanwhile, Steven Gerrard’s LA Galaxy are improving and could be the team to beat after winning seven of their last nine matches in all competitions. In last week’s edition, we focussed on New England Revolution’s poor form while we also took a look at FC Dallas and their victory over Orlando City. This week, we discuss the best of the action and provide our thoughts on who could go on to lift the MLS Cup at the end of the campaign.
Steven Gerrard inspired LA Galaxy to victory against San Jose Earthquakes
The former Liverpool captain scored and assisted two as he helped his new side LA Galaxy earn a convincing 5-2 victory against San Jose Earthquakes. Playing in a more advanced position, Gerrard was instrumental throughout the contest and linked up well with Robbie Keane – also formerly of Liverpool – who netted a hat-trick for the second successive game. Although the visitors took the lead, Galaxy were rarely threatened and continued their excellent scoring form. With Keane and Gerrard in the attack, LA Galaxy will be very difficult to beat and are currently 5/1 to win the MLS Cup this season.
Sporting Kansas City are climbing up the MLS’ Western Conference
The two-time MLS Cup winners are looking to claim their third title and have impressed spectators with their attacking style of play this season. Their success has been built on a firm, secure defensive unit and, after 22 gameweeks, Sporting Kansas City have the best defensive record across both conferences. In their latest encounter, they earned a hard-fought victory over the Montreal Impact and KC now sit just two points behind leaders FC Dallas but have two games in hand. They are very difficult to beat and have lost just three matches all season – another MLS-leading statistic.
Seattle Sounders have lost six of their last eight MLS matches
The 2014 Western Conference champions have struggled in the past few weeks and are in danger of missing out on a playoff berth. The likes of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, who are both experienced Premier League players, have failed to influence matches and the Sounders have looked distinctly average without their two key men performing at optimum levels. In an incredibly competitive Western Conference, Seattle must turn their form around quickly if they are to secure a place in the postseason. The Sounders face a tricky trip to Montreal Impact and, at the time of writing, Seattle can be backed at 57/20 to return to winning ways.
Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls are making ground on DC United in the East
DC United have led the way in the East for a long time but Columbus Crew and New York City have closed the gap at the top of the conference. Columbus Crew, led by MLS top goalscorer Kei Kamara, have won three of their last four fixtures to climb up the division. Meanwhile, New York Red Bulls have quietly gone about their business and sit third in the division but could leapfrog the other sides if they win their games in hand. The Red Bulls earned a 2-0 victory over Orlando City in their last clash while Columbus Crew beat Chicago Fire. DC United, on the other hand, were beaten by Western leaders FC Dallas.
Can the Sounders regain some of their early season form or will LA Galaxy go on to claim the MLS Cup? Sporting Kansas City and DC United are outside shots for the crown, but will Frank Lampard inspire New York City to postseason glory? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!