They’re here! The MLS playoffs begin tonight with our very own Toronto FC taking on the Philadelphia Union and the LA Galaxy facing Real Salt Lake.
To add an extra bit of intrigue to the 2016 postseason, Waking the Red will be kicking off a prediction competition and we’d love to have you take part. The rules are simple; you’ll get three points for a correct score and one point for a correct result, and you can enter simply by leaving your predictions in the comments. The winner will get their name in lights and possibly a to-be-confirmed prize that I haven’t actually had much of a chance to think about yet.
To get things started, below are the predictions of some of Waking the Red’s contributors for Wednesday’s games. Make your picks below the line!
Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union
Mark De Luca: Sebastian Giovinco is back in the lineup and looking to be a presence after his absence. Will be a low-scoring fixture with the lone goal most likely coming from Giovinco. 1-0.
Dawid Burzynski: The Reds’ defence has not been convincing going into the playoffs; however, the forwards are all healthy and the Union have not won since August 27. 2-1.
Jon Peckitt: Philly is most definitely a favourable matchup for TFC. With Giovinco picking up right where he left off before the injury, Toronto shouldn't have trouble creating chances. The Union are 0-4-1 in their last five and are coming off back-to-back 2-0 defeats - if Toronto can do their job defensively, a positive result is in sight. 2-0.
Philip Zivanovich: Toronto get off to another slow start but come from behind to take the victory. 2-1.
James Grossi: Philly sit back, trying to absorb TFC pressure, only for Toronto to grab a goal before half-time, or after the restart, causing the Union to open up, which allows TFC to grab another. 2-0.
Oliver Platt: After a tricky few weeks, this will be a breakout game for Toronto. Mostly because I don’t like the idea of the alternative. 3-1.
LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake
Mark De Luca: Historically, LA has the upper hand in this one. Real will be scrappy but LA will come out on top. 2-0.
Dawid Burzynski: This will be a tough matchup, but the Galaxy have the star power and Bruce Arena as coach. As such, they should be able to get by Real Salt Lake at home in Carson. 2-0.
Jon Peckitt: While the Galaxy certainly have not been the formidable powerhouse we are used to seeing this season, they are still the Galaxy. Big names and the return of Landon Donovan could set the tone for a storybook run. Real Salt Lake meanwhile, have limped into the playoffs and cannot be too confident. 3-0.
Philip Zivanovich: LA gets goals either side of the break and sees RSL off comfortably. 2-0.
James Grossi: LA take the win on a late goal from Alan Gordon; Salt Lake are just too cold right now to go on the road and beat the veteran Galaxy. 1-0.
Oliver Platt: I fear LA will scrape past a completely out-of-form RSL team, get their stars back to full fitness with a bit of momentum under their belt and go on a run. 1-0.