If you can believe it, there are just two weekends left in the 2014 MLS season. In nine days time, two teams will square off for 90 minutes to determine a champion.
Of course, DeAndre Yedlin would have you believe that the Seattle Sounders’ regular season crown holds more weight. However, it’s impossible to deny the role of ‘playoffs’ and ‘championships’ in the American sports zeitgeist.
This is the weekend to decide who will play for the MLS Cup, as the for remaining squads will meet in the second leg of their home and away series to decide the conference champions.
This weekend will be a bit different than last in that the games are split across Saturday and Sunday. Up first on Saturday, we get the New York Red Bulls against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA. Projected game time conditions call for 35-degree temperatures and sunshine on New England’s turf field . On top of that, the Revs managed a 2-1 win in New York last weekend, leaving a mountain of a task for Thierry Henry’s Red Bulls.
Oh, and did I mention leading goal scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips will miss the match due to yellow card accumulation? The struggle is real for New York right now, as Henry and Aussie Tim Cahill will try to live to fight another day in what could be their last match as Red Bulls.
Of course, the marquee match-up is prime time on Sunday at 9 p.m. (ET), when the Seattle Sounders will face off against the LA Galaxy in Seattle, in front of an ocean of rave green. I thought LA might have pushed harder to widen their lead last weekend, but they still managed a 1-0 victory.
That could bring into account the dreaded “away goal” rule for Seattle. If LA manages to score even once in Seattle, the Sounders will need to win by two goals in order to advance. Of course, the Sounders should have veteran defender Osvaldo Alonso back from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the first leg.
New England Revolution vs New York Red Bulls
Saturday, Nov. 29, 3 p.m., NBC Sports
New England is the better team, they’re the hotter team, and they’re playing at home. Henry may be willing to play on turf, but that won’t be enough to save New York. New England will break through on the counter at some point and won’t look back.
Prediction: 2-0 New England
Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy
I still think LA is the better team, but they should have done more to build their aggregate lead at home. It’s hard to see Seattle losing at home, but if LA manage even one goal, the Sounders will be in a tough spot. For controversy’s sake, let’s say that’s what happens…
Prediction: 2-1 Seattle (LA Advances on away goal rule)
That’s my view of this weekend’s semifinal second legs. Who do you got?