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Predicting the MLS Western Conference Playoff Teams

Soccer article at Knup Sports

The MLS season has begun. Read why John thinks these Western Conference teams are playoff bound.

The MLS season is underway, with last weekend’s games kicking off the year. However, week one of the season will not change any of the predictions made, as this will be a long season.

The Western Conference saw the MLS Cup Champions come from their conference, with LAFC defeating Philadelphia on penalties to lift the trophy. There is a brand new team in the conference, with the league introducing St. Louis City. The playoff fight will be even harder this season, with the playoff format changing from seven teams to nine and a best-of-three series in rounds one and two until becoming regular in the conference semifinals.

There are some serious contenders for the title in the conference; these will be the playoff teams in the conference by the season’s end.


The reigning and defending MLS Cup Champions will once again be a force to reckon with. Despite losing Gareth Bale, LAFC are not a much worse team than they were last season. It will be extremely difficult to repeat, especially with how close the gap has closed between the elite teams, but until someone knocks them off, LAFC are still the measuring stick of the MLS.

Seattle Sounders

The Seattle Sounders had a massive slump last season but still contain one of the best teams in the league on paper. With Heber as the new addition, Seattle is set to have one of the best attacks in the MLS, and if their first game is any indication for the season, they will be serious title contenders.

LA Galaxy

The other team in Los Angeles are a pretty great squad as well. The Galaxy have a loaded squad with the likes of Javier Hernandez, Douglas Costa, and Riqui Puig. The Galaxy have one of the best midfielders in the league, as Puig is set for another elite season and could possibly get the MVP this season if he takes that next step up.

Austin FC

Austin FC will be led by star Sebastian Driussi, who was one of the most dominant players in the league last season. Austin FC have become many experts’ choice as the MLS Cup Finals winner this year, and it is easy to see why. They have a great balance of offense, defense, goalkeeping, veterans, and youth. The only question will be if Austin FC is ready to take that next step up.

FC Dallas

Dallas will likely be in a similar situation as last season. Dallas isn’t likely to run away with the Western Conference, but they are one of the better teams in the west and will likely find themselves around the 3-5 seed when the season is over.

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City have a true MVP candidate in William Agada, but they need far more consistency than what they had last season. SKC are one of the biggest hit-or-miss teams in the MLS this season, but with nine slots for the playoffs, the luck could be in their favor.

San Jose Earthquakes

San Jose Earthquake are primed to be the surprise team of the MLS. They went out and got Carlos Gruezo, who could be a major game-changer for them. San Jose looked terrific in the preseason and will be a team to keep an eye on all year.

Portland Timbers

Portland fans will be upset that the new playoff format wasn’t implemented last season, as they were one point off from seventh place. After their disappointing season of missing the playoffs, Portland went all out in the transfer window and got Evander from FC Midtjylland. Evander is a terrific midfielder who will likely make a difference in the MLS and propel Portland to the playoffs.

Minnesota United FC

Minnesota will be one of the most dramatic teams to watch all season. They have a fun squad but could suffer if star player Emanuel Reynoso isn’t playing for the club. Minnesota needs Reynoso to make a run in the playoffs. They looked great in their first outing without him, but how long can they keep it up? It will be a ton of fun to see.


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