With the MLS Cup semifinals set to kick off this weekend, fans are going to be in for some exciting soccer over the next couple of weeks, whether you take in the matchup between the best from the West in Seattle Sounders versus LA Galaxy, and the Eastern Conference clash between the New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution.
IMFC defender Wandrille Lefèvre offers his insights into both series.
Western Conference Championship
Seattle Sounders FC (20-4-10, 64 pts, 1st) vs LA Galaxy (17-10-7, 61 pts, 2nd)
Leg 1 at LA: November 23, 5pm ET
Leg 2 at SEA: November 30, 9pm ET
“LA is a team with a lot of experience. They’ve won consistently over the last few years along with a number of cups. They have game changers in Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan. There is a scenario there where they can go with motivation and experience.”
“On the other side, you have Seattle, who has been knocking at the door for a long time and they had a fantastic season. They have some strong players in the likes of Yedlin and Martins, but they are extremely well-balanced and have strength and depth in all positions. For me, Seattle should come out on top, despite LA’s experience and the potentially perfect storybook ending for Donovan’s retirement. The group in Seattle, the home field advantage with more than 40,000 fans and the synthetic field in the return leg will all be factors.”
Eastern Conference Championship
New England Revolution (17-4-13, 55 pts, 2nd) vs New York Red Bulls (13-11-10, 49 pts, 5th)
Leg 1 at NY: November 23, 1:30pm ET (NBC)
Leg 2 at NE: November 29, 3pm ET (TSN2 & RDS2)
“New England has a good team and they were very consistent. Once Jermaine Jones arrived, they found some depth in the midfield and were able to improve on their performances.”
“New York found some momentum at the end of the season, finding some rhythm and strength to push in attack. You can start the year a little slow and still create some damage within the league if you get hot at the right time.”
“The Revolution had an easier route to the Conference finals, facing the Columbus Crew, while the Red Bulls had to have their A-game to top the Eastern Conference leading D.C. United. With the offensive power in Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Philipps, you have those game breakers who change the result of a match in just a moment. The Revs have some solid players like Lee Nguyen or Jones, but they aren’t in the same vein. And Henry looks hungry, it seems he wants to possibly finish his career on a high notes.”
Winner: New York