MLS quarterfinals preview
NE vs MET
The Metrostars have two guys who can change a game, Guevara and Djorkaeff. Both will need to be at the top of their game if they want to advance. New England shouldn't have too hard of a time. I don't expect a blowout but they are clearly the better team.
Prediction: NE 4:2 MET
DC vs CHI
The Fire are probably the hardest team to figure out. They have a lot of talent, but no superstars. In addition, due to injuries, callups, etc they rarely play with a consistant lineup, especially on defense. They might be as talented as DC, but DC plays better as a team and has a better head coach. Also DC relies on more experienced offensive players. DC's weapons, Gomez and Moreno, are less likely to have an off-game than Mapp and Rolfe. Should be the most fun series to watch.
Prediction: DC 4:3 CHI
SJ vs LA
The easiest series to predict, San Jose are the big favorites to win the whole thing and just won at the HDC last weekend. Donovan is the most talented player in the league, but he just doesn't have the supporting cast. LA does have a great record at home, but San Jose has an even better one. Because of those factors, they probably have a better chance against the Quakes than the other two Western playoff teams would, but it's still no contest.
Prediction: SJ 4:1 LA
DAL vs COL
Almost certain to have the fewest goals of the four series. Colorado has some weapons, but Dallas has more talent overall and should win. Dedi is a key guy here, he has looked very good and made a big impact already. Another factor is how much playing time Cunningham and Ruiz will get. The guy who really needs to step up for the Rapids is Kirovski, who seems to do less every year. I can see the Rapids winning the home leg and losing the second one and the series, just like last year.
Prediction: DAL 2:1 COL
I know, I did not pick any upsets; those teams were better in the regular season for a reason. But that is the smart thing to do. In the two years the new system has been in place, the two game aggregate series have produced fewer upsets:
Best 2/3: 71% (17 of 24 higher seeds advanced)
1st to 5: 72% (13 of 18 higher seeds advanced)
Aggregate: 88% (7 of 8 higher seeds advanced)
That includes all series which used those methods. If you want to include just the quarterfinals, the other two are both at 75%.