After a two-week respite, Round One of the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs is almost upon us. The action kicks off on Saturday with Atlanta United hosting the New England Revolution in the first of four games that day before the round is complete with the remaining two games on Saturday. For all 12 teams involved this weekend, with Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC and top seed in the East NYCFC lying in wait, just three wins separate them from the glory of hoisting the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy on November 10.
But who will make it through that first hurdle and who will quickly be cast aside? We asked our experts on MLSsoccer.com to weigh in with their predictions. After reading through what they have to say, go and make your own choices and take part in our Bracket Challenge.
Atlanta United vs. New England Revolution (1 pm ET | Univision, TUDN in US; TVAS, TSN in Canada)
Matt Doyle: This would be a huge, shocking upset… but kinda not really if you watched these teams on Decision Day presented by AT&T. The Revs could’ve won that one. This time they will.
Bobby Warshaw: New England, because smug Bruce is the best Bruce.
Calen Carr: New England have done so well to give themselves a chance, but ultimately too much quality/experience in Atlanta United.
Tom Bogert: Atlanta will have too much Josef.
Ben Baer: Revs. Going to go out on a limb here but the Miles Robinson loss is a huge one and ATL won’t put enough fires without him.
Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas (3:30 pm ET | FOX Sports TBD in US; TVAS/TSN App in Canada)
Dallas‘ historical struggles in
Seattle, and their awful form on the road this year, there is no good reason to pick them. And yet…
Warshaw: Seattle, because watching a Cascadia rivalry match would be great.
Carr: Dallas have lost big in their last two matches on the road. The experience of Seattle in the small margins make this a relatively straightforward win for the Sounders.
Decision Day performance. My head says Seattle because well, it’s Seattle and they know a thing or two about the playoffs. Going with the emotional pick. Dallas pulls off the upset.
Ruidiaz and Seattle. Too much firepower.
Baer: Too much talent for Seattle, not enough experience for Dallas.
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United (6 pm ET | TUDN in US; TSN4, TVAS2 in Canada)
Collins: Going with Toronto here who are playing at home and have sneakily been one of the strongest teams over the past couple months.
Carr: With the questions around Jozy’s health I think this tilts towards the road team. Regardless of the lack of goal production, in the playoffs I don’t pick against a team that hasn’t conceded in five.
Bogert: Reminder: D.C. United have not conceded a goal since August 24 — AUGUST 24! D.C. to progress.
Just spoke to Greg Vanney for an update on Jozy Altidore. Confirms he is taking good steps, continues to be considered day to day. Hoping he will be available for something but says he is not going to be 100% by Saturday. #TFCLive
— Kristian Jack (@KristianJack) October 16, 2019
Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers (10 pm ET | ESPNews in US; TVAS, TSN4 in Canada)
Doyle: Homefield advantage matters in the regular season, and historically speaking matters even more in the playoffs.
Warshaw: See Seattle.
RSL is the sexy pick here but I’m going with
Portland for no other reason than I just have a hunch.
Carr: Portland have used momentum in season’s past, but this RSL team has been flying under the radar and is in good form under Juarez.
Valeri? Playoff Valeri. Portland takes it.
Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls (3 pm ET | FS1, TSN4, TVAS2, Fox Deportes)
Union have just been better than the Red Bulls this year. Time for their first postseason dub.
Collins: This one is tough but I’m picking Philly because it feels like it’s their time to make some noise in the playoffs and I simply don’t trust the Red Bulls in the post-season, sorry.
Carr: The Union stretch the field better than any team in the Eastern conference, which RBNY has not dealt with well lately (see last MTL match).
Przybylko fully healthy, the Union should get it done.
Baer: Red Bulls have gritted out a lot of points this year but that will end here.