The Eastern Conference Knockout Round starts tomorrow and there are a couple of possibilities on who we could face in the semifinals.
Below are all of our possibilities:
The Chicago Fire had a renaissance in 2017, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since the 2012 season. A host of offseason moves, highlighted by the acquisitions of World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger, has reinvigorated the original expansion club on their way to hosting a home playoff match vs. New York Red Bulls at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. Should Chicago win that match – they will be New York City FC’s opponent in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Manager: Veljko Paunovic
Leading Scorer: Nemanja Nikolic (MLS Golden Boot winner – 24 goals)
Leading Assister: David Accam (8 assists)
Goalkeeper: Matt Lampson (8 clean sheets)
The new kid on the MLS block has earned praise as potentially being the best expansion side ever. Lead by the young-DP duo of Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez – ever-percolating (when healthy) under the tutelage of Tata Martino – ATL has stormed into the playoffs on the back of setting both the single season and single-game records for attendance at the luxurious new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. If New York Red Bulls win in Chicago and Atlanta takes care of business at home – they will be New York City FC’s opponent in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Manager: Tata Martino
Leading Scorer: Josef Martinez (19 goals)
Leading Assister: Miguel Almiron (14 assists)
Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan (8 clean sheets)
A would-be familiar foe coming off the 2-2 #DecisionDay draw at Citi Field last Sunday, Patrick Vieira has often expressed his admiration for Crew SC and the way that Gregg Berhalter’s men play the game. Columbus enters the MLS Cup Playoffs Wild Card round as one of the hottest teams in the league after 10 consecutive matches unbeaten. If New York Red Bulls win in Chicago and Columbus upsets Atlanta down south – they will be New York City FC’s opponent in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Manager: Gregg Berhalter
Leading Scorer: Ola Kamara (18 goals)
Leading Assister: Federico Higuain (14 assists)
Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (9 clean sheets)
Predictions for our next opponent? Drop ‘em in the comments below!