clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Revolution fan’s guide to the 2017 MLS Playoffs

New, 7 comments

Who should you support?

MLS: FC Dallas at Atlanta United FC


Atlanta United fans gather outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium prior to a Sept. 10 match against FC Dallas.
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

More than 700 days have passed since the Revolution last appeared in a playoff match. By now, November soccer feels like a distant memory.

That’s a brutal stretch. But it shouldn’t prevent you from following this year’s playoffs. Before the knockout round kicks off on Wednesday, you can jump on the bandwagon of a dozen MLS sides. Not sure who to support? This guide will get you started.

On a 1-5 scale, we gave each playoff team a subjective:

  • Rivalry score: Can Revolution fans comfortably support this team, or will history get in the way? The higher the score, the higher the comfort level.
  • Underdog score: If this team made a run, would it create a compelling upset story? The higher the score, the better the story.
  • Momentum score: Will this team limp into the playoffs, or enter in peak form? The higher the score, the greater the momentum.

Eastern Conference

Atlanta United

Rivalry: 5
Underdog: 5
Momentum: 3

Atlanta has made a statement in its inaugural campaign. In addition to scoring 70 goals, compiling a plus-30 goal differential and fielding a dark horse MVP candidate in Miguel Almiron, the club led the league in attendance—and it wasn’t close. A 7-0 thrashing of the Revolution still lingers, though there’s a lot to like about Gerardo Martino’s side.

Total score: 13 points (out of a possible 15)

Columbus Crew SC

Rivalry: 2
Underdog: 4
Momentum: 5

In 75 all-time matches between the Revolution and Crew SC, tempers flared more than they didn’t. But this year feels different. With Crew SC’s future in doubt—the team is on the cusp of relocating—an MLS Cup win would mean a lot for a disheartened Columbus fan base. That’s something we can all get behind.

Total score: 11 points

Toronto FC

Rivalry: 4
Underdog: 1
Momentum: 4

If you’re an underdog supporter, you probably wouldn’t enjoy watching Toronto win MLS Cup; The Reds rarely struggled during their Supporter’s Shield-winning campaign. But there’s something vindicating about the best team standing tall at the end of the season—especially when that team lost the 2016 MLS Cup final after out-shooting its opponent, 7-0. Who needs parity...

Total score: 9 points

New York City FC

Rivalry: 3
Underdog: 2
Momentum: 2

It didn’t take long for Patrick Vieira to turn NYCFC into a Cup contender. That’s good news for fans in the Bronx. But is it good news for Revolution supporters? Vieira’s side seems well on its way to establishing a rivalry with the Revolution. That would make it difficult for New England fans to watch NYCFC hoist the Cup in its third season, something the Revs haven’t done in 22 tries.

Total score: 7 points

Chicago Fire

Rivalry: 2
Underdog: 3
Momentum: 2

It’s easy to get excited about (and feel jealous of) Chicago’s resurgence. Nemanja Nikolic shined in his debut season, and Bastian Schweinsteiger brought leadership to a team that desperately needed a veteran presence. Still, Chicago’s struggles down the stretch, paired with its contentious history with the Revolution, make the team a middling option.

Total score: 7 points

New York Red Bulls

Rivalry: 1
Underdog: 3
Momentum: 2

For Revolution supporters, it’s hard to imagine any New York side serving as an attractive option. The Red Bulls fought through a poor campaign to qualify for the playoffs, and a championship would say a lot about the team’s mettle. But picturing Sachja Kljestan & Co. celebrating a title seems more like a nightmare than a best-case scenario.

Total score: 6 points

MLS: Minnesota United FC at San Jose Earthquakes
Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski scores on Minnesota United keeper Bobby Shuttleworth during a match on Oct. 22.
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Western Conference

San Jose Earthquakes

Rivalry: 5
Underdog: 5
Momentum: 3

After dismissing manager Dominic Kinnear mid-season, the Earthquakes snuck into the playoffs, thanks to a strong October that included back-to-back road results against the Timbers and Whitecaps. If the ‘Quakes defense can hang tight—and the ageless Chris Wondolowski can stay hot—it’ll be hard to root against ‘em. After all, the Earthquakes represent this year’s true underdog, with the playoff-regular Red Bulls occupying the sixth spot in the East.

Total score: 13 points

Portland Timbers

Rivalry: 5
Underdog: 2
Momentum: 4

Two years removed from winning it all, the Timbers represent the favorite in the West. The team touts an electric fan base and a loaded roster highlighted by MVP frontrunner Diego Valeri. For east coasters, there’s little reason to feel animosity toward the men in green.

Total score: 11 points

Seattle Sounders

Rivalry: 5
Underdog: 1
Momentum: 4

Famous for Xbox jerseys and winning MLS Cup without taking a shot on goal, the Sounders seem as old as MLS itself. The club has enjoyed great success since entering the league in 2009, and will head to the playoffs again this year on the backs of attackers Cristian Roldan, Nicolas Lodeiro and Clint Dempsey. A Sounders win wouldn’t serve as an upset story. But it wouldn’t ruffle too many feathers in Foxboro, either.

Total score: 10 points

Vancouver Whitecaps

Rivalry: 5
Underdog: 3
Momentum: 2

The Whitecaps serve as one of the few playoff teams without a superstar. Fredy Montero led the team with 13 goals and Cristian Techera turned in a balanced campaign, though the ‘Caps spread the wealth in 2017. While the star-studded Montreal Impact and Toronto FC earned most of the attention in Canada, the Whitecaps quietly went about their business this season. There’s something to like about that approach.

Total score: 10 points

Houston Dynamo

Rivalry: 2
Underdog: 3
Momentum: 5

The days of Brian Ching provoking the Revolution defense have passed, but tension remains from the height of the rivalry, when the Dynamo won back-to-back championships over the Revs. This year, Houston will enter the playoffs on the cusp of a six-match unbeaten streak. The club deserves credit for hitting the postseason in stride. But does anyone want to see the Dynamo win another title?

Total score: 10 points

Sporting Kansas City

Rivalry: 4
Underdog: 4
Momentum: 1

Despite touting the top defense in MLS, Sporting ended its season by going winless in five straight. Now, the team must beat the Dynamo in Houston to keep its season alive. That means someone—perhaps Gerso Fernandes or Benny Feilhaber—will need to step up for the SKC attack. If nobody does, the club will endure a boring exit from the knockout round.

Total score: 9 points

Poll

Who do you want to win MLS Cup?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Earthquakes
    (4 votes)
  • 40%
    Atlanta United
    (28 votes)
  • 10%
    Timbers
    (7 votes)
  • 24%
    Crew SC
    (17 votes)
  • 18%
    Other (share in the comments)
    (13 votes)
69 votes total Vote Now

Article updated Oct. 24 at 11:44 am ET.