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MLS PLAYOFFS: If not Galaxy, then who?

10/28/2011

With the Galaxy in the MLS playoffs, we'll try to answer some of the pertinent questions for the "every fan" as the postseason moves on.

If you're going to choose a favorite to win MLS Cup, it's the Galaxy. But, as midfielder Mike Magee noted Wednesday, “everyone's got an equal chance now.”

It's true. The last two champions -- Real Salt Lake and Colorado -- finished fifth in the Western Conference, were shuttled to the Eastern bracket, prevailed, then won the finals on penalties (RSL over the Galaxy in 2009) and in overtime (Rapids over FC Dallas last year).

The Galaxy was the lowest seed in 2005 and won the title.

The regular season counts for just two things: the Supporters' Shield, which L.A. won, and in determining which 10 teams go to the playoffs. It's a new season now, and anything can happen.

So the Galaxy might be the favorite, but they're hardly a slam dunk. Not with Seattle, Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls in the field.

The Seattle Sounders, who won 18 games -- one fewer than L.A. -- might as well be co-favorites. They've got the league's best attack (with forward Fredy Montero in great form), tremendous talent on every line, a difference-maker in the nets (Kasey Keller) and one of the two best coaches in the league (Torrance's Sigi Schmid). They also must overcome MVP candidate Mauro Rosales' knee injury.

RSL, the best team in the league when the season started, is finding its best form again following the return of Javier Morales, and Eastern Conference winner Sporting has been sensational (12-3-9) after playing their first 10 games on the road while awaiting the June 9 opening of their new stadium.

New York, the Galaxy's first-round opponent, has had a difficult campaign, but nobody has more talent. The Red Bulls are a dark horse, but dark horses have a history of success in the MLS playoffs.

Previous questions

Are the Galaxy favorites?