There are three games left in the briefly paused first round of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs, which means three Tuesday chances to play the always nervy predictions game.
Before we dive into the last few first-round picks, let's review how I fared over the weekend. It was a very happy weekend indeed, as I was a couple of stoppage time minutes from a perfect 7-0 before Ricardo Pepi and some flawless FC Dallas spot kick marksmanship ended that dream.
Nevertheless, going 6-1 (including a frighteningly exact call on Orlando City's shootout advancement) has pulled me back above break-even for the month. Now it's time to keep that happy roll going...
Toronto FC vs. Nashville SC
6 pm ET | FS1, FOX Deportes in US; TSN 1/4/5 in Canada
The Reds have tons of playoff experience, but injuries dulled their offensive output down the stretch (multiple goals scored just once in their last eight). Do they have enough time to get all of Jozy Altidore, Marky Delgado, Jonathan Osorio and Pablo Piatti into prime working order? "My sources say no," reads the Magic 8-Ball. And yet, I can't help but think that Nashville losing Anibal Godoy sharply decreases the likelihood of containing Alejandro Pozuelo. It won't be easy, but a 2-1 Toronto FC victory gives them a little more time to gain fitness before they have to tackle a prime contender.
Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution
8 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN3 in Canada
Dating back to last season, the Supporters' Shield winners have won nine straight at home by a combined 24-4 count. The Union are also much better rested than New England who they've dominated for three years now. The Revs certainly have enough in the clubhouse to stand a puncher's chance against a team that won't have played in 16 days come kick off, but you won't catch me calling an upset in this one. Put me down for a 2-1 Philadelphia win.
Seattle Sounders vs. LAFC
10:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN 1/4 in Canada
This is obviously a tough one to call, especially with LAFC sure to be overflowing with motivation. It's a shame that we must lose one of these titans so early in the playoffs. In the final analysis, four factors leaned me to one side. First, Diego Rossi's COVID-19 diagnosis won't just cost Bob Bradley the Golden Boot man's attack prowess, it should allow Kelvin Leerdam more license to get forward. On the other flank, Nouhou has the wheels to at least slow down Carlos Vela. Up that same side, I can't see any possible LAFC right back handling Jordan Morris. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Nico Lodeiro has had time to recharge his batteries. This is my long and winding way of picking a 3-2 Seattle triumph.