December 3, 2023

Brighton Journal

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MLS Cup Playoffs Tiers: Favorites, Underdogs and Dark Horses

MLS Cup Playoffs Tiers: Favorites, Underdogs and Dark Horses

If you’re not a basketball fan I apologize, but you’ll just have to bear with me here.

I keep thinking about last year’s NBA season and the subsequent playoffs. I’m a Celtics guy — the Celtics were very good to excellent — and I really felt like the Bucks could beat us in the East. Then Giannis got hurt, Jimmy Butler went haywire, the Bucks were out, and Boston had a clear goal of getting back to the Finals.

I mean, sure, the Heat beat the Bucks, but that was just a fluke. Miami was stinky for most of the regular season, was nearly wiped out by a Bulls team that was completely mediocre in play, its best offensive players were a bit old, and everything was moving very slowly. Getting that first-round win was a fitting culmination of the Jimmy era, but the book on a title-contending Heat team had already been closed. Many months of mediocre play. Lots of flaws.

no. It turns out that if you want to bury a proud, veteran team with a long playoff history, you’re really going to have to, truly earn it. Flaws and all, teams that know how to win the biggest games have a habit of winning the biggest games.

Does all of the above sound to you like anyone in Rave Green? They obviously need Raul Ruidiaz to get fit and find one last month of magic, but that’s the only real “if” I’m looking at with this team, a team that has done a fantastic job defensively (by basic numbers they are the best defensive team in the league, and by Box score numbers they are tied for first place) and with the field control. They also, due to the development of Liu Chu and Red Baker Whiting, have more offensive weapons than previous iterations of this team.

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The zombie heat has ruined my spring. Zombie Sounders may be coming in the fall. Don’t believe this group is dead until you drive a stake through their hearts.

Winning Decision Day in St. Louis was certainly a statement of intent.