Supporters’ Shield winning New York Red Bulls earned the top seed in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs on the heels of standout performances this season from several players. New York started the season off hot, going undefeated during the first seven matches. Off-season acquisitions Sacha Kljestan and Mike Grella enjoyed career years, with Kljestan posting eight goals and 14 assists and Grella chipping in nine goals and seven assists, including the fastest goal scored in MLS history.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC earned the #2 seed in the Western Conference and a first round bye after posting their highest ever points total in club history (53). Vancouver gained an MLS high of 24 points on the road this season, backed by David Ousted, who tied for the league lead in shutouts with the Portland Timbers’ Adam Kwarasey (13). 20-year-old Kekuta Manneh established himself as one of the brightest talents in the league as he posted a career-high seven goals and six assists on his way to being named #2 on the “24 Under 24” list.
Columbus Crew SC claimed the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference due to their excellent record against the Eastern Conference in the second half of the season (7-2-2 dating back to July 15). MVP candidate Kei Kamara’s 2015 season was the finest of his professional career as he tied for the league lead in goals scored (22) with Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco while also dishing out eight assists. Winger Ethan Finlay’s impressive campaign of 12 goals and 13 assists should warrant MLS Best XI consideration and will have put himself on the radar of the U.S. Men’s National Team when they begin 2018 World Cup Qualifying next month.
In the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday, November 1, the New York Red Bulls will face the lowest seed coming out of the Knockout Round matches between D.C. United (#4 seed) and New England Revolution (#5 seed) or Montreal Impact (#3 seed) and Toronto FC (#6 seed), with Columbus Crew SC facing the highest seed. In the Western Conference Semifinals held the same day, FC Dallas will play the lowest seed coming out of the knockout round matches between Seattle Sounders FC (#4 seed) and LA Galaxy (#5 seed) or Portland Timbers (#3 seed) and Sporting Kansas City (#6 seed), with Vancouver Whitecaps FC taking on the highest seed. The broadcast schedule for the Conference Semifinals will be released at the conclusion of the knockout stage.