Major League Soccer Playoff Preview: Knockout Round

I am a huge soccer fan.  That includes being a huge MLS fan.  I’ve watched the league grow from the very first moment of its existence.  I remember the Clash, the MetroStars, the Mutiny and the Fusion.  So, I wanted to combine my love of beer with my love of this shaggy dog of a league.

Picking a bracket for MLS playoffs like a NCAA Tournament basketball practices is silly.  MLS playoffs are a crap shoot. Picking winners based in part on beers and breweries I the respective cities is as good a way as any to predict the eventually MLS champion as any.  I choose breweries in or around each city that I think are good.  I have either had beer from these breweries (all but 2) or I picked beers that writers I trust recommend.

Here are my Knockout Round picks:

Toronto FC (Folly Brewing) v. Philadelphia Union (Tired Hands) – I’ve had and really like Tired Hands (Philadelphia) my favorite is the SaisonHands.  I’m partial to Belgian style beers (this will become apparent as we move along). I’ve never had any of Folly’s offerings, but from looking at the beer list and descriptions, I would be in farmhouse heaven if I ever get there.  So, I’m going with Toronto to win this knockout game.  They have who should probably be MLS MVP, Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and an inform Jozy Altidore. Anything can happen in a one-off game, but this is probably too much for as slumping Philadelphia to overcome. Pick: Toronto FC.

DC United (DC Brau) v. Montreal Impact (Unibroue) – I’ve had both brewery’s wears and as much as I love DC Brau for doing a beer with my favorite MLS team (favorite player of all time is Eddie Pope, fellow Tar Heel), I must do go with the Impact here.  Unibroue makes Blanche de Chambly, La Fin du Monde, Trois Pistoles, and Maudite.  That is kind of like saying, whatever else, we have Didier Drogba.  That is assuming Drogba doesn’t go all diva and refuse to sit on the bench if he doesn’t start. Pick: Montreal Impact.

LA Galaxy (El Segundo Brewing) v. Real Salt Lake (Uinta) – I have had a lot of Uinta because we carry them regularly at Craft and I’ve only had a few tastes of El Segundo at the last two GABFs I’ve been to.  My favorite from Uinta is the Baba Black Lager (another one of my obsessions: schwarzbiers).  Mostly I picked El Segundo so I could link to this song (RIP Phife Dawg).  The Galaxy should win this game.  Much like the Toronto/ Philly matchup in the Eastern Conference, they are entirely too talented to lose to Real Salt. Pick: LA Galaxy.

Seattle Sounders (Urban Family Brewing) v. Sporting Kansas City (Boulevard) – I love both teams.  Seattle has put it all together after firing Sigi Schmid and bringing in Nicolas Lodeiro.  Both things happened in July.  Kansas City is led by a guy who looks like a hardcore military officer in a bad action movie, but Peter Vermes is a great coach.  This is a game about the solid and occasionally transcendent (because of Benny Feil Haber and Dom Dwyer) Sporting KC and the solid and occasionally transcendent Boulevard Brewing against one of the hottest teams in the league and one of the hot breweries out of the Pacific Northwest. In a one-off game, I’ll take my chances with the hot team so I’m picking the Sounders. Pick: Seattle Sounders.

Coming Friday, the conference semifinal picks.