The 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs are upon us. Here are three players who can lead their respective teams to the ultimate prize this fall.
Soccer may be a team sport, but it’s individuals who can make a big difference in do-or-die games.
The MLS Cup Playoffs offer up such scenarios once the opening round kicks off on Oct. 15 with six matches. All playoff matches are single elimination.
The regular season is certainly a guide as to which players will shine this fall. Major League Soccer is different from most leagues around the world since every team follows the same budget rules. It is also different because of its playoff system, following in the tradition of other North American sports leagues such as the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.
The bracket-style playoffs will culminate on Nov. 5 with the MLS Cup Final. The game will take place just 16 days before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Here are three game-changing players to watch in the upcoming playoffs.
3. Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Philadelphia’s Andre Blake is coming off an amazing regular season. In reality, the entire Union squad has had a wonderful season and are now poised among the favorites to win MLS Cup after finishing with the best record in the Eastern Conference. Blake, in particular, has been exceptional in goal and gives Philly assurance in the back this postseason.
The 31-year-old Blake, who represents Jamaica at the international level, is an eight-year MLS veteran. He was picked first overall by the Union in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Originally expected to be the team’s starting goalkeeper, he became a bench player after the Union signed Algeria’s Rais M’Bolhi.
By 2016, Blake cemented himself as the starter following a string of great performances in net. The Union have never lifted an MLS Cup. This could very well be the season they do so. The difference between ultimate success and early elimination will hinge largely on how Blake does over the next few weeks.