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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Who will win MLS Cup? We make our predictions

Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman and Jay Heaps preview the two knockout matches in the Eastern Conference.
Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman and Jay Heaps examine the Western Conference knockout matches in the MLS Cup playoffs.

With the MLS Cup playoffs getting started on Wednesday night with the Chicago Fire hosting the New York Red Bulls, we turned to our Major League Soccer experts to predict the postseason.

Jeff Carlisle, Jason Davis, Herculez Gomez, Graham Parker, Kasey Keller, Matt Pentz, Brian McBride, Arch Bell, Sebastian Salazar, Jeff Rueter and Paul Mariner gave us their thoughts on how the playoffs will unfold this season.

Who will win MLS Cup?

Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle): After coming so close last year, this is Toronto FC's year. It is the league's deepest team and has a diverse attack that makes it near impossible for opponents to key on one individual. So after years of frustration, TFC will hoist MLS Cup at last.

Herculez Gomez (@herculezg): It's simple: I picked the Vancouver Whitecaps over New York City FC (in NYC) to win their first MLS Cup back in my preseason predictions. Still backing them. Portland '15, Seattle '16, Vancouver '17 -- Cascadia Treble!

Toronto FC is nearly the unanimous pick to win MLS Cup and record a Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup double.

Jason Davis (@davisjsn): Although history is working against it, Toronto FC is the only choice for MLS Cup champion. The Reds put in one of the most dominant, consistent regular seasons in MLS history, are fully healthy entering the playoffs and will be motivated to do the job they nearly completed last year.

Kasey Keller (@KaseyKeller18): Toronto has been the best team all year. Home-field advantage, plus a second chance to beat the team that beat it last year. Toronto wins against Seattle.

Graham Parker (@KidWeil): Toronto to finish what it started last year. At very least to reach a home final again. From there, the Reds should be able to nullify any opposition playmaker, even Portland's Diego Valeri, and still have the weapons to do damage of their own.

Brian McBride (@BMcBride20): After a heartbreaking end of the year in 2016, a refocused Toronto will culminate with an MLS Cup win.

Matt Pentz (@mattpentz): Toronto once again takes the game to the Seattle Sounders during a Cup final at BMO Field -- only this time, the Reds turn that dominance into a multigoal triumph. Toronto puts the final touch on one of the greatest single seasons in league history.

Vancouver Whitecaps celebrate
The two dissenting votes in our MLS Cup predictions were for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Sebastian Salazar (@SebiSalazarFUT): I refuse to believe Toronto gets tripped up. Sure, the top seed has stumbled (plenty) in the past, but this isn't your average Supporters' Shield winner. They've already proved to be one of the best teams in league history, and I think the Reds will confirm that emphatically in the coming weeks.

Arch Bell (@ArchBell): One year after the shootout heartbreak against Seattle, TFC redeem themselves with a commanding MLS Cup victory in front of their home fans. Midfielder Victor Vazquez, as he has done all season long since arriving midwinter, sets the table with two assists on goals from Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco in a 2-0 win over Portland.

Paul Mariner (@Paul_Mariner): Vancouver has match winners in its team; its strength is the team togetherness and shape. The Whitecaps just have enough in both boxes to win the Cup.

Jeff Rueter (@jeffrueter): Toronto can exact revenge after losing MLS Cup 2016 on penalties. Despite winning a ratings darling of a Western Conference final vs. Portland, Seattle doesn't have enough to slow down Vazquez's midfield mastery.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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