Monday, October 30, 2006

MLS Playoffs - The Others

New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire
So New England came back from a 1-0 deficit, played without Shalri Joseph (who was on a MLS sponsored holiday), played without Deuce (who was nursing a sore ankle) and played without that many fans in the stands. Not wanting to make things too difficult for them, they even let Chicago add a second goal to their lead, then decided that they wanted to play a lot of soccer against the USOC Champions. New England picked up two second half goals to even the aggregate at 2-2 to force overtime and eventually the Penalty kick shoot-out. They went on to win 4-2 on PK's.

I remember reading something about having Joseph return for the first playoff match might have been a bad thing for the Revs, as they went 6-0 without him. He was suspended for Saturday's match and they come through with a win. Hmmm? I am not exactly sure what happened to Chicago. Did they think that with a 2-0 aggregate lead that it was smooth sailing? Not sure, but I am sure that they have plenty of time now to try and figure out what to work on for next year.

FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids
Ok, who didn't see this one coming? I mean, common, Colorado had Cleetus in the starting line-up, beer gut an all! No really, you had to know that FC Dallas was going to implode. They had everything to lose and now if they want to play in the CONCACAF Champions Cup next season, they have got to be cheering DC United on to win the MLS Cup.

So can Colorado pull things out and make it past Houston? They should be getting Thiago Martins back after his MLS sponsored holiday, so they should have more options for their attack. That said, I don't see them having that much luck against the Dynamo.

Houston Dynamo vs. Chivas USA
I was only able to watch the second half, and from the reports, that is wall I needed to see. 7 yellow cards in 9 minutes. That has got to be some type of a MLS record or something. I have never seen a club implode like that in my life. DC United's performance doesn't count, as they never really even showed up except for Perkins and Gomez. First the yellow cards started flying, then Juan Francisco Palencia's temper got the best of him and he was tossed from the match. Then Chivas tried to do anything to get a goal for the aggregate lead, yet they couldn't string passes together. Then De Ro took over.

If Christian Gomez didn't have the season that he has had, De Rosario would be the hands down winner of the Honda MLS MVP award. The guy took over on the left side and sent in a wonderful cross. Brian Ching did well to get his head on the redirected ball from the cross and scored what might have been the most important goal in the Dynamo's short history. Now they are hosting the Rapids next week with a chance to avenge their first round melt down to the Galaxy (yeah, it was the Earthquakes, but the players still remember).

So we have two matches next Sunday (are they both on Sunday, two hours apart?):

Eastern Conference Final: DC United vs. New England Revolution

Western Conference Final: Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids


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