footy musings from a (relative) newbie

Archive for the ‘MLS Cup’ Category

Lest we Forget…The MLS Playoff Push

It’s that time of year – when MLS teams start getting eliminated from playoff contention (so long, Impact de Montreal). When teams that were once dead and buried suddenly find themselves in the scrap for those precious playoff berths. When Seattle Sounders begin their annual implosion, and when the New York Red Bulls give me hope that this might be the year the can go all the way (And this year, those two things have coincided)
Last year, I wrote about how whiplash-inducing the MLS Playoff race can be, and it’s no different this year with just five games left in the regular season. I hate math, so I will not be breaking down how many points Team X needs to get into the playoffs, but kudos to the MLS website team for making The Race for the Red line a thing.

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Quick Hits: The Weekend That Was

  • I hate these weekends when both Chelsea and Manchester United prosper. (Y’all know my feelings on those two teams).
  • Cannot believe that in 90+ minutes of football that my Everton couldn’t beat freakin’ Crystal Palace. I’m kind of glad I missed that game.
  • Nobody got the upper hand in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, as Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo played to a 0-0 draw. Let’s see if someone does in the Western Conference semis’ first leg between Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake. Gotta say, though, it’s hard to get excited about the MLS Cup Playoffs now that my New York Red Bulls are out (*sad face*)
  • PSG is streaking away from Monaco in the Ligue 1 standings, but I’m more intrigued by Lille’s move up to second place.
  • This week brings us another international break. And y’all know my feelings on those as well.

MLS Cup Playoffs are Upon Us

The final weeks of the MLS regular season always strike me as frantic. Teams are jockeying for playoff spots, Supporters Shield honors and seeding and the home field advantage that goes along with it. This year was no different.

Now that is all behind us, and the actual playoffs have begun. Well, the play-in games have taken place (Seattle Sounders bested Colorado Rapids last night in the Western Conference play-in, and Houston Dynamo defeated Montreal Impact in the Eastern Conference version earlier tonight). With all the playoff teams decided, the real, two-legged playoffs begin (Is it any wonder I find the MLS Cup playoff structure annoying). Conference semi-final followed by conference final followed by MLS Cup final.

Unlike other club soccer competitions like Uefa’s Champions League and Europa League, the MLS Cup Playoffs actually are a complete toss-up. Any of the 10 teams that make it to the post-season can lift MLS Cup when all is said and done (Contrast that with the Champions League, where only a handful of – very wealthy – teams has a realistic shot at winning – or even making the final).

The first year I followed the MLS Cup Playoffs closely (2010), I watched New York, Los Angeles and other “fancied” teams lose early, then watched FC Dallas (the favorite heading into the final) lose to the Colorado Rapids in what turned out to be a truly awful final game. (It wasn’t awful because it featured no teams I was rooting for; the quality of the soccer was terrible).

All of which is to say, I won’t be predicting a winner at any level of this competition because it is way too hard to predict. But the table is set for some truly intriguing matchups.

  • New England Revolution vs. Sporting Kansas City
  • Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers
  • Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls
  • Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake
Am I proud of my New York Red Bulls for winning the Supporters Shield to claim their first trophy ever? Yes!
Do I fear for them as they take on the suddenly surging Houston Dynamo? Absolutely!

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