Friday, October 21, 2005

MLS Playoffs Round 1 - Match 1

What's that feeling going round? Oh that's right, it's MLS Cup time.

So have you noticed the MLS redesign of their website for the Cup? Take a look. I like it better then their old front page, even if it reminds me of Fox's baseball broadcasts. Hat tip to the web monkeys over at MLS.

But enough of these random thoughts on web images, lets talk some soccer.

Chicago vs DC
Friday 21 Oct - 9pm EST
TV: Direct Kick, HDNet

The playoffs get underway tonight in Chicago when last year's champs DC United pay a visit. These sides know how to score on one another (21 goals were scored in their 4 meetings), but both sides defense has improved since their last meeting. DC comes in with a bit of a distraction (Adu, I'm talking about you), but they also have a great deal of talent. For Chicago, they need goalie Zach Thornton, recently back from injury, to pull together his backline. Their defense has improved, but they still allowed more goals this year then any other non-expansion team. The Fire will need Chris Rolfe to be hot if they want to stamp out United. For DC, they Jaime Moreno and Christian Gomez to do what the know how to do. DC did look weak in their final couple regular season matches, but that might have just been due to their lack of meaning. All and all, I think DC should be able to handle the Fire of Chicago.

DC 2 - 1 Chicago


MetroStars vs New England
Saturday 22 Oct - 7pm EST
TV: FSC, Direct Kick

So the MetroStars made the playoffs, now what. Oh, they have to take on one of the most explosive teams in the league. After their "how did we win that" victory over Chivas last week, I'm sure they are more then capable of pulling this one off. Okay, I'm being way to harsh here, sorry. Anyway, just like DC and Chicago, these two teams know how to score on one another (20 goal in 4 matches including 9 in one outing), but I'm not looking for a highflying score this time. I think New England will look to the Golden Boy Taylor Twellman a great deal, but he will not be able to do it alone. Steve Ralston will need to bring on the spark that injury and national duty has make a little less dazzling. For the home team, I think the they will have a difficult time containing the two. On offense for the Metros, they must have Amado Guevara step it up and they need Youri Djorkaeff to keep control of the game. If they can do that and get a little help from Michael Bradley, then they might just shock the revolution.

MetroStars 2 - 1 New England

By the way, over at "We Call It Soccer", joe has an interesting reason to cheer for the Metros.


Colorado Rapids vs FC Dallas
Saturday 22 Oct - 9pm EST
TV: FSC, Direct Kick

Now over to the West where Colorado come in looking good, while Dallas is still a grab bag. This marks Dallas's first trip to the post season since 2002. FCD looked like the team back in July, but they hit the slump. They have pulled themselves out enough to get the second place nod, but they still are missing something. It does not help that Carlos Ruiz has caused them headaches by not showing up last week. For the Rapids, they had a great run down the stretch, but that has a lot to do with five of their final six games being against expansion clubs. I think Dallas will be a bit of a wakeup call for them. FCD needs Scott Garlick to control their backfield and then they need the offense to wake up. If Ruiz can perform and get some help from Ronnie O'Brien and Ramon Nunez, then Rapid's keeper Joe Cannon is going to be a busy man. They will also need Jeff Cunningham and Jean Philippe Peguero to cause confusion in FCD's lines. If they can do this and maybe get an assist from the weather (it is going to be around 55 come game time), they might walk away with something good.

Colorado 1 - 1 FCD


LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes
Sunday 23 October - 3pm EST

It is always fun when these two come together. Last week's match was nothing short of a 'kiss my ass LA' greeting card from San Jose. These two sides do not like one another, period. So what does LA need to do to pull off an upset in this series? Well they must win on Sunday. San Jose rules in their house, so if LA goes there having to do any better then a tie, they may as well not make the trip. They will need Landon Donovan and Herculez Gomez in full war mood. They will be missing Tyrone Marshall (red card) in their back line, so Chris Albright will have to provide leadership on the backline. For San Jose, they always seem to find a way to make things happen. With Par Onstad (MLS Goalkeeper of the Year) between the posts, they should have a good chance on defense. Dwayne De Rosario will bring control to the middle of the field feeding balls up to Alejandro Moreno and/or Brian Ching. Look also for Brian Mullan to make something happen. Kevin Goldthwaite is out due to suspension, but that should not cause many problems on defense for San Jose. As I said above, this is a must win game for LA in LA. For that reason, I think they will make something of it.

LA 2 - 1 San Jose


Check out Climbing the Ladder's picks here.

Also, don't forget to vote for the Honda US MNT Player of the Year.


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