Sunday, October 23, 2005

MLS Round 1 - Part 1 now done

The first weekend of MLS playoffs are now in the books. It all got started on Friday night when DC went to Chicago, but the big story to come out of the windy city was not the play in the game but the suspension of Freddy Adu. I don't know if that has to do with Freddy or with the poor play on the night. There really were very few chances by either side. The Fire tried to get something going right before the half. DC keeper Nick Rimando ditched his line to challenge a free kick by Chris Armas, but the ball ended up finding Chicago's Jesse Marsch who took a great shot on point. However, United's Brian Carroll had placed himself in just the right spot to stop the ball from crossing the goal line. The Fire had a few more good chances in the second, but their best opening did not come till the 90th minute mark when it looked like Chad Barrett headed in the winner. However, it was called back, thus allowing the game to end in a draw. Chicago 0 - 0 DC United

In the driving rain, the MetroStars were able to quiet the feet of Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan and Clint Dempsey. New England was lacking the cohesion they had shown throughout the last half of the season. Their midfield seemed lost and failed to produce goal-scoring opportunities. The Metros were able to keep the Revs bottled up with just three on the backline. They then used their strength to test the Revs defense. In the 34th minute it paid off as last year's MVP and next year's "no long with the MLS" Amado Guevara beat goaltender Matt Reis. This was all it would take for the Metro's to pull a minor upset. MetroStars 1 - 0 New England

Sometimes games end with a goalless draw due to no lack of effort by the side's offense. The FC Dallas - Colorado match was one of those games. The two sides had a lot of flourishes, but they could not finish. For Colorado this had a lot to do with former teammate Scott Garlick who made two amazing saves in the final 20 minutes to keep the Rapids off the scoreboard. Both teams were trying to get something late as both Jeff Cunningham (Colorado) and Carlos Ruiz (FCD) came in during the middle of the second half. But neither of these two provided much. Colorado 0 - 0 FCD

After three playoff games over two days, only one goal had been scored. I'm sure this is not what MLS was hoping would happen. It is also strange seeing as the league averages about 3 goals a match.

Anyway, the final game of the weekend saw the California cousins square off. When they last met (last week), San Jose blew LA out of the water. So could LA recover? Short answer, "Yes!" The Galaxy came out wanting to shake the Quakes and that is just what they did. LA's Herculez Gomez got the match rolling with a strong shot past MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Pat Onstad in the 13th. This seemed to cause San Jose to come unhinged as they started playing their worse soccer of the year. They were unable to feed balls forward, get behind LA or clear balls out of their box. This last problem cost them big time in the 39th when the Quakes tried clearing a ball by kicking it into the center of their own box. There was only one Galaxy player in the box at the time, but the ball went right to his feet. Since those feet belonged to Landon Donovan (pictured), a shot and goal happened next. LA was dominating going into the locker room. When the second half got under way, LA came out looking flat. San Jose took advantage of this and in the 68th, Ricardo Clark got one back for the visitors. But LA would recover and in the 87th, Landon Donovan would get a good feed from Cobi Jones to get his second goal of the day. LA went looking for more in injury time, but they were unable to make it happen. By the way, this match had 39 fouls called and 7 yellow cards handed out (and it could have been about four more, but the ref was being nice). It's always a fun time when these two get together. LA 3 - 1 San Jose

Playoff predictions
Game (my guess) Final Score
Chicago - DC (1-2) 0-0
MetroStars - NE (2-1) 1-0
Colorado - FCD (1-1) 0-0
LA - San Jose (2-1) 3-1

Post-season total: 3-1


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