Monday, October 31, 2011

MLS Madness: Playoff Update!

If the regular season was any indication of what to expect this year in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the weekend's games proved to be even crazier and more unpredictable than most pundits and fans would have guessed.  If you missed any of the action, we'll catch you up to speed.

The Wildcards:

FC Dallas 0-2 New York Red Bulls
In a cagey, high-tempo matchup in Dallas, the Red Bulls eliminated the Hoops as Joel Lindpere hit the deciding goal from close range.  Thierry Henry iced the cake with another seven minutes into stoppage time.

Colorado Rapids 1-0 Columbus Crew
The Rapids were able to ride Omar Cummings' goal to victory as they put forth a solid defensive performance against Columbus, delivering the Crew's ticket home two years running.

Down to Business:

Real Salt Lake 3-0 Seattle Sounders

Wow...definitely a result that no one predicted!  RSL looked a completely different side that was winless in the last month and a half of the regular season.  And Seattle were uncharacteristically taken apart in their visit to the Rio Tinto.  With goals just before and just after the break, and another just before the final whistle, the Sounders, arguably the most versatile and talented side in the league, will have their hands full crawling out from under such a deficit.  However, if it can be done, Seattle would be the team to do it, as they boast broken records for attendance and goals scored in their home matches this year.  The second leg of this one should be a cracker!

New York Red Bulls 0-1 Los Angeles Galaxy
Certainly the most high-profile matchup so far, the game itself did not disappoint, and there were postgame fireworks to boot!  Galaxy wonder-boy Mike Magee, nudged his side ahead with only a quarter hour gone.  Frustration is a mild term for the emotions experienced by the Red Bulls for it seemed they were simply not supposed to score.  The Galaxy's  Josh Saunders worked miracles between the sticks and singlehandedly preserved LA's lead.  In a furious melee after the final whistle, Rafa Marquez and Juninho were both shown red cards for inciting a hockey-style brawl.  It may prove well for the Red Bulls because Marquez's season long dramatic tirades and antics are more befitting to a third division benchwarmer than a top flight player, not to mention the Mexico National Team captain.  New York will have to make history by winning at the Home Depot Center, but this replay will also be a VERY exciting match.
"Oh, we're just getting warmed up!"
Philadelphia Union 1-2 Houston Dynamo
The Union played host in their first ever playoff match as the Dynamo played spoiler in their first ever win over Philly.  The action was all in the first half, Houston netted seven minutes on and Sebastian LeToux retaliated two minutes later.  The Dynamo completed the win with another goal in the 30th.  The teams will finish the appointment at Robertson Stadium in Houston.

Colorado Rapids 0-2  Sporting Kansas City
Teal Bunbury's brace saw off the Rapids at DSG Park, and the home side was hit heavily by injuries.  An already spread thin Rapids squad will be hard pressed to overturn the scoreline when they travel to Livestrong Park to face an increasing dominant Sporting at home.

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