We finally reached the playoffs and the win or go home matches. Let’s just say the Wednesday matches are, well, not great, but Thursday looks tasty.
(E3) Chicago Fire v (E6) New York Red Bulls — The Fire ended the season with a 3-0 loss at Houston and they lost the chance to leapfrog NYCFC and get a bye in the first round. The Red Bulls had nothing to play for on Sunday and rained on DC United’s parade at their last match at RFK. These two teams recently played in Chicago back in September and played to a 1-1 draw. In fact the Fire haven’t beaten the Red Bulls in their last five meetings. Fire win 2-1.
(W3) Vancouver Whitecaps v (W6) San Jose Earthquakes — Vancouver lost the most on Decision Day, falling from the #1 seed to the #3 seed and having to play midweek. San Jose snuck into the playoffs on the back of a -21 goal differential, making them literally the worst playoff team in MLS history. The Earthquakes have actually had the Whitecaps number recently and these teams drew 1-1 in Vancouver just a little more than a week ago. However, this one shouldn’t even be close. Whitecaps win 3-1.
(E4) Atlanta United vs. (E5) Columbus Crew — The Thursday matches are going to be a helluva lot more entertaining. Atlanta is expecting to set another record attendance and they have only lost one match in Megatron’s Butthole (to Minnesota United). Columbus had a chance to jump all the way to second but couldn’t overcome NYCFC and were therefore rewarded with a trip to Hotlanta. United is limping in to the playoffs and they haven’t won a match in almost a month. The Crew are probably the hottest team in MLS (6-0-4) in their last ten. All of this is to say nothing about the Columbus drama and the extra edge the controversy should bring to the pitch. This one has the makings of an upset special. Crew win 2-1.
(W4) Houston Dynamo vs. (W5) Sporting KC — Talk about teams going in complete opposite directions. Back in September Sporting KC looked like the potential #1 seed, especially with the games in hand, and Houston was on the outside looking in. Since then KC has fallen flat on their face and the Dynamo started to get hot. This will actually be the third meeting between these two in the last two weeks and the fourth overall, including Open Cup. Currently the season record is 1-1-1, with Houston grabbing a win at home and a draw in KC. The Dynamo have been the best home team not named Toronto this year and it looks like Peter Vermes’ men will bow out in the first round once more. Houston wins 2-1.
There you have it, all the first round information you need to know. We’ll be back on Friday with the conference semifinal matchups!