Well the one-off Knockout rounds are done and there is a just and true God, praise her. The Chicago Fire were absolutely a tire fire masked only by Nemanja Nikolic’s golden boot. A team that loses at home to Minnesota United has no business winning a playoff game. Of course we already knew full well that the San Jose Earthquakes were the worst MLS playoff team in MLS history and the Whitecaps proved that definitively.
All I can say from the Thursday matches is, hahahahahahahahahahahahaha Atlanta United and Sporting KC. Welcome to MLS, Atlanta United fans; just because you are the darlings of the league right now doesn’t preordain a playoff win. This goes back to my theory that if you lose at home to MNUFC you don’t deserve to win a home playoff match. I personally had high hopes for Sporting – in fact I predicted them to win the Treble way back in a podcast episode that you should definitely not listen to – alas, their away form and the Dynamo’s home form ultimately proved too much. Let’s move on to the first leg of the Conference Semifinals. The first legs will be played between October 29th – 31st and second legs on November 2nd and then three on November 5th.
Vancouver Whitecaps (3) v Seattle Sounders (2) October 29th – Another round of the Cascadia Cup takes place in the playoffs on Sunday. The Whitecaps took the early match this year 2-1 at BC Place before dropping points at home in August and losing 3-0 in Seattle. For the Whitecaps to take the two-legged affair they are going to need to build a cushion at home and hope they can keep it close in Seattle. Leg Two takes place on November 2nd.
Houston Dynamo (4) v Portland Timbers (1) October 30th – I had the privilege of previewing both of these teams for our Playoff Preview. As I said there, the only way Houston has a shot is if they can rack up enough goals at home and not completely shit the bed on the road. This definitely involves Cubo Torres refinding his form because I definitely think this team is going to need to grab a goal on the road. The Timbros have a -10 goal differential on the road and a +20 goal differential at home. When these two teams get together, whether in Houston or in Portland, there are typically a lot of goals scored. I wouldn’t expect anything different. Leg Two takes place on November 5th.
New York Red Bulls (6) v Toronto FC (1) October 30th – While the Western Conference went totally chalk, both of the away teams in the Eastern Conference won in the first round, one easily and the other on penalties. The Red Bulls thrashed the Chicago Fire in Bridgeview while Toronto FC waited to gear up to defend their Eastern Conference title. As mentioned by yours truly on the podcast this week the Red Bulls have been sneaky good, especially Bradley Wright Phillips, and especially lately. This has been another recently high scoring affair with Toronto taking four of the six points. Leg Two takes place on November 5th.
Columbus Crew (5) v NYCFC (2) October 31st – These two teams met little more than a week ago in NYCFC. The Crew dropped the points and had to travel to Atlanta where they eked out a win in penalties. NYCFC, by virtue of the draw and other results got an extra four days of rest. The interesting subplot of this match is clearly what is happening between Crew fans and the ownership group. Will the Crew fans show up for a crucial matchup and the possibility of a second home playoff match (and simultaneously a huge payday for the owner whom they despise) or will they boycott? The last time the Crew beat NYCFC was over 18 months ago!
That’s that, see y’all in like 3 days!