Eye on MLS: Conference Semifinals Preview – Leg 1

SANDY, UT - SEPTEMBER 16: Fans for of Real Salt Lake cheer during a game against FC Dallas during the first half of an MLS soccer game September 16, 2010 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Real Salt Lake beat FC Dallas 2-0. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
It took the final game of the final week of MLS regular season action to determine the seeds for the 2010 playoffs (LA’s 2-1 victory over Dallas Sunday night gave them the Supporter’s Shield—best overall record—and the #1 seed in the West). Now that the dust has settled, FFG will breakdown the who, what, when and where of the first round of conference semifinals. Aside from the basics of each match’s logistics, we provide some provocative questions about each match-up intended to stir up some thoughtful reader response and commentary. In other words, please chime in! In addition, we let you know where you might catch each game on TV.

Remember, this round of play includes 2 legs—a home and away match for each team. Cumulative goals determine the winner. In the case of a tie, goals scored away trump home goals. This preview focuses on the opening leg of each semifinal.

Note: Games are presented in chronological order. No other logic was applied.

So, the first leg of conference semifinal play looks like this…

When: October 28, 9pm ET
Match Up: Columbus Crew at Colorado Rapids
Where: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
Watch it on: ESPN2
Key Questions: Can Colorado’s uncreative but disciplined4-4-2 spearheaded by Connor Casey out strike the creative Columbus midfield quarterbacked by Argentine Barrios Schelloto? Can giant hydraulic cranes raise Dick’s Sporting Goods Park another 1,000 feet above sea level to increase Colorado’s inherent altitude advantage?

When: October 30, 5pm ET
Match Up: Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas
Where: Pizza Hut Park
Watch it on: FSC
Key Questions: Dallas has demonstrated an uncanny ability to draw. That might get you IN to the playoffs, but it can’t get you through them. Will Dallas be able to evolve their game and score goals at home, enabling them to go into the second leg with their eye on the draw? Will MLS’s own Barcelona—Salt Lake—show that pretty futbol can work two years in a row in MLS? Can Salt Lake handle Dallas’ average fall temperature of 110?

When: October 30, 10pm ET
Match Up: New York at San Jose
Where: Buck Shaw Stadium
Watch it on: ESPN2
Key Questions: New York is beatable. Has San Jose been reading FFG for the keys on how it can be done? Tips for New York’s aging superstar trio (Angel, Marquez and Henry)? Take a long nap. That 10pm ET start time is way past your bedtime.

When: October 31, 8pm ET
Match Up: LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders
Where: Qwest Field
Watch it on: ESPN2
Key Questions: LA are favorites, but can the Sounders’ bright “electric” green kits cause enough retinal damage to Becks and Landon to throw them off their game? Can the notoriously supportive fans of Qwest field help raise the decibel level enough to damage their hearing as well, thus leaving the Galaxy with only their sense of smell? Oh yeah, Landon and Buddle are still hearing vuvuzelas, so that won’t help.

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Tom B. says:

    Nice article, but can we not refer to it as “the” (M)ajor (L)eague (S)occer?

    • Blake Owen says:

      Editor’s note: fixed

      Outside of watching our local FC Dallas take on Salt Lake, I think I’m most psyched about New York/San Jose.

      Since Geovanni came to down, San Jose is 6-4-2. Of course, that does include a 2-0 loss to New York….

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