Breaking down the MLS playoffs
With one playoff series underway (Houston and Seattle drew 0-0 Thursday night), we break down the remaining three series, all of which kick off this weekend:
The Eastern Conference semifinals get underway Saturday with a "crossover" Western team, Real Salt Lake, hosting the defending champion Columbus Crew, who didn't fare well the last time they visited Rio Tinto Stadium (first leg Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, MLS Direct Kick only).
Way back in early April, when the weather was cold and so were the Crew, RSL laced Columbus 4-1 in Utah with a
RSL's dominant home form (9-1-5) gives it a great opportunity to take the lead in this series, as do the speed and finishing of Findley (12 goals) and
Columbus has lost three of its last four league games while scoring just one goal. Though
For the fifth straight year, the Fire and the Revolution meet in the playoffs with both teams missing key players because of injuries (first leg Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Español).
The Revs -- deprived of
In their two regular-season meetings, the teams played 0-0 and 1-1 ties, with the goals coming from Fire defender
After five seasons of knocking heads as neighbors at Home Depot Center, the Southern California teams square off for the first time in the playoffs (first leg Sunday, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).
If dominance is outscoring a team 2-0 over three games, then yes, the Galaxy dominated the season series with archrival Chivas USA this season while winning twice and tying once. Yet the latter team won more games, and complied only three fewer points than L.A. while conceding just as many goals (31).
Still, even with seven shutouts in their last nine games, the Galaxy can't be confident of preserving Chivas USA's blank slate indefinitely. More worrying, perhaps, to Chivas USA coach
In its season finale (a 3-2 loss) against Houston Sunday, Chivas USA conceded the first goal after keeper