The MLS playoff field is down to four teams after Real Salt Lake and Portland eliminated LA and Seattle, respectively, Thursday night. To say that things have gone according to plan wouldn't be entirely a stretch, considering that three of the four higher-seeded teams advanced out of the conference semifinals. That's not to say the playoffs haven't had a fair share of shockers.
The league's two marquee American faces, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, are out of the picture and officially on Premier League Loan Watch. The teams that spent the most -- Seattle, LA, New York -- are in the same position as their already-eliminated frugal counterparts.
Here's a look at the playoffs by the numbers following the conference semifinal carnage:
453,333.33 - The 2013 guaranteed compensation, based on the most recent MLS Players' Union documents, for the highest-paid player remaining in the playoffs, RSL forward Alvaro Saborio. Every player in the league's millionaire club -- including Dempsey, Donovan, Robbie Keane, Obafemi Martins, Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry -- is watching at home. LA proved in the last two seasons that the high-profile DP structure could lead teams to glory. That won't be the case in 2013.
6 - Players who scored their first goals of the year in the postseason. New England's Andy Dorman, Real Salt Lake's Sebastian Velasquez and Chris Schuler, Seattle's Osvaldo Alonso, Houston's Omar Cummings and Sporting Kansas City's Seth Sinovic all went without a tally through the regular season before coming through in the playoffs.
3 - Potential MLS Cup hosts remaining. In order of priority based on regular season points, the championship will be hosted by either Sporting Kansas City, Portland or Real Salt Lake. If Houston makes the final for a third straight year, it will be the visiting team for the third consecutive time.
3 - Number of series that went to extra time. Say what you want about the playoff format, but having the home team get 30 more minutes of soccer on its own turf is a definite advantage of hosting the second leg. Sporting KC and Real Salt Lake made good on that edge. New York...not so much.
2 - Supporters' Shield winners who will have won MLS Cup in the last 11 years (and counting). The Red Bulls' elimination made sure of that. It all begs the question: What is the regular season title really worth aside from a shiny piece of silverware and a CONCACAF Champions League berth?0 - MLS three-peats. It's never happened in league history, and after LA's elimination, it won't happen anytime soon.