Featured / MLS

Playoff previews: The 3 other games

Photo: Paul Rudderow

You might have noticed, but there are three other playoff series going on besides Philadelphia Union’s face-off with Houston. Normally, we might not watch them, but each series has high entertainment value, for different reasons in each case.

Here’s a quick preview of the three.

Colorado at Kansas City

Game time: Wednesday, 8 p.m.

TV: Fox Soccer Channel

Current score: KC 2-0 Colorado

Why you should watch: Kansas City might be the league’s most entertaining team. They attack constantly out of a 4-3-3, and though they have a good goalkeeper in Jimmy Nielsen, defense doesn’t always play into things. Add to that, they may genuinely be one of the league’s top two teams right now, as they’ve been dominant at home since Livestrong Park opened this summer, with the league’s third best home record, behind Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Teal Bunbury scored both goals in this series and is a fringe U.S. National Team player, but he could be much more in years to come. For the Rapids, Philly-area product Jeff Larentowicz will be patrolling center midfield.┬áIf the Union beat Houston, they’ll play the winner of this match.

Why you might not bother: Colorado is the opponent. And they could be without five starters due to injury.

Real Salt Lake at Seattle

Game time: Wednesday, 10 p.m.

TV: ESPN2

Current score: Seattle 0-3 RSL

Why you should watch: These are two of the league’s best, most attacking teams, and they’ll be playing in Soccer City, USA. (Sorry, Philly, but let’s give Seattle credit when they’ve earned it.) Seattle will be desperate, so they’ll attack, attack, and attack some more. On the flip side, Real Salt Lake lost starting center backs Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers to injury, and they could miss the match, which should add to the attacking chaos Seattle will try to unleash, especially considering they’re almost unquestionably the league’s best center back pairing. Don’t underestimate how big a role 40,000 fans behind you can have. For RSL, Javier Morales is finally back from injury, and that means RSL is a totally different team than the one that struggled down the stretch.

Why you might not bother: Seattle’s down by three goals already. Their key playmaker, Mauro Rosales, may sit out again due to injury, which dramatically hurts Seattle’s chances. And the game won’t end till midnight.

New York at Los Angeles

Game time: Thursday, 11 p.m.

TV: ESPN2

Current score: LA 1-0 NY

Why you should watch: Because it’s going to be nasty. It also could be a more even match than the first leg, and New York could pull an upset they don’t deserve. Los Angeles might have a one-goal lead coming home, but New York definitely got the better of the double red carding of Rafa Marquez and Juninho. The Red Bulls are a better team without Marquez, who hopefully has played his last game in MLS. He’ll likely be replaced by Dax McCarty, who is an improvement over the Mexican international cheap shot artist. As for the Galaxy, Juninho is the central midfield engine that makes that team run, and his shots from distance are becoming well known around the league. David Beckham has been terrific in his more central deployment this season, but Juninho’s presence frees him up a great deal. The Galaxy have no replacement to match him.

Why you might not bother: 11 p.m. start time? Really? We get that it’s the west coast, but why are both Thursday playoff games starting after 7 p.m. local time? You can always watch this one on ESPN3.com on delay on Friday.

One Comment

  1. If (dare I say when?) the Union beats Houston, and somehow Colorado comes back from their deficit to advance past SKC, the eastern conference final will be held at PPL Park. Just sayin’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

%d bloggers like this: