By: McLeod Brown
Sandwiched in between opening night of the NBA season and an injury-riddled week for the NFL, the MLS playoffs had quite the showing during the first two rounds. Here’s a little recap and preview for those teams moving forward.
D.C. United 2, New England Revolution 1
The young guns of the Revolution couldn’t keep up with the veteran-laden United, as DC was able to advance into the second round with their one-goal victory on Wednesday. After Juan Agudelo opened up the scoring for the Revs in the 15th minute, DC owned the rest of play. Chris Pontius scored in the 45thminute before Chris Rolfe pushed the home team ahead in the 83rd.
Montreal Impact 3, Toronto FC 0
This one was never really in question, as the Impact flexed on their cross-country adversaries from end-to-end. After defeating Toronto 2-1 the Sundaybefore the playoffs began, Montreal appeared to be even more up to speed in their opening playoff game. Patrice Bernier and Ignacio Piatti accounted for the first couple Blues’ goals before Didier Drogba continued his brilliance by capping the scoring.
Seattle Sounders 3, LA Galaxy 2
This game between West Coast rivals made sure that there is going to be a new champion this season, after the Sounders knocked off the reigning title-holders. A rematch of last year’s Western Conference finals, Seattle was successful in defeating the most decorated team in MLS history, a squad that had knocked them out of playoff contention three times since 2010. Clint Dempsey, Erik Friberg, and Nelson Valdez all notched goals for Seattle.
Portland Timbers (7) 2-2 (6) Sporting Kansas City
In what wasn’t just the game of the playoffs, but the match of the season as well, the Timbers held off a furious fight from the No. 6 seeded Sporting Kansas City to advance on penalty kicks. A 1-1 ending to regulation resulted in extra time, where KC appeared to secure the upset on Krisztian Nemeth’s goal in the 96th minute. However, Maximiliano Urruti (who I mentioned in the preview blog) saved the day for the host team, sinking a shot with two minutes left in extra time to push the match to penalties. From there-on, the teams went back and forth on penalties, with the decisive goal coming from none other than Portland keeper Adam Kwarasey. In the 11th round of PKs, Kwarasey sank his shot before deflecting SKC backup goalie Jon Kempin’s attempt to send the team into the second round. If you haven’t yet watched this game in its entirety, you need to. Like now. Go. Do it.
Eastern and Western Conference Semifinals
First Leg: Sunday, Nov. 1
New York Red Bulls 1, DC United 0
Portland Timbers 0, Vancouver Whitecaps 0
Montreal Impact 2, Columbus Crew 1
Seattle Sounders 2, FC Dallas 1
The semifinals and finals of the MLS playoff are a bit different from other sports. With only two legs, it all comes down to goal differential by the end of the second match. As you can see with the scores above from the first round, each team is still very much in it, providing an exciting set-up to this weekend’s second round. Check back next week for a recap of the semifinals and a preview of the final four.