Monday Morning Free Kicks: Playoff Edition

Monday Morning Free Kicks: Playoff Edition

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 22, 2007

I wake up a tired man today, the MLS regular season is over and now we can look towards the playoffs and MLS Cup 2007. Going into the weekend there were two spots left for some clubs to get and in the end the ones who won out were the clubs that were already in position to do so before the weekend even began.

Chicago and Kansas City, say hello to the MLS Playoffs. Kansas City, somehow you managed to not screw yourself in the foot for the third straight season by beating FC Dallas 2-0; you now will face Chivas USA and act like you are in the western conference. Chicago, you pretty much were going to go into the playoffs with a draw against the Galaxy but you managed to pull through in the end on a last second goal; you will get to face Supporter’s Shield winners DC United.

The weekend that could have been so much better ended up kind of lackluster for me. I was wanting the drama and the scoreboard watching, and all I got was some upsets and games that were kinda boring really.

There was three clubs that did stand out for me this weekend, and sadly none of them were even playing for any kind of meaning. Columbus, Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC all caught my eye this weekend. All games that they played were to a degree meaningless and yet they all went out and beat the odds and upset their opposition.

The Rocky Mountain Cup for now will be in Salt Lake City for the first time in its short history. Good for Real in my book. Lately I have grown to cheer more for them as they build toward the future. I can only hope now they actually draft smartly in next year’s draft. I think with Jason Kries at the helm they will. Their future definitely is looking brighter.

Columbus showed some heart against DC and spoiled their celebration for winning the Supporter’s Shield trophy. I loved it too because I kind of could see it coming going into the weekend. Columbus is another team that is just missing a couple peices to the puzzle to being a real contender in the league. They actually finished real strong thanks to the fact that they were pretty healthy at the end. Their down fall this season wasn’t just the lack of offense, it was injuries.

And then there is Toronto. What a better way to go into the off season than to get a last second draw against a quality playoff side like New England. Something that club definitely needed. Injuries hurt them the most, not their lack of offense. Injuries caused their lack of offense this seasoon.

Sadly for the MLS PR department, the LA Galaxy lost meaning no David Beckham in the playoffs. However I am sure it won’t be the last we hear of Becks during the post season. ESPN always seems to bring his name up on a game even when he is nowhere to be seen. LA had a good run but it was too little too late. Frank Yallop’s reaction at the end of the game with Chicago tells it all for me, he will be coaching in San Jose next season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Landon Donovan follows him still. But that is another story for another day. Bigger fish to fry now…

So now on to the playoffs with the following match-ups:

Eastern Conference
DC United v. Chicago Fire
New England Revolution v. Red Bull New York

Western Conference
Chivas USA v. Kansas City Wizards
Houston Dynamo v. FC Dallas

I’m sure Brad Guzan would love to raise a MLS Cup…

As much as I think there are some good candidates for the MLS Cup, not a single team is hot going into the playoffs. DC played so-so in the final weekends of the season, yet ended up with the Supporter’s Shield has the home field advantage throughout the playoffs and the MLS Cup. Chivas won the west but injuries are starting to take a toll, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Chicago come out of that series. What about Houston? Can they stay off the suspensions to get out of Dallas (I say yes since they always seem to have Dallas’s number).

Then I look at KC, will they be the club that wins and upsets Chivas since they feel they barely got into the playoffs? Then there is the New England – New York series, one that I expect plenty of goals.

I think we will probably see the higher seeds win in the first round. Only real upset I could see is Chivas losing to the Wizards. Maybe New England dropping to New York but the Red Bulls don’t have the defense to stay with New England. I will probably need a day or two to really ponder this more but for now I really don’t know who will actually win the playoffs this season.

In all it wasn’t the playoffs I had dreamed of to start the season but it will definitely do. Early prediction for the MLS Cup though still looks like my pre-season prediction: DC versus Houston. What can I say, I am going bold as I possibly can here.