MLS Playoffs: West Looks Easy, East Not So Sure

MLS Playoffs: West Looks Easy, East Not So Sure

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 24, 2007

You know, sometimes breaking down series can be easy and sometimes not. The more I look at each series the more I believe the west is a little easier to understand and figure out, while the east seems like it could be easy but deep down it is not.

So, what should we watch for in this opening round? Each series has something, which is exactly how a playoff series should be.

Eastern Conference
DC United v. Chicago Fire

First thought: When I found out the Fire would get the United I was a little worried for the Supporter’s Shield champs. Even with the homefield advantage I think DC has to find a way to get over the hump in the playoffs. Chicago is a dangerous team even with a sloppy looking record (10-10-10, looks like a Vegas slot machine more so than a soccer record). Then you have to think, DC has the league’s Golden Boot winner Luciano Emilio, a great midfield and a fairly solid defense going against a not so great offense of the Fire. Could be easy right?

Match-up to see: Blanco vs. Chirstian Gomez – This will be a good midfield battle between these two clubs. I think this will be the most interesting of all. I worry that Blanco is running out of gas this season though to really carry the Fire any more than he already has here. Gomez had another MVP type season and should be able to do enough to slow down Blanco and the rest of the Fire midfield.

Bottom Line: DC has the edge in offense, and possibly the edge in defense. I doubt the Fire’s defense can really hang with DC at RFK or even at Toyota Park. Then again lately the Fire have been playing out of their butts. Biggest thing is the Fire’s defense slowing down Emilio and company, something I just don’t see happening in a two game series.

Who will win: DC wins with a 4-2 advantage in goals. I see a tight game on Thursday night but the next game at RFK should be wide open for DC to attack.

New England v. New York

First thought:This is the series that really bugs me. I think on all parts of the game New England has the edge but I still believe that you cannot count out Bruce Arena in the playoffs. When both teams are on their ‘A’ game they are tough to beat but too many times they switch off and look pedestrian. Which team that shows up for two games will determine who wins this series.

Match-up to see:Juan Pablo Angel v. Michael Parkhurst – I love this defensive/offensive clash here between these two clubs. Angel is a master at finding the back of the net and Parkhurst is a great defender. Who wins the battle in this series will lead their club to the next round.

Bottom Line: If New York shows up offensively they could put a lot of pressure on the Revs but the same goes for the Revs’ offense against the Red Bulls defense. I think the Revs’ defense will out class the Red Bull’s defense, which has been pretty terrible this season. If Bruce Arena can find the right combo in the back they could make it real interesting. But at the end of the day I have to side with the better defense.

Who will win: I think it will be close but New England should pull away with a 3-2 advantage in goals.

Western Conference (plus KC):
Chivas USA v. Kansas City Wizards

First thought:KC found a way into the playoffs for once and probably have a lot to prove now. Chivas has a lot of injuries right now so KC could make this very interesting. The Wizards have to get a lot of goals in the opener to make it tough on Chivas, if not I expect the Goats to pull this one through due to their dominance at home this season.

Match-up to see:Maykel Galindo v. KC’s back-line– IF Galindo is healthy enough to go full speed, he should be able to win this series against a poor defense that KC has. I am hopeful that KC’s back-line steps up for once. Another thing to look for is Eddie Johnson v. Claudio Suarez, EJ has been cold since July, only scoring three goals. He needs a big series.

Bottom Line:KC’s defense stinks, period. Even with injuries that the Goats have right now I still like their chances. Also the midfield for KC hasn’t been the same for a while, they look unorganized for the most part and Carlos Marinelli looks out of place.

Who will win:KC could make it interesting if they play up the card that they have something to prove but in the end Chivas is still too good to not pick in this position. Chivas wins on a 4-1 advantage in goals.

Houston Dynamo v. FC Dallas

First Thought:As a Hoops fan I have to say I would rather have this match-up than Chivas. Seriously. I would love nothing more than to knock off a rival first and then have momentum in the next round. Plus there is always the chance of an upset in the other western series. However, you can’t deny that Houston is the hotter club in the league and Dallas has done nothing more than stink up the join since July. I may go to the game Saturday in Frisco but I wouldn’t be shocked to see a 0-0 draw there.

Match-up to see:Carlos Ruiz v. Houston’s back-line – If the Fish comes out to play and not flop then the Hoops could be in for a good series. However Houston always seems to know how to handle him. Another thing to watch is how Dallas configures their defense for the series to counter the attack that the Dynamo have.

Bottom Line:Houston is the better club. No mistake about that either, Dallas is just too inconsistent to even think of calling an upset. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see it but I just can’t figure out a way for it to happen and I doubt Steve Morrow can either.

Who will win:Houston should win, maybe not too comfortably but they should win 3-0 on goals.