- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On November 3, 2008
- 2 Comments
- Curt Onalfo, Javier Morales, Juan Carlos Osorio, MLS Cup Playoffs, MLS Weekend Recaps, Yura Movsisyan
The first leg of the opening playoff round this past weekend was, well, a dud in some books. Three draws and one lone win by Real Salt Lake on a last second goal. Attendance was weak and at times so was the defense late in games as two clubs scored late goals to tie things up.
Not to say the games were exciting because for the most part the three on Saturday were very exciting. Lots of end to end action, just as you’d want in any playoff game. I think the outcomes were just a little short on some ends.
I think after this weekend we have a solid understanding of who will go through to the next round and who will be left asking themselves the what if question again.
The two conference winners, Houston and Columbus, looked solid throughout and even had to battle back to get a draw on the road. They both seem fine going into their home leg of the conference semifinals. I can’t say which has more going for them either here. Both with late game-tying goals and both in a solid position in their home stadium this weekend. In other words I don’t like New York or Kansas City’s chances.
Speaking of the Red Bulls and Wizards. Both got up early in their games and looked decent enough to win the opening leg of the series. But both Juan Carlos Osorio and Curt Onalfo went a bit too defensive once they got their one-goal lead. I really felt New York more than KC bunkered down too early and in the end speed and skill caught up with a very overrated defense. KC on the other hand just got caught napping really. Both will come back to haunt these clubs this weekend on the road.
Oh, and I won’t even go into the red card to Herculez Gomez. That really hurt the Wizard’s chances of pulling that game out. Columbus is just too good of a team to not take advantage of a man-up situation.
Then there was the Chivas-RSL game. Solid game from start to finish. Physical and the game-winner by Yura Movsisyan was spectacular. Do you think that MVP-snub Javier Morales was out to prove something this past weekend with that assist to Movsisyan? I think so, his play in the second half really elevated RSL to the win.
But even with the late game-winner I still have good feelings for Chivas going back home. Even though RSL has won at the Home Depot Center this year I just don’t like their chances in this time around. Chivas looked very good at times while RSL had the play at hand but no one to put it home when needed.
This weekend should be another solid weekend and much better than the opening weekend of the playoffs. All eight teams will be gunning for the chance at the conference finals. In the end I see nothing but chalk with the higher seeds winning out. Every one of them (including Chivas) is in a very good position going home this weekend. If an upset were to happen, it would be the Chicago-New England series. I kind of see that one going to penalty kicks to decide who advances.
What was your take on the opening weekend of the playoffs? Good? Bad? Boring? Let’s hear it.