Playoff Preview: Weekend First Legs

Playoff Preview: Weekend First Legs

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 30, 2009
  • 0 Comments
  • 2009 MLS Cup Playoffs
Columbus needs a big game from Robbie Rogers at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Getty Images)

Columbus needs a big game from Robbie Rogers at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Getty Images)

While last night’s game in Seattle got the playoffs started with a 0-0 bang, the rest of the playoff clubs get ready to join the Dynamo and Sounders in the fun. One series kicks off tomorrow night while the other two wait it out for Sunday.

For a brief thought about last night’s game here I thought it was one of the most entertaining nil-nil draws I’ve seen in a long time. I know some folks hate a scoreless draw in our sport but last night’s game showed a lot of excitement and I only hope the Dynamo’s fans return the favor to Seattle and cover Robertson Stadium orange in a big time sellout. Boy those two clubs are building one hell of a rivalry too, one that could definitely be good for years to come here.

But speaking of rivalries we have a couple good ones in the playoffs this year both on Sunday believe it or not but tomorrow night’s game will certainly be good too.

Saturday:

Columbus Crew – at – Real Salt Lake:

RSL is in the playoffs for a second straight season and you have to believe they see this shot against the Crew as a big time deal. I’d expect Rio Tinto Stadium to be a happening place tomorrow night. Jason Kreis’ club has always been good at home and against the Crew there. They need to build some massive momentum in this game if they want to shock the league and win this series. To do that they have to take advantage of some banged up defense the Crew has right now and now get themselves in foul trouble early. Robbie Findley and Yura Movsisyan have to step up and play well in front of the net because the Crew are sure to want to get the taste of that 4-1 blowout from back in April out of their mouths.

Columbus on the other hand just needs to play to their strengths. Even on the road this season they’ve been solid. They certainly need a big game from their MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto. If he fails to show up in this game you might be able to kiss the Crew’s chances of repeating good-bye. Columbus needs to work the ball in space and allow Robbie Rogers and Alejandro Moreno to get open around the box. Columbus stumbled into the playoffs with two straight shutout losses, I would imagine things will be corrected in time for tomorrow’s game offensively for this bunch.

This first leg will be close but I think a draw comes out in the end. RSL knows this game is big while Columbus knows they just need to hold them to a draw and win at Crew Stadium next week.

WVH Prediction: RSL 1, Columbus 1

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Sunday:

Expect a tight series with the Revs and Fire. (Getty Images)

Expect a tight series with the Revs and Fire. (Getty Images)

Chicago Fire – at – New England Revolution:

For some reason this I think this series will be closer than any other out there. New England pretty much has no offense while the Fire are too hot and cold to really feel good about picking right now. Throw in the fact that these two have played each other seemingly every year since the turn of the century in the playoffs and it makes for one nasty pick.

I’ll be honest with you, the Fire are a mess in and out despite the roster they have. Blanco is going away after this season, possibly for good, and others are sure to leave as well. But this club does play better than any other on the road and they know New England like the back of their hand. Yet Steve Nicol and the Revs know the Fire just as well. I see this series staying tight, with loads of fouls, possibly loads of cards and very few goals. Neither have blown up the scoreboard in recent weeks and I wouldn’t expect it to happen in the playoffs.

I’m oddly enough taking the Revs in this opening game. Something about them getting into the playoffs last week by beating the Crew just makes me believe the Nicol has this club playing on a higher level than the Fire right now. Yes I know the Fire look good in their season finale but something just strikes me the wrong way about this bunch. I like Shalrie Joseph in this series to prove yet again why he was an MVP candidate this season.

WVH Prediction: New England 1, Chicago 0

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We get our first SuperClasico playoff edition in 2009. (Getty Images)

We get our first SuperClasico playoff edition in 2009. (Getty Images)

LA Galaxy – at – Chivas USA:

This is another series that I expect more cards than goals from. Neither club like one another and throw in the rivalry factor and this makes one interesting series. I think the league probably pissed themselves when they saw that this was going to be a matchup for the first round. But then they probably got even more giddy when they realized for probably the millionth time that David Beckham would finally be in the playoffs with the Galaxy. I guess now we will hear how well the DP system works huh?

Back to this game though, if you look at how these two played this year in the regular season you can’t expect much more than a load of fouls and cards and possibly a sneaky goal by either Maykel Galindo or Landon Donovan. The thing Chivas needs to do to win here is get Galindo in space and allow him to use his speed to expose a defense that can easily get burned by good speed. Expect LA to sit back a little in this one and go for their typical long-ball approach to scoring. Sadly this one will end in a draw as well.

WVH Prediction: Chivas 1, LA 1

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