Playoff Recap: Conference Finals Set

Playoff Recap: Conference Finals Set

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 9, 2009
  • 6 Comments
  • 2009 MLS Cup Playoffs
Stuart Holden and Sean Franklin set to battle things out this weekend. (Getty Images)

Stuart Holden and Greg Vanney set to battle things out this weekend. (Getty Images)

It seems like every year we get a big upset in the playoffs, and 2009 was no different. Thursday night in Columbus we saw Real Salt Lake go into Crew Stadium and shock the league with their 3-2 upset of the Crew, sending them through to the conference finals. The weekend slate of games however saw no more upsets, the home teams held strong and won their series.

So now it is all set, Chicago will host RSL and LA will host Houston. All quality series and all in soccer-only stadiums. With all due respect to New England I think the league really didn’t need them to hold on to beat Chicago and host RSL in the conference finals in front of a 90% empty stadium with NFL lines on the field. Instead we get a game in a modest MLS-sized part that should be mostly full.

Did we end up with the best matchups going into the conference finals? Some would say we did but I still think the way the playoffs are set up the higher seeds are still at a disadvantage even though three of the four went through this year. But that is just the way things are set up and kudos to RSL for sneaking through and pulling the upset this year. No doubt in my mind that upset bought Jason Kreis another season in Salt Lake with the club.

So back to the matchups for a minute. I’m pretty sure the league knows what MLS Cup pairing they want out of these four (Chicago-LA) but will it happen?

Chicago won the season series in the two meetings between the clubs. Their 1-0 win at Toyota Park should hold some value for the Fire as they will lean heavy on RSL’s lack of winning on the road (up until last week of course) to get them through this game. Chicago also has the outside speed that will probably be used a bit more against RSL. It was something that lacked for Columbus in their game but when things went wide it worked for the Crew against RSL. I’d imagine we’ll see plenty of Chris Rolfe going into the box for Brian McBride.

Out west things are going to be fun. Friday the Dynamo travel to LA in what should be a packed house for the final home game of the year at the HDC. It was just three weeks ago we saw these two teams battle to a scoreless draw at Robertson Stadium. I have to wonder how much of an advantage the home field will be for the Galaxy.

Are you happy with the conference finals? Do you think RSL can pull another upset in Chicago?

  • Joseph D'Hippolito

    Uh, that's not Sean Franklin in the Galaxy jersey. That's Greg Vanney.

  • Joseph D'Hippolito

    Uh, that's not Sean Franklin in the Galaxy jersey. That's Greg Vanney.

    • Good catch, blame Getty for labeling that one wrong.

  • wvhooligan

    Good catch, blame Getty for labeling that one wrong.

  • Eric in Baltimore

    I don't think it's Greg Vanney either. Looks like Dema Kovalenko.

  • Eric in Baltimore

    I don't think it's Greg Vanney either. Looks like Dema Kovalenko.