2013 MLS Cup Playoffs, Semifinals: What We Learned

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs, Semifinals: What We Learned

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 4, 2013
  • 2013 MLS Playoffs, Features
LA earned a big win over the weekend over RSL. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

LA earned a big win over the weekend over RSL. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

The first leg of the conference semifinals are in the books. Three teams gained an advantage going into the midweek second legs while one team was able to come from behind and earn a big draw at home in their opening leg.

1. Never underestimate the team down 2-1. As good as Portland and New England looked in their series opening wins over the weekend, we cannot underestimate the play out of the Seattle Sounders and Sporting KC. Well, I have more confidence going forward in KC than Seattle but that doesn’t devalue this thought in my brain at the moment. Seattle earned a huge late goal when it looked as though they would be returning to Portland down two-zip. That goal cut the lead in half and gives the Sounders a slight momentum swing going into the second leg on the road.

Sporting on the other hand went down two goals in the second half but were the better team in the last 30 minutes of that opening leg against the Revolution. Sporting is down one goal as they return home and I feel the momentum is more on their side than on New England’s here. Yes, the Revs played well, I won’t discount their performance over the weekend but SKC has the experience in big games at home over the last few years to know what it is like to lose in these situations. Their veteran roster will not allow to let it happen again this year.

2. Dynamo show up at the right time. Yes there was a massive turning point in Sunday’s game between New York and Houston, Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave went out with a red card and that shifted the tide directly over to Houston. They were down two goals at that point and stormed back to tie the series up a two goals a piece as the series goes back to New York this week.

Houston now has the massive momentum going to New York. That, along with the red card to Olave is huge. New York needs Olave in the center of the park to slow down the Houston attack. Without him in the box winning balls both in the air and on the ground, the Dynamo have the right combination in their attack to do damage to this New York defense.

3. Can RSL get a big goal at home? Experience matters. I said that much going into these playoffs last week and it showed once again last night in LA. The Galaxy just have the slight edge in the experience department over a younger RSL team. But did LA get enough with just the one Sean Franklin goal? I’m not so sure as the series goes back to Salt Lake this week. The Galaxy left a lot of goals on the table last night that could have really ended this series early.

Salt Lake at home will be interesting to see. I think they have the talent to get the job done against this LA squad that just looked alright in the opener last night. The thing is, this is a series that will likely be won by a single goal rather than a couple. LA knows they just need a draw to move on, so they’ll have to expect the onslaught of offense early on in the second leg. While we know Salt Lake can score like the best of them, I’m just curious to see if they can get a big timely goal early on to really make this a series.