Canadian viewers can watch MLS Cup 2010 on TSN2
TSN today announced that coverage of MLS Cup 2010 from Toronto’s BMO Field will air live in HD across Canada on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 5:30 pm PT on TSN2. This is the first time in Major League Soccer’s 15-year history that the championship game will be decided outside of the United States.
History favors success on road
By winning their conference semifinal series first legs on the road, the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls have history on their side heading into this week’s return matches.
Since MLS went to a two-leg, aggregate-goal system in the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2003, four of five higher seeds winning the first leg have advanced to the conference championship (CHI 2003, NE 2003, DC 2004, DC 2006). The only one not to advance was FC Dallas in 2006, losing in a penalty shootout after a 2-1 win at Colorado to start, then a 3-2 extra-time loss in the second leg at home.
Higher seeds that have lost the first leg – such as Real Salt Lake and the Columbus Crew this year – have come back to win eight times in 14 semifinal series. Last year, the Crew were not able to overcome a 1-0 deficit on their home turf after a first-leg loss at Real Salt Lake.
Higher seeds that have come away with a draw on the road to start conference semifinal series have advanced on five of nine total occasions, including both LA and Houston last year.
The higher seeds have won 18 of 28 conference semifinal series all-time.
2010 MLS year-end awards kick off
The first of Major League Soccer’s postseason awards will be announced this week. On Wednesday, the MLS Rookie of the Year, Xbox 360 Fair Play awards (individual and team) and MLS Goalkeeper of the Year will be announced. On Friday, the Visa MLS Defender of the Year and the adidas Referee and Assistant Referee of the Year will be unveiled.
Rookie of the Year Finalists: Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia Union); Andy Najar (D.C. United); Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls)
Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists: Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas); Donovan Ricketts (LA Galaxy); Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Xbox 360 Fair Play Finalists (Individual): C.J. Brown (Chicago Fire); Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union); Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Visa Defender of the Year Finalists: Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake); Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy); Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)
adidas Referee of the Year Finalists: Mark Geiger; Kevin Stott; Baldomero Toledo
“It’s tough, he’s our best player. But … we’ll just have to [go out and win] Saturday.”
— Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman after Javier Morales was sent off in the first leg vs. FC Dallas
“It’s just one of those things that I think guys try 100 times in their career and never make it happen. The one time he got it to go in a big game – and great goals change games.”
— Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller on Edson Buddle’s first-leg goal
“Is it the result we wanted? No. But it’s not the worst thing. If you can’t win a playoff game at home, then you don’t deserve to go to the next round.”
— Columbus Crew defender Frankie Hejduk after the 1-0 loss at Colorado
“Estonian guys, they are a little bit complaining too much. He will be ready for Thursday.”
— New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe on first-leg goal-scorer Joel Lindpere, who left the game with a groin strain
Previewing the Conference Semifinal Series second legs: Nov. 4-7, 2010 (all times PT)
Thursday, Nov. 4
San Jose Earthquakes at New York Red Bulls, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2/ ESPN Deportes/ESPN3.com)
* With Red Bulls designated player Thierry Henry out for the first leg in San Jose, Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe gave a start to 17-year-old Home Grown Player Juan Agudelo, alongside Juan Pablo Angel in attack. Agudelo made two appearances in the regular season, both as a substitute.
* Henry is questionable for the second leg as well. Henry missed the final two regular season games with a knee injury.
* With the win at Buck Shaw Stadium, the Red Bulls have won their last three road playoff games. They will not have another this year if they advance to MLS Cup 2010 – they would host the Eastern Conference Championship if they advance.
* For the first leg, Earthquakes head coach shifted Chris Wondolowski and Geovanni, starting the MLS Golden Boot winner as a striker while moving Geovanni on the right side of midfield. But for just the fifth time since Sept. 11, Wondolowski was held without a goal – the Quakes have been shut out in each of those games.
* Since 2000, the Quakes have won just once at New York – a 1-0 win on May 7, 2005. The Red Bulls defeated San Jose 2-0 on Aug. 28 in Harrison, behind goals from Thierry Henry and Dane Richards.
Saturday, Nov. 6
Colorado Rapids at Columbus Crew, 1 p.m. PT (TeleFutura)
* In his 13th MLS season and his 24th game in the MLS Cup Playoffs, Pablo Mastroeni scored his first postseason goal to give the Rapids the 1-0 win in the first leg last Thursday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
* For a second consecutive season, the Crew have opened the MLS Cup Playoffs with a 1-0 loss in the Rocky Mountains. Last year, after losing 1-0 at Real Salt Lake, the Crew opened their home leg with two goals, before losing 3-2 to the eventual MLS Cup champions.
* A year ago, Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made headlines when he started playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto on the bench for the first leg at RSL. In the first leg in Colorado, Schelotto was in the starting lineup, but Warzycha replaced Schelotto and Steven Lenhart with Jason Garey and Andres Mendoza midway through the second half.
* The Crew will likely be without forward Emilio Renteria for the second leg after he underwent knee surgery. The Crew learned before the first leg that Danny O’Rourke will also be out for the remainder of the season.
* The Rapids haven’t won in Columbus since a 2-1 win June 26, 2004. The Crew are 4-0-2 at home vs. Colorado since, including a 3-1 win at Crew Stadium on Aug. 21 this year.
FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m. PT (FSC/Fox Deportes)
* Real Salt Lake had last lost to an MLS opponent on July 17 – a 2-0 loss at FC Dallas – before losing the first leg at Pizza Hut Park. RSL is now 0-9-0 all-time on the road in Dallas.
* Both teams will face some lineup issues for the second leg. Before the match, U.S. international fullback Heath Pearce suffered a hamstring strain, and will not likely be back. During the match, forward Milton Rodriguez suffered an adductor strain and was replaced by Jeff Cunningham – who scored the equalizing goal just before halftime.
* FC Dallas will also be without Atiba Harris, sent off late in the match.
* RSL will be without playmaker Javier Morales, who received a second yellow card midway through the second half. Morales did not start five league games for Real this season, the club going 2-2-1 in those games. Real did not have a player sent off in the regular season.
* Real Salt Lake have not lost at Rio Tinto Stadium in 29 games in all competitions, including their last 25 in MLS regular season play and a 1-0 win against Columbus in an Eastern Conference Semifinal Series a year ago.
* Real defeated FC Dallas 2-0 on Oct. 16 at Rio Tinto Stadium, with second-half goals from Ned Grabavoy and Javier Morales.
Sunday, Nov. 7
LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders FC, 6 p.m. PT (ESPN2/ESPN Deportes/ESPN3.com)
* Sounders FC were held scoreless for a third consecutive game in the MLS Cup Playoffs in the 1-0 first leg loss at Qwest Field, their postseason goalless streak now 300 minutes. The all-time MLS record is 560 minutes, set by Colorado over three successive postseason appearances from 1998-2000.
* Edson Buddle’s third career playoff goal gave the Galaxy the victory, a goal Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller called among the best he’s ever conceded.
* There could be an injury concern at center back for Sounders FC after Jeff Parke suffered an ankle injury midway through the second half. Parke had started the last 20 league games for Seattle; he was replaced by Tyrone Marshall, who had made just six appearances, all as a substitute, over the second half of the MLS season.
* There was a surprise at left back for the Galaxy, as Eddie Lewis held down the position, with former college teammates Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza at center back. For Lewis, it was his first league start since the first game of the year, playing just 250 minutes total in the regular season.
* In their history, Sounders FC have won just once at The Home Depot Center – a 2-0 win against the Galaxy on Aug. 15, 2009. Seattle lost 3-1 to LA in Carson this year; they have never scored there against Chivas USA (0-2-1 all-time).