Follow us:

Sounders FC

Daily coverage of Seattle Sounders FC, MLS and world soccer.

November 9, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Major League Soccer release of playoff notes and quotes

Conference championship matchups set

Just four teams remain in contention for MLS Cup 2010 – all from the Western Conference.

On Saturday night, the Colorado Rapids will host the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the Eastern Conference Championship.

* The Rapids won their conference semifinal series against the Columbus Crew in a penalty shootout, after Conor Casey’s late goal in regulation time leveled the aggregate score at 2-2. Eddie Gaven and Robbie Rogers had scored to put the Crew ahead. The first nine shooters all hit their penalty kicks before Columbus midfielder Brian Carroll missed to send the Rapids into the final four.

* The Earthquakes stunned the New York Red Bulls 3-1 at Red Bull Arena on Thursday to overturn a one-goal deficit from the first leg. Bobby Convey scored in each half to put the Quakes into the lead on aggregate. Juan Pablo Angel quickly answered for the Red Bulls, but MLS Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski capped a wild stretch by heading Convey’s cross for the 81st-minute decider.

On Sunday, the Supporters’ Shield-winning LA Galaxy will take on FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center in the Western Conference Championship.

* FC Dallas ended the repeat bid of defending champion Real Salt Lake with a 1-1 draw in the second leg at Rio Tinto Stadium. Holding a 2-1 lead after the first leg, Dax McCarty’s goal in the 17th minute put FCD up by two goals in the series; Robbie Findley scored a late goal for RSL, but it wasn’t enough.

* The LA Galaxy sailed into the conference championship with a 2-1 home win against Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday evening. Edson Buddle and Omar Gonzalez each converted David Beckham services from dead balls to put the Galaxy ahead 3-0 on aggregate. Steve Zakuani scored the first playoff goal in Sounders FC history in the 86th minute.

For all the highlights of the conference semifinal first legs, click here.

Record vs. playoff teams – an MLS Cup indicator?

Based on their record against the other teams in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the LA Galaxy are clear favorites to win MLS Cup 2010. Of the final four teams, the Galaxy are the only ones with a winning record against playoff sides – 9-4-1. Colorado went 4-5-5 against playoff qualifiers, while San Jose went 4-6-5. Of the eight playoff teams, FC Dallas finished last with a 2-4-8 mark against the other seven postseason participants.

No team that has ended above .500 in the regular season, yet had a losing record against the other playoff teams, has ever won MLS Cup. The three teams with a losing record against playoff teams that won the title all finished at .500 or below (DC 1996; LA 2005; RSL 2009)

2010 MLS year-end awards continue

Yesterday Seth Stammler of the New York Red Bulls was named MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year. On Wednesday, two awards will be announced – the MLS Newcomer of the Year and the MLS Comeback Player of the Year. On Thursday, the MLS Coach of the Year will be unveiled.

November 10

Newcomer of the Year Finalists

Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls); Joel Lindpere (New York Red Bulls); Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)

Comeback Player of the Year Finalists

Chris Albright (New York Red Bulls); Bobby Convey (San Jose Earthquakes); Brek Shea (FC Dallas)

November 11

Coach of the Year Finalists:

Hans Backe (New York Red Bulls); Schellas Hyndman (FC Dallas); Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake)

November 15

2010 MLS Best XI

November 17

AT&T Goal of the Year and NAPA Auto Parts Save of the Year

November 19

Volkswagen MVP finalists:

Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy), David Ferreira (FC Dallas), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Commissioner’s Award

MLS quotables

“We never put our heads down. We kept battling. We’re a team that battles, and I love it. That’s the story of my life. We’re blue-collar boys. I don’t think anyone gave us a chance outside of this room.”

— San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch after advancing past the New York Red Bulls

“He’s a difference-maker, and tonight he made a lot of hits for us. It was like a tidal wave – they kept coming and coming and coming.”

— FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman on goalkeeper Kevin Hartman after eliminating defending champion Real Salt Lake

“Omar and Conor have carried us this year. Those guys up front have been spectacular, especially at home. Hopefully we can ride them a little further into the final, but not looking past this tough opponent in San Jose.”

— Colorado Rapids captain Pablo Mastroeni on Omar Cummings and Conor Casey

“We heard for a week before we played them up [in Seattle] how happy they were to play us in this series. My guess is they probably have different feelings now.”

— LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan after knocking off Seattle Sounders FC in the conference semifinals

Previewing the Conference Championships: Nov. 13-14, 2010 (all times PT)

Saturday, Nov. 13

San Jose Earthquakes at Colorado Rapids, 6:30 p.m. ET (FSC / Fox Deportes)

* The teams split a pair of tight 1-0 decisions during the regular season. On May 1, a Chris Wondolowski goal gave San Jose the win at Buck Shaw Stadium. An own goal gave the Rapids the victory on Aug. 7 in Commerce City.

* Each of the past two seasons, the team with the worst record entering the MLS Cup Playoffs has reached the final: the New York Red Bulls in 2008, and Real Salt Lake a year ago. The Earthquakes are looking to make it three in a row.

* Chris Wondolowski had scored the last 10 goals the Earthquakes had netted – until Bobby Convey’s two goals put San Jose ahead on aggregate. But after Juan Pablo Angel equalized, Wondolowski rose to score his first career postseason goal.

* The Rapids strike pair of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings combined for 27 goals and nine assists in the regular season, directly involved in 30 of Colorado’s 44 total goals for the campaign. They’ve done it again in the postseason, with Cummings assisting on both goals (the second scored by Casey).

* The Rapids are one step away from MLS Cup for the fifth time in club history, having reached the final once (a 2-1 loss to D.C. United in 1997). They lost in back-to-back conference championship in 2005 (Los Angeles) and 2006 (Houston); they also lost to L.A. in the 2002 semifinals.

* The Earthquakes have reached the semifinals twice previously – and gone on to win MLS Cup on both occasions. In 2001, they defeated Miami in the semifinals before defeating Los Angeles in MLS Cup. In 2003, they knocked off Kansas City in the Western Conference Championship before defeating Chicago in MLS Cup.

* To reach the final, the Earthquakes will have to win on the road yet again; in the regular season, they had a 6-5-4 mark away from Santa Clara, third-best in MLS.

* The Rapids lost just twice at home, third-fewest home losses in the league (behind RSL, 0, and FC Dallas, 1). Their first leg win vs. Columbus snapped a three-game home winless streak in the postseason, including the 2005 Western Conference Championship.

Sunday, Nov. 14

FC Dallas at LA Galaxy, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN2/ESPN Deportes/ESPN3.com)

* The Galaxy won both regular season meetings between the teams. Mike Magee’s goal was the lone tally in an LA win May 20 at Pizza Hut Park. The teams then concluded the regular season against each other, the Galaxy winning 2-1 at The Home Depot Center to claim the Supporters’ Shield.

* Edson Buddle’s goal in the first leg was his first postseason goal since Oct. 31, 2004, which he scored while playing for Columbus. He scored again in the second leg against Seattle.

* FC Dallas won a postseason series for just the third time in club history, and for the first time since 1999. That year, they played the Galaxy in the Western Conference Finals, losing 2 games to 1 in a best-of-3 series.

* The Galaxy and Dallas have met three times in the MLS Cup Playoffs – each year from 1997-99. Dallas advanced in 1997, while the Galaxy advanced in 1998 and ’99. The Galaxy goalkeeper for all three series? Current FC Dallas ‘keeper Kevin Hartman.

* David Beckham set up both Galaxy goals in their second leg victory, giving him three career postseason assists. “This is the best David has played since he has been a Galaxy player,” said Landon Donovan.

* FCD midfielder Dax McCarty had made one career playoff appearance in his 5-year career – a 14-minute substitute cameo in 2007, the last time FC Dallas reached the postseason. His first playoff goal provided the margin for his club’s advancement against Real Salt Lake.

* The Galaxy are playing for a spot in MLS Cup for the 10th time in 15 years, by far the most semifinal appearances of any club in MLS history. The Galaxy have made a record six MLS Cup Final appearances.

* The Galaxy had the sixth-best home record in the regular season (9-4-2), but have not lost a home playoff game since 1998. The Galaxy are now 20-2-1 all-time at home in the MLS Cup Playoffs; 6-0 at The Home Depot Center.

* FC Dallas will have to win on the road to advance to a first MLS Cup; they were 4-3-8 away from Pizza Hut Park, the second-best road record in MLS (behind LA’s 9-3-3).

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►