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November 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM

The playoffs are under way (Thursday links)

mls cup playoffs 2012.jpgThe party has begun. Houston kicked off the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs with a 2-1 road win in Chicago last night and postseason action continues the next four days.

As a side note, the Dynamo winning actually kept faint hopes alive that the championship game could be in Seattle. Houston is the only team Sounders FC would host in the MLS Cup final.

Looking ahead, the only truly colossal upset possible in the playoffs, in my opinion, would be if the Vancouver beat the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy tonight on the road. The game kicks off on the NBC Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. and here’s some preview coverage on the Whitecaps side.

Let’s get to some links:

* * *

— The Sounders have some playoff activities going on in the next few days, so he sure to check those out. Also, here’s a story on the team website on a couple guys with families affected by Hurricane Sandy.

— Did you hear that storm damage from Sandy has forced D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls to switch home dates in their conference semifinal?

— Here’s some preview coverage from the Real Salt Lake side, including a cool infographic, the visitors addressing what a good result would be Friday, and their thoughts on yet another matchup with the Sounders.

Landon Donovan gave another interesting video interview with ESPN that aired during last night’s playoff game, and SI’s Grant Wahl doesn’t expect Donovan will be part of the USMNT for a while.

— Sadly, Robbie Keane is just listed as an unidentified fan in this picture with David Beckham and Russell Brand. Keane was featured in the LA Times, though, so he’s got that going for him. And speaking of Beckham, he had a little trash talk going with new LA Laker Steve Nash, who’s a part owner of the Galaxy’s playoff opponent.

— Over in Montreal, team officials said they nearly held on to Eddie Johnson (remember they took him in the allocation process and then traded him to Seattle), and veteran forward Eddie Sebrango retired.

— Here’s an interesting piece on Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes from ESPN.com, which also has five burning questions for the playoffs.

— Who in their right mind would want to be a referee, indeed.

— Chelsea and Manchester United played to an incredibly wild game the other day. Also on the global scene, FC Barcelona fans are in the middle of a political cross-fire.

— Lastly, time for another playoff hype video…

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