- DC United
- FC Dallas
- Chivas USA
- Kansas City
- New England
- LA Galaxy
- Red Bull NY
- Chicago Fire
- Toronto FC
- Real Salt Lake
- DC United
- Houston Dynamo
- FC Dallas
- Kansas City
- 5. Chivas USA
- 6. New England
- 7. LA Galaxy
- 8. Red Bull NY
(1) DC United vs. (8) Red Bull NY
In a rematch of last year's opening round, Supporter's Shield winners United face off against "DC United II - The Oldening". The veteran Bulls (those whose knees have survived the turf at RFK North) make a go of it, but their leaky defense eventually crumbles before the majesty of the Magic Rhombus of Moreno - Emilio - Fred - Gomez (MoGoFrEm?) both in Jersey and DC.
(4) Kansas City vs. (5) Chivas USA
Preki returns to KC in a battle between the steady counter punching Wizards and the run-and-gun flair of the Goats. This is where the wheels fall off for KC. I know that defense wins championships and all that jazz, but KC gets burned for their lack of ambition and Chivas marches on, destroying the Wiz in the second leg after a boring nil-nil at the Toolbox to open the series.
(3) FC Dallas vs. (6) New England
Like they do every year, the Revs come into the playoffs hot and Dallas faces playoff disappointment again. New England are not pretty, but they are effective, and the weak Dallas defense is exposed for the sham it is. New England throw everything at them in the first match at the Big Razor and take the series lead. In the reverse fixture, Dallas have to attack to get back into the tie and get hit on the counter, bowing out meekly after a frustrated Ruiz sees red.
(2) Houston Dynamo vs. (7) LA Galaxy
Round about playoff time, the hype is beginning to settle and reality sets it for LA. They do start to gel as a squad, but it's too little too late as the Dynamo slip by the improving Galaxy. Donovan and Cannon simply to do not have enough support and despite winning the first leg, the return sees them crushed by an extra time series winner by Brian Ching after a Beckham free kick knots the series late in regulation.
On to the semi-finals:
DC United vs. Chivas USA
RFK sees the match of the year as two attacking sides put on a tremendous display that everyone wishes would have been the final so that a national audience watching ABC would be treated to the best entertainment that MLS can provide. The atmosphere is stunning with heavy support for both sides, but in the end, the Barra is dancing as the Magic Rhombus marches on after a tumultuous game that ends 3-2 to United in extra time.
Houston vs. New England
Injuries finally catch up with the Dynamo as their oh-so-thin roster is missing just too many pieces to deal with a feisty New England side. Drained by their previous series, the defending champs nevertheless go down fighting, drawing a late goal back, but eventually bowing out 1-2 to the Revs after Matt Reis "accidentally" karate-kicks DeRo in the noggin early to put the Dynamo off their stride.
So...United in RFK against the Revs is the final. That always works out for the good guys, right? Actually, in this case, it does because it is a final and we know what happens to New England in finals, don't we class? The Revs look to counter, but DC is strong and confident and puts the Revs to the sword in embarrassing fashion, knocking the ball about casually and dominating possession, but only managing to win 1-0 after taking a lead in the first five minutes through a deflected Gomez free kick that turns into an own goal by Jay Heaps. BigSoccer is awash with grieving MLS fans who rue the lack of scoring and how phenomenal the DC-Chivas game would have been as the final.
There it is - DC does the Supporter's Shield and MLS Cup double but falls in the Open Cup semis to miss out on the treble. Try to wait for November to laugh at me please.