Playoff Prattle - Scoring is Sooooo Passé

Fire 1 : 0 United

United will be thanking Perkins for keeping this one close. Thursday night will see the first conference finalist stake their claim as the Fire roll into the seething cauldron of darkness that will be RFK. Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate! Personally, I won't be abandoning my hopes for something along the lines of ManU's response to going a goal down in the first leg to Roma in last season's Champions' League. Of course, with the "quality" of some the characters in the Fire side, and given the number of fouls committed in the first leg, I think such a demolition would leave United with only a handful of healthy, non-suspended players to face the Revs in the next round. (Blanco . . . dive! Segares . . . hack! Brown . . . thug! Wait, is thug a verb? In the case of Brown, and of course dictionary definition picture model Jay Heaps--absolutely it is.)

Red Bull 0 : 0 Revolution

Oops, did I just go and hand victory in this tie to the Revs? Honestly, the Bulls big chance was to come out and overwhelm the Revs with offense in Game 1, hoping to carry a multiple-goal lead into the second leg. They tried, but as so often happens in the Swamp, the sweet stench of Metro Playoff Failure cast a pall over the field turf. Speaking of casting a pall, how 'bout that "crowd"? I swear that I could hear individual voices in the singing.

Wizards 1 : 0 Chivas

A fairly even match decided by a free kick from distance. The Wizards hold serve, but the signs were all there that Chivas, even without Razov's scoring punch, should have enough to at least take the second leg to extra time. Chivas are a different animal at home, and will probably take the "Miserable Attendance Derby."

Dallas 1: 0 Dynamo

Remarkably, Dallas managed not to implode and somehow took the first leg by a narrow margin. But that fragile Hoops back line can't hold out forever, even if the Dynamo are struggling for goals. They'll be under siege in the second leg, and that does not bode well at all for a Dallas defense that has had several memorable collapses this year.

Closing Thoughts and Predictions

We entered the playoffs without a single team carrying anything resembling momentum. It was more like eight runners stumbling towards the finish line and struggling to push through the tape. Combine that with the dour playoff psychology of "not losing" and you get 3 goals in the opening round of matches. Ugh! Here's hoping that with the onus on the home sides to attack in the second legs, that we'll end up with a barn-burner or two and some really exciting, tense stuff. After all, it's only fitting that the quality of the playoffs match the regular season, which was arguably the best in the history of the league.

So who's golfing next week? Let's take a look at the Fullback Files A-plus, Solid, Guaranteed Locks for the conference finals. Should you have any money riding on these games, you'd probably be advised to pick against me ;-).

DC United piles the pressure on early, only to suffer getting hit by the Fire on the counter. Thankfully, Emilio and Moreno are back up top and DC equalizes on the brink of halftime. A stirring second half struggle is punctuated by a United second to knot the series at two apiece and force extra time, where the Bearded Bombardier shows his heart and smuggles the ball into the net after a melee in the box.

Red Bull take the spoils in a high-scoring affair at the Big Razor! What's that you say--didn't I just say they were dead and buried above? Well, technically, yes . . . but further reflection shows me a number of occasions this season where the Revs dropped games involving lots of goals at home, and the Bulls have the potential to both create and surrender them in bunches. Call me contrarian, but I'm sensing that the Revs may have gone off the boil for good this year. They're about due for an early collapse, aren't they? Don't forget to come back next week and mock me after the Revs torch Arena's boys for oh, I don't know, four or five?

Chivas get one early, negating the Wizards counter-attacking gameplan. But then things settle down into a tense, dour affair, sprinkled with half-chances here and there, before Guzan trumps Hartman (what's up with his Wikipedia entry having his middle name as either Eugene or James?) in the penalty shoot-out, EJ missing yet again as the Wizards crash and burn.

Houston shock absolutely nobody by demolishing the Hoops. Ruiz sees red early in the second after the Karma Police storm in and book him for a dive in the first half and an elbow to Eddie Robinson's face in the second. The Dynamo absolutely pepper the Dallas net, running out 3-0 winners and advancing to face the Goats.


  1. 1. I endorse and will join your effort to turn "thug" into a verb. Commenting as a Revs' fan, though, I think you're giving Heaps too much credit. There's got to be another verb for what he does.

    2. Who is the "bearded bombadier?" I'm guessing it's Ben Olsen, but need to confirm as I'm using this information to help with picks.

  2. 1. Far be it from me to encapsulate the essence of just what it is that Heaps is accomplishing out there on the pitch. The English language falls a bit short, so we'll have to settle on the "thug" verbiage until a latter-day Shakespeare comes along to invent something more appropriate.

    2. Ben Olsen is indeed the Bearded Bombardier.

  3. I like the reasons for your predictions, but I will come out and only half follow your advice.

    Chicago is going to take DC, who flame out memorably with about 20 shots in the last 10 minutes, only two of which are anywhere near the goal mouth.

    Revs beat RBNY 1-0 at home. Twellman scores after about 30 seconds and the rest of the game is an insomniac's miracle cure.

    KC busts one on Chivas, because while the Wiz defense of Jimmy Conrad and three wooden posts would fail against most teams (and have), lacking Galindo and Razov, las chivitas can do nothing at all with their many chances. Watch Johnson (of all people!) score early and then if any Wiz player so much as crosses the midline, Lamar Hunt's ghoulish form will will appear and strike the player dead.

    Dynamo will indeed dominate the candystripers. On this you are dead-on. They'll go up a goal in agg by the half and then score again in the second to send the sell-out crowd (are you reading this NY, NE, Chivas and KC?) happy.

  4. I have to admit that I'm a bit concerned about DC--the closed practices, Jaime taking pot-shots at the Fire in the media--that stuff doesn't bode well. But I'm balancing that with the knowledge that DC are the better team. Now, if only Osorio would put Wanchope back up top and dump Rolfe in the midfield again. Then I'd be a lot more confident. Please, pretty please?

    In the end, I think that the take home message here is that parity is dominant and the playoffs are an entirely separate entity from the regular season. No team is clearly that much better than their opponent that the results are pre-ordained. Likewise, the current playoff structure gives almost no advantage to the top performers in the regular season until the second round. That means that, in a fairly even league, the first round is a crap-shoot. I'm sure we'll all have at least one result that will floor, shock, embarrass, or possibly even frighten us.

  5. Hey anonymous poster above who went four for four in predictions and even called the scorelines! You want my job? You're pretty damn good at the prediction business.