Well I'm a freakin' genius aren't I? One out of bloody four! Guess my playoff prediction form is just about the same as DC United's--miserable. Ah well, such do the winds of fickle fate blow in off the rocky shores of the thug-forests and parity-stricken suburban wastelands of MLS. Let's wrap up the first round and take a look ahead to the conference finals shall we?
Chicago over DC United (3-2 on aggregate)
Well, DC finally woke up and started doing some damage in the second half, but not before Chicago landed a couple of early counter-punches to all but put the tie out of reach for the Black-and-Red. That said, it was still a bit of a narrow thing for the Fire, as a little more quality in front of net or a lucky bounce here or there, and United takes this to extra time. With the massive wall of sandbags Osorio was building with his substitutions, I'm pretty sure extra time would have led to a few gaps and the ultimate dousing of the Fire. Nonetheless, they'll be marching on to face the Revs.
New England over Red Bull (1-0 on aggregate)
Lame. That about sum it up for ya? Okay, the Revs deserved it on the balance of play, but when the Bulls got rolling early in the second half, I was thinking that I might actually have called this one against the grain of popular opinion. Then of course, Jay Heaps, as he so often does, ruined everything. What's up with that dude? Even when it's unintentional, assuming that he is blameless for what looked to be a chance encounter between his knee and Angel's chin, he's still causing concussions and knocking out the skill players as if it's going out of style. I bet he throws elbows in his sleep and goes in two-footed on any neighborhood kid who deigns to show a bit of class on the ball when they're kicking about the yard.
Kansas City over Chivas (1-0 on aggregate)
Man, Preki has got to be kicking himself over and over till his southpaw bum is sore for playing Razov in that late regular season Dallas game. How many times were Chivas just a hair off? Hell, how many did they bounce off the post in this series? All they needed was a predator to stick the ball in the net, call it a day, and wait for the Dynamo to roll into their house. Instead, they'll start the rebuilding process for next year while the Wiz and their wobbly defense march on to most likely get slaughtered by the defending champs.
Houston over Dallas (4-2 on aggregate)
Called it! Yeah, me and just about everybody else in the universe. Houston did to Dallas what DC should have done to Chicago. They took the harsh early goal, but then they responded--and how! Of course, DC could have done with Blanco going loco and kicking somebody in the balls like Arturo "The Groin Assassin" Alvarez, but Houston prove their playoff mettle and live to fight another day.
And Then There Were Four . . .
So, having displayed such powerful prognostication abilities in round one, do I even have a leg to stand on to make predictions in the conference finals? Of course not, but I did warn you to pick opposite me in round one. Had you done so, you'd have gone 3-1. Not such a bad record, eh? So now, you have to take a look at these picks and ask yourself, do you feel lucky . . . punk?
Osorio goes with the patience and counter routine again, but the Revs are too disciplined to hemorrhage chances--the d-mids choke off the counter opportunities and Nicol's motley men match thugery with arch-thugery. Result? The Revs snatch an early second half goal, things start to get ugly, the colored cards start flying about like 52 Pickup, brawls ensue, and the Revs grab the insurance second and advance to yet another MLS Cup final.
Out west, or midwest in any case, Houston exposes KC's defense for the shambles it is and guess what? They can finish the chances that the Goats couldn't. The Wiz take a hiding and go home with their collective tails between their legs and some raw and aching backsides. At least only a handful of folks in KC will even notice their shame.
And, boredom of boredoms, here comes the Revs-Dynamo final rematch! Woo. My only hope is that Houston's late scoring resurgence continues so we're not treated to a snorefest. How wrong is it that DC won't be in the final in RFK? Odds on United fans still being the loudest in the park?