Show of hands, please. Who thinks the MLS HQ thought police "requested" more goals after the Sounders-Dynamo 0-0 brawl (admittedly not a bad game to watch, despite the lack of goals) and the "might as well have been 0-0" RSL victory over the Crew (definitely not one to show the kids). Anyway, let's take a gander at how things are brewing in the first round...
Sounders 0:0 Dynamo
My feeble attempts at prognostication said that the Sounders needed to bring a multi-goal lead to Houston to be in a good position to advance. 0-0? Not exactly what Sigi was looking for. Is this where the dream ends for the X-boxers? Probably.
* Prognostication Engine says...I initially predicted 3-2 on aggregate to the Dynamo, but assumed that would be on the back of a 1-1 result in Seattle, so I'll stick to my guns and call Houston 2, Seattle 1, Houston advancing.
RSL 1:0 Crew
Ugh. Can I get those two hours back? Actually, I spent much of this game paying bills and doing some online X-mas shopping, both of which were probably more entertaining than half-watching Columbus bunker and counter and RSL beat their heads against a yellow brick wall. Bill Archer calls for MLS to give Payne his $5k back and I'm with him...
* Prognostication Engine says...I correctly called that RSL would take the lead at home. Assuming we get the more open game these two teams could provide if they weren't so busy being tight at the back, I'll stand by my initial scoreline as well and say Columbus 4, RSL 2, Columbus march on 4-3 on aggregate (Ah, if only wishin' and hopin' got the job done. Anybody else expect that Kreis will try a bunker of his own on for size?).
Revs 2:1 Fire
Two cards? Three goals? Where was the scoreless bloodbath? This was the matchup where I anticipated an "upset," but it sure looked to me like Chicago may ask the tougher questions in the second leg. That said, they've been snakebit at home all year and have posted a grand total of one win since August, so maybe this one stands up.
* Prognostication Engine says...Revs defend and counter, getting an early goal, prompting the Fire to throw caution to the wind. Three ejections, an El Hunchbacko FK goal, and 800 "just missed it by that much" moments later, the Revs march on to be slaughtered by Columbus. Revs 1, Chicago 1, Revs 3-2 on aggregate.
Chivas 2:2 Galaxy
If the "more goals at all costs" fix was in, this was the game where it should have been obvious, with laughable defensive blunders leading to three of the four goals (watch the highlights for a few chuckles...or moments of shame, depending on your affilitation). On the balance, I think the Gals are probably more comfortable going into the return (to the same place) leg.
* Prognostication Engine says...Two irate coaches lay into their defenders, producing exactly the wrong response. Chances come fast and plenty, hilarity ensues, and the Galaxy walk out 3-1 winners, 5-3 on aggregate, with dozens of chances spurned (mostly by Buddle/Gordon and Kljestan, predictably).