31 October 2011
After an exciting weekend of MLS playoff matches the dust has finally settled, but there is still plenty to talk about on the night that has been traditionally devoted to the National Football League.
*First of all here's a quick rundown of all the MLS scores from the first leg quarterfinal matches:
RSL 3-0 Seattle
NY 0-1 LA
Philly 1-2 Houston
Col. 0-2 KC
So yes, you are not reading that wrong, three out the four of home teams lost in the first wave of the MLS playoffs. This isn't that surprising though since the higher seeds were all on the road, but with all the parity in this league, I expected at least one more home to win. That being said nobody is eliminated just yet but Seattle has a huge mountain to climb, needing a 3-0 or 4-1 win to just send the series to overtime. However, if any fans can push a team to an improbable feat it will be Seattle's 60,000 plus raucous diehards at CenturyLink Field.
The biggest news story came from the NY-LA game. After LA gutted out a 1-0 win on the road, Rafa Marquez decided to bring out his 2-year old self and rifle the ball at Landon Donovan. This resulted in red cards for both Juninho and Marquez after a melee ensured. This means that both players will miss Thursday's 2nd leg match- advantage Red Bulls on that one.
There are two things about the post-match fight that I MUST point out.
1. Rafa pretended that he got hit in the face during the scrum and dove to the ground in pain similar to a fish's reaction when it is taken out of water. Check it out, it's about the funniest thing I have ever witnessed in my life...
2. Landon Donovan didn't hide his feelings about NY's antics after the win. Sporting News soccer columnist Brian Straus tweeted Landon's post-game reaction.
Donovan on Red Bulls: "In all my years in this league I have not played against a cheaper team than that...We've seen that stuff all year."
*Sean Johnson's MLS goalkeeping coach, Aron Hyde, is trying to get the young US keeper a training stint with England's most historic club, Manchester United. According to mlssoccer.com Hyde is talking with United's goalkeeping coach to arrange a training stint in December with United. The report also explained that Johnson may be training with a couple other English clubs this off-season, not just Manchester United.
Johnson would join Bill Hamid as the second US goalie to earn a training stint with an EPL club as Hamid is currently training with West Brom.
*Based on average attendance numbers Major League Soccer has become the 3rd most popular sport in the US. The MLS has surpassed both the NBA and the NFL in average attendance. Here's the breakdown...
Obviously these numbers are deceiving just because some MLS stadiums can hold substantially more people than the average NBA or NHL stadium. For example, the Seattle Sounders play at CenturyLink Field, which holds over 60,000 crazed fans. With Seattle selling out the majority of their matches they are artificially inflating the MLS average attendance number. As a result, it is safe to believe that the average percentage attendance at an NBA or NHL game is closer to capacity than at an MLS match. Nevertheless, this a big win for soccer in the US.