While you were watching fireworks.....
The Galaxy received a borderline call early and a downright dodgy one late for a pair of Donovan PKs to keep Chicago winless and goal-less since Dave Sarachan's dismissal.
Real Salt Lake's glorious one-game winning streak comes to an end, thanks in part to its former star, Jeff Cunningham.
Two fine finishes lift Dallas over Chivas USA.
And Columbus and Colorado played to a 0-0 tie. Enough said. (Although the Rapids have not allowed a goal since Erpen's arrival. Coincidence? I think not.)
If the playoffs started today, based on points accumulated per game since the unbalanced schedule has left clubs with a different number of matches played, your first-round home-and-home pairings would be:
#1 DCU vs. #8 Columbus
#2 Dallas vs. #7 K.C.
#3 N.E. vs. #6 Chivas USA
#4 Houston vs. #5 New York
If the seedings held to form, D.C. would host Houston in one "conference" final, while Dallas would host New England in the other.
Remember, the playoff format has changed this year so we will not see the usual conference matchups. The top two teams in EACH conference are automatic, followed by the next four clubs regardless of conference affiliation. So in this case, we would have five teams from the East, three from the West. If I've read the guidelines properly, the first-place team with the most points is the top seed and the first-place team with the second-most points the second seed. Same criteria for the two second-place teams. The rest of the field is based on total points, again regardless of conference affiliation.
Now, of course, some of this will change Thursday night after the Houston-New York match, but at least we have a mid-season indication of how things will look come autumn. I like the new format; it gets away from the predictable conference matchups that we've seen year after year. What do you think?
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