The regular season is over and the playoffs are here, and that means that we move into another phase of the year. Gone are the Montreal Impact, the Philadelphia Union, the Colorado Rapids, and the Portland Timbers. Half of the league has been relegated to watching on TV, while the rest battle onwards towards MLS Cup. Here we can watch games not-involving D.C. United, marking time as we wait for the Black and Red to play again.
Sat, Nov. 1 | 4:00 PM EDT | UDN/MLS Live | Columbus Crew Stadium | Columbus, Ohio
Preview: This is a matchup that many league watchers have wanted to see, although some of them wanted to see it in the Eastern Conference final rather than in the semifinals. The Revolution have gotten all of the hype down the stretch for playing beautiful soccer, and rightly so: Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones are a formidable combination in central midfield and spark everything that team does. However, the Columbus Crew have flown under the radar with only two losses in their last 11 games to end the season. Wil Trapp and Federico Higuain lead that team, who have turned from Robert Warzycha grind it out team into a much more attacking team.
Worth going out of your way for? Definitely. This is one of the most intriguing matchups across the board, and it will determine who will face the winner of the D.C. United-New York Red Bulls series.
Who to root for? There really isn't any rooting in the playoffs besides for D.C. United, but I will say for the Columbus Crew if only to get games off of turf as quickly as possible.
Sat, Nov. 1 | 8:00 PM EDT | NBCSN | Rio Tinto Stadium | Sandy, Utah
Preview: A rematch of last year's Western Conference semifinal, in which Real Salt Lake made a run to a cup final only to fall short for the second time in one season. This year's edition still features Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, Kyle Beckerman, and Alvaro Saborio, but also features Jeff Cassar on the sideline and features the emergence of Gyasi Zardes.
Worth going out of your way for? Of course.Two great teams, one trying to win where it failed last year and the other trying to send off an all-time great on top? Sign me up.
Who to root for? RSL, of course, unless you want D.C. United to beat LA Galaxy to prevent them from getting their fifth star.
Sun, Nov. 2 | 9:00 PM EST* | ESPN2 | Toyota Stadium | Frisco, Texas
Preview: This match will pit the Supporters' Shield winner against the playoff team with the oddest season. FC Dallas started out hot, had a massive losing streak in the middle of the season, and then recovered so epically as to threaten for third in the Western Conference. Oscar Pareja should be commended for taking basically the same team from last year, the one that got Schellas Hyndman fired, and turned them into a darkhorse contender in the West.
Worth going out of your way for? You know it. FC Dallas will be looking to score to make their job easier in Seattle, and the Sounders will be looking for any all important away goals (new this season to MLS playoffs).
Who to root for? FC Dallas, who apparently haven't invented anything about soccer.
(*Don't forget to set your clocks back!)
This is your place for all non-D.C. United soccer talk this weekend. Have fun!