The MLS playoffs took a strange turn in the first round and many of the expected favorites for the semi-finals suffered shock defeats and are now out of the race for the MLS Cup. In fact three out of four of the matches ended with the better league record team losing to the underdog. The upsets likely will not please the league office considering the television ratings will likely take a small hit due to many stars heading home earlier then expected, but the better team won the match and deserves to continue on. But instead of Thierry Henry and Guillermo Barros Schelotto names being screamed this upcoming month expect to here of Chris Wondolowski and Conor Casey’s.
Let’s take a look at each first round match-up:
The star studded Red Bulls looked to be ready to advance to final four squad with a 1-0 away victory in the first leg and homefield advantage in a brand new stadium in the second leg, but the 6th place San Jose squad in the superior West conference would prove to be the more cluthsquad with a 3-1 win in the second leg to take the series 3-2 in aggregate.
Columbus is another squad that entered this first round match expecting to win against the West Conference 5th place squad, but following a 1-0 loss in the first away leg Scheletto’s club bounced back witha strong effort in the second home leg witha 2-1 victory, but the 2-2 aggregate tie was decided in penalties and went the Rapids way with a 5-4 victory. Colorado will face another underdog next round in 6th place San Jose.
RSL headed into their first round match with great expectations considering they are defending the Cup this season and were hoping to meet the Galaxy in the semi-finals for the honor. But once again an upset was in the air and FC Dallas was able to take advantage of the first home match by winning 2-1. The one goal deficit would turn out to be too much with a 1-1 draw in the second leg and yet another upset as the final.
The league’s most popular squad actually was the only one to advance as expected in the first round. The first place West squad was able to get a great start to the two match leg by winning on the road 1-0 to begin the competition and then sealed the victory back home with a 2-1 win and 3-1 aggregate victory. The Galaxy face Dallas in the semi-final and then will play against either the 5th or 6th best team in the West this season in the final if they are able to win.