Well, after looking back at the results from the second leg of the MLS conference semifinals, I must say, I hope someone is betting actual currency on my picks because I have continued to be uncharacteristically spot on. If I have made you any money, please donate a small portion of it to a worthy charity. Like me, for example.
Last week, I correctly predicted RSL and Chivas USA would tie (though the 2-2 final did differ from my 1-1 prediction), the Crew would beat the Wiz (again, not the exact final score though), and the Fire would get by the Revs (I thought by a good amount, 2-0, but it turned out to be great, 3-0).
I did great. 75%. But, it was all ruined by the fact my New York v. Houston pick was just a teensy-tiny bit off. Well, maybe a little off. OK, a lot. Actually, by about 5 goals. Yikes. I thought HOU would win 3-1. Well, that was based on my thinking HOU would put on a huge offensive display. I wasn’t really wrong, but some amazing goalkeeping by Cepero kept the Red Bulls clean. Also, I underestimated how bad these Red Bulls seem to want this title. Dane Richards actually played insanely well (i.e. like he actually cared about the result for the first time) and NY trounced the Dynamo 3-0.
So, that leaves us with just the Crew/Fire and RSL/NYRB matchups this week. A chance at redemption for that awful NYRB/HOU miss.
In the East, I must confess, I cannot bet against the Crew at home, so I think they win it. CHI has been on fire lately (yes, bad pun), but I think the Crew D is simply too stingy at home. Plus, I just think Schmid is in the zone tactics-wise. Even if the Fire get a hot start (another bad pun… yikes), I bet he makes the adjustment necessary for them to get the win.
On Thursday night, I think the Crew keep their miracle season alive. 2-1
As for the West, I like RSL. Crazy? I know. NYRB killed HOU, while RSL got by CHV by the hair of their chinny, chin chins. But, I think the HOU game took alot out of the Red Bulls. As good as they looked offensively, their defense was not so sharp (except for Mr. Cepero). Plus, I think this is a year of fate for Real Salt Lake. Surrounded by their dedicated supporters in their new stadium, RSL will wash away their years of pitiful play in a cathartic victory.
On Saturday, I think RSL gets by the Red Bulls, but just barely. 2-1
I must say I’m simultaneously excited and depressed about the RSL/NYRB matchup. I think it’s great two darkhorses have made it one step from the MLS Cup, I really do. But, I’m not delighted that it’s not really much of a conference final in the West, since the Red Bulls (5th in the East) are taking part in the game. Plus, CHI and CMB had better records than both squads, so it makes little sense that they should have to play one another in the Eastern Conference Final. They both should have gotten home games in a situation like this one. I criticized the MLS earlier this season about their playoff rules and the exact situation I was concerned about then has materialized now. Wow, maybe I should be betting on this stuff? I’m like the TV fortune teller Ms. Cleo only I can’t fake an authentic Jamaican accent.
So, in any event, those are my picks. They’re probably dead wrong (just because I picked them), so I wouldn’t recommend betting on them. Even as much as I’d love to lay a little money down on the home-dominant Crew, it’s important to remember that no bet is a sure thing.
One thing about MLS in 2008 is for sure, though.
We won’t be seeing the Revs and Dynamo in this year’s finals, like we did in the last two. I, for one, am relieved. Everyone loves their dynasties and classic matchups, but after two years of HOU/NER dominance, I think it was high time for two new teams to take their shot at the title.