MLS Playoffs Wrap-Up

New England Revolution 4 – Columbus Crew 2

Charlie Davies lead his team to a win in the first leg of the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinals with a brace on the road.

For anyone who has followed the career of the former U.S. international, that should bring a smile to your face.

Davies likely would’ve made the 2010 World Cup roster before a car accident derailed his promising career in October 2009. Davies is now known for his perseverance in coming back from the injury. The speedster has reignited his career in New England this season, playing in 18 games.

Davies opened the scoring with an all-out diving effort in the 34th minute off a Kelyn Rowe free kick from the right sideline.

A bit of trickery – how fitting on the day after Halloween – by Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney lead to a 2-0 lead for the visitors. Nguyen stepped over the free kick about 25 yards from goal and then Tierney curled his left-footed shot over the wall and into the corner of the net.

Davies would tack on the fourth away goal for the Revs; a critical strike, because Major League Soccer has adopted the European tradition of giving more weight to away goals.

Davies is the first player in Revolution history to score multiple goals in a playoff game.

A late gaffe by New England gave the Crew some life as a handball in the third minute of stoppage time lead to a second goal for Columbus. However, If the aggregate score through two games is even at 4-4 or even 5-5, New England will advance.

Columbus has its work cut out for them. New England has lost only once since Aug. 2nd. Who beat them? The Crew, of course.

LA Galaxy 0 – Real Salt Lake 0

Real Salt Lake made it to MLS Cup last season. The L.A. Galaxy are one of the favorites this season, and have the added incentive of trying to send Landon Donovan off with his sixth title. Neither could muster a goal in their first leg of the MLS Western Conference semifinals.

Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo made sure no RSL strike slipped by, stopping all six shots on frame.

Younger Luis Gil and veteran Javier Morales had the best opportunities for the home side.

Robbie Keane, one of the favorites for MVP this season, failed to capitalize on a four-on-three in the second half.

Both teams need to score in the second leg and again, it’s important to note that if Real Salt Lake strikes first, the Galaxy would need two in response to advance.

New York Red Bulls 2 – D.C. United 0

Last season, the Red Bulls won their first major trophy.

This year, they didn’t have the same kind of regular season success, but are now just 90 minutes away from advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.

New York downed defending champion Sporting KC last week and can now upend the top seed in the East if they hold on to a 2-0 lead over D.C. United.

Bradley Wright-Phillips, who tied a MLS record with 27 goals in the regular season, scored the game-winner after finding the net twice in the playoff opener.

Mike Petke employed a 4-5-1 and the home team dictated the tempo of the game from the opening whistle.

Going home down 2-0 is not the end of the world for United and soon-to-be Coach of the Year Ben Olsen.

Seattle Sounders 1 – FC Dallas 1

Supporters’ Shield winners haven’t just failed to advance far into the MLS playoffs the last three years; they’ve completely flamed out, not escaping their first playoff series.

Obafemi Martins, Seattle’s own MVP candidate, had a one-on-one with FC Dallas goalie Raul Fernandez in the 18th minute. Fernandez denied Martins from nearly point-blank range. Was this a bad omen of things to come?

Marco Pappa played the villain card for Seattle, bringing down Andres Escobar in the box with a horrendous tackle after getting beat by the Dallas winger. Michel converted the subsequent penalty kick and the best team in the regular season was looking at a first-half deficit.

Just before the stroke of halftime, Martins had another good look streaking into the box, cutting to his right and firing a shot to the upper right hand corner of the net. Fernandez was game once again and came up with a huge save.

Martins made up for his misses by drawing a free kick on the right-hand side some 30 yards from goal in the 54th minute. Marco Pappa changed the script and will now be remembered as the delivery man for a lovely little flick on by Osvaldo Alonso, which tied the game up.

Seattle has a great chance to move on to the Western Conference finals if they can take care of business at home. That means a scoreless draw or a win.

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