MLS Playoffs Round I: The Wizardry of Oz or Judge Dreads?

The Wizardry of Oz or Judge Dreds in this one?

1-1 after the knockouts.

We get to the rest:

Seattle vs. Real Salt Lake:

This is the closest first round series bar none. Seattle may be the fat guy on the “talent” balance beam, but RSL still has the psyche. Dismiss anyone telling you that Seattle, club and fans alike, are not a wee bit nervous about the whole “never got out of the first round” thing. Jason Kreis’s group has that on the them.

This series is like the Celtics vs. the Miami Heat in some ways. Seattle have three legitimate offensive stars in Freddy Montero, Eddie Johnson and Mauro Rosales–not to mention Christian Tiffert who drops in passes like he’s Aaron Rodgers.

The Salt Lake Crew of Olave … Borchers … Beckerman … Espindola … Will J .. and more are the Boston Celtics. They know how to win, but their bodies and initiative are just a scant below what once took them to the championship.

This series is going to be about situational play (as it was last year) and Real Salt Lake’s ability to find the net. Let’s start with the latter … because if RSL can’t figure out how to attack in the final third, the analysis can stop there. Seattle is stingy, but Utah needs to test them.

Just like last year, home field advantage is key and that’s why tonight’s game will dictate this series. If it’s draw or better for RSL, then look for RSL to finish the job on the return next week. If Seattle can even grab a 1-0 or 3-2 victory tonight, they’ll be able to go into RSL with that team needing a goal and that’s the disposition you want Team Kreis in on the home leg, not bottle it up and let’s move on.

The cautious pick here is Seattle, but tonight’s your night Sounders. Win it–without EJ–and you will have proven as to greater MLS as to yourself.

Can the series top 2011:

DC United vs. Red Bull New York:

There are serious doubts about the Red Bulls’ defense as we know. The question is: Will we find out?

DC United waves the Red Bulls into RFK on Saturday and they’ve been a different team since De Ro’s season ended.

The Benjamin’s usually do the talking inside the Beltway … will it hold course this time?

In fact, they’ve been a better one. Ben Olsen curtailed his cutesy offensive attack–at the expensive of Perry Kitchen’s gas tank and the defense overall–and instead took the much smarter approach of using his best ball-handling fullback–that would be Andy Najar–to move the ball out of the back and pick spots up the flank or well up the field centrally to distribute the ball. DC United’s attack doesn’t inspire sonnets, but it gets the job done.

United is hurt by the flip-flop of venues in this one. Whereas they could’ve headed to NY, playing to keep a clean sheet and then scrounged for a goal at home, not they need to take the initiative and insure that they bucket at least one on Saturday.

On Saturday now, Saragosa and Kitchen are going to have to play flawlessly in tandem in the center of the pitch against the more veterans numbers (Henry dropping, Cahill, Taino, McCarty) that the Red Bulls can throw at them.

For the Gotham men in this series, they’ll need a tip-top Henry, a disciplined Cooper, to keep McCarty in the center of the field and have Cahill make a difference. Oh and they’ll need their defense not to crumble.

I like DC United’s approach in this one, but New York squeaks by on talent alone.

(SKC – HOU & LAG v. SJE forthcoming….)

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Eric on 2012/11/02 at 12:25 PM

    Seems like Seattle is the team to pick here but I’ve always been a RSL fan at some level (mostly because I’m a huge fan of how Jason Kreis does things as a coach) and with Chicago already gone, I might as well root for Salt Lake.

    The match should be fascinating. It features the two best holding mids in the league and also two of the better possession teams in general. Looking forward to the game.


  2. Might be one of the best Headlines I’ve seen for a post on here. I lol’d


  3. Posted by SamT on 2012/11/09 at 3:01 AM

    Overhead after the second match, Ozzie to Becks: “You can defect, you know. I know people.”


  4. Posted by evan on 2012/11/09 at 4:13 PM

    the Wizardry of Oz FTW! but i was really impressed with Brad Evans last nite. best game i’ve seen him play. bring on the Galaxatives!


  5. Posted by dth on 2012/11/11 at 10:17 AM

    OT, but watching ACC championship on ESPNU. Danny Garcia is a highly impressive player. Should turn pro–would advise him to avoid the homegrown Dallas, as Hyndman will probably experiment with an all-Scott Sealy lineup at some point.


  6. Posted by dth on 2012/11/11 at 2:33 PM

    I love Branko Boskovic so so much. Olsen needs to figure out how to get DeRo and Boskovic on the field at the same time (when healthy.)


  7. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/11/11 at 5:01 PM

    Wilfried Zaha called up to England’s senior squad. Hopefully he will play and people will see what I have been raving on about for 2+ seasons. Also fantastic for Palace in terms of market value.

    Small hint of capping him because Ivory Coast are sniffing about.


  8. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/11/12 at 8:44 AM

    Matt- any way that a brief EPL/Euro football section can be thrown up weekly to gather the Shintelligentsia to warm itself at the fires of Euro footie? I appreciate the love that many have for MLS but I honestly can’t drum up one iota of interest in this seasons playoff and the lack of comments seem to indicate similar sentiments.
    Love the site as always, just a suggestion.


  9. Posted by CJ on 2012/11/12 at 9:39 AM

    OT: I don’t know how I’m the first to make note of this but, in case you haven’t seen it, the 20-man roster is out for the game versus Russia and um, Timmy Chandler is on it. What??? Yeah, that’s pretty neat. What’s even better is that there’s a Q&A ( ) and he’s here to stay now. That is even more neat.

    Also, the 3 young up and comers is pretty sweet too. Lot’s to salivate over for us soccer nerds.


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