Pins and Needles
There should be some great matches this weekend. After last weekend's stalemate, team are going to have to open up a bit (ok, a lot) more. Win or go home time.
Now, there's been a lot of negative comments by the media this week about last weeks results. But feel that, for the most part, those comments are undeserved....at least with respect to the scores. The road teams (Dallas and DC) did what they had to do. Without the away goals rule, a 0-0 draw in the first leg puts them in a good situation. If the away goals rule were in effect, I've nothing to back this up, but I'm confident we'd have seen more goals.
The one match that did see goals had a ton of history which brought us those goals. Did anyone else notice how Herc Gomez didn't celebrate after scoring LA's first goal? He seemed more interested in getting on with things and bagging another. That right there told me the mind-set the team was in...and it showed in the final score. That match in San Jose a couple of years ago (and their recent road record) is fresh in the minds of the team and they wanted to make sure they were in a position to insure that doesn't happen this year. Tonight's match in San Jose will be classic...and it's the reason this LA fan in on "Pins and Needles".
I was surprised by Dallas last week. Sure, they created some chances but they really needed to do more in the first leg. Their home record since PHP opened is about as good as LA's road record of late. That match, in particular, is a great reason why adding the away goals rule to the MLS playoffs would be an incentive for teams. Dallas has to win tonight...but so do Colorado. A draw will just bring us extra time and maybe penalties. However, if the away goals rule were in effect, I believe Dallas would have pushed forward more opening up the game and probably leading to goals...which only adds to the matchup.
So, looking at things as they stand, it looks like MLS has what they want, parity. All eight playoffs teams are still very much in with a shot of making the conference finals. So, maybe this is another situation where I don't know what I'm talking about.
Either way, I get three of the four games on TV that I'll be watching. Personally, my wish is for a #3 vs #4 matchup in the West next weekend so I can attend the match in Denver...but I'll stop short of predicting it as I don't want to jinx it.
Here's hoping for some entertaining matches this weekend.