MLS Playoffs Gamethread: Conference Semifinals

Who knew these players shared a shoulder? - Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

The Sounders aren't the only team playing in the postseason. Some big games are coming up today and tomorrow

The scheduling of these playoffs doesn't make much sense to me. It doesn't make much sense to a lot of people. Win now, so you can have a chance to play again in three days? The whole regular season is for the most part a weekend-weekend deal, but at the finish we play four games in ten days to see tired players kick the ball around? This should be where we see teams running like a finely tuned machine, yet instead we're getting rash reds and sore legs.

But enough ranting. ON TO THE GAMES! (Click on the team names for their corresponding SB Nation previews)

Wednesday

5:00pm New York Red Bulls 2-2 Houston Dynamo (Univision)
Univision, huh? Welp, guess I won't get to watch this one. A shame, because this may be the most intriguing match of the round. Houston was lucky to preserve a series draw at home over the weekend, needing a Jamison Olave red card and a stoppage time goal to not be in the same position as the Sounders: Down a goal on the road. But Olave's absence is the gift that keeps on giving: Even against eleven men, they should have chances to score against a simply adequate defense. But can the Dynamo hold back Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill?
Prediction: HOU

6:00pm Sporting KC 1-2 New England Revolution
If Kansas City manages to get through to the Conference Final, they will thank their lucky stars that DBOTY Aurelien Collin managed to get one back. Sporting had threatened all through the first half with no results, then went down 2-0 in the second before finally retaliating. The series will come down to whether KC can finish the chances it creates. It's really nice to see Kelyn Rowe playing such an important part for the Revolution, and doubly so to see him get a goal in the playoffs. If you're looking for rooting interest, here's your choice: Collin, or Rowe? No amount of Peter Vermes capitulation will help them on this night.
Prediction: KC

Thursday

6:00pm Real Salt Lake 0-1 LA Galaxy
MLS likely couldn't be happier about how the Western Conference fell into place. RSL and LA have clashed in the playoffs almost every year since 2009 (When Salt Lake beat the Galaxy in the Finals). LA has won three of the four competitive matches between the two teams this year, most recently the first leg of the series 1-0. Salt Lake would be advised to avoid getting caught on the counter and count on their talented attack (Alvaro Saborio, Javier Morales) to get the job done at home. Ned Grabavoy will sit out with an injury, so Sebastian Velasquez will probably take his place. If Nick Rimando and the back line can keep Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan off the board, I give them a great shot of moving on.
Prediction: SL

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