(author's note: This space has been home to a weekly MLS preview and open thread throughout the regular season, let's stick with that format as we head into the playoffs.)
Three Big Storylines:
- This is Toronto FC's 10th season in MLS and tonight will be their first playoff home game. Ever. In contrast, tomorrow will be the Sounders 12th home playoff game in eight years of MLS play. It's safe to say there is some pent up excitement in Toronto for the game and with a healthy Sebastian Giovinco paired with an in-form Jozy Altidore in the attack, they are the big favorite to have another home game on Sunday. The Philadelphia Union enter the playoffs on a three game losing streak, only earning two points in their last seven matches. This will be the Union's third playoff game ever. Neither team has won a playoff game in their franchise history, so someone is making history tonight.
- The LA Galaxy host Real Salt Lake in the second game of the night. Outside of the Seattle Sounders, the LA Galaxy are the team that no one wants to play. The Galaxy played a reserve heavy side over the weekend in their 0-0 tie with FC Dallas, as the #3 seed in the Western Conference was already assured. Landon Donovan earned his second start and went 90 minutes for the first time since coming out of retirement and should be ready for the playoffs. With Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Giovani Dos Santos rested and a Real Salt Lake team that has not won a game since August 26th, the Galaxy are big favorites at home.
- The 20 MLS teams play 34 regular season games so 12 of them can make the playoffs. In just two days, four of those teams will be knocked out and we will be down to eight playoff teams. MLS Playoffs come at you fast (well until they take a two week break for the FIFA dates in November), enjoy the ride. In case of a draw today there will be two 15 minute extra time halves, followed by penalty kicks if still tied.
From a Sounders Point of View:
Well this one is easy, we cheer vociferously for every team below the Sounder in the Supporters' Shield standings to win. That means today we are cheering for the Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake to pull upsets. Besides, someone is going to have to take out the Galaxy if the Sounders are going to make a deep run in the playoffs. Might as well get it done early.
National TV Listings:
LA Galaxy v Real Salt Lake
Wednesday, 7:30 PM
Streaming: Univision Deportes
This is your Sounder at Heart MLS Playoffs Day 1 Gamethread. Watch with us.