As expected, Tacoma Defiance didn’t play any head games when selecting their first round opponent and will play the Houston Dynamo 2 on Oct. 1 at Starfire Stadium.
Thanks to new rules implemented by MLS Next Pro, the top seeds were allowed to pick their playoff opponents. Colorado Rapids 2 had the No. 1 seed, but get a bye. That left Defiance with the first choice. Somewhat surprisingly, No. 3 seed Sporting KC II picked No. 4 seed Austin FC II as their first-round opponent, meaning No. 5 seed St. Louis City 2 were given an unexpected home game against Earthquakes II after having already booked their across-state bus trip.
The Defiance, meanwhile, will get a rematch of last year's Western Conference semifinals. The Defiance advanced in that meeting after overcoming a 2-0 deficit, grabbing the equalizer on a 94th minute own goal and winning the shootout, 5-4. Defiance ended up losing 2-1 to St. Louis City 2 in the conference finals.
The Defiance went 2-0-0 against Dynamo 2 in their two meetings this year, most recently beating them 1-0 behind a Dylan Teves goal at home on July 2. Dynamo 2 finished with 43 points, the same number as eighth place Minnesota United 2, but advanced with a +6 goal-difference. They are led by Papa Ndoye, who had 14 goals, and were tied for third in MLS Next Pro with eight road wins.
If the Defiance can advance to the final, they'd host against anyone other than Crown Legacy.