The first match of MLS Cup Playoffs, or Road to the MLS Cup presented by BMO – if you will (and I must) – concluded Thursday night with a 1-0 victory by Colorado over Columbus as seen on GOL TV Canada.
This result will please Toronto FC supporters who have long held less than warm feelings toward the losing Crew, but it’s only the first leg of the quarterfinals. The Ohio club will have a chance to redeem themselves in the return fixture next week and given the single goal deficit and the friendly confines of Crew Stadium, Columbus will like its chances.
One of Colorado or Columbus will move on to the semifinals to take on the winner of San Jose-New York. The first leg of that series takes place Saturday at 10 p.m. from Santa Clara. On the same day Dallas hosts defending MLS Cup champions Salt Lake in the first Western quarterfinal.
UPDATE (Oct 30): Dallas 2-1 Salt Lake
UPDATE (Oct 30): San Jose 0-1 New York
The second quarterfinal from the western bracket – Seattle v. Los Angeles - GOL TV Canada (Sunday 8 p.m.). – will wrap up the first leg matches. The Galaxy have dominated the season series, beating Seattle 7-1 on aggregate. However, Seattle has finished the season in good form, receiving increased contribution from several sources.
Swiss World Cup star Blaise Nkufo has come to life in the final few weeks, registering five goals. Combine that with the electric presence of Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero and Los Angeles might find itself on the back foot often. At midfield Osvaldo Alonso has been masterful and Sanna Nyassi on the opposite wing to Zakuani will be a handful for Galaxy's wide players.
Los Angeles looked set to fall short in their league title challenge after a tremendous start, when they registered just one MLS victory in the month of August against three losses. But the return of David Beckham re-energized the Carson club. They won three of their final four regular season games on way to securing their third Supporters’ Shield trophy atop the standings ahead of Salt Lake.
Seattle v. Los Angeles – MLS Cup quarterfinals, 1st leg (Sunday, 8 p.m., GOL TV Canada).
Seattle – 48 points, 39 GF, 35 GA
Top goal scorer: Fredy Montero – 10 goals
Los Angeles – 59 points, 44 GF, 26 GA
Top goal scorer: Edson Buddle – 17 goals
2010 MLS Head-to-head
May 8: Seattle 0-4 Los Angeles
July 4: Los Angeles 3-1 Seattle
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