MLS: The Season Is Over; Long Live the Season

Major League Soccer (MLS) ended its…um…whatevereth season today, with the Chicago Fire at long last driving a stake through the heart of the vicious undead entity known as the Los Angeles Galaxy. I’ll begin by congratulating MLSnet.com for the restraint they showed by not running a headline like, “The Galaxy Lose, Communism Triumphant.” But, at long, long last, the playoff brackets are set and here’s what we’ve got:

Eastern Conference
DC United v. Chicago Fire

New England Revolution v. Red Bull New York

Western Conference
Chivas USA v. Kansas City Wizards

Houston Dynamo v. FC Dallas

There will be plenty of time between now and Thursday, when the first playoff game kicks off, to talk about the future. But, quickly as I can, I’d like to take a look at the regular season’s final weekend. To begin, however, with the big picture:

What’s to like? I have no idea who’s going to win this thing.

What’s not to like? Does anyone want to win this thing?

The individual games come after the jump:
New England Revolution 2-2 Toronto FC

What to like? Toronto ends on an approximation of a high, good stuff for one of the most energetic fan bases in MLS. As for post-season playas New England, it’s great to see them get two early goals. Oh, and that Michael Parkhurst kid scored a thing of beauty.

What not to like? The playas have clearly lost their groove. How long has it been since they won?

DC United 2-3 Columbus Crew

What’s to like? While it’s not so bad as it sounds, DC hasn’t won since September; gives the entire post-season affair a nice open feel. And, Columbus….god bless you boys; let’s wake up a little earlier next year, y’know, not pull an RSL.

What’s not to like? The basic sense that perhaps fans of the Supporters’ Shield are right; maybe no one really does care about the playoffs…which raises all kinds of highly complicated questions.

FC Dallas 0-2 Kansas City Wizards

What’s to like? If you’re a KC fan, the fact your team finally emptied their locker at the Futility Club. If you’re an FC Dallas fan….well….um…see below?

What’s not to like? On a personal level, I’m not a big fan of my “big statements” going sideways (see, “team most likely to make some noise,” somewhere in here). But, seriously, FC Dallas looks threatening as a five-year-old who isn’t The Bad Seed – and that only raises fresh doubts as to just how much KC really accomplished…y’know, that whole thing about winning a race only to realize all the other kids were running on prosthetics.

Colorado Rapids 0-1 Real Salt Lake

What’s to like? RSL finally won the Rocky Mountain Cup. Better still, unless Fernando Clavijo has snapshots of Stan Kroenke (is that his first name?) spooning minors, he should finally get canned – I don’t know how else Rapids fans will face next season with anything this side of suicidal thoughts. I may have made a big deal about the prospect of LA making the playoffs, but, honestly, I was way more worried about Colorado; at least LA could play the game from time to time.

What’s not to like? I feel badly for RSL fans – genuinely. Colorado fans too, as far as that goes. Even if neither team deserved to make it, no one rates either team and that kinda sucks for them.

Chivas USA 0-0 Houston Dynamo
This is the one game I saw this weekend, so, big picture here: both teams are Hell on Earth to breakdown. That one shot on goal through the duration of the first half says plenty about them.  Bigger still, the West isn’t dead yet. Who should have won? I think Houston, even if that red card was really harsh. In broad terms, though, I think they’re a better team. And give me Patrick Ianni over Eddie Robinson any day; I just don’t like “E-Rob.”

What’s to like? It’s just cool to see a third-year team win their division. More to the point, these are quality teams; they belong in the post-season.

What’s not to like? Goals. Anyone? Bueller?

Chicago Fire 1-0 Los Angeles Galaxy

What’s to like? Dead, dead, dead: LA wound up where they belonged. But to say what everyone should be thinking: The undeserving team I liked better made the post-season; “just desserts” isn’t much more complicated than that really, at least on a subjective level. And it’s great to see Cuauhtemoc Blanco freakout when Chad Barrett misses a sitter; that’s as it should be. And great goal by John Thorrington.

What’s not to like? I think I liked pretty much everything about this game.

All righty. More tomorrow.

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