(Late) Playoff Links & Rambling

With the Major League Soccer (MLS) playoffs kicking off today with DC United’s visit to the Chicago Fire’s Windy City, previews and predictions litter the soccer blogo-verse.  Let’s get to those up top before going into some barely-shaped ramblings after the jump.  Here’s the good, good stuff from around the soccer blogo-verse (posted far too late; holy shit, was today busy!)

Previews and predictions come in diverse forms.  There are the preview-pick variety, which answer the question of who will win and why: for that see ESPN’s Eastern and Western Conference previews (written by Ives Galarcep and Jeff Carlisle, respectively) and Martin Rogers’ column for Yahoo! News.  Luis Bueno put a little spin on his playoff preview for Sports Illustrated by opting to dub contenders and also-rans instead of picking winners for all the series.  MLSnet.com’s previews passed on calling winners and instead just broke down the Eastern and Western playoff teams by various categories – a decision, perhaps, to treat all their children as equal and maintain their independent brand viability (you all get trophies!!).

Good and sober as all the above are, Luis Arroyave wrote the single best prediction post on his Red Card blog.  He only calls one series – DC v. Chicago – but he pours enough angst into the effort that it feels like there’s a life in the balance.

Useful items that aren’t previews cropped up here and there as well.  USSoccerplayas.com (has so far) eschewed a “pan-MLS” approach for tidy features on individual teams heading into the series: for instance, are the Fire the favorites or can Red Bull New York beat their post-season jinx?  (My take: maybe and nope!).  Elsewhere, some power rankings survived the post-season: The Fullback Files compiled a set including only the playoff teams, while Dan Loney based his rankings on the number of injuries for each team (he ends the post with each club’s record for September and Octorber).  All y’all know this already, but, in case you’ve forgotten, du Nord’s round-up of any given day’s stories will keep you plenty current on injuries and tactical doings.

And now my thoughts – and these won’t be predictions because my powers of prognostication are such that I couldn’t pick the winner of a race after it was run (see the bottom of this and follow the links).  This didn’t stop me from making picks, of course (see the bottom of this), but those are short-term, game-to-game kinds of things and new details will inform each successive prediction; besides that, I’m a fiend for betting. Continue reading