Two legs in the Conference Finals means that a trip to the MLS Cup is determined over 180 minutes, but each second of play is valuable. The Houston Dynamo have been here before as they take on D.C. United. The Los Angeles Galaxy have made a repeat a realistic event while the Seattle Sounders know that playing at home could determine the series but have to find ways to increase goal production. Each team is facing a different obstacle as the finals kick off at 4 pm EST today.
Houston Vs. D.C.
Houston got past Sporting KC to continue their dominance despite barely making the playoffs. Coach Dominic Kinnear has continued to show that he knows what to do with a team in the postseason and it is hard to bet against him. Fans know that the Dynamo will continue to play their game even if it is without Calen Carr giving Brian Ching or Cam Weaver an opportunity. Houston is 7-0-1 against D.C. and hope to continue the dominance today at 4 pm EST on NBC Sports.
For D.C. they continue to use the mantra that the world is against them. They wanted to play the snowed out game that came when venues were switched. They got through a match down a man and another through a correct encroachment call. The effects of the New York series will be felt against Houston as Andy Najar is out two additional matches and Bill Hamid must sit out today. Their replacements, Robbie Russell and Joe Willis, saw time against Houston this year, but the result was not favorable. However, D.C. is undefeated since mid-September and seem to have confidence abound.
Admittedly our predictions for the semifinals were not great, but I don’t want to feel the wrath of Kinnear. United is a great story, but Houston takes it 4-3 on aggregate.
Seattle V.S. Los Angeles
The Sounders got through on a great goal by Mario Martinez at Rio Tinto, but now the defensive challenge has anted up. Seattle won the season series but has been unable to get past the Galaxy in the playoffs. Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, and Jeff Parke are all on yellow cards. This is new territory for Seattle but the keeping of Michael Gspurning could help them reach the next goal.
Los Angeles dominated the second leg with San Jose and history is on their side in the series. The Galaxy have only lost three times since the half way point and the form of Robbie Keane has been a major part of that. However, the secret weapon seems to be Mike Magee with goals in five of the last seven postseason matches. Magee also thinks the pressure is on Seattle as the Conference Finals kick off at 9 pm EST tonight.
I don’t think Seattle is the favorite and think the Sounders will need to open up the game to stay with Los Angeles. The gamble will pay off with extra time in the final leg. 5-4 Sounders on aggregate.
As a side note, what is the most compelling final? I would think D.C. and Seattle would be great.