Friday, October 25, 2013

Party just getting started as MLS season concludes

Lots of viable candidates to raise American league trophy

The great Football Geezer is curious to see how the MLS playoffs will come about, come next week, but yours truly has already begun the party in anticipation of Sunday's massive clash at Red Bull Arena, which is apparently sold out ahead of a potential first trophy for not only the big city side but New York's long-suffering supporters as well.

Bias aside (and putting on the bravest journalist face), let's take a peek at the final round of the 2013 regular season:

Four spots are still open for the taking with three in the East up for grabs. Only three points separate third-placed Montreal Impact and seventh-placed Philadelphia Union with 1998 champions Chicago Fire, New England Revolution and two-time champions Houston Dynamo all squeezed in between. The Red Bulls and 2000 champions Sporting Kansas City are in.

In the West, one spot is available but 2010 champions Colorado Rapids are all but assured of that final ticket. Why? Because they'd have to lose and have the San Jose Earthquakes--three points behind them---score 13 goals against FC Dallas. And my boy, the Texans' netminder Raul Fernandez, is not going to let that happen. I think. 

Safe to say the Denver side will join 2009 champions Real Salt Lake, a red-hot Portland Timbers, four-time champions L.A. Galaxy and a Jeckyll-and-Hyde Seattle Sounders team in the postseason.

Out of all of the aforementioned teams in the East, Philly is the only one with a home finale as the Impact travel to Toronto, the Dynamo are in Washington D.C, the Revolution go to Columbus and the Fire will be in beautiful Harrison, N.J. Two of these sides will have their MLS Cup 2013 aspirations crushed at the conclusion of this weekend. 

But the big story is in New York (well, New Jersey) as the Red Bulls are in the driver's seat to clinch the Supporters Shield trophy--its first piece of silverware for the team previously known as the MetroStars that played in the horrendous climates of the old Giants Stadium.

The 2013 campaign is probably the most memorable conclusion to a season in the league's short existence. Hopefully, that continues into the playoffs until the final on Dec. 7.