Seattle and D.C. victories Thursday night send both teams to their respective MLS conference semifinals. Sunday’s contests will mark the first ever West final for the Sounders, and the first East final for United in the last six years. The road to the conference finals was far from easy, and the future looks even more challenging.
United Steals One at Red Bull Arena
Thursday’s match between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls was by far one of the most hectic games played in recent MLS playoff history. The Red Bulls played ferociously, taking 18 attempts on goal and winning possession at 54%. No matter how many near-goal opportunities presented, New York failed to find a score all night. As they dominated United with their offensive pressure, the Red Bulls eventually conceded a goal to D.C.’s Nick DeLeon in the 88th minute, ending their promising playoff run.
Although United stole a win here, they must address their poor defense before taking on Houston this weekend. New York looked too comfortable all night to come away with nothing, and the Dynamo are the hotter team of late. Leg 1 of the Eastern Final will commence this Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium. Kickoff will be at 4pm ET with coverage on the NBC Sports Network.
Sounders Overcome Tough RSL Team
Seattle fans were on the edge of their seats as Mario Martinez, playing for the injured Mauro Rosales, netted his first ever Sounders goal in the 81′ minute to solidify a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake. Salt Lake has given Seattle trouble all season, earning the only victory among three meetings this regular season, and drawing 0-0 in the other two. Something certainly fell different about this year’s Sounders team however, with excitement in Eddie Johnson’s U.S. National Team play and a remarkable season for Fredy Montero.
As good as the Galaxy looked in their scoring spree on San Jose, don’t count the Sounders out just yet. A club that has made significant progress in their youth talents, expect Seattle to use their speed and their trigger-happy forward in Montero to keep the pressure on Los Angelas. Leg 1 of the Western Final will also take place this Sunday, at The Home Depot Center. Kickoff will be at 9pm ET with coverage on ESPN.