Kick Off: NY vs. LA playoff trash-talking already underway
Many teams would not be looking forward to playing the Supporters’ Shield winners in the playoffs. That’s not the case with the New York Red Bulls, who defeated FC Dallas 2-0 in a wild card matchup last night to set up a battle with the LA Galaxy. Watch the highlights here.
Here's what NY’s Dax McCarty told MLSsoccer.com after Wednesday’s wild card play-in: “We match up well with them. At the end of the day it’s going to be a fight. The team that’s going to win the series is the team that puts more heart in and wants it more. And that has to be us.” (VIDEO)
The Red Bulls may be rolling, but LA Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant is not perturbed: “I don't think anyone fears New York,” he said. The first leg will be played at Red Bull Arena on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes).
Thierry Henry also chimed in about the upcoming match-up against LA: “They’re the favorites and we’ll try to look for the upset,” said the Frenchman. (VIDEO)
MLSsoccer.com was at Pizza Hut Park for all the coverage of the Red Bulls' win over the MLS Cup 2010 finalists. Here’s a one-on-one interview with one of the heroes of the match, Mehdi Ballouchy, who has received his fair share of criticism this year. He reveals that he came into the match because “Dax was struggling a little bit with an injury.” (VIDEO)
The two managers spoke in the post-game press conference and highlighted the defensive work by the Red Bulls: “Our defense played unreal,” said RBNY boss Hans Backe. The Swede believes the key to beating Dallas was to close down the distribution by Daniel Hernandez. (VIDEO)
Red Bulls defender Tim Ream spoke to MLSsoccer.com on the field after the match and talked about the “real good scare” that FC Dallas gave New York in the opening minutes. “They could have put two or three [goals] in there. … It’s hard to keep that tempo up for 90 minutes,” he said. (VIDEO)
In tonight’s other wild card matchup (10 p.m. ET, streamed free on MLSsoccer.com), the Columbus Crew travel to face the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids a day after snow covered Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (check out video of the scene in Colorado on Wednesday). “We’re going to go into Colorado still as confident as we were early in the season,” said Crew midfielder Dilly Duka. “We’re going to take it [to them].”
A Columbus Dispatch columnist compares the Crew to the Mexican national team in one of those “Cold War” World Cup qualifiers: “This one has the feel of one of those Mexico-Team USA matches in Columbus, with the Crew playing the part of Mexico. Ay caramba!”
The Denver Post profiles Rapids defender Marvell Wynne, who became a soccer player despite the fact that his dad was a pro baseball player. He says Bazooka bubble gum and sunflower seeds were the only things he looked forward to about baseball as a kid: “It was just way too slow. I was way too energetic, so I just stuck to soccer.”
It was seven years ago that Freddy Adu made his first MLS playoff appearance at the age of 15. On Sunday (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2), he’ll be back at it when the Philadelphia Union host the Houston Dynamo in the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. That postseason run back in 2004 ended in MLS Cup with D.C. United. "It was amazing winning that year, and I was a little spoiled after that," he says. "It was probably the best moment in my career so far. … There is no feeling like it.”
Houston’s Brad Davis – the assist king in MLS – is so cool and calm on the ball. But you know what does frazzle him? It’s what happened last year: "I have been lucky enough to win two championships and get a taste of what it is like, and not making the playoffs last year was very unsettling for me," he said.
An astute observation by the Houston Chronicle about the metamorphosis undergone by the Dynamo this year: Of the 11 starters in the season opener, only five are still with the team. Three of those five are also manning new positions. Find out the names here.
On Saturday night, Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders open their playoff series at Rio Tinto Stadium, where they are hoping for a sell-out (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer). There’s no question in the mind of RSL manager Jason Kreis as to who’s considered the favorite and it’s definitely not RSL: “I feel like that underdog role has been put upon us; it's not something that we're making up here. It's the fact that the majority of the people out there — the pundits, the writers, the fans — believe that Seattle is a better team than we are right now.”
There is a shake-up in the ownership group of the New York Cosmos and it involves a Saudi Arabian investor group taking full control of the operation, according to this report on BigAppleSoccer.com.
New investors and a new stadium are some of the same topics that D.C. United president Kevin Payne responds to in this Q&A with the Washington Post, where it is revealed that there are "very informal and very preliminary" talks with the University of Maryland on a possible temporary solution.
Chivas USA forward Juan Pablo Ángel reveals that he’s in talks with Chivas USA to return for the final year on his contract: “I would love to play, so we’ll see what happens. If we can come to agreement, I’m sure things will work itself out.”
Vancouver are ringing in the changes, saying goodbye to assistant coaches Denis Hamlett and Colin Miller as the new Whitecaps head coach, Martin Rennie, gets set to take over.
If the Galaxy fail to knock off the New York Red Bulls, they can look forward to a match-up against the Azkals. It’s coming up during the offseason in the Philippines.
No Philippine league action in the TV listings today. Instead, you’ll have to settle for the La Liga match between Athletic Bilbao and Atlético Madrid (4 p.m. ET, GolTV) and the Serie A battle between Palermo and Lecce (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes).
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