Which MLS playoff first leg loser will rebound?

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Three of four lower seeds in the MLS conference playoff semifinals suffered home losses, leaving most of higher seeds in total control heading into the second leg rematches at mid-week. While that may not bode well for seeing a true upset in the conference semifinals for the first time in a good while (unless you think RSL beating Seattle is actually an upset), we still might see some surprises.

Seattle was the only higher seed who failed to record a road victory last weekend, and instead came away on the wrong end of a painful 3-0 loss. While the Sounders seem like a long shot to reverse that score line, there are other teams who look capable of turning things around.

The New York Red Bulls are only down a goal, but must win at Home Depot Center against an LA Galaxy squad that hasn't lost at home all season. The Philadelphia Union must travel to Robertson Stadium and beat a streaking Houston side on the road. The Colorado Rapids have to take an injury-ravaged squad to Livestrong Sporting Park, where they must erase a two-goal deficit.

They are all difficult tasks, but history would suggest that at least one of these teams will be able to turn things around.

Which team do you see being able to rebound from their first-leg loss and win the series? Cast your vote after the jump:

So who really has the best chance of rebounding? The Union and Red Bulls are only train

Who did you vote for? Think none of the first-leg losers will rebound? Who do you give the best chance of turning things around?

Share your thoughts below.

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79 Responses to Which MLS playoff first leg loser will rebound?

  1. Primoone says:

    Galaxy for the win.

    Very fitting that Keel and Marguez get blown over by a gust of wind created by a haymaker that never connects…Its a direct reflection as to how easy the RedBulls have been blown over by everyone this season. Redbull are soft, and their defense is in shambles. I respect only one player that actually has a pair on the Redbull and thats the human Roll-on deodorant Rogers.

  2. TomG says:

    RBNY has a decent shot. Trading Marquez for Juninho is a huge plus since Juninho actually gives effort. Solli back also helps but the team must show actual discipline for a change and Backe must actually make timely adjustment instead of sitting on his subs like he always does. Arena gives L.A. a huge edge.

  3. ? says:

    Haymaker that didn’t connect? Was that why Keel was spitting blood? Completely agree with you about Marquez. Everybody from NY hates him.

  4. TomG says:

    NYRB certainly has its share of clowns, but to group Joel Lindpere in with your comments is a criminal oversight. He is tough and skilled and never stops working. He is the heart and soul of the team.

  5. NE Matt says:

    None overturn the deficit. Union have the best shot but it seems they have immense difficulty creating goal scoring chances. you take away the lucky deflection on the Le Toux goal and the Dynamo are running away with the two legged tie

  6. Camjam says:

    Though i don’t think they’ll “come back”, I nearly voted for Seattle because I expect them to have a really good game. That being said, RSL will probably score at least one, and if that’s the case, even a 4-1 scoreline doesn’t move them on.

  7. NE Matt says:

    I agree with the Lindpere comment. He passed up on joining Estonia in Euro 2012 to stay with NYRB

  8. Brian says:

    A 4-1 scoreline could move them on assuming they win in overtime. Away goals don’t matter in MLS playoffs.

  9. kpugs says:

    Hate to say it but I don’t see how RBNY can possibly win. Especially if the Galaxy are allowed to tell the ref when to blow his whistle again.

  10. TomG says:

    True. Would like to see Adu and possible J-Mac with more playing time. They were at their best at the end applying pressure with those two in the lineup.

  11. Ycontrol500 says:

    I can’t see how NY can win either. Especially when they performed so well sans Henry when he got that red card. They concentrate so hard to pass to Henry while they can function better as a team without him.

  12. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    2nd the motion on Lindpere. Pure class that one.

    I don’t see how Juninho gets a red for this. Seems very harsh for a player coming in to separate two others (Marquez, Keel & Christman)He doesn’t seem to launch or punch. Marquez and Keel both go down in an attempt to draw a card and succeed. The League should look at that again. It is an incorrect decision.

  13. NE Matt says:

    I agree they played good at the end. I didn’t know what to make of the J-Mac trip/dive. Geoff Cameron was surely pissed off though. If it was a flop, it was definitely not the most blatant I’ve seen in MLS this year (a la Saborio and Davies)

  14. Brian says:

    I’m calling BS on that. I know he has refused all call ups since he has joined the Red Bulls, but this is his country’s biggest game in its 19 year FIFA history. If NY doesn’t move on to the next round, I’m sure he will accept a call up. Their season will hopefully (I’m a Galaxy fan) be done after Thursday and he’ll have a little over a week to rejoin the Estonian national squad and get ready for their playoff against Ireland.

    His previous comments about this were just non-committal. He didn’t want to say “Well if we lose, I’ll definitely accept a call up against Ireland” because it makes it sound like he’s mixing his priorities and that he’s slightly wishing that NY doesn’t move on.

  15. Brian says:

    Wrong! They do matter.

  16. giaco says:


  17. Brian says:

    Oops. I got it confused with CCL.

  18. Timber Navy says:

    I think Portland should be able to pull out the win on the road. Wait…

  19. NE Matt says:

    I don’t disagree that he’d accept a call if he COULD. I only all caps that because I am unsure if the deadline to submit rosters for the November 11th and 15th tie vs Ireland is already past. It very well may be that it isn’t and NYRB lose and he joins Estonia. But if NYRB move on (which I don’t see happening), he will stay with them I think. It could also be they get eliminated and he doesn’t join Estonia because of the simple fact the roster submission deadline has passed

  20. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    I could see Seattle winning the second leg, but not the series. If any of the first-leg losers can win their series it’s Philadelphia, but I’m not putting any money on it. I’m just hoping the second LA-NY is worth watching.

  21. BrianK says:

    Lindpere is smart,…over the past two years he has been NYRB best player but he is only making (approx.) $150K. He is 29-30 and is looking for a lucrative deal (let’s say 3 years). Demonstrating that kind of commitment to the club makes it easier for Reb Bulls to make an nice offer. Personally I think he deserves a major adjustent to the $300-400K range. Pitty NYRB can;t off load Marquez.

  22. strider says:

    Well, all I can do is agree with those who say NYRB have the best chance since 1) they are only a goal down, and 2) Marquez and Juninho are out (big + for NYRB). However, I doubt that it will happen and voted none. There are usually surprises though, and it will be interesting to see if anyone can pull it out. With the Fire out, I guess I have to pull for… Wait, I don’t have anyone to pull for! Let’s just hope we see some good competitive games with some nice attacking soccer.

  23. Adam M. says:

    Red Bulls absolutely can win if they can avoid falling asleep on set pieces. They outplayed LA in NY and get Solli back. Juninho is a bigger loss to LA than Marquez is to NY, Donovan hasn’t scored a goal in almost two months, and Keane isn’t in form yet, meaning three of LA’s four best players are question marks. Keep in mind that LA has scored only 1 goal in the last 180+ minutes against NY and NY only needs one early to get it even. Yes, you have to like LA at home, but I see late night penalty kicks.

  24. Gnarls says:


  25. PD says:

    so anyone who watched Philly/Houston help me out here:

    in the second half, there was a dramatic tackle in the Houston end. The defender jumped in with both feet and didn’t make contact with the ball or the player but the striker/MF fell over in jumping over the defender.

    So… no call was the right call? can anyone define why?

  26. Brian D says:

    Philly, if only because they inexplicably own Houston on the road.

  27. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    Keel was spitting blood?
    here is a close up of Keel at 7:50 (no blood)
    link to mlssoccer.com

    Here is a shot of Juninho jumping in, looks to me like Marquez and Keep bump each other,seconds 15 & 16 from here
    link to mlssoccer.com

    From the ESPN site @1:25 you can see Juninho come in ‘elbows up’, but that is not a ‘haymaker’ and I don’t think he connects to either Marquez or Keel.

  28. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    Outplayed the Galaxy? It could have been 5-1 for the Galaxy with just a couple of inches of Kean’s shot, McGees header, Donovan’s breakaway, Donovan/Beckham vs Rost, etc. etc.
    More shots for NY but not more quality shots. This was pretty one-sided, but not in NY favor.

  29. This Guy says:

    I would say the Red Bulls if they were playing any team other than the Gals. With that, I went with the Union because Houston has been shaky at home and the Union have too much skill that rode the bench last match.

  30. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    By the way, Beckham was really favoring his right arm. I think he got kicked towards the end of the game and after the melee, goes to Rafa and shakes hands with his left, holding his right arm against his body.
    Any word of an injury there?

  31. CT says:

    There’s one flaw in your premise-Cameron did clear the ball from the feet of the Union attacker (J-Mac I think). Cameron did not show his studs and he was pissed that the attacker embellished the contact trying to draw the foul. The commentator, Taylor Twellman, agreed with the call. And you can’t call Twellman a Houston homer-Houston kept him from winning 2 MLS Cups.

  32. bryan says:

    Honestly, probably none. But Union have the best chance.

  33. TomG says:

    Meh. I think the truth is somewhere in between. L.A. certainly missed some golden chances, but NYRB had a much larger number of decent chances that could have turned into goals with a lucky bounce or a well struck ball.

  34. Dave says:

    None of the people in the room with me saw the defender make contact with the ball. However, I don’t believe they did a slow mo either.

    On my list of activities while handing out candy tonight is to youtube that foul. As the Union are not complaining, I suspect it was a good call, just bad video angle.

  35. TomG says:

    Nice work if true (can’t watch right now). I’m sure MLS will review and get it right?? I don’t know how good they typically are with video reviews. Have they messed up any big ones lately?

  36. Super M says:

    NY not only has the best chance; they will knock LA out. They won’t beat RSL though.

  37. fischy says:

    The Union are the only team that might pull this out, but I have to vote for “none”.

  38. ... says:

    The link you have is not sending me to the video it should, but the other clips I saw yesterday on mlssoccer don’t show a good angle of the Keel/Juninho incident. Marquez completely dives, and that’s what the camera is focused on, but if you pay attention you can see in the background that Juninho comes in and connects quite solidly with his elbow into Keel’s face. It’s not clear if Juninho was coming to break up the scuffle or get involved in it, or if the elbow was intentional or accidental, but there was definitely contact and Keel did end up with a bloody lip, although he was not “spitting blood” as the other commentor said.

  39. PSPTim says:

    The no-call handball on Brad Davis on the close range free kick from the left side of the box was a bigger deal. TRE got it right the first time and TT got it right on the replay.

    Cameron came in hot, Jack Mac went down easy, probably a good no call but Cameron was playing with fire either way. You can’t say his flying tackle was advisable but he did appear to get a bit of both the ball and the player.

  40. abc says:

    My opinion as well.

  41. PD says:

    did he embellish? I thought he just fell over… I don’t blame Cameron for getting hot if he thought the guy was trying to draw a foul but he was hardly rolling around and crying out for justice to the ref of anything…

    I just had never really seen that kind of a play in the box before and didn’t know how it “should” be called.

  42. Ski Fast! says:


  43. pd says:

    If the union ate going to
    Pull it out it’s on the yutes, cause Seba is doing all he can

  44. Andy Zilis says:

    I think Cameron was acting pissed off because he knew he didn’t make contact with the ball and was trying to influence the decision. After watching the replay several times, I’m convinced that it was actually a foul. It certainly wasn’t a dive, because it was a slide tackle that made plenty of contact.

  45. hogatroge says:

    Philly outplayed the Dynamo in the 2nd half, but they’re really lucky to come away 1 goal down instead of 2 after Costly flubbed that sitter.

  46. Ryan says:

    What is the scenario needed for the Union to pull this out? 2-0 win? 3-1?

  47. Jeter says:

    Juninho caught someone with an elbow. The MLS review board got to see extra video footage that wasn’t aired on tv for everyone to see. Fighting in MLS dilutes the sport and gives MLS a bad image while the league is trying to grow here in the United States.

  48. hogatroge says:

    By the book, Garfan should have been ejected in the 4th minute. The no-call handball was simply making up for the earlier lenient call.

  49. hogatroge says:

    As a Dynamo fan, I have to agree. I would say it’s less than a 50% chance, but out of the potential comebacks, it’s the closest.

  50. hogatroge says:

    A +1 GD would take the game to extra time then penalties. Otherwise, they need to win by 2.

  51. Paul says:

    Right. No mention of away goals in the official rules: link to mlssoccer.com

  52. Adam M. says:

    Coulda been anything, as it usually is. If Marquez stopped making field goals it would have been about 5-1 the other way. Point is that LA had some opportunities when RB broke down, but NY controlled most of the action and suffered a couple solid saves.

  53. Tim says:

    Shaky at home? Get a clue.

  54. Kishan Jeter says:

    The Union played well. They should’ve gotten a penalty because Brad Davis was pegged in the arm with the ball while in the box. Le Toux did get lucky with the service because of the deflection off of Boswell’s back cause otherwise the ball would’ve sailed outside the endzone but Le Toux did good in finishing. He’s a great player. Carlos Costly is a tool and I pray Houston doesn’t renew his contract. He’s only scored one goal all season and that was last week! The video of Geoff Cameron slide tackling was legit. He made contact with the ball, actually he landed down on top of the ball but, he got all ball. He just didn’t want Philly to try and get a penalty kick from dramatic acting. Overall, it was the “Tale of Two Halves” and Houston played their half better and thus, came out with the win. The Union, however, will not win at Robertson Stadium this Thursday. The Houston Dynamo slap them with an “Orange Crush!”

  55. Kishan Jeter says:

    I love how no one is talking about “Danny Cruz” getting kicked in the face in the first half and all the guy got was a yellow card. WTF! Philly should’ve been down a man the whole game.

  56. Kishan Jeter says:

    The Union won the 2nd half and Houston won the 1st half. Houston performed better in the half that they won so they won the game.

    The Union should’ve gotten a penalty kick for the handball on Brad Davis. The slide tackle by Geoff Cameron was good, he made contact with the ball and the Union player was trying to embelish the contact to draw a foul.

    The Union player should’ve gotten a red card for kicking Danny Cruz in the face. Danny wasn’t even bent over, he was about to jump to head the ball and gets kicked in the face and then kneed in the ribs. How is that not a red card?

    The Union have won twice in Houston earlier in the season but we were a different team since then. Luiz Carmago, Adam Moffat, Calen Carr, and having Geoff Cameron in the back makes Houston a totally different team. The only way the Union have a chance is if Torres and Adu start and actually connect with Le Toux. Other than that, they have no chance.

    Go Dynamo!

  57. Jk3 says:

    dude, Americans love fights. If anything it’ll attract people not deter

  58. Kishan Jeter says:

    I,for one, am pulling for the New Jersey Red Cows. They’re only down by one and they have the fire power to bring it. Luke & Thierry need to link up with Lindpere on the offense. On the defense, their retarded DP of a goalie needs to act like one. That goal McGee shot was easily stoppable. Hell, if McGee was in goal he would’ve stopped it.

    Go Dynamo!

  59. Poo says:

    I love lindpere, but MLS is not going to give him that kind of money. He is a clutch player, but somewhat one dimensional (literally never seen him use his right foot).

    I hope he gets a big pay raise, but dont see it happening. Unfortunately there arent many guys in that range just short of DP money.

  60. Brian says:

    Garfan? Do you call the other one Marfan or something?

  61. JW says:

    I disagree. Fighting doesn’t reduce a sport in America, hitting the floor like a fish hits a dock does.

  62. georg says:

    It will not be Seattle

  63. TommyOC says:

    I think the point you’re missing is that LA could’ve been up 3-0 within 20 minutes. (The first post-bang, Magee’s goal, and Franklin’s missed header.)

    Had that been the case, NY could’ve had 65%+ of the possession for the rest of the match and the LA defense and mid would have held.

  64. TommyOC says:

    Donovan and Keane will be in better form come Thursday, both having come back from injury on Sunday.

    Marquez’ shift to an attacking defender / holding mid was a large reason why NY made it into the playoffs. Their defensive/mid system is predicated on Marquez’ presence and performance.

    Juninho, on the other hand, while an invaluable piece of LA’s attack, has been successfully replaced several times this season. Assuming the Galaxy have a man up to the task of marking Henry like Juni did on Sunday (could be a Donovan + Beckham combo) the Galaxy attack is more than potent enough to pierce NY’s shaky back line.

  65. Wm. says:

    RBNY will dig out a 1:1 draw but it will not be enough.

  66. PD says:

    Wow, really did not want this to be about woulda could shoulda… the game was called how the game was called. I just had a question about a very specific call is all, not how it should have been different. If every chance was played “right” soccer would routinely end in double digit results, but that’s not the nature of the game. Every game is full missed opportunities, errors of judgement and missed execution–we get so excited on goals pretty passes (and yes perfect tackles) because they are the exception, not the rule. I suppose that’s what we get hot over blown calls, because the game it tough enough, we don’t need other judges making it tougher, but again that was not my point.

  67. PD says:

    yes but there is a LOT more pressure on them now, and if Nowak rolls out a 6-2-3 with no goalie or something equally nutty as his opening lineup from game 1 it won’t matter how hungry they are….

  68. neill says:

    I couldn’t believe how gung ho the commentators were in defending Cameron’s tackle — at the same moment they were going on about it, they showed the slow-motion video and it looked pretty clear to me that Cameron was nowhere near the ball.

  69. Charles says:

    NY was ranked in the top 3 of the power rankings forever. I thought what am I missing, they look terrible ?

    Everyone says they have the most talented team in MLS after finishing 10th. I thought what am I missing, bad D and goal, and a missing mid ?

    Now NY gets 23% of the vote ? I am not missing anything, the teams left are all better than NY, and LA is better than all of those teams.

  70. A wise man once says:

    Yep. They do.

  71. Cole says:

    Or you could argue Bruin messed up the pass to Costly, he really put Costly in a tough spot with the pass beong behind him.

  72. Frenchy says:

    The Union lack playoff experience and it showed with Nowack trotting out a lineup he’s never used before. Houston will take this and it will be grand!

    Dale Dynamo!

  73. Jeff says:

    +1. Yep. I like to see them mix it up a bit, much better than Marquez style purse fights and flops.

  74. jt says:

    Cameron came in with a crazy flying judo kick, but made contact with the ball before JackMac got caught up with Camerons legs. I’m fine with the tackle and it wasnt a penalty but Cameron didnt have to get up and start yelling at JackMac. If he was a little bit later with the tackle it could have been ugly. And yes there was a slowmo replay while twellman was bitching and as it was shown on tv twellman stopped dead in his statement and that was the last of it.

    Also, even Kinnear didnt think the high boot was worth a red. he was dangerously high but the fact that cruz is like 5’5” and leaned into the header AND garfan didnt hit him in the face/head, he hit him in the stomach, it was a good call

  75. hogatroge says:

    I agree… Bruin’s pass was late and bad, but Costly had time to settle the ball and still flubbed it. I wouldn’t put all the blame on him, but it should have been a goal. Shoulda, coulda, woulda, though.

  76. Conrad says:

    I was at a talk Lindpere gave recently. (And “talk” is decidedly a generous term to Joel, who is Estonian and not the most eloquent guy in the world.) He basically stressed that he was playing so hard to be picked up in — and he actually said this — “a better league.” He’s looking to go to England, France, Germany — anywhere, I think.
    It’s too bad he hasn’t scored lately. Also, his crosses are to no one.