The 2013 MLS playoffs officially kick off on Wednesday, and it's time to start looking ahead at the entire schedule for this exciting tournament.
The New York Red Bulls were able to take the top spot in the Eastern Conference over Sporting Kansas City by a single point, going 17-9-8 this season. Meanwhile, the Portland Timbers also edged out Real Salt Lake by one point, going 14-5-15 on the year.
Wednesday and Thursday will feature the two knockout round games. Other than the MLS Cup finals, this is the only round where it's one game with the winner advancing. In the other two rounds, the team to advance is the one that scores the most goals in the two games played.
Let's take a look at the complete schedule for the MLS playoffs, followed by a quick preview of the two knockout games.
|2013 MLS Playoff Schedule|
|Knockout Round||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 4 Houston vs. No. 5 Montreal||Oct. 31||8:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Eastern Conference Semifinals|
|No. 1 New York vs. TBD|
|Leg 1||Nov. 3||3:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Leg 2||Nov. 6||8 p.m.||Univision Dep.|
|No. 2 Sporting KC vs. No. 3 New England|
|Leg 1||Nov. 2||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Leg 2||Nov. 6||9 p.m.||MLS Live|
|Eastern Conference Finals (TBD)|
|Knockout Round||Date||Time (ET)||TV|
|No. 4 Seattle vs. No. 5 Colorado||Oct. 30||10:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Western Conference Semifinals|
|No. 1 Portland vs. TBD|
|Leg 1||Nov. 2||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Leg 2||Nov. 7||11 p.m.||NBCSN|
|No.2 Real Salt Lake vs. No. 3 LA Galaxy|
|Leg 1||Nov. 3||9 p.m.||ESPN|
|Leg 2||Nov. 7||9 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Western Conference Finals (TBD)|
|2013 MLS Cup|
|TBD vs. TBD||Dec. 7||4 p.m.||ESPN|
No. 4 Seattle Sounders FC vs. No. 5 Colorado Rapids
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 30
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
The MLS playoffs will officially begin with this exciting Western Conference knockout match, with the winner advancing to play the Portland Timbers in the conference semifinals.
The Seattle Sounders have a number of solid players with a balanced offensive attack. The top three goal scorers are Eddie Johnson with nine along with Lamar Neagle and Obafemi Martins who each have eight. While they do have a balanced offensive attack, their defense wasn't able to do too much, giving the team a goal differential of zero.
For the Colorado Rapids, their go-to scorer has to be Deshorn Brown. He leads the team with 97 shots, 30 of them on goal and 10 goals scored for the year. Dillon Powers, Edson Buddle and Atiba Harris each have five goals as well.
The Rapids scored three more goals than the Sounders and allowing four fewer, giving them a plus-seven goal differential.
In their three games against each other, each team took a win and the other game ended in a tie. With how close those three matches were, this is likely going to be another close one.
No. 4 Houston Dynamo vs. No. 5 Montreal Impact
Date: Thursday, Oct. 31
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
It seems fitting that a team that dresses in orange will be playing on Halloween. With this knockout round, the winner from Thursday will advance to play the Red Bulls starting on November 3.
The Houston Dynamo have only scored 41 goals this season, the fewest of any team in the playoffs. Giles Barnes and Will Bruin lead the team with nine and eight goals, respectively. The team will be led by head coach Dominic Kinnear, who is 13-7-3 all-time in the postseason with Houston.
Meanwhile, the Montreal Impact went 14-13-7 with 50 goals scored this year. Marco Di Vaio was one of the best scorers in the league with 20 goals, the third-most in MLS.
Despite scoring so many goals, the Impact aren't exactly hot heading into the playoffs. In their last eight matches, they went 1-6-1.
There will be plenty of costumes in the stands as the fans will be cheering on Houston. The pressure is high in this single-elimination game, and it will be the Impact that will be scared on Halloween coming into the game on a cold streak.