The Major League Soccer 2010 season has come to a close. What a seven months it has been. From Philadelphia Union's introduction, to FC Dallas' 19-game unbeaten streak, to New York Red Bulls' new stadium, new stars, and 30-point turnaround from last year, to Beckham's return to help Los Angeles to the Supporter's Shield, it has been quite a year.
This year's MLS Cup Playoffs provide some great excitement. Six Western Conference teams and two Eastern Conference clubs will go for glory and look to become the fifteenth winners of MLS Cup. Along with this, every team will also have the goal of qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League. Two of the eight have already accomplished this for next year. Los Angeles, the 2010 MLS Supporter's Shield winners and Seattle Sounders FC, the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup winners, have each qualified for the 2011-2012 tournament. The Galaxy immediately progress to the Group Stage while Seattle will have to play in the Preliminary Round.
Two teams will join them. The MLS Cup winner and runner-up each earn a spot, with the winner going to the Group Stage and the runner-up going into the Preliminary Round. If either Los Angeles or Seattle gets one of those spots, one of the other teams will be granted it.
Of course, as in most club soccer knockout tournaments, match-ups in the Quarterfinals and Semifinals will take place over two games, once at each teams' home field. The team with the most goals over the two games goes to the next round.
The Final will be one match, set to take place on November 21st at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the home of MLS side Toronto FC.
Obviously, there is a lot on the line. With this in mind, we will now take a look at each match-up and determine who this year's MLS Cup winner will be.