Just a few days after the New England Revolution were eliminated from the playoffs, I sat down to watch the first leg of the Eastern Conference Finals between Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City. Thankfully, I didn't watch the whole game, because that 0-0 draw was apparently similar the first half of the Revs-SKC semi at Gillette, which is to say it sucked.
But throughout that game, I didn't know who to root for. Do I pick the team that just eliminated my Revs or with the team that has eliminated the Revs basically every year of the Taylor Twellman/Steve Nicol era? Do I root for two 0-0 draws and they penalties?
I was so confused I jotted down some pros/cons of everyone left in the 2013 MLS Playoffs:
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
PRO: Graham Zusi won't be playing with the United States during the upcoming internationals, so I get to watch him with SKC.
CON: Just eliminated Revs from playoffs. Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic, Benny Feilhaber.
Yeah, I'm not in that camp of I want to lose to the best team in the playoffs that year. I want revenge...problem is...
PRO: Didn't eliminate Revs from playoffs this year. Brad Davis, always liked him.
CON: Eliminated Revs from playoffs basically every other time. Used to employ Adam Moffat.
I can't really root for these guys, can I? If I took a straw poll of which MLS team New England thinks as their main rival, these guys win in a landslide. I think my temporary playoff allegiances lie in the West.
REAL SALT LAKE
PRO: Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Jason Kreis. There's not a lot to dislike about this team. They're fun to watch, play a solid brand of soccer.
CON: Second dumbest name is MLS behind the Energy Drinks, I mean the New York Red Bulls. (Sorry, this is the USA, we use cities, states, regions and nicknames in this country for our sports teams. Looking at you too FC Dallas [I miss the Burn] and Toronto FC. DC United (original MLS) and Chivas USA (The Goats) get a pass. This is my opinion and my opinion alone.)
There's nothing wrong with rooting for these guys. It's a professional, hard working style of soccer that, like last Sunday, can result in an absolute ton of goals with the guys they have up front.
PRO: Midfielder Will Johnson is one of my favorite players in MLS right now and they have (on paper) one of the best attacking teams in the league.
CON: Not sure I want Cascadia winning MLS...but at least it's not the Sounders. And I don't want to hear the phrase "Porter-ball" (or "Pareja-ball or any other variation) ever again.
I've been leaning towards Portland for a while, partially because they're fun to watch and partially because the Timbers are how I envision the Revs someday from a fan stand point - 20,000 seat primarily designed for soccer (preferably with grass), sold out every game. Sigh.
Well, there you have it. My incredibly biased and short (almost non-existent) thought process for my temporary MLS Playoff team, which is down 4-2 going back to Portland. Either way, I'm rooting for the West.
But you are you rooting for? Have you stopped watching MLS altogether now that the Revs are out? Are there any pros/cons that you have on the four remaining teams? Vote in the poll question and leave a comment below.