Friday, October 31, 2014

Eastern Conference Semifinal Preview

Columbus Crew vs New England Revolution

Two of the league's hottest teams will face off tomorrow when the Crew take on the Revs. Columbus has won eight of their last eleven and two of three against the Revs on the year, while the Revs have nine wins in their last twelve and just one loss since adding Jermaine Jones into the fold. To make things even more intriguing, that loss came against Columbus on September 20th.

Players to Watch:

For Columbus: Federico Higuain. Higuain tied for the club lead with 11 goals this season including the game winner in their 1-0 win over New England last month. While his brother Gonzalo is the more famous Higuain, don't discount Federico's ability to impact the MLS postseason.

For New England: Lee Nguyen. Nguyen led the league in Game Winning Goals with 9, was the league's highest scoring American with 18 finishes, and has 10 goals in his last 11 matches as well as 5 goals in his last 4. As Nguyen goes, so go the Revs.


New England advances. I'm loving Ethan Finlay and the exciting Columbus attack, but Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen are firing on all cylinders right now.

New York Red Bulls vs DC United

DC United is the only American club left in the Champions League this year, and they'll be back again next season thanks to winning the Eastern Conference regular season title. DC tied for the league lead in fewest goals allowed thanks to keeper Bill Hamid, and despite all of New York's weapons, DC scored only three fewer goals on the year. In three matches this season, New York managed just one goal against Hamid, and New York's Big Three of Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Tim Cahill was shutout.

Players to Watch:

For New York: Thierry Henry. The veteran Frenchman can do it all, and while this was Bradley Wright-Phillips' year, Henry is equally important, if not more so, to their success. Case in point, it was Henry's pass that set up BWP's equalizer against Sporting in the Knockout Round.

For DC: Eddie Johnson. Johnson had a relatively quiet season with just 7 goals, but he's scored in two of the last three games, scored twice in last year's postseason, and has two goals in this year's Champions League. An accomplished finisher with big game experience, Johnson has the potential to be a difference maker in this series.


DC advances. I think there are too many question marks and a lack of consistency for the Red Bulls. They've yet to solve Bill Hamid and DC didn't win the Eastern Conference by accident.

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