Decision Time – MLS Playoffs Begin
Decision Time – MLS Playoffs Begin avatar

Major League Soccer’s Decision Day was everything the league could have hoped for with surprise results, late game drama, big games from big names, all setting up some tasty knockout round matches this Wednesday and Thursday night.

Red Bull's Head Coach Jesse Marsch  (ISI Photos /Mike Lawrence)

Red Bull’s Head Coach Jesse Marsch (ISI Photos /Mike Lawrence)

In the East the New York Red Bulls claimed the Supporters Shield for second time in three years, this time with a new coach in Jesse Marsch, new architect in Ali Curtis, a new philosophy and some important new personnel.

The Red Bulls went into Chicago knowing that a win would give them the Shield provided Dallas did not win by a cricket score at home vs. San Jose.

Both games ended 2-1 in favor of the Conference toppers with New York walking away with home field all the way to MLS Cup, if the Red Bulls can get that far.

In other Decision Day action New York’s “other” team, the new one with all the stars, that play in Yankee Stadium, ended its season on an appropriately disappointing note dropping a 3-1 decision to playoff bound the New England Revolution.

NYC FC's stars struggled to make the impact anticipated. (ISI Photos/Mike Lawrence)

NYC FC’s stars struggled to make the impact anticipated. (ISI Photos/Mike Lawrence)

The Revs endured a maddeningly up and down season in 2015 after making a run to the final last year, now they head into the 2015 second season as the fifth place qualifier in the East with a trip to our nation’s capital scheduled to face reeling DC United on Wednesday evening.

Reeling? Does a 5-0 loss to second place, bye earning Columbus on Decision Day say reeling to you? Yeah, me too. DC went from topping the table for much of the season to settling for a fourth place finish, and it will be quite a challenge for Ben Olsen to reverse this slide in time to make an impact in the playoffs.

Impact? How about 11 goals in 11 games, including both scores in Montreal’s 2-1 win on Sunday’s over Toronto. That is the impact that Didier Drogba has made in Montreal and that is why no one wants to play the Impact in the playoffs.

Sebastian Giovinco (R ) (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Sebastian Giovinco has been unstoppable this season. (R ) (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Toronto will get another shot at Didier and co. on Thursday night in Montreal, and led by the league’s number one in goals and assists, the magnificent Atomic Ant, Sebastian Giovinco, TFC just might reverse Sunday’s result.

In the Western Conference Dallas topped the polls and Vancouver finished second, a duo not many prognosticators prognosticated prior to the season to lay claim the knockout round byes.

No, the smart money would have been on the defending MLS Cup champion L.A. Galaxy and the Deuce and Oba Show up in Seattle.

But fair play to FCD and the Whitecaps for finding a level of consistency that neither of the favorites could maintain over the long and tumultuous MLS regular season.

Matias Perez Garcia's red card help seal San Jose's fate. (ISI Photos/David Bernal)

Matias Perez Garcia’s red card help seal San Jose’s fate. (ISI Photos/David Bernal)

Dallas’ victory eliminated San Jose from the post season and with Sporting Kansas City bouncing back from a mid week loss to last place Colorado to edge the Galaxy 2-1 at home, SKC will go against third place Portland.

The Timbers easily turned aside the Rapids in a 4-1 romp at Providence Park and are a team that is getting hot at the right time, so important in the MLS playoffs.

The second Western Conference knockout match features the aforementioned favorites L.A. and Seattle, two teams expected by most to face each other in the Western Conference Finals.

At various times this season each of these clubs has looked invincible, just not so much lately. Clint Dempsey banged home a pair of goals and picked up an assist in Seattle’s Decision Day 3-1 win over disappointing playoff observers Real Salt Lake, so Deuce could spark the Sounders on a deep playoff run.

Dom Dwyer scored the winner against Galaxy. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Dom Dwyer scored the winner against Galaxy. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

The defending champs limped to the finish line with a 2-1 loss to Sporting KC, finishing fifth in the West and earning a trip to the Emerald City to take on the Sounders.

Decision Day has spoken and the playoff picture has finally become clear. Here it is.

EASTERN CONFERENCE – Knockout Round
D.C. United (4) vs. New England Revolution (5)
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 7:30 PM ET
RFK Stadium
UniMás (in English with SAP) | TSN2 | CSN New England Alt. | DC (tbd)

Montreal Impact (3) vs. Toronto FC (6)
Thursday, Oct. 29, 7:00 PM ET
Stade Saputo
UniMás (in English with SAP) | TSN1/4/5 | RDS1

EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
New York Red Bulls (1) vs. lowest-seeded KO Round winner
Leg 1: Sunday, Nov. 1
Leg 2: Sunday, Nov. 8 at NY
FS1 or ESPN | TBD (Canada)

Columbus Crew SC (2) vs. other KO Round winner
Sunday, Nov. 1
Leg 2: Sunday, Nov. 8 at CLB
FS1 or ESPN | TBD (Canada)

WESTERN CONFERENCE – Knockout Round
Seattle Sounders FC (4) vs. LA Galaxy (5)
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 10:00 PM ET
CenturyLink Field
UniMás (in English with SAP) | TSN2 | RDS2 | JOEtv

Portland Timbers (3) vs. Sporting KC (6)
Thursday, Oct. 29, 10:00 PM ET
Providence Park
UniMás (in English with SAP) | TSN1/4/5 | Root Sports NW | KMCI-38

WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
FC Dallas (1) vs. lowest-seeded KO Round winner
Leg 1: Sunday, Nov. 1
Leg 2: Sunday, Nov. 8 at DAL
FS1 or ESPN | TBD (Canada)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2) vs. other KO Round winner
Leg 1: Sunday, Nov. 1
Leg 2: Sunday, Nov. 8 at VAN
FS1 or ESPN | TBD (Canada)

About Peter Nolan

Peter Nolan is a staff writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, covering MLS and other US leagues, He's GotSoccer's chief National Team Correspondent.
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