The MLS season ended a couple of weeks back, and then the top half of the league were pitted against one another in goal-aggregate, home-and-away series. What does that mean exactly? For one thing, it means all the games the Galaxy won during the season to earn first place are half worthless. They still would’ve made the playoffs with 12 less points—why not take a page from city associates the Lakers and play at half speed until the playoffs, when you can come out limber but rested?
Let’s save the full rant for another day, but let’s just say I’m not in love with the playoff system in the MLS. Moving on, the chart below represents the final standings of all teams in the MLS, regardless of division. (Give LA a trophy I say…sorry, another day, another day)
Remaining at this point are the Galaxy vs Dallas, and San Jose vs Colorado. Very left coast, must be the bountiful full-year playing surfaces. And do note their season-ending positions (but I will not continue my rant).
How do the playoffs work then, you ask? Well I can’t be bothered to explain it myself, so here’s a bit of description from the public domain after the bump:
We’re back once again with our recommendations on when exactly you should plant yourself on your couch or local pub stool this weekend. Again using SoccerInsider’s full TV listing as a reference, here we go, with some notes from various members of the CultFootball collective:
Saturday Oct 30
Manchester United-Spurs 12:30 p.m. FSC: a matchup of the 3rd and 5th place teams in the EPL table, with goal-scoring players in form on both sides (Chicharito and Nani for Man U, Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart for Spurs)
Barcelona-Sevilla 4 p.m. ESPN Deportes: One of the more challenging La Liga games for Barca, especially since Sevilla seems to finally coming into form (6th in the table) after a slow start, and their Brazilian WC2010 star Luis Fabiano back in the lineup and finding the back of the net.
Those are the two matches to make time for, but if you need a couple additional matches to fill out your day:
Hercules-Real Madrid 2 p.m. GolTV: It’ll be interesting to see if Real Madrid can keep up their recent dominating form (well, last week’s scoreless draw against 3rd division Murcia in a Copa del Rey game excepted), or conversely whether Hércules can pull off another upset.
AC Milan-Juventus 2:30 p.m. FSC: AC Milan is 2nd in the Serie A table, and has an exciting set of big names in attack: Ronaldhino, Pato, Robinho, Ibrahimovic, Seedorf, while Juve is in 5th. See Goal.com’s rundown of key individual matchups here.
And since the MLS playoffs have started, a Saturday night special…
San Jose-New York 10 p.m. Telefutura: Sounds like Thierry Henry will miss this match due to an injury, but the Red Bulls have a number of players to watch: Rafa Marquez, the Mexican international recently arrived from Barcelona; Estonian Joel Lindpere; Jamaican Dane Richards; and Senegalese-American goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul (see this NY Daily News article about his journey from Senegal to the Bronx to high school in Manhattan, and eventually to the MLS).
Sunday Oct 31
Palermo-Lazio 7:30 a.m. FSP: Roman side Lazio sits atop Serie A, while Palermo is in 8th. We’ll refer you to Goal.com for eachside‘s rosters, recent team news, and standard formations.
Newcastle-Sunderland 9:30 a.m. FSP: The Tyne-Wear derby. Overlooked step-sister Sunderland have held their own against Newcastle on the pitch over the years, if not in international fame. Always good to share your name with a tasty brew.
Bolton-Liverpool noon FSC: Liverpool played well last week, and Fernando Torres finally scored, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can build on that—and work their way up in the table.
And one more—another MLS playoff game, featuring the star-studded Galaxy:
San Jose has added the Brazilian known simply as Geovanni to their squad, making him their first designated player in the club’s history. Another good grab in a DP slot, and while the 30-yr-old’s legs might not me as springy as they once were, he’s an excellent technical player who has a knack for showing up late in the box and latching on to a final pass.
He can run hot and cold, as I’ve seen him both intensely passionate and seemingly disinterested from week to week. His run at Man City never amounted to much, and the time he spent at Hull only saw them to relegation from the Prem. He is capable of great distribution, but speed isn’t his thing, and he doesn’t come off as a particularly motivational leader either. The slower pace of the MLS should suit him well, though one wonders how a player of his technical ability will get along in the Earthquakes’ system.
Exciting news regardless, as the MLS is definitely elevating play through such additions. Steady onward!