The 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs presented by AT&T saw its semifinal round come and go this weekend, leaving LA Galaxy, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders FC left to vie for the right to hoist MLS Cup.
Both the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution entered the second legs of their respective semifinal matchups resting on two-goal aggregate leads. New York carried a 2-0 advantage into its matinee match versus D.C. United on Saturday, and despite a 36th minute goal from D.C.’s Nick DeLeon that gave fans at RFK Stadium a glimmer hope, Thierry Henry & Co. quickly slammed the door on a comeback finishing the series on 3-2 aggregate. Meanwhile, New England did not have to stave off such a surge from the Columbus Crew after last weekend’s four-goal performance in Columbus. Thanks to goals from Lee Nguyen, José Gonçalves and Teal Bunbury in the second leg (3-1 final score), the Revs advanced on a convincing 7-3 aggregate score.
New York and New England will now open the Eastern Conference Championship round on Sunday, November 23rd at 1:30 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena (NBC), and conclude the second leg at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, November 29th at 3:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN, UDN, TSN2, RDS2). The Red Bulls defeated the Revolution in both of their regular season meetings in 2014, coming away with a 2-0 road win in New England on June 8th and a 2-1 home victory on August 2. However, when the clubs last clashed in the postseason—a 2007 meeting in the Conference Semifinals—it was the Revolution emerging victorious on a 1-0 aggregate score.
In the West, all eyes were on Landon Donovan entering the second leg of the LA Galaxy-Real Salt Lake semifinal matchup. Following a scoreless first leg, Donovan served up a spectacular performance, becoming only the third player in MLS history to record a playoff hat-trick. Donovan opened the scoring in the 10th minute, leaving RSL reeling from the early blow. The Claret-and-Cobalt never quite found its footing and LA added goals in the 20th, 54th, 63rd, and 72nd minutes for a final 5-0 score line.
The Conference Semifinals came to a close in front of 38,912 fans at CenturyLink Field on Monday night, where Seattle Sounders FC was able to edge FC Dallas out with a scoreless draw and advance on the away goal tiebreaker. The two clubs entered the match with things knotted at 1-1 from the first leg in Dallas, with the Sounders claiming the advantage with a coveted away goal.
Seattle Sounders FC and LA Galaxy will kick off the Western Conference Championship series in Southern California on Sunday, Nov. 23rd at 5:00 p.m. ET at StubHub Center (ESPN, ESPN Deportes). The second leg will then head back to the Pacific Northwest, where Seattle will host the Galaxy on Sunday, Nov. 30th at 9:00 p.m. ET at CenturyLink Field (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, RDS2). In the MLS regular season, the two clubs split the series even, going 1-1-1 in 2014. The Western Conference foes have met four times in the playoffs, with LA Galaxy getting the better of Seattle with a 3-1-0 record all-time.
Below is the full 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs schedule:
· New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution – Sun., Nov. 23, 1:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
· LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders FC – Sun., Nov. 23, 5:00 p.m. ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)
· New England Revolution vs. New York Red Bulls – Sat., Nov. 29, 3:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN, UDN, TSN2, RDS2)
· Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy – Sun., Nov. 30, 9:00 p.m. ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, RDS2)
MLS Cup 2014
· Sun., Dec. 7 (hosted by finalist with best regular season record)
o Teams TBD – 3:00 p.m. ET (ESPN, Univision, TSN, and RDS networks)
o Site TBD