BASN’s MLS Playoff Preview — The Western Conference

By Andrew Dixon, III
Updated: October 26, 2007
MIAMI – After the ongoing saga that was the David Beckham to LA Galaxy transfer, then the David Beckham Ankle Watch, then the David Beckham Sprained Knee Chronicles…the Galaxy didn’t make the playoffs for a second year running.
Now the spotlight will shine on the four West Side representers who still have a shot at lifting MLS Cup in RFK on November 18.
Chivas USA (1)
No more step child treatement for LA’s Other Team.
The former expanshion side that two years ago established the worst record in MLS history came back with a vengeance, losing just once at home and pushing DC united for the Supporter’s Shield to the last week.
Former MLS and US National team stand out, Preki, should capture the club second straight coach of the year award.

//<![CDATA[ n  u003c/span>He quickly realized that Amado Guevara had not place on his team and instituted a slick, quick passing side that ripped opposing defenses to shreds. u003cspan> u003c/span>Franciso Mendoza continues to be a major catalyst but the main threats on offense have been former Cuban International Maykel Galindo and former US International Ante Razov with 12 and 11 goals respectively.nu003cspan>  u003c/span>However, Razov is injured and expected to miss the playoffs and his absence will be felt.u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>u003c/span> u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>u003ca hrefu003d”http://chivas.usa.mlsnet.com/news/team_news.jsp?ymdu003d20071022&content_idu003d125239&vkeyu003dnews_cdc&fextu003d.jsp&teamu003dt120″ targetu003d”_blank” onclicku003d”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)”>nu003cimg heightu003d”250″ altu003d”Maykel Galindo and Chivas will come out aggressive against K.C.” srcu003d”http://chivas.usa.mlsnet.com/images/2007/10/24/XMlPTbGv.jpg” widthu003d”525″>u003c/a>u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”> (was unable to crop this at my work computer, see if you can crop the logo and use as a summary photo) Maykel Galindo: Cuban hitman (chivas. nu003ca hrefu003d”http://mls.net” targetu003d”_blank” onclicku003d”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)”>mls.netu003c/a>)u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>The defense has been solid all season thanks to an injury free Claudio "The Emperor" Suarez Jamaican Shavar Thomas and American GK Brad Guzan .093 goals against average was second in the league to Houston's Pat Onstead.nu003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>Chivas USA is full of confidence and if they can overcome the loss of Razov, they'll make a deep post season run.u003c/span>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:10pt;color:black;font-family:Arial”>nu003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cu>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>Kansas Cityu003c/span>u003c/u>u003cu>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>”,1] ); //–> //]]> He quickly realized that Amado Guevara had not place on his team and instituted a slick, quick passing side that ripped opposing defenses to shreds.

Maykel Galindo: Cuban hitman (chivas. mls.net)

Maykel Galindo: Cuban hitman (chivas. mls.net)

Franciso Mendoza continues to be a major catalyst but the main threats on offense have been former Cuban International Maykel Galindo and former US International Ante Razov with 12 and 11 goals respectively. However, Razov is injured and expected to miss the playoffs and his absence will be felt.

The defense has been solid all season thanks to an injury free Claudio “The Emperor” Suarez Jamaican Shavar Thomas and American GK Brad Guzan .093 goals against average was second in the league to Houston’s Pat Onstead.

Chivas USA is full of confidence and if they can overcome the loss of Razov, they’ll make a deep post season run.
Kansas City //<![CDATA[ u003c/u>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”> u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>Once again, KC waitied until the last weekend of the season to post their playoff ticket.u003cspan>  nu003c/span>First year coach, Curt Onalfo had KC of u003cspan> u003c/span>to a fast start but they stumbled down the stretch, capturing only 11 out of the last possible 36 points up for grabs. u003cspan>n u003c/span>u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>I've written elsewhere that KC' season seemed to have mirrored Eddie Johnson's.u003cspan>  u003c/span>The US International who on fire during the first half of the season and but seemed to cool off about the same time as multiple reports of possible transfers to England started to surface.nu003cspan>  u003c/span>Scott Sealy has continued to show his ability to score big goals for the club and Jose burciaga, Fr. u003cspan> u003c/span>has become a reliable midfielder and Kerry Zavagnin is one of the better defensive midfielders in the league.nu003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>u003cimg srcu003d”http://rds.yahoo.com/_yltu003dA9gnMin97iBHr9IAyhajzbkF/SIGu003d13qo2rfp1/EXPu003d1193427069/**http%3A//u.univision.com/contentroot/uol/art/images/deportes/futbol/2007/estados_unidos/070526_MLS_3.jpg”>nu003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>Eddie Johnson: Time to bring it. (univision)u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>u003c/span> u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>Jimmy Conrad continues to anchor the defense and is able supported in the back by GK Kevin Hartman. u003cspan>n  u003c/span>Their job has obviously been made easier with the absence of Razov. u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>The midfield is where this match up will be one or lost.u003cspan>  u003c/span>If KC can slow Chivas USA down they've got a shot at the upset.nu003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:10pt;color:black;font-family:Arial”>”,1] ); //–> //]]> Wizards(4)
Once again, KC waitied until the last weekend of the season to post their playoff ticket. First year coach, Curt Onalfo had KC of to a fast start but they stumbled down the stretch, capturing only 11 out of the last possible 36 points up for grabs.
Eddie Johnson: Time to bring it. (univision)

Eddie Johnson: Time to bring it. (univision)

I’ve written elsewhere that KC’ season seemed to have mirrored Eddie Johnson’s. The US International who on fire during the first half of the season and but seemed to cool off about the same time as multiple reports of possible transfers to England started to surface.
Scott Sealy has continued to show his ability to score big goals for the club and Jose burciaga, Fr.

has become a reliable midfielder and Kerry Zavagnin is one of the better defensive midfielders in the league.

Jimmy Conrad continues to anchor the defense and is able supported in the back by GK Kevin Hartman. Their job has obviously been made easier with the absence of Razov.
The midfield is where this match up will be one or lost. If KC can slow Chivas USA down they’ve got a shot at the upset. //<![CDATA[ u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>  u003c/span>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:10pt;color:black;font-family:Arial”>u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cu>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>Houstonu003c/span>u003c/u>u003cu>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”> Dynamo (2)nu003c/span>u003c/u>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”> u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>Overlooked by most of the news coming out of LA, the defending champions will looking tobe the first team toe repeat as MLS Cup champions since DC did it 10 years ago.nu003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>Nipped at the wire by Chivas USA for top spot in the west, they will look to continue where they left off in last year's playoffs with their organized play through midfield.nu003cspan>  u003c/span>However, they will have to overcome the void left by Ricardo Clark's league record 9 game suspension after he viciously kicked Carlos Ruiz while the latter was on the ground.u003cspan>n  u003c/span>Midfielder Brian Mullan who was named the team's co-MVP along with Onstead will have to step his game up even further.u003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>The Dynamo have never been wanting for offense, between Canadian International Dwayne DeRosario and Brian Ching (who'll come into the match slightly injured) and nu003cspan> u003c/span>u003cspan> u003c/span>goals u003cspan> u003c/span>u003cspan> u003c/span>midseason acquisition Joseph Ngwenya tied with Ching and Nate Jacqua for a team leading 7 goals.nu003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>u003cimg heightu003d”92″ altu003d”Image Preview” srcu003d”http://la.galaxy.mlsnet.com/imgs/bios/photos/ngwenya_j.jpg” widthu003d”150″ borderu003d”1″>nu003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>Joseph Ngwenya: big time contributoru003c/span>u003c/p>nu003cp>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:9pt;color:black;font-family:Verdana”>(u003ca hrefu003d”http://lagalaxy.mlsnet.com” targetu003d”_blank” onclicku003d”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)”>”,1] ); //–> //]]>
Houston Dynamo (2)
Overlooked by most of the news coming out of LA, the defending champions will looking tobe the first team to repeat as MLS Cup champions since DC did it 10 years ago.
Nipped at the wire by Chivas USA for top spot in the west, they will look to continue where they left off in last year’s playoffs with their organized play through midfield.
However, they will have to overcome the void left by Ricardo Clark’s league record 9 game suspension after he viciously kicked Carlos Ruiz while the latter was on the ground.
Midfielder Brian Mullan who was named the team’s co-MVP along with Onstead will have to step his game up even further.
Joseph Ngwenya: big time contributor
( lagalaxy.mlsnet.com)

Joseph Ngwenya: big time contributor ( lagalaxy.mlsnet.com)

The Dynamo have never been wanting for offense, between Canadian International Dwayne DeRosario and Brian Ching (who’ll come into the match slightly injured) and midseason acquisition Joseph Ngwenya tied with Ching and Nate Jacqua for a team leading 7 goals.

However, the Dynamo’s defense has really been the story, with Pat Onstead continuing to cement his claim as one MLS’ best all time keepers. His GAA average of .83 was tops in the league and he was second in shutouts.
Craig Waibel and Wade Barrett among MLS’ toughest and most experienced centerbacks.
Houston is feeling the Indianapolis Colts’ pain; they are the defending champions that no one is talking about.

Something tells me they’ll be ready to go when the playoffs start.

FC Dallas (3):
Like KC, FC Dallas was another team that was dragged kicking and screaming into playoffs, capturing only 8 out of a possible 30 points to close out the season.
They reached the final of the US Open Cup only to lose to Revolution in a highly entertaining affair. Their confidence has to be fragile as they open the playoffs against their Texas rivals.
Carlos Ruiz: You know you love me (mls.net)

Carlos Ruiz: You know you love me (mls.net)

Despite their seemingly mediocre record, this is a talented and in some ways, experienced side. Carlos Ruiz has a MLS Cup medal with the Galaxy and Adrian Serioux, who started the season on the injured list, won last year with the Dynamo.
Arturo Alvarez has emerged this season as a dynamic player capable of scoring some superb goals and Ghanaian Dominic Oduro has been a significant contributor.

Chris Gbandi continues to be a top defender on a backline that features up and coming Drew Moor and will have its hands full with its actual and potential attacking opposition.
Ray Burse, Jr. had a solid rookie season when called upon in goal but veteran and fan favorite Dario Sala will most likely get the nod between the posts.
This is a better side than it’s record indicates and this will probably be the most competitive of the opening round series.
The Western Conference playoffs get under with the first legs in Dallas and Kansas City on Saturday at 8pm. The return legs will be in Houston, next Friday night and LA on Saturday Night.
MLS Playoffs: Once again, it’s on.