Eastern Conference Knockout Round Preview

Bob Levey

The playoffs start tomorrow with the two play in games for each conference. The Western Conference game might be a blow out but the Eastern Conference game is looking like it will be a great game to watch.

The Eastern Conference play in game, named the Knockout round by MLS, is shaping up to be a pretty good game. It pits two differing styles against each other with the Houston Dynamo and Chicago Fire taking the field.

Houston Dynamo

Houston is coming into the game with a so-so October, where the tied at home to Montreal, beat a very bad Philadelphia team at home and lost on the road to a Colorado team just looking to get the season over with.Not only was there October bad but so was their September and August as they went 3-4-4 over that span.

Houston finished the year with the following team stats:

GP G A SHT SOG FC FS OFF CK PKG PKA
Houston Dynamo 34 48 48 423 157 372 377 81 136 6 7

However the Dynamo went 0-1-2 against the Chicago Fire in their three meetings this season. The clubs drew 1-1 on April 15 at Chicago and 0-0 on July 3 in Houston. The Fire defeated the Dynamo, 3-1, on Sept. 2 at Toyota Park.

Chicago Fire

Chicago limped into the playoffs as Chicago biggest problem all year has been their inconsistent play. In October they lost 3-1 at home to Philly, beat New York on the road 2-0, lost on the road to New England, and tied DC united 1-1 at home. Not exactly the results you want when your playoff hopes are on the line.

Chicago's stats are as follows:

GP G A SHT SOG FC FS OFF CK PKG PKA
Chicago Fire 34 46 39 460 163 349 421 75 158 2 3

Of course Chicago won the season series with 2 wins against Houston but this could all change as Chicago has only 9 players with Playoff experience.

Prediction:

Andy, our crack statistician, has Houston as the winner but only 50.04% of the time. I am going to say Houston wins because they have been historically a good playoff team and play well at home. Well I got that wrong, Houston is on the road not Chicago.

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