While tonight and tomorrow's play-in games aren't really the MLS playoffs, I think most fans would consider them as such, especially since they have an immediate and direct impact on how the official playoffs play out considering two of these four teams will move on to face the top seed from each the Western and Easter conferences, respectively.
And while it's unfortunate that we, as Portland Timbers fans, don't get to partake in this year's play off festivities, we can watch the games and hope that, at the very least, one of our Cascadian rivals DOES NOT win the MLS Cup before the Timbers do. I think I'll be rooting for DC United throughout this tournament, but for these first games I'm going:
Eastern Conference: Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo
Kick off: Wednesday, Oct 31, 6:00pm at Toyota Park in Chicago
Watch it on: ESPN2
Chicago Fire: Finished with 57 points
Houston Dynamo: Finished with 52 points
Western Conference: LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Kick off: Thursday, Nov 1, 7:30pm at Home Depot Center in Los Angeles
Watch it on: NBC Sports Network
LA Galaxy: Finished with 54 points
Vancouver Whitecaps: Finished with 43 points
The winner of these two games will go on to face Sporting Kansas City and the San Jose Earthquakes respectively. If Los Angeles wins tonight it means we will see a California Clasico play out in the first round of the Western Conference play offs. Regardless of your affiliation, those matches are always fun to watch. While some of you might also wish to see a Cascadia play off round, the only way that will happen is if Vancouver manages to beat both the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes (and the Seattle Sounders manages to beat Real Salt Lake). Given Vancouver's run of form lately I would say that is unlikely. However, the play offs are known for crazy antics and a middling team in the regular season has made a deep run in the play offs before.
Who are you rooting for tonight and tomorrow?