Timbers Tid Bits: Conference Semis Edition

John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Forbes makes playoff predictions, the Minnesota Stars will be back in 2013, and Hurricane Sandy causes some shuffling of the playoff schedule.

Playoff games are coming at us fast and furious now, with the first leg all four conference semifinals taking place Friday-Sunday. Here's today's news and some more playoff previews from other SB Nation sites.

Sounders v Real Salt Lake Leg One - Three Questions
Sounder at Heart and RSL Soapbox trade three questions ahead of tonight's game.

Periphery players could make big impact, even as RSL's injuries heal
RSL may be lucky enough to have their preferred starting XI healthy tonight for only the fourth time in 2012, but some guys on the bench could have a big impact.

D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls Lineups: Playoff Edition - Black And Red United
Black and Red United makes their line-up prediction.

Annnnd ... It's Houston.
The Daily Wiz on why it's not necessarily time to panic, even though Sporting Kansas City now find themselves facing the same team that knocked them out last year.

LA Galaxy players will be called upon to play multiple roles
Flexibility will be key for LA in the playoffs.

Hurricane Forces DC-NY Series Schedule Change
The playoff series between DC-NY has been rearranged to have the first leg played in DC, but even the extra time might not be enough to get power at the stadium and have public transportation up and running.

Minnesota Stars FC To Return In 2013
The Stars will be back after all.

The Designated Player: The Designated Playoffs
The Designated Player weighs in on this whole playoff thing: "Owing to a stupid clause inserted into the Designated Player’s MLS contract while I was busy browsing real estate listings — mainly for penthouses without views of the shacks my Grantland teammates are kept in — I apparently have to "participate in the playoffs." This, in general, is not what I came to America for."

MLS Knockout Round and MLS Cup Predictions
Forbes crunches the numbers and makes some MLS Cup predictions.

The Throw-In: Why Donovan stepping away may be best
Landon Donovan is thinking about retiring. Is that a good thing?

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