Today the second leg matches of the Major League Soccer playoff quarterfinals begin. An ailing Colorado Rapids side visit Sporting Kansas City while everyone's favorite neighbors to the north, the Seattle Sounders, will try to dig themselves out of a three goal hole at home against Real Salt Lake.
Ten second previews and offhand predictions after the jump.
Colorado Rapids at Sporting Kansas City
5:00 pm, Fox Soccer Channel
The Rapids are down by two goals on aggregate, missing Tyrone Marshall to a red card suspension, and missing just about the rest of their team due to injury. Things are not looking good for last year's winners. Sporting, however, are at full strength and will be playing in front of a strong home crowd. Players to watch on Colorado are... well they are mostly injured, but Omar Cummings is capable of finding the back of the net, even if he have struggled this year when without his usual strike partner, Conor Casey who is among the wounded. For Kansas City no one is hotter than Teal Bunbury who struggled to find playing time early in the season but has been in undeniable form in recent games, including scoring both goals in the first leg of this series.
Sporting Kansas City 2 (4) - Colorado 1 (1) with goals from Jeff Larentowicz, Kei Kamara, and Teal Bunbury. I am also expecting one Colorado player to be ejected, most likely a defender late in the game.
Real Salt Lake at Seattle Sounders
7:00 pm, ESPN2
Seattle's record of playoff futility continued over the weekend as they went down 3-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium. With the exception of the soon to be retired Kasey Keller, the Sounders put forward a surprisingly uninspired performance against Salt Lake. However, expect a very different look from Seattle today in what will likely be one of the most exciting games of the playoffs. In need of a minimum of three goals to advance, the Sounders will be throwing everything forward against a Real Salt Lake defense with questions as to the health of it's two central defenders. Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave are perennial defender of the year candidates, but both went down with injuries in the first leg and coach Jason Kreis has been cagey about their health coming into the game today. The player to watch for Real Salt Lake is keeper Nick Rimando. Rimando is no stranger to big games having won the MLS Cup with D.C. United in 2004 and being named the MLS Cup Most Valuable Player when Real Salt Lake won it in 2009. For Seattle the player to watch will certainly be Osvaldo Alonso. He will have to be an effective link between the offense and defense if Seattle are to have any luck breaking down Salt Lake.
Seattle Sounders 2 (2) - Real Salt Lake 1 (4) with goals from Fredy Montero, Tyson Wahl, and Will Johnson. Expect Seattle to hit the cross bar a several times as well. I am going to put the over/under at two and a half.
These should be two excellent games, so make sure to tune in this evening and comment here.