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Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps Play-off Match Thread

Tonight the 2012 MLS play offs officially kick off with the Chicago Fire hosting the Houston Dynamo, continuing tomorrow with the LA Galaxy hosting the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

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:

General Information

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

Final Thoughts

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?