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By Adam Curtis

     In the MLS, the best team in the conference for the entire regular season can still get bounced in the first round of the playoffs. A big selling point for the MLS is parity, and that was certainly on display as the fourth-seeded New York RedBulls beat number one seed DC United. The RedBulls won on aggregate score, three goals to two, and with that victory, extended forward Thierry Henry’s illustrious career for at least a few more games.
     The RedBulls will be facing stiff competition in the newly invigorated New England Revolution, who have looked fantastic ever since signing midfielder, and World Cup veteran for the United States, Jermaine Jones. Taking advantage of the injury-plagued Columbus Crew, the Revolution won on aggregate seven to three. With possibly the best midfield pairing in the league, Jones and Lee Nguyen have been difficult for opposing teams to break down.
   

Eastern Conference Finals Preview.

     The RedBulls have also reaped the benefits of forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, who tied the MLS single season scoring record with 27 goals. Although the RedBulls have a dynamic offense—midfielder Lloyd Sam and forward Peguy Luyindula have also had outstanding playoffs—their defense is nothing to brag about. The Revolution are a more complete team and will most likely come out of this two-leg playoff matchup as the victors, setting themselves up for a finals match against the Western Conference winner.
     The Seattle Sounders and the LA Galaxy, the number one and two seeds, respectively, have been the two teams everyone was banking on to make it to the conference finals, but now that they are here, the results could go either way.  These teams played each other in the final two games of the season.  The Sounders tied the first game and won the second, and entered the playoffs with more momentum. 
   

Western Conference Finals Preview.

     US men’s national team midfielder Clint Dempsey has paired up well with forward Obafemi Martins, leading to highlight-reel goal after highlight-reel goal. The Sounders, home to arguably the best fan base in the MLS, have impressed all season long and proved that they could handle adversity when it was thrown their way. As for the Galaxy, legendary forward Landon Donovan has shown a resurgence in the game he plans to leave at season’s end.  Don’t forget forwards Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes, and you can see why this Galaxy team has looked unstoppable at times on offense.
     The Sounders have an edge over the Galaxy, but with Donovan showing late life in the game he loves, perhaps there’s a storybook ending in his future. These playoffs have been fun to watch, and although the MLS gets a bad rap for its style of play, the best of the best are on display now and you don’t want to miss it.

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