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Mls Playoffs At A Glance

September 25, 2002|Paul Gutierrez

NO. 1 GALAXY

VS. NO. 8 KANSAS CITY

Galaxy (16-9-3, 51 points), Wizards (9-10-9, 36 points)

Season series: Galaxy, 2-1-1.

TV: Channel 9 (Game 2 only).

Radio: KDIS (710), KTNQ (1020, Spanish).

Playoff series: Game 1 today at Rose Bowl, 7:30 p.m.; Game 2 Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, 5 PDT; Game 3 (if necessary) Oct. 2 at Rose Bowl, 7:30 p.m.

Update: The Galaxy and Wizards are starting the playoffs on different notes, the Galaxy having won its last four games, the Wizards only one of their last seven. Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz, who scored a league-high 24 goals, has scored twice against Kansas City. Wizard midfielder Preki, who led Kansas City with 24 points (seven goals and 10 assists), had three goals and two assists against the Galaxy. Although the Wizards have scored more than one goal in only 10 games this season, they are 8-0-2 in those games. Galaxy midfielders Peter Vagenas (strained right hamstring) and Sasha Victorine (neck strain) both practiced with the team Tuesday morning. The Galaxy outscored the Wizards, 7-6, on aggregate goals this season.

Prediction: Galaxy.

*

NO. 2 NEW ENGLAND

VS. NO. 7 CHICAGO

Revolution (12-14-2, 38 points), Fire (11-13-4, 37 points)

Season series: Fire, 2-1-1.

Playoff series: Game 1 Thursday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.; Game 2 Sunday at Cardinal Stadium in Naperville, Ill.; Game 3 (if necessary) Oct. 2 at Gillette Stadium.

Update: New England finished the season with a 5-0-1 kick, stealing the Eastern Conference crown and accompanying No. 2 seed. Chicago, which had lost four in a row, needed to defeat Columbus in the season finale to qualify for the playoffs. MLS scoring champ and first-year New England forward Taylor Twellman (52 points on 23 goals and six assists) helped the Revolution become the league's highest-scoring team with 49 goals. But New England's back line left much to be desired, giving up the same number of goals. Chicago forward Ante Razov leads the Fire in scoring with 36 points (14 goals, eight assists). The Revolution, a charter member of MLS, is only 1-4-0 in the playoffs. The Fire outscored the Revolution, 8-5, on aggregate goals this season.

Prediction: Chicago

*

NO. 3 SAN JOSE

VS. NO. 6 COLUMBUS

Earthquakes (14-11-3, 45 points), Crew (11-12-5, 38 points)

Season series: Tied, 2-2.

Playoff series: Game 1 today at Spartan Stadium in San Jose; Game 2 Saturday at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio; Game 3 (if necessary) Oct. 2 at Spartan Stadium.

Update: Had both teams won their season finales, the Earthquakes and Crew would have won conference titles and earned the top two seeds. Instead, they are coming off crushing defeats and face each other in what should be the most entertaining first-round series. The defending champion Earthquakes are not lacking in star power with World Cup hero Landon Donovan, Jeff Agoos and leading scorer Ariel Graziani (33 points on 14 goals and five assists). The Crew, meanwhile, boasts Jeff Cunningham (37 points on 16 goals and five assists), who had four goals and two assists against San Jose, which lost only once at home this season, 1-0, to the Galaxy on Saturday. The Earthquakes have scored a league-high 33 goals at home. The Crew outscored San Jose, 9-8, on aggregate goals.

Prediction: San Jose.

*

NO. 4 DALLAS

VS. NO. 5 COLORADO

Burn (12-9-7, 43 points), Rapids (13-11-4, 43 points)

Season series: Burn, 2-1-1.

Playoff series: Game 1 today at Cotton Bowl in Dallas; Game 2 Saturday at Invesco Field in Denver; Game 3 (if necessary) Oct. 2 at Cotton Bowl.

Update: Dallas found all the motivation it needed in the Rocky Mountain News earlier this month when Colorado defender Rick Titus was quoted as saying, "Dallas is done. They peaked too early in the season." The Burn, which played its last two games with the article posted in its locker room, begins the playoffs having lost three of its last four games. The Rapids finished 3-1-1 and has Scottish forward John Spencer back from a knee injury to join the three-pronged offensive attack of Chris Carrieri, Mark Chung and Chris Henderson. Chung (32 points on 11 goals and 10 assists) led the Rapids in scoring. Dallas forward Jason Kreis (30 points on 13 goals and four assists) led the Burn, but has only three goals in 19 playoff games. Dallas outscored Colorado, 11-7, in aggregate goals.

Prediction: Colorado.

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