MLS Conference Finals
At Stake: Berth in MLS Cup, Nov. 23 at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
vs. Chicago Fire
Where: Columbus Crew Stadium.
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: The Crew, which won the Supporters' Shield with the most points in the regular season, is seeking the first trip to MLS Cup in its 13-year history, while the Fire is pursuing its fourth in 11 years and first since 2003. The teams played to a pair of 2-2 ties in league play and Chicago won a U.S. Open Cup meeting, 3-2. Columbus is 9-1-3 in the past 13 games and 12-2-2 at home overall. The Fire and Crew were the only teams to have winning road records during the regular season.
Prediction: Chicago, 2-1, in overtime.
Real Salt Lake
vs. New York Red Bulls
Where: Rio Tinto Stadium,
When: Saturday, 9:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Soccer Channel, HDNet.
Outlook: After first-round upsets, the conference's lowest seeds meet for what will be the first MLS Cup appearance for either club. Fourth-seeded New York, a wild-card team that was moved into the Western bracket, is coming off a stunning, 3-0 road victory over two-time defending champion Houston. In the regular season, New York defeated third-seeded RSL, 2-1, at Giants Stadium and, a month later, earned a 1-1 tie in the inaugural match at Real's new, 20,000-seat stadium.
Prediction: Real Salt Lake, 1-0.
-- Steven Goff