MLS blew it. By failing to arrange standard TV coverage of the decisive second legs in the Eastern Conference semifinals — local channels, pay platforms and Univision Deportes for one game only — few across the country were able to witness tense, if imperfect, theater an hour apart at Red Bull Arena and Sporting Park. Both outcomes were settled in extra time.
As Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin, a Twitter ace, wrote: “More overtime, more dramatic soccer. But if it’s not on national television did it really happen?”
Many fans were left scrambling to find illegal online streams. In this day and age, when everything is on TV, the league had a howler. MLS — messing up the playoffs in one manner or another for 18 seasons.
So what did you miss?
New York’s failure to win MLS Cup continued when the Supporters’ Shield winners fell to the fourth-seeded Houston Dynamo, 2-1, in extra time and 4-3 on aggregate. After taking a 2-0 lead early in the first leg over the weekend in Texas, the Red Bulls were outscored 4-1. Omar Cummings provided the series winner in the 104th minute. Watch:
In the Eastern finals, the Dynamo will face second-seeded Sporting Kansas City, which forced an additional 30 minutes on Seth Sinovic‘s 79th-minute goal and claimed a 4-3 aggregate victory when Claudio Bieler scored in the 113th. [Video here] Game 1 is Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium (2:50 p.m. ET, NBC). Game 2 is two weeks later at Sporting Park. (There are no matches next weekend in order to observe FIFA fixture dates. After ignoring international windows for years, why start acknowledging them now?)
If Kansas City gets past Houston, MLS Cup will take place at the sterling venue in Kansas on Dec. 7. If the Dynamo survives, the Western champion will host Houston in the final.
In the West on Thursday night, third-seeded Los Angeles carries a 1-0 lead to second-seeded Real Salt Lake (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2) and top-seeded Portland returns home with a 2-1 advantage on fourth-seeded Seattle (11 p.m., NBC Sports Network). The conference finals will begin Sunday night on ESPN at the lowest remaining seed.