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East vs. West
by Ridge Mahoney, March 23rd, 2009 7AM

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[MLS] The first weekend of play featured five interconference matchups hosted by Western teams, and of those only expansion Seattle came out on top by thrashing New York, 3-0, in the opener Thursday night.

New England nipped San Jose, 1-0, to avenge, somewhat a 4-0 thrashing inflicted by the Quakes at Buck Shaw last August. Chicago beat Dallas, 3-1, at Pizza Hut Park; last year, the Fire fell, 1-0. FCD took the lead this time, too, on a sensational 60-yard Kenny Cooper chip that beat and embarrassed keeper Jon Busch, but Chicago struck for three in a row.

Added to the Galaxy-D.C. 2-2 draw and a 1-1 tie between the Crew and Dynamo in Houston, those results in five road games gave the East an early 2-1-2 (eight of 13 points) edge against the West in 2009. The schedule imbalance imposed by an odd number (15) of teams places greater importance on interconference games, since Eastern teams will play more games against the West (16 = eight teams times two games apiece) than within their own conference. They play each conference opponent twice (six times two equals 12) plus an extra game apiece with two "rivals" for a total of 14 intraconference games.

The Western teams play each conference opponent twice (14 games, seven times two), two extra games against rivals, and each Eastern team twice (14 games, seven times two) for a total of 30.



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