Between them, the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake have made 11 MLS Cup appearances and won six league titles. In 15 combined seasons, Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union have never won a playoff game.
What the teams in Wednesday's opening MLS playoff games have in common is poor form recently: just two wins in 20 games.
Round: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26
Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia
, 7:30 pm ET, ESPN2, UniMas
LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake
, 10:30 pm ET, UniMas
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27
D.C. United vs. Montreal
, 7:30 pm ET, UniMas
Seattle vs. Sporting KC
, 10 pm ET, FS1, UniMas Byes:
NY Red Bulls, New York City, FC
In its 10th season in MLS, Toronto FC finally gets a home playoff game. After
exiting quietly at Montreal last year in its first playoff game, TFC will look to extend its season at BMO Field on Wednesday. It has a good chance as Philadelphia enters the playoffs with the lowest
point total in a decade and winless since August.
Neither team enters the playoffs in good form defensively -- Philadelphia has conceded seven goals, Toronto six in their last three games
-- but the Union has been particularly bad.
“It is inexcusable at the professional level to give up breakaways from midfield, especially in back-to-back weeks,” Philadelphia
head coach Jim Curtin
said. “That is something that can’t happen, and it’s happened too much in recent weeks."
The Union is making only its second playoff
appearance and first since 2011 when it lost both games to Houston. Still, the pressure will all be on big-spending Toronto FC.
“They’re the home team," said Curtin.
"They’re looking for success this year. They want to make a deep playoff run." Trend lines:
TLLWT Philadelphia Last 5:
LTLLL. 2016 Meetings:
Toronto FC 3.
TOR: Sebastian Giovinco (Marky Delgado) 18
PHI: Ken Tribbett (Tranquillo Barnetta) 24
TOR: Drew Moor (Michael Bradley) 30
TOR: Jozy Altidore (Will Johnson)
44 September 24
Toronto FC 1 Philadelphia 1.
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya (Fabian Herbers) 25
TOR: Justin Morrow (Jonathan Osorio) 70 Probable Lineups:
Toronto FC --
Irwin; Beitashour, Moor, Hagglund, Morrow; Bradley, Chapman, Osorio, Lovitz; Altidore, Giovinco. Philadelphia --
Blake; Rosenberry, Marquez, Tribbett, Fabinho; Carroll, Bedoya; Herbers, Barnetta, Pontius; Sapong. LA GALAXY-REAL
The Galaxy and RSL produced 13 goals between them in their two regular-season meetings, but don't expect a ton of goals Wednesday night at StubHub Center. They have scored
three goals between them in October (six games).
Injuries and poor form have been a problem for both teams. Robbie Keane
, Steven Gerrard
and Gyasi Zardes
were all back at training but only Keane might play on Wednesday. RSL center forward Yura Movsisyan
has been bothered by a heel problem and veteran right back Tony Beltran
After scoring five goals in three games to begin September, Giovani dos Santos
has not scored since then for the Galaxy. Since scoring twice and setting up the third
RSL goal in a 3-1 win over Chicago on Aug. 6, Javier Morales
hasn't had a point -- a span of nine games.
Both teams know the key is just to be in the playoffs.
“I think we’ve kept our heads above water," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena
said. "I think we’ve been somewhat consistent in the fact that we’ve been a team that’s been
in a position to win MLS Cup almost each and every year so that’s OK." Trend lines: LA Galaxy Last 5:
TTLTW. Real Salt Lake Last 5:
LA Galaxy 5 Real Salt Lake
RSL: Juan Manuel Martinez (Assisted by Luke Mulholland) 16
LA: Gyasi Zardes (Assisted by Baggio Husidic) 19
LA: Mike Magee (Assisted by Emmanuel Boateng) 26
Boateng (Assisted by Gyasi Zardes, Giovani dos Santos) 41
LA: Giovani dos Santos (Assisted by Emmanuel Boateng, Mike Magee) 45
RSL: Javier Morales pen. 70
LA: Steven Gerrard 90+1 September 7
Real Salt Lake 3 LA Galaxy 3.
LA: Emmanuel Boateng (Giovani dos Santos) 7
RSL: Joao Plata pen. 53
LA: Giovani dos Santos (Baggio Husidic) 58
Giovani dos Santos 64
RSL: Joao Plata (Yura Movsisyan, Tony Beltran) 67
RSL: Juan Manuel Martinez (Joao Plata) 90+4 Probable
Lineups: LA Galaxy --
Rowe; Rogers, DeLaGarza, Van Damme, Cole; Husidic, Larentowicz; Donovan, dos Santos, Lletget; Gordon. Real Salt Lake --
Rimando; Wingert, Glad,
Olave, Wingert; Sunny, Beckerman, Martinez, Morales, Plata; Movsisyan.