People tell me Americans don't care about soccer. I tell them they're wrong. Dead wrong. I dare them to say that to the 25,000+ people expected to watch our own New England Revolution take on the New York Red Bulls this afternoon at Gillette Stadium, or the 40,000+ who will be in Seattle on Sunday. It's championship weekend, my friends, and if you're not excited, you can't join my tailgate.
Eastern Conference Championship
Today at 3:00 PM, a record crowd will be on hand as the Revolution look to protect their one-goal aggregate lead over the Red Bulls in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship. The Revs are ahead in the series after a huge 2-1 win at Red Bull Arena in the first leg this pastSunday. Should the Boys in Blue keep their lead this afternoon, they will become Conference Champions and move on to the MLS Cup title game for the first time since 2007. Tune into NBC Sports Network for all the action.
Speaking of the first leg, there were 1,200 traveling fans in attendance, thanks to a 20-bus caravan provided by the Revolution. Be sure to check out #NERevsTrip on Twitter for all sorts of photos and videos of the day.
Sunday's game was physical and chippy at times, as a monstrous number of yellow cards (10) were handed out to players. One such card was given to the Red Bulls' leading scorer, Bradley Wright-Phillips. It was his second in two matches, meaning that he is suspended for today's game for caution accumulation and will not play. See more highlights below.
Western Conference Championship
On Sunday, the Seattle Sounders and the Los Angeles Galaxy face off one more time to crown the champs of the West. After the first leg, the Galaxy have a 1-0 lead to protect heading to Seattle. If they are successful, this will be the fourth time in 6 years that they've appeared in the MLS Cup title game. If not, we wave a fond and gracious farewell to star forward and US Men's National Team stand out, Landon Donovan, who is set to retire after this season.
The first leg of this championship series had a much different vibe to it. Where New York and New England were all over the field with numerous scoring chances at both ends, the Los Angeles and Seattle game felt more deliberate and methodical.
Notably, the Sounders' one-two punch of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins has been less effective recently -- the club has failed to score in two of its three playoff games thus far. This unfortunate development comes as a bit of a surprise, as Seattle ranked second in the league for goals scored during the regular season with 65.
The second leg of the Western Conference Championship will be aired on ESPN at 9:20 PM this Sunday.
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