Colorado Lifts MLS Cup 2010

Of the eight entrants in the MLS playoffs, they were probably the seventh-most likely to win the whole thing. They edged their first-round opponent on penalties, squeaked past the second round with a 1-0 victory, and entered last night’s final as the underdog.

And when they went down a goal at halftime, they were looking at an 0-for-50 record during the past several years when trailing at the break.

Yet here the Colorado Rapids are—after Mac Kandji’s extra-time toe-poke led to a Dallas own goal—MLS champions for the 2010 season, following a wild 2-1 win at Toronto’s chilly BMO Field.

For more on last night’s game, click here and read our column at MLS.

In related news, we have a winner in the First Annual Backpost MLS Playoff Pool, and his name is … envelope please…. Old 27!

A Denverite, Old 27 was one of two entrants to pick the Rapids to go all the way—the other was Jon, from the British Bulldog pub (“Your Colorado Rapids Bar”), also located in that fair Rocky Mountain city.

One point separated the two, and it came from Old 27’s selection of LA over Seattle in the first round, while Jon had Sounders FC winning that one.

So congrats, Old 27. A copy of Soccernomics is headed your way soon.

Thanks to all for playing, and reading.

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The Bracket-Busting MLS Playoffs

The first round of the MLS playoffs is in the books, and the brackets of the 22 Backpost Playoff Pool participants are mostly in tatters.

Only one person in the entire pool correctly picked more than two of the four first-round matchups, as the heavily favored Red Bulls got upended by San Jose, and the defending champs, Real Salt Lake, were brusquely shown the door by FC Dallas.

The high-flying Sounders were brought to earth by the Galaxy—who emerged from the first round as the MLS Cup favorites—and the Rapids eked out a win over Columbus on penalties.

A number of people got two of four correct, so there’s a bottleneck in second place in the pool.

Who is currently on top of the leaderboard, you ask?

It’s—wait for it—Mrs. Backpost!

She had Colorado, Dallas, LA, and New York all advancing. If the Red Bulls had been a little better around the goal—at both ends—last Thursday night, she would’ve aced the first round.

She also has LA winning it all, so she’s very much on the inside track at this point. We couldn’t be prouder—though that copy of Soccernomics may go unread in the end.

A couple of others have picked LA to go all the way, and two, Rocky Mountain residents both, have tabbed Colorado.

The most fashionable picks to hoist the trophy were Real Salt Lake, Seattle, and New York, in that order.

Not one single contestant picked Dallas or San Jose to win MLS Cup 2010. We may be relying on those tiebreakers after all.

It should also be noted—as much as it pains us to do so—that the RefBaiter was completely shut out. The Tri-State area resident went with Columbus, New York, Real Salt Lake, and Seattle in the first round—and could be heard cursing Brian Carroll as far away as Western Pennsylvania on Saturday evening.

For a more detailed recap of the first-round playoff series, check our column at the MLS website, and if you’re on Facebook, post a comment.

The Backpost Compound was overrun with the first flu-like bug of the season this past weekend (it was delightful), so we’re playing catch-up ball today. More posts tomorrow.

Thanks for reading, and now, enjoy, apropos of nothing at all, Jeff Stelling’s famous rant (or non-rant, as he insists) in defense of Middlesbrough:

Step Right Up, It’s the First Annual Backpost MLS Playoff Pool!

Major League Soccer’s 2010 playoffs kick off tomorrow night, when the Colorado Rapids host the Columbus Crew at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado (9:00 p.m. EST, ESPN2).

This year’s edition has the potential to be the best postseason in the history of the league. Every team in the field has a winning record, there are six legitimate title contenders, no weak sisters, and an impressive array of international stars will be taking part, including David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Rafa Marquez, Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry (hopefully, but more on that later), Geovanni, and Blaise Nkufo.

We could go on, but it might be more effective to hand the mic over to “Jon,” a pub owner in Denver who recently offered an impassioned email plea to his fellow Coloradans on behalf of their hometown team, and their domestic league.

Take it away, Jon:

“It is always easier to be negative than positive in life, and we’ve heard it all when it comes to our domestic league (MLS). The naysayers are quick to make claims like, ‘the play is too slow,’ … or, ‘it isn’t like European or world football.’ I say ‘Rubbish to that!’ Having attended every Colorado Rapids and MLS match I could since 1997, I have personally watched our league, and team, improve year in and year out. Those arguments, although they may have held water up until a few years ago, are simply no longer valid. … MLS has improved tremendously over the last few years, and there are really no more excuses. The pace of play, the coaching and training, the atmosphere at the matches, and the competitiveness of the league, have all risen to a world-class level. This is a call to arms for those of you that love the sport: Get your butts out to DSG and support your team. If you love the game, it is your responsibility to get involved!”

Hear, hear!

Jon speaks the truth.

Without further ado, then, here are the scoring system and selection form for the 2010 BP MLS Playoff Pool, brought to you by debonair reader Abraham Thinkin’.

(We’ll post a playoff preview next to help you along in your picks. Check back for that shortly.)

No money is at stake, but the winner will get a copy of Simon Kuper’s and Stefan Szymanski’s excellent book, Soccernomics. That, and glory, plenty of glory.

Submit your completed forms to jbackpost12@gmail.com before kickoff tomorrow night.

Scoring System

First round: 1 point [The first-round matchups are two-leg, total-goals series. Simply select the winner.]

Conference Finals: 2 points

MLS Cup Champ: 4 points

Tiebreakers:

† 1st: Both MLS cup finalists predicted

† 2nd: Total goals scored during the entire MLS Cup Playoffs (all teams, all games)

Complete the following form (don’t forget the ‘total playoff goals’ tiebreaker blank at the end) and submit to jbackpost12@gmail.com before kickoff on Thursday night:

Eastern Conference

EC1: Columbus v Colorado (1 point): ____________

EC2: New York v San Jose (1 point): ____________

EC Champ: EC1 Winner v EC2 Winner (2 points): ____________

Western Conference

WC1: Los Angeles v Seattle (1 point) : ____________

WC2: Real Salt Lake v Dallas (1 point) : ____________

WC Champ: WC1 Winner v WC2 Winner (2 points) : ____________

MLS Cup:

Champ: EC Champ v WC Champ (4 points) : ____________

1st Tiebreaker: Participant who predicted both Cup Finalists

2nd Tiebreaker: Total Goals Scored during MLS Cup Playoffs (excluding pks) : ____________ [so a 1-1 draw decided on PKs counts for 2 total goals]

Good luck, and enjoy the games.