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:

This Story Involves Tim Howard … We Think

This is a bit old, but well worth 32 seconds of your time, even if you’ve seen it before: Sky Sports studio anchor Jeff Stelling throws it to his sideline reporter, Mr. Dean Windass, with incredible, possibly historic results:

Let’s review: Everton nearly went behind; there were “pick ons;” someone outraced someone else, while a third party was “sent for a pie;” the anchor is referred to as Jeff, John, Steve, and, finally, Jack—and, as we said, we’re pretty sure Tim Howard features in the story. 

Windass apparently studied at the Northern England branch of the Eric Dickerson School for Sideline Reporting.