TNF: Elimination game

Forget Dodgers-Cubs, Red Sox-Angels, Palin-Biden. This is the matchup of the day.

Okay, see, when I said last week that San Jose had the inside track to the playoffs, I was sort of assuming they wouldn't go nuts-upward against Salt Lake. Yeah, I know. Expecting the hottest team in the league featuring the Player of the Month to handle the task against the worst road team in the league - what an insane pick. I should be ashamed.

You know how weird that result was? It put the FOURTH PLACE TEAM IN THE WEST BACK IN THE PLAYOFF PICTURE.

It should have been Dallas in the playoff picture, at least for this week, but Kansas City, New York, and these same Earthquakes let them down badly on Saturday. The Afterburn is nevertheless striding about the place with confidence and poise. Batting around a Gallardo-free DC United this month will do that for you - ask me how I know.

The Quakes who couldn't slow down Yuri Movsisyan are in serious trouble against Cooper and Cunningham. Dallas has proven themselves more than capable of losing to anyone, anywhere (their road record and road goal differential, though, are things to keep an eye on in the playoffs, should they make it that far). I expect a well-played game, which is shocking considering this is the West we're talking about. But Yallop has presumably had a good talking-to with his team - that was, after all, the first time San Jose has given up three goals since June. Dallas is...well, they're going to have to rebuild in the off-season no matter what, as Schellas puts his mark on the team. But he seems to have gotten through to a group that let down a series of Ulstermen before him.

That suggests a 1-1 tie that hurts both teams. Well, suggests a last-minute, thrilling 2-1 win as one of these gallant warriors gets a season-changing game-winner. And that, right now, suggests Huckerby. Either way, October is the month to break out the brown shorts.