The Curse of the Silver Shield

Look, don't be surprised if Kansas City does well. Don't even go crazy if they win their home game. How the Crew react to Kansas City's home field advantage - hey, did I mention we have a stupid first round system? - will be their first test since, man. Back when they were behind New England in the standings, probably. It's all been so easy for them, no Open Cup or CONCACAF to worry about. Just staying focused on the job at hand. Now, you've got to deal with the Wizards, who are a tenacious bunch.

Kansas City isn't nearly as good as Columbus, unless the performance gap between Schelotto and Lopez closes at near-light speed. It's not that the Wizards are a bad team, or even particularly vulnerable - it's just that the Crew are the class of the league right now, with a bunch of their players having career years. The real beneficiary of Kansas City's toughness, should the Crew end up being troubled by the Wizards, will be the Fire. Both the Crew and the Wizards will look with pangs of longing at the pillow fights in the West this year, as they grind their way to the next round.

The other thing to be the tiniest bit concerned about is, the last time we saw Sigi Schmid in the playoffs, this happened. Any Earthquake fan would be delighted to tell you about it, but it was the biggest comeback in the history of the game. Anywhere. In the world. And Sigi was on the wrong side of it. Yeah, that was a long time ago. Yeah, he's won everything there is to win in MLS. And yeah, the Crew are going to win this series. Just...don't bet the world on it.