What a great start to the MLS playoffs. Chicago ties D.C. 2-2 at RFK, and wins 3-2 on aggregate.
There was an electric atmosphere, created in large part by a rapid and devoted Barra Brava, Screaming Eagles, other D.C. supporters, and a small band of loyal Fire supporters section.
The play on the field was frenetic. Challenges were flying in, and the cream rose to the top. Gomez was able to control some possession for D.C. Blanco and the Fire looked for the lock-opening final pass. Chicago struck first, through a mesmerizing ball by Calen Carr.
I have to give credit to Juan Carlos Osorio and Blanco, because I can't imagine Calen Carr offering such a sublime pass without their ability to instill confidence and set a great example, respectively.
D.C. showed their heart and fought back valiantly. Their fans demanded it. The players gave their all. But a combination of Osorio's tactical decisions (like using youth and pace to compete with D.C.'s superior technical ability on Fred's side) and solid finishing from Chris Rolfe and Chad Barret, led Chicago over D.C. in a major upset.
Congratulations to D.C. for a great season, Emilio's goal-scoring prowess in particular. They are deserved Supporters' Shield winners and League Champions. Good luck in the Champions Cup next year.
And congratulations to Chicago for putting together a trio (including the L.A. game to finish the season) of performances that puts them in a position to qualify for the League Cup final. I can't wait to see what Osorio schemes for the Eastern Conference final against N.Y./New England.