Plenty has been happening in San Jose Earthquakes land this week. The long awaited announcement of the naming sponsor for the new stadium happened, and the Quakes picked up exciting young striker Chris Tyrpak in the Chivas USA dispersal draft. But lest we forget, this is a big weekend for the league as well, with the first legs of the semifinals coming up on Sunday.
Hopefully, most of you have kept up with the playoffs despite the Earthquakes' absence. The semifinals offer a couple of tantalizing matchups between some of the most talented teams in MLS. There truly is no shortage of intrigue in this final four. But sport is always more fun if you can watch it with a rooting interest. Therefore, I'm taking a page out of SB Nation's rootability rankings from the beginning of the playoffs, and adding a Quakes spin for the semis.
4. Los Angeles Galaxy
Why you should root for them: Landon Donovan's retirement... I guess. There's really not a whole lot to go off of here.
Why you shouldn't root for them: Does anyone really want to see the Galaxy win again? The team won back to back Cups in 2011 and 2012, and boast an embarrassment of riches all over the pitch. They are undoubtedly darlings of the league. And lest we forget, of course, Los Angeles is San Jose's fiercest rival. Not an altogether compelling résumé.
Regarding Donovan: many would like to see LA win the Cup for Donovan in his last season as a professional. This is a nice thought, but unnecessary. Landycakes has nothing left to prove in MLS. He has five MLS cups to his name, two Supporters' Shields, and one US Open Cup. He is the all-time MLS leader in goals, assists, and playoff goals. He does not need one last MLS Cup validate his status as the greatest player MLS has ever seen.
3. Seattle Sounders
Why you should root for them: Well, they've never won MLS Cup before, and if they did so this season, they'd be the first MLS team to win the treble of Supporters' Shield, US Open Cup, and MLS Cup in the same year. They have big name players that aren't too unlikable, and you have to respect the fan base.
Why you shouldn't root for them: Next to LA, Seattle may be the most difficult club for Quakes fans to get behind. Just ask the Ultras. A win for the Sounders would still feel like the rich getting richer. The Dempseys and Martins of the world don't come cheap. Although Seattle did split the points overall in three games versus San Jose this season, the Open Cup elimination at the hands of the Emerald Green still leaves a bitter taste. Bottom line: take Seattle over LA in the semis, but hope for an Eastern Conference Cup winner.
2. New York Red Bulls
Why you should root for them: Win the Cup for Henry! It would indeed be a shame if Thierry Henry finishes his MLS career without a championship. The New York franchise has never won MLS Cup, and the team has only made one final (back in 2008, when they were handled easily by the Columbus Crew). On the Earthquakes front, there's not really a rivalry here. The Quakes got a hard earned point at Red Bull Arena this season, and used the momentum from that game to crush Chicago at Buck Shaw just four days later.
Why you shouldn't root for them: Again, New York is one of the big teams in MLS, and they should be hanging around as championship contenders for a while. Despite their high budget, the Red Bulls seem to constantly underachieve. It's like that kid in school who has been blessed with intelligence and talent, but is so lazy that he fails all his classes anyway. On a separate note, Bradley Wright-Phillips equaled Wondo and Roy Lassiter with 27 goals this season, arguably making Wondo's 27 goal campaign less impressive. Petty? Perhaps.
1. New England Revolution
Why you should root for them: The Buffalo Bills of MLS are back, and they're as exciting as ever. One of the original 10 MLS Clubs, the Revs have been denied their place amongst the greats in the league after making the Cup final four times (including three seasons in a row from 2005-2007), only to come away with four losses. Those teams boasted names like Twellman, Ralston, Noonan, Reis, Dempsey, Joseph, and more. That roster deserved a Cup; this one does as well.
The new Revs are young and fearless. Led by Lee Nguyen, this team plays an exciting attacking style with talent to boot. Add World Cup star Jermaine Jones into the mix, and you have a real solid team. And after everything he's been through, who wouldn't want to see Charlie Davies lift MLS Cup this year?
Why you shouldn't root for them: Because you're a fan of one of the other teams on this list. But you're not. You're a Quakes fan. Okay, so I know that New England came into Buck Shaw this year and dealt San Jose a disappointing 2-1 loss. That was all the way back in March. We can get past that. A championship for the Revs would be great for the league, and neutral fans everywhere. That includes Quakes fans.