Soccer Semifinals

No matter what your favorite sport is, the playoffs are always exciting. It's the time of year when every game is intense, and every player takes their efforts to a new level.

Soccer fans are experiencing the height of this excitement right now. The Major League Soccer season is down to the conference finals, meaning that there are just four teams left, competing for the coveted MLS Cup.

Western Conference - Houston Dynamo vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

Houston: The Dynamo is one of the newer teams in MLS, but has enjoyed quite a bit of success. Houston won back-to-back MLS Cups in its first two seasons in 2006 and 2007. Their top player is Brian Ching, a forward who has won the team's MVP award three years running. They say that big time players make big-time plays, and Ching is no exception. In Houston's conference semi-final series against Seattle, Ching scored the winning goal in the deciding game.

Los Angeles: The Galaxy is one of the most well-known teams in MLS. They have reached the MLS Cup Finals five times, winning the championship twice. Two of the most high profile players in the world play for Los Angeles; Landon Donovan and David Beckham. It was Donovan who helped propel the Galaxy into the conference finals, scoring on a penalty shot to beat Chivas USA.

Eastern Conference - Real Salt Lake vs. Chicago Fire

Real Salt Lake: After failing to reach the playoffs in its first three years of existence, Real Salt Lake reached the conference semifinals in 2008. Now they have a chance to play for their first MLS Cup. The team has advanced this far by relying on a never-say-never attitude. Even though they fell behind in their last playoff series with the defending champion, Columbus Crew, they didn't give up. They are putting together the best season in franchise history, all because of a positive attitude.

Chicago Fire: The Fire won the MLS Cup in their first season in 1998 and have been fighting to get the title back ever since. This season, they have remained focused on their goal. They have reached the conference finals four times over the last five years, but have not been able to win another Cup. They want to change that this year. Chicago is a great example of a team that sets a goal and does whatever it takes to achieve it.

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