DURHAM, N.C.—With the 2013 Major League Soccer playoffs underway, a host of former Blue Devils will be looking to bring back a championship to the club’s city. Duke features a pair of MLS head coaches, a trio of current players and a general manager who are hoping to capture the Alan I. Rothenberg Trophy.
Kicking off the festivities will be 2011 Hermann Award winner Andrew Wenger as the Montreal Impact makes their MLS playoff debut. The Impact, the No. 5 seed out of the East, will travel to play Houston Oct. 31 for a one-game playoff for the right to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network in the United States.
Wenger has played in 24 games for the Impact this season and garnered eight starting assignments. The second year professional has a goal and three assists in 853 minutes of action. Montreal beat out Chicago Fire for the final playoff spot with a 14-13-7 record. The Impact went 2-1 against the Dynamo in 2013.
One year removed from finishing in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with only nine wins, 2013 Duke Hall of Fame inductee Jay Heaps has guided the New England Revolution back into the playoffs. The Revs will take on Sporting KC in the semifinals. The first leg is set for Nov. 2 in Foxborough, Mass. at 8 p.m. (ET) and the second will be played in Kansas City Nov. 6 at 9 p.m. (ET).
With Heaps at the helm for a second year, the Revs grabbed the No. 3 seed with a 14-11-9 record. In addition to Heaps, former Blue Devil defender Darrius Barnes is a member of the Revolution squad. This will be the Revs’ first playoff showing since 2009 – Barnes’ rookie season.
Barnes has played in six games this season with four starts. He owns one assist on the year. Overall, for his five-year career in the MLS the Raleigh, N.C., native has played in 98 games with 87 of those being starting assignments.
In search of their second MLS Championship, Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis and general manager Garth Lagerway guided RSL to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Real Salt Lake finished one point out of the top spot with a 16-10-8 overall record. It will take on No. 3 seed LA Galaxy with the first leg coming Nov. 3 in Los Angeles and the second leg finishing up Nov. 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kreis and Lagerway helped lead Real Salt Lake to the MLS Cup title in 2009 with a shootout victory over the LA Galaxy.
Joining Lagerway and Kreis as former Blue Devils with the club is third-year professional Cole Grossman. The St. Louis, Mo., native played in four games, including two starts, for RSL. He tallied one goal. This will be his second experience with the MLS Playoffs.
The complete playoff schedule is available here.