Oct. 29, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Major League Soccer playoffs begin this week and there are six Notre Dame alums vying for the MLS Cup.
The 10-team playoff begins Wednesday when rookie standout Dillon Powers (’13) and the Colorado Rapids face the Seattle Sounders in a knockout-round match. Powers is coming off a stellar Fighting Irish career in which he earned All-America honors as a senior and the success has spilled over into his first professional season with the Rapids, who are the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. The central midfielder recently was named MVP of the Rapids as he totaled five goals and six assists in 30 matches (29 starts).
The winner of Wednesday’s match will advance to face the top-seeded Portland Timbers in the Western Conference semifinals beginning Nov. 2. The Timbers feature former Notre Dame All-American and Academic All-American Ryan Miller (`08). Miller, a defender, is in his first season in Portland and he has appeared in seven games, including four starts.
Aaron Maund (`12) is a member of Real Salt Lake, the No. 2 seed in the West, and they will face the Los Angeles Galaxy in the conference semifinals. The first leg of that series is slated for Nov. 3. Maund has started three matches in the Real Salt Lake defense this season, which is his first with the club. Maund was a three-time all-BIG EAST honoree for the Irish.
Over in the Eastern Conference, Jeb Brovsky’s (`11) fifth-seeded Montreal Impact will square off against the Houston Dynamo in the knockout round on Halloween night and the winner gets the New York Red Bulls, the East’s top seed, in the conference semifinals. Brovsky, an all-BIG EAST pick three times during his Notre Dame career, has been a starter in 29 of the 30 matches in which he’s played this season. The defender, who is in his second campaign in Montreal, has tallied two goals and two assists on the year.
The Sporting KC-New England Revolution Eastern Conference semifinal clash is the only playoff series guaranteed to pit two Irish alums against each other. Matt Besler (`09) will represent No. 2 seed Sporting, while Bilal Duckett (`11) will be suiting up for the third-seeded Revolution. The first leg of that series is scheduled for Nov. 2.
Besler, an All-American and Academic All-American at Notre Dame, has been a starter in 23 contests this season and has assisted on two goals. The two-time MLS All-Star (2011 & 2013) and 2012 MLS Defender of the Year missed portions of this season due to commitments with the U.S. Senior National Team.
Duckett has started one match this season in the Revolution defense. This is his first season with New England.
All six Notre Dame alums will try to become the second player in program history to hoist the MLS Cup. Kevin Goldthwaite (`05) helped the Houston Dynamo capture the 2006 title. Goldthwaite was on the New York Red Bulls squad that finished as MLS runner-up in 2008.
The MLS Cup championship match will take place Dec. 7 on ESPN (4 p.m. ET).
Irish Alums in the 2013 MLS Playoffs
Matt Besler – Sporting KC (East #2 seed)
Jeb Brovsky – Montreal Impact (East #5 seed)
Bilal Duckett – New England Revolution (East #3 seed)
Aaron Maund – Real Salt Lake (West #2 seed)
Ryan Miller – Portland Timbers (West #1 seed)
Dillon Powers – Colorado Rapids (West #5 seed)
— Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director