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Playoffs recall memories of top sports moments

The 2010 MLS Cup Playoff series are bound to produce some epic encounters when they kick off on Thursday night with the Eastern Conference semifinals between Columbus and Colorado. dug deep into the sports annals to find out what competition MLS is up against as it sets out to match the most memorable postseason moments in professional sports between the cities and states involved in the quest for MLS Cup.

New York Red Bulls (NEW YORK) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (BAY AREA): The New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics may have had their ALDS encounters in 2000 and 2001 but the drama of the 1991 NFC Championship game that finished 15-13 between the underdog New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers is unmatched. San Francisco running back Roger Craig fumbled the ball toward the end of the game, allowing the Giants to book a ticket to the Super Bowl with a field goal as time expired. 

Columbus Crew (OHIO) vs. Colorado Rapids (COLORADO): In the late 1980s, the Denver Broncos and the Cleveland Browns faced off in the AFC Championship game three times in four years with the Orange Crush emerging on the winning side each time. But it's the 1987 title game that has gone down in history for “The Drive,” when John Elway took his team downfield for a tying touchdown with 37 seconds remaining. The Broncos went on to win it in overtime.

LA Galaxy (LOS ANGELES) vs. Seattle Sounders (SEATTLE): The NBA playoffs between the Seattle SuperSonics and the Los Angeles Lakers were often a one-sided affair, with Seattle losing all five playoff series to the Lakers since 1980. The Sonics, however, did knock off LA twice on their way to the NBA Finals in 1978 and 1979. The most memorable meeting between the cities might be the two NFL playoff games in 1984 between the Seahawks and the Raiders. Seattle started off the year with a 30-14 AFC Championship loss before exacting their revenge the next season in December of the same year with a 14-7 wild card triumph.

Real Salt Lake (SALT LAKE CITY) vs. FC Dallas (DALLAS): The only playoff meeting of professional teams from these two cities took place when the Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks met in the NBA playoffs. The Jazz fell on both occasions in 1986 (three games to one) and in 2001 (three games to two) in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Game 5 in 2001 will bring heartache to Utahns with the Mavs winning 84-83 at the Delta Center after trailing by as many as 14. Karl “The Mailman” Malone missed an open jumper to end the game for the Jazz, making Dallas the sixth team to win a five-game series after trailing 0-2.