04 November 11:45 de la mañana

It was the first playoff game in half a decade for DC United, at home, against their most hated rival. Of course there was a chance that RFK was gonna get weird last night. It definitely did. Thanks in part to bizarre scenes on the pitch, and a jacked-up vibe in the stands, we won't soon forget it.

It was freezing, so we eventually made our way to Lot 8 to warm up next to the grills at the DCU tailgate. Really strong decision. Video below.

We've been going to games for a while, but we can't ever remember seeing something like this. During D.C.'s warmup, we had a supporter toss a playing card, the ace of spades, onto the field near where Bill Hamid and Pat Onstad were getting ready. I can't really do the rest of it justice, just watch.

My first RFK experience was in 2007. It was David Beckham's competitive debut in MLS, and it was wild. The atmosphere at RFK last night measured up to that match, easily. This was, as you might gather, just before kick off.

If you watched the game, you know there were plenty of crazy moments. We were lucky (right word?) enough to catch the crowd react to D.C.'s penalty appeal in the second half. Real serious.

The series now turns to Red Bull Arena, we hope Wednesday will be just as crazy.

03 November 10:29 de la tarde

In our continuing efforts to bring you as much analysis as possible, editors Greg Lalas, Jonah Freedman, and Andrew Wiebe dive into the good, the bad, and the ugly from Saturday's DC-NY game.

03 November 5:51 de la tarde

The players and coaches from both D.C. United and New York have weighed in on the venue switch for the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but what about the D.C. fans? After all, they did their part to help DCU earn home field advantage. 

When the news came down on Wednesday, the mood was a little dark. Now, though, with kickoff looming and the tailgate flying, the tone has changed a bit. We talked to a few Black-and-Red clad fans in the parking lot to get their take on the Sandy Switch. Quotes below. 

"Initially, I was pretty upset. It definitely hurts giving up the home field for the second leg, but when you look at the giant picture of things you see it's not just some minor even that happened up there, you know? It's the right thing to do, ultimately. I'm not happy about it, but it's the right thing to do, and I think D.C.'s the better team and it's going to matter in the end, anyway." - Brian, Rockville, MD

"I was super excited. I go to school and I work during the week, Wednesday would have been impossible. Yeah, we lost home field advantage, but our squad is strong. We'll be alright. You can't sleep on us." - Oscar, Chantilly, VA

"I think it works to our advantage. If we get a lead today it gives us an opportunity to go there and play for a tie. We just need to win today, and win it big." - John, Stafford, VA

"I mean, it is what it is. You're either going to win or you're going to lose. Shouldn't matter that much." - Eric, Stafford, VA

"I was actually stoked, I was excited because we couldn't come on Wednesday. Sunday, we'll have a huge crowd and it'll turn out for the better. As long as we get a 3-0 lead right now. I understand the frustration, we're part of the Barra Brava, we were doing a lot to get fans up to the game in New York. I think it's extenuating circumstances, it's what you have to do, and the fact that the League is paying for buses and for people to go up for free, that makes up for it." - Josh, Washington, D.C.

03 November 2:12 de la tarde

Surprise ce matin au stade Saputo : la direction de l’Impact de Montréal et Jesse Marsch ont annoncé leur « séparation à l’amiable ». « Nous avons les mêmes objectifs à long terme pour le club mais pas la même philosophie sur les moyens d’y arriver », a résumé le président Joey Saputo, qui n’a toutefois pas souhaité entrer dans les détails et a précisé que même un meilleur classement n’aurait pas changé la décision.

« En allant en MLS, notre idée était de regarder, d’apprendre, de savoir, a déclaré de son côté le directeur sportif Nick De Santis. L’expérience de Jesse et de son staff nous a bien servis. Nous avons eu de grosses discussions pendant la saison mais nous sommes fiers de dire qu’elles n’ont jamais transpiré dans le vestiaire. Tout s’est déroulé de manière très professionnelle. »

Le discours de Marsch allait dans le même sens que celui de ses désormais anciens patrons. Il a remercié le club pour lui avoir donné sa chance, ainsi que Montréal pour avoir réservé un accueil de premier ordre tant à lui qu’à sa famille. Il n’a toutefois pas voulu émettre de commentaire quand on lui a demandé s’il avait le soutien des nouveaux joueurs important de l’équipe comme Alessandro Nesta ou Marco Di Vaio. Ses adjoints Mike Sorber et Dennis Hamlett restent en poste, contrairement à l’entraîneur des gardiens Preston Burpo et au préparateur physique Adam Rotchstein.

De leur côté, les joueurs ont fait part de leur surprise au moment où ils ont appris la nouvelle – avant l’entraînement de ce matin – sans toutefois s’avancer davantage, se limitant à dire que cela faisait partie de la vie professionnelle des footballeurs.

Le club est donc désormais à la recherche d’un nouvel entraîneur. S’il n’en connaît pas encore la provenance, Nick De Santis en connaît le profil : « Nous devons évaluer ce que nous avons à l’interne et où on veut s’en aller. Le club et le staff technique auront leurs opinions et devront marcher dans la même direction : on est un club. »

03 November 1:28 de la tarde

Seattle et Salt Lake ne sont (à nouveau) pas parvenu à se départager lors du premier match aller des demi-finales de conférence (0-0 - résumé vidéo), qui se poursuivent ce soir avec DC United - New York (20h00, direct RDS2 et NBCSN).

Ça n’a pourtant pas été faute d’essayer, mais les gardiens n’ont pas voulu : Nick Rimando a défié les lois de la physique alors que Michael Gspurning, bien moins sollicité, a réalisé les arrêts clefs au bon moment. Au match retour, chez lui, Salt Lake devra marquer… ce qu’il n’a plus fait depuis un mois ! De son côté, Seattle se dit qu’en jouant encore de la sorte, le ballon finira bien par rentrer. Réponse jeudi.

Ce soir, DC United et New York pourraient en revanche faire le plein de buts. Les filets ont tremblé au moins quatre fois lors de chacun des trois affrontements de cette année entre ces deux puissances offensives dont les défenses connaissent des ratés. À la maison, DC United misera aussi sur le contre face à un adversaire vulnérable au moment de la reconversion en perte de balle.

L’expérience penche largement en faveur de New York : d’un côté, un jeune entraîneur qui a grandi avec son équipe, de l’autre plusieurs vedettes qui ont participé à la Coupe du monde. Parmi elles, Tim Cahill, blessé au mollet, risque de ne pas être sur le terrain. 

03 November 12:03 de la mañana

After the Seattle-Salt Lake match, editors Greg Lalas, Jonah Freedman, and Jason Saghini go together in a Google+ Hangout to break down the match. CHECK IT OUT:

02 November 10:14 de la tarde

We weren't exactly planning on a trip down to DC this weekend, but with the conditions from Sandy taking their toll on game ops are Red Bull Arena, we're here.

To borrow a favored phrase from pretty much all MLS head coaches at one point or another: It is what it is. And it ain't that bad. It's freezing, but we have no complaints

Neither, it seems, do the two sides contesting tomorrow's match. We arrived early enough to catch the end of D.C.'s training which, while closed off to public and press alike, still featured plenty of levity during the team's cooldown period and subsequent media session. 

They might not admit it, but this is a confident group facing New York at home, having put it to their Atlantic Cup rivals here once already this season. And even though it will be hosting a match in November weather on just three days notice, word is that RFK is inching closer and closer to max capacity.DCU assistant Josh Wolff remarked that he worries for some of his kid's soccer-playing friends who's parents haven't finalized their tickets yet.

Sell-out on Saturday or not, many will no doubt be in attendance thanks to the club's marketing push this fall. It's obviously working.

By early afternoon the temperature had dropped considerably (It was really cold) and a big ol' bus arrived to drop off 30-odd dudes in navy adidas gear outside the D.C. United training ground.

As we've come to find out over time, the Red Bulls have a certain someone who revels in training ground shenanigans, and today was no different: Thierry Henry was on song.

Joking and jabbing, poking and prodding, no one was safe. For someone who's portrayed as quite closed-off away from the pitch and a cold-blooded killer on it, it was a refreshing sight.

So after a week of worry, everything is ready for tomorrow. The players are ready to get going, you can see it. The venue switch might be gnawing at the minds of a few in each respective camp, but outwardly everyone seems to share the same attitude.

It is what it is. And it ain't that bad.

02 November 5:48 de la tarde

The clubs have finished the regular season, yet they continue to make a difference and recognize their season-long efforts off the field. Here's a recap from this week:

 Columbus Crew midfielder Bernardo Anor was honored with the Donate Life Champion Award. Anor received the Award for advocating organ and tissue donation and supporting Crew partner Lifeline of Ohio. Read more.

 The Montreal Impact announced on Wednesday that Quebec-native Patrice Bernier was selected by members of the media and team supporters as the 2012 Communitarian Award winner, presented to the player most involved with the community. Read more.

Long reach of Hurricane Sandy affects Sounders

Philadelphia Union supports Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

New England Revolution supports Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

D.C. United supports Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

United Reads makes one final stop

The Crew's throwback Thursday

Montreal's Patrice Bernier receives 2012 Communitarian of the Year Award

Rapids join MLS W.O.R.K.S. to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

Rapids staff join efforts to support Movember

MLS supports Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

New York Red Bulls support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

Toronto FC supports Movember

Toronto FC players visit Sick Kids Hospital

LA Galaxy's Buddle thinking about friends impacted by Hurricane Sandy

Crew in the Community: Bernardo Anor receives Donate Life Champion Award

Sounders FC Movember team

San Jose Earthquakes Goals for Education

Stand Together Awards Banquet

Dynamo Charities receives award

For more community news from around the League, visit the MLS W.O.R.K.S. news section.

02 November 4:25 de la tarde

A rising tide, the saying goes, lifts all boats. And in this case, it helps keep a few afloat.

That's the good news out of NASL and, specifically, Minnesota on Friday afternoon. The club and league announced that a local ownership group has been found, meaning the Stars — who have made it to the past two NASL title games, and won it in 2011 — will be back for 2013.

“We cannot overstate how delighted we are at this outcome,” said NASL Commissioner David Downs in a press release. “The team has represented Minnesota in NASL play in extraordinary fashion over the past two years despite the lack of local owners, and now we believe this will give the Stars the foundation needed to flourish for years to come. As of today, we now have local owners for the team who are clearly committed and dedicated to promoting soccer as an integral part of the community.”

Minnesota had been a league-run team for the past two years, and the ownership search had reportedly become an existential one in recent months.

The fact that it's been resolved in this fashion is good news for fans of the Stars, first and foremost. But from a broader perspective, it's good news for anyone in North America who's a fan of the game. A stable and healthy second division means more opportunities for meaningful soccer all over the map, and more opportunities for youth development in a metropolitan area that's produced a fair number of pros.

Win-win. Today's a good day for soccer.

02 November 11:32 de la mañana

À peine le premier tour terminé, avec la victoire au forceps hier du LA Galaxy contre Vancouver (2-1 - résumé vidéo), qu’on entre déjà dans les demi-finales de conférence avec, ce soir, le match aller du duel Seattle - Salt Lake.

Ils ont eu chaud, les champions en titre ! Mattocks avait ouvert la marque après 182 secondes à peine pour les visiteurs, qui ont bétonné ensuite. Le LA Galaxy a eu du mal à trouver la clef de la défense adverse. Mais juste après que Miller et Robson n’aient raté le 0-2, le match est entré dans cinq minutes de folie et a basculé en faveur de l’équipe locale. Même si Martin Rennie a laissé Camilo sur le banc, sorti Mattocks et fait entrer Bonjour, auteur de la faute qui a offert le penalty victorieux, il a reçu des éloges de ses joueurs. Mais le héros du jour est l’auteur du but égalisateur, Mike Magee, à qui la fin de saison réussit décidément bien. En demi-finale de conférence, le LA Galaxy affrontera San José.

Et les demi-finales de conférence, on y entre dès ce soir avec Seattle - Salt Lake. Les deux équipes se sont déjà affrontées trois fois cette année, et il n’y a eu qu’un seul but, lors du premier duel en mai gagné par les montagnards à l’extérieur. Malgré cela, et le fait qu’ils aient terminé devant leur adversaire au classement, ils ne partent pas favoris. Seattle a les faveurs des pronostics, grâce à sa défense solide, mais aussi à son attaque prolifique, au sein de laquelle il va toutefois bien falloir remplacer Eddie Johnson. Le principal atout de Salt Lake est son expérience : le groupe est ensemble depuis longtemps et arrive à maturité.