Kick Off: Midweek results set up huge Seattle v. RSL clash
It should be a dandy.
The Seattle Sounders face Real Salt Lake on Saturday night (10 pm ET, MLS LIVE) and thanks to yesterday’s results the league lead will be on the line in this 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs rematch.
RSL currently have the best point total in MLS with 23 points from 12 matches after yesterday’s 0-0 road draw at Chicago (watch the highlights here).
In a match played at the same time, Seattle's Fredy Montero stole the show again, scoring two goals in three minutes off the bench for another Seattle Sounders road victory, 2-0 over FC Dallas (watch Montero’s goals in the highlights here). The high-flying Sounders are just one point behind RSL with three games in hand ahead of their head-to-head match-up on Saturday night.
In the other league match last night, the New York Red Bulls scored another early goal and held strong without their DPs for a third straight 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo, good for second-place in the East (watch the highlights here).
The key to NYRB’s success? Two words: Dax McCarty. This highlight reel proves it. (VIDEO)
RBNY central defender Tyler Ruthven sums up the state of mind of the NY backups who have stepped up in the face of all the injuries and suspensions: “We’ve got to lose that [unheralded] title. We have the same questions every week, that they can’t believe we’ve done it. But we have: We’ve done it. It is cynical. It’s gross. We’re not impersonating Barcelona; we’re not playing beautiful stuff. But we’ve got a very limited squad right now. We’ve gotten nine points from these three games when most people expected we’d get zero.”
For their part, the Dynamo have a lot to look forward to with their grand opening of BBVA Compass Stadium coming up on Saturday afternoon (4:30 pm ET, NBC Sports Network). Here are the words of Brian Ching, who didn’t feature in New York: “Obviously, given my history of never really being in a stadium that the franchise could call its own, to experience that is pretty neat."
MLSsoccer.com will have full coverage of the soft opening of the stadium later today when the Dynamo academy team takes on the US Under-17 national team. Also check back for a special edition of ExtraTime Radio from Houston.
Who are D.C. United going to line up in the backline against Houston in the BBVA Compass Stadium opener Saturday? The Washington Post delves into D.C.’s injury crisis.
Toronto FC win! No kidding. Without a single point in MLS play, the Reds reached the Amway Canadian Championship finals last night by ousting the Montreal Impact with a 2-0 second-leg victory at BMO Field. Watch the highlights here. (VIDEO)
It was a spirited performance by 10-man TFC, who saw Richard Eckersely receive a red card inside the first 20 minutes. Needless to say, Impact manager Jesse Marsch was not happy: "I saw 11 guys that weren't ready for a real game. If you show up to play like that, I don't care who it is ... you're gonna get your ass whipped.”
The Vancouver Whitecaps emerged from the other ACC semifinal, overcoming a brief scare from FC Edmonton in a 3-1 second leg victory (watch the highlights here). They were calling it the “Le Toux-Mattocks Show” at BC Place. Mattocks, a rookie product from Akron, was playing his first game since suffering burns from a cooking accident.
Two rookies combined on a late game-winning goal as the Philadelphia Union beat German powers Schalke 04 for a 2-1 win at PPL Park (watch the highlights here). It was an eventful match: Raúl played for Schalke, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar wound up in the hospital and fans reportedly chanted “Do That Sunday” when Lionard Pajoy scored for Philly. The Union face the New York Red Bulls on Mother's Day (12:30 pm ET, ESPN2).
Could the three-forward setup used against Schalke be introduced in league play after the offensive awakening?
More on Philly’s fans: That documentary on Union supporters group Sons of Ben seems to be far along. Catch the teaser trailer here. (VIDEO)
Call it “The Decision,” only Italian style. AC Milan central defender Alessandro Nesta says in a highly anticipated press conference today that he will leave AC Milan and consider a potential move to Major League Soccer.
Forget Nesta. How about Emmanuel Adebayor? Reports in England claim that RBNY are in discussions with Adebayor’s advisors for a move stateside.
It sounds like Columbus Crew fans are going to have to wait before the see the debut of newly signed midfielder Chris Birchall. “If I don’t have fitness, then I don’t feel I’m really giving it as much as I can,” Birchall told The Dispatch after his first training session. “It frustrates me when it’s not there, and it’s not there at the moment.”
Meanwhile, Colorado’s Omar Cummings doesn’t think the left ankle sprain he suffered in Dallas will keep him out of Jamaica’s World Cup qualifiers in early June.
Interesting to read how former Honduras World Cup qualifying star and ex-LA Galaxy striker Carlos Pavón is training in the United States to prepare himself to become a head coach. (SPANISH)
In case you missed the Europa League final yesterday, you’ll want to savor two extraordinary finishes by Atlético Madrid’s Radamel Falcao in these highlights. (VIDEO)
There’s another accusation of racism in the European game but what makes the latest one different is that it’s been leveled against the biggest name in the game.
The biggest name in the game in Mexico will not be at the London Olympics after Sir Alex Ferguson denied El Tri’s request to have "Chicharito" Hernández be part of the squad. Carlos Vela, who has enjoyed a breakout year in Spain, also declined. (SPANISH)
Fans can catch the first leg Mexican league playoff semifinal tonight between Tigres UANL and Santos Laguna (9 pm ET, Univision Deportes). The other semifinal first leg finished 0-0 last night between Club América and CONCACAF champions Monterrey. (VIDEO)
There’s also a Copa Libertadores doubleheader with two tickets to the quarterfinals at stake: Brazilian side Santos face Bolívar (6:30 pm ET, Fox Deportes), while Universidad de Chile host Deportivo Quito of Ecuador (9 pm ET, Fox Deportes).
At 2:30 pm ET ESPN Deportes will carry the first leg of the Bundesliga relegation-promotion playoff as Hertha Berlin host Fortuna Dusseldorf with a place in next season’s Bundesliga on the line. Here’s a preview.
Lastly, English club Arsenal unveiled their new jerseys for the 2012-13 season and it’s definitely a different look. (PHOTOS)
Opta Spotlight: Seattle’s “Honey Badger” takes over the spotlight
WATCH: Not Goal of the Week brings you the top 5 miscues of Week 9
The Sideline: Animated video immortalizes Donovan goal vs. Algeria
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