Kick Off: Could star's injury cost Seattle an MLS Cup again?

Seattle Sounders fans will be eagerly awaiting results from their team today.

Namely, the ones from Eddie Johnson’s MRI tests after an injury he suffered in a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy last night, which condemned the Sounders to the seventh-best record in MLS (watch the highlights here). After what happened to Mauro Rosales last year, an injury once again risks derailing the Seattle Sounders’ pursuit of their first MLS Cup. “There’s definitely something there,” EJ said after the match.

The defending MLS Cup champions, meanwhile, felt they got exactly what they needed from the match ahead of their Knockout Round match on Thursday against Vancouver. “Momentum-wise, it's huge," said LA goalscorer Mike Magee. And it didn’t hurt that Landon Donovan and David Beckham showed they’re ready for a visit from Vancouver, who received a boost following their 0-0 road draw at Real Salt Lake (watch the highlights here).

Actor Russell Brand is clearly invested in the Galaxy’s title defense – he was at the game last night (photo). As a service to Brand and all the fans out there, here’s the complete postseason bracket with matchups, dates and times for both conferences.

After the New York Red Bulls registered an easy 3-0 win in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon (watch the highlights here), the Chicago Fire and D.C. United battled for a playoff bye at Toyota Park and the home team came up short in the 1-1 tie (watch the highlights here).

“It’s disappointing. It stinks,” Fire goalscorer Patrick Nyarko said about having to play the East Knockout Round match against the Houston Dynamo on Halloween night. It’s a Dynamo team that will be fresh after resting their starters in a 2-0 loss to Colorado (watch the highlights here).

Meanwhile, the results by NY and D.C. set up a direct meeting in the Eastern Conference semifinals between the two rivals and United are pumped: “I wanted to be matched up against New York,” said D.C. captain Chris Pontius. “I think most of the other guys on the team felt the same way. I like the way we match up, I like the players that I’ve got, and I’ll take the players on my team any day over any of their players.”

Playoffs aside, San Jose star striker Chris Wondolowski provided the weekend’s other chief storyline, tying Roy Lassiter’s 1996 single-season goal record with a PK conversion against Portland. “I’m relieved it’s all over. It was just a relief when the first whistle sounded,” said the 2012 Golden Boot winner.

The match ended 1-1 and Portland finished undefeated against San Jose in 2012 (watch the highlights here), but that PK was not without controversy. Portland defender David Horst had this to say about the call: “We kind of had an inkling coming into the game that there would be some type of phantom PK call.”

Where have you been? Columbus Crew Designated Player Federico Higuaín brought an end to an eight-game streak of starts without a goal by netting twice in the club’s season-ending victory vs. Toronto FC (watch the highlights here).

The 52 total points amassed by the Crew are the second most in team history, but couldn’t get them in the playoffs this year: “That doesn’t mean much to me,” said defender Josh Williams. “That’s cool to hear, but I don’t really care about it.”

One Columbus columnist crunched the numbers and points out how the Crew seem to peter out toward the end of the regular season under manager Robert Warzycha: “Not since Sigi Schmid coached the team to an MLS Cup title and left town in 2008 has the Crew managed to close well.”

As for Toronto, while some headlines focus on how “the Reds put out of their misery” with that loss in Columbus, one columnist is optimistic about TFC’s upcoming season: “Since I believe Paul Mariner and Toronto FC are willing to build a controlled fire and burn this wretched side down to charcoal briquettes, I also believe they can be a contender in 2013.”

Two more teams already looking ahead to 2013 are FC Dallas and Chivas USA, who drew 2-2 on Sunday night after FC Dallas let another lead slip with the visiting Goats scoring twice in the final five minutes to equalize (watch the highlights here).

The result left a bitter taste in the mouth of the FC Dallas squad and had players talking about “holding each other accountable” and “taking responsibility.” Those who didn’t on Sunday could be on their way out: “We were looking at a couple players quite seriously trying to make some decisions on option years,” said manager Schellas Hyndman, “and I think those decisions might be a little clearer.”

The future is not as clear for Philadelphia Union star Freddy Adu. Manager John Hackworth decided once again to leave him off the squad entirely and he admitted that Adu’s future with the club is TBD: “We’ll have a heart-to-heart talk and see what’s best for both of us.”

In the highlight of the weekend for yanks based abroad, Clint Dempsey scored Tottenham Hotspur’s game-winner against Southampton in the EPL. Watch it here.

But they weren’t fighting for Dempsey’s jersey in the stands like they were for goalkeeper Brad Friedel’s shirt. See the photo here.

Dempsey's USMNT boss, Jurgen Klinsmann, made an appearance yesterday on Fox Soccer’s Goals on Sunday and spoke about Landon Donovan’s future and the upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign. Watch the video of Klinsmann’s in-studio appearance here.

Fox Soccer may have landed a Klinsmann exclusive, but they’ve lost out on the English Premier League beginning next season with MLS broadcast partner NBC lodging the winning bid.

Stuck at home because of Hurricane Sandy? Well, if your power and TV signal hold up, there’s Real Valladolid vs. Real Sociedad on beIN Sport (4:30 pm ET).

Or you can check out the photos that US women’s soccer star Alex Morgan tweeted showing herself in this year’s Halloween costume: US gymnast. (PHOTOS)

MLSsoccer.com Musts

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