Kick Off: Seattle Sounders rivals celebrate historic ouster of Mexican side Tigres
Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. SOUNDERS MAKE HISTORY: If you missed this game, you’ll be kicking yourself for weeks. In one of the most dramatic comebacks in CONCACAF Champions League history, the Seattle Sounders overcame a 2-0 aggregate-goal deficit to Tigres UANL with three second-half strikes – all spectacular – to become the first team to eliminate a Mexican side in the CONCACAF Champions League knockout stages. Check out all the highlights of the quarterfinal second leg here and listen to the Sigi Schmid postgame locker room talk.
2. POSTGAME REACTION: The accomplishment was big enough that rivals like the LA Galaxy and Cascadia foes Vancouver Whitecaps were sending in their congratulations. On the other hand, Tigres manager Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti, although in agreement with the red card on Manuel Viniegra, was critical of the officiating, calling it “worthy of CONCACAF. Really bad, horrible, favoring the home team. All the adjectives are fit for the gentleman’s refereeing. … I don’t want to take away from Seattle’s qualification, but against 12, it’s a little more difficult.”
3. DJIMI’S GOAL: The strike by Djimi Traoré, who was involved in the magical Liverpool comeback against AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League in 2005, was recognized as the No. 2 play of the day by ESPN SportsCenter (better than Lionel Messi’s vs. AC Milan) and it’s the top post on Deadspin. In case you missed it, watch it here, accompanied by a memorable call from Ross Fletcher. “That’s the type of goal that gives a shot of adrenaline to everyone on the field,” Schmid said of the goal that made it 2-2 on aggregate. "Djimi told me the last time he scored like this was with his youth team ... but he was closer," said Seattle ‘keeper Michael Gspurning.
4. FOR THE RIGHT TO PLAY SEATTLE: The Houston Dynamo will hope to set up an all-MLS semifinal in the CONCACAF Champions League when they go down to Mexico to make a 1-0 first-leg lead hold up against Santos Laguna (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer). “We’ve got a score to settle with Santos if Santos is the representative,” Schmid said. “And if it’s Houston … that means there’s an American team that gets to the final.”
5. LA GALAXY EYE DATE WITH MONTERREY: The MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy will also be in action tonight taking a 0-0 first-leg result into their home matchup against Costa Rica’s Herediano at The Home Depot Center (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer). If they can reach the semifinals, current CCL holders Monterrey will be waiting after dispatching Xelajú yesterday.
6. RIVALRY WEEK: The buzz is growing ahead of Rivalry Week and there’s talk of a new MLS record for traveling supporters that will be set at the 401 derby in Montreal. Here is a history of the 40-year grudge between Portland and Seattle, the Top 10 Atlantic Cup moments between New York and D.C., while Ante Razov gives his take on the LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA derby, having played for both clubs. FC Dallas have already come up with the "Orange Obliteration System" video. Meanwhile, the fact that NBC is dedicating “Red Zone”-like coverage to Rivalry Week has caught the eye of the broadcasting industry.
7. SACRAMENTO TALKING SOCCER STADIUM: Tonight the city council of the Saramento suburb of Elk Grove will be discussing the potential of constructing a professional soccer stadium to lure an MLS team to the area. “To me, it’s about how we think outside the box to drive economic development,” said Elk Grove mayor Gary Davis. The meeting gets started at 9 pm ET.
8. CONCACAF ANNOUNCES GOLD CUP SCHEDULE: A press conference this morning in Chicago at 11:30 am ET will unveil the full 2013 Gold Cup schedule. Catch the live stream at CONCACAF.com.
9. MLS INJURY NEWS: Tuesday’s news will come as a blow to D.C. United fans: midfielder John Thorrington will miss at least eight weeks with a torn MCL. The Chicago Fire will be without Arne Friedrich for at least another two weeks. It’s going to be touch-and-go whether Crew mainstay Eddie Gaven will be in midfield for the home opener this weekend. And Real Salt Lake got some good news with injured veterans Nat Borchers and Javier Morales going through full training sessions. Lastly, forward Mike Fucito is a question mark for San Jose this weekend.
10. WHAT’S WRONG WITH SPORTING?: They have three points from two matches, but Sporting KC are not looking like the steamrollers they were in the last two seasons. “It’s not technical,” SKC manager Peter Vermes said. "It’s not tactical. It’s not physical. “It’s a psychological thing — and it’s something that has to change.” Here’s the take of Defender of the Year, Matt Besler: “We’re trying to find our rhythm, the rhythm of how we’re going to play as a team. … Obviously, there are some new faces in there.”
11. DP-LEVEL PLAYER HEADING TO TORONTO: TFC club president Kevin Payne dropped a hint yesterday that a major player signing is imminent: “He would be a DP-level player. Whether he is actually a DP or not, we may have some flexibility there.” They are no DPs, but the Supporters’ Shield winning San Jose Earthquakes officially added two new faces to the team yesterday: Find out their names here.
12. OCEANIA CALLING: While the New York Red Bulls continue to work on finding their identity in 2013, Designated Player Tim Cahill is going to have to leave them for a trip to Sydney after he received the summons from Australia for World Cup qualifying. But MLS is not only exporting players for national team duty. A report claims that Columbus Crew assistant Duncan Oughton is in the running for the head coaching job at Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand.
13. POWER RANKINGS: Want to know how your team stacks up after two weekends? Well, we have the list of Power Rankings: first the Sporting News’ Power Poll, the Oregonian has Montreal at No. 1, NBC Sports Pro Soccer Talk has another Canadian team in the top three, the Bleacher Report does it slideshow style, while Goal.com has the Portland Timbers in their bottom three. Compare those to the one on MLSsoccer.com.
14. MLS MAKES CHANGE TO TIEBREAKERS: It made headlines last year when MLS made goals scored the main tiebreaker when teams are tied in the standings on points. In 2013 it’ll be different: It’s now based on total wins.
15. TV & RADIO TODAY: The final two UEFA Champions League quarterfinal spots will be determined later today with Arsenal vs. Bayern and Málaga vs. Porto. And while you’re waiting for those games, catch up on your soccer podcasts with: The newest All-In Chicago Fire podcast with Quincy Amarikwa, the Yanks Abroad podcast, and the MLS Reserves show. And stay tuned for the latest episode of MLSsoccer.com’s March to the Match later today.
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