Playoffs Scoreboard

Recap
Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1LA
0SEA
RECAP
Recap
Leg 2
11/30 9:00pm
SEA
LA
ESPN
Western Conference Championship
Recap
Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1NY
2NE
RECAP
Recap
Leg 2
11/29 3:00pm
NE
NY
NBCSN
Eastern Conference Championship

Kick Off: Shorthanded Real Salt Lake salvage huge road point against Portland Timbers

Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today

1. SIX-GOAL THRILLER AT JELD-WEN

Thanks to a late Cole Grossman goal, 10-man Real Salt Lake salvaged a crucial road point Wednesday night at JELD-WEN Field in Portland in a 3-3 draw, despite missing Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando and Alvaro Saborio. Portland missed the chance to go level on points with RSL after failing to  close out the game, but the Timbers still have two games in hand over the Western Conference leaders.

2. MLS COACH OF THE YEAR RACE

Both Caleb Porter and Jason Kreis could lay a good claim to being Coach of the Year, but then so can several others. NBC’s ProSoccerTalk.com looks at three of the leading candidates in a race that will likely, more than ever before, come down to the wire.

3. SUBSTITUTIONS SAVE DALLAS

Some astute substitutions helped FC Dallas end an 11-game winless streak and beat Chivas USA 3-1 on Wednesday night. Despite having Jackson sent off in the 81st minute, subsequent goals from subs David Ferreira and Ramon Nuñez helped move Dallas back into the playoff picture, level on 36 points with Vancouver, and leave the players feeling “like it was back to the old days.”

4. LATE WINNER SINKS MONTREAL

An understrength Montreal Impact side was flattened by a late strike from CD Heredia striker Charles Cordoba leading to a 1-0 win for the Guatemalan side in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday night (watch highlights here). Montreal had to play most of the match with 10 men after Adrian Lopez was issued a red card on his competitive debut.

5. DONOVAN TO … LA?

So, is it all just a ruse? No doubt there are European clubs interested in Landon Donovan but is he interested in them? Speaking to Time Warner Cable Wednesday, night it seems that Donovan would like to stay in LA until the end of his career. Was talk of a move just clever contract negotiations?

6. DEMPSEY EYES SEATTLE DEBUT

The fans in Seattle are counting down the days to their first glimpse of Clint Dempsey on the field at CenturyLink Field, when the Sounders host the Portland Timbers on Sunday (10 pm ET, ESPN2). As for Demspey, he's eager to see the crowd: “I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when the whole stadium is completely packed and they are behind us."

7. BAD TO WORSE FOR TFC

Bad news for Toronto FC, as Designated Player Matias Laba tweeted the news and photo revealing that a broken to has ruled him out for 4-6 weeks. It comes as a big loss for TFC as Laba’s numbers certainly make him one of Toronto’s, if not the league's, best midfield players.

8. IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL LEARN

The Philadelphia Union are about to start a brand new chapter for youth development in the US, when they open their very own high school. Find out what it involves and what the club hopes to achieve in Dave Zeitlin’s fascinating article.

9. LASTING LEGACY

As part of a new feature on the site, Jeff Bradley catches up with MLS legend Eddie Pope, now the director of player relations for the MLS Players Union to find out how he’s left his mark on the game. The four-time MLS best XI defender talked about the minimum wage, D.C. United’s potential new stadium and Clint Dempsey’s big move.

10. TV TALK

With a new TV deal set to be negotiated next year, can MLS capitalize on its ever increasing exposure? According to an article on ussoccerplayers.com, in order to do so there are some valuable lessons to be learned from NBC’s EPL deal. One network that apparently won’t be courting the league, meanwhile, is beIN Sport.

11. DC TV

Speaking of TV deals, D.C. United currently have no further games scheduled to air locally this year as their broadcasting partner elected not to pick up the teams full schedule. So with Monumental Network, an online broadcaster, set to announce “major D.C. United news” on Friday, what else could that possibly be?

12. CARRY THE ONE

One of the most important elements to success is putting together a core group of players and then keeping them together. Ask any coach, player or sports writer and they will likely tell you the same thing. This interesting piece takes a look at the concept of "carryover minutes" and examines which teams have kept their most valuable players together the longest.

13. LESS IS MORE

The Columbus Crew have really started to see the best from Federico Higuain again. How? By asking the Designated Player to do less. A task made easier by the strong work of Wil Trapp. The Columbus Dispatch has more.

14. REIS SWAPS GLOVES FOR GOLF

This week saw New England goalkeeper Matt Reis hold his third annual Charity Golf Challenge. However, this year’s tournament took on a more personal touch with proceeds going to help pay the medical bills of John Odom, Matt’s father-in-law, who was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.

15.  ACTING CHOPS

There have been many great examples of MLS stars trying their hand at acting (remember this gem from Dax McCarty?), and now the latest to have a go is Drew Moor, parodying the Geico camel commercial. Sure, Drew Moor and Colorado fans do have a lot to be excited about on game days this season, but the real question remains: Who’s a better actor, Drew or the camel?

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