“I’m quite positive we’re going to win the game.”
Luke Rodgers’ words will feel reassuring for New York Red Bulls fans, who need a win or tie from tonight’s massive showdown to make the playoffs in the final game of the season against the Philadelphia Union (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes).
But the Union, who are fighting for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, are equally confident heading into the match: “We just need to be prepared and take care of business and that's what we are going to do,” says Philly manager Peter Nowak.
The Red Bulls have two results available to them to clinch the No. 10 and final playoff seed after they got the final score they wanted from last night’s wild match at RFK Stadium.
“It felt like a schoolyard game,” is how D.C. United veteran Santino Quaranta described the end of the match between the Portland Timbers and D.C. United last night. The 1-1 draw, which eliminated D.C., did little to help either side and it was a wide-open finish with multiple opportunities on both ends – a “spectacle” as described here by The Washington Post.
“That’s the way you want to go down — every guy basically not being able to walk after the game. I’m proud of that fact,” says Ben Olsen, who apologized to the fan base and took the blame for the postseason elimination.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: D.C. United 1, Portland 1
Manager John Spencer and his Timbers – hoping for a Red Bulls loss – will be en route to Salt Lake City while the Red Bulls are in action tonight: "We'll know our fate when we arrive, and that's probably a good thing with the way the heart rate was going tonight.”
Dwayne De Rosario took the lead in the Golden Boot race with the equalizer against Portland. Spencer is unequivocal about what he thinks of him: “If he doesn't get MVP of the league, there's something wrong. Plain and simple. For the last three months of the season since he came here, he's been the best player in the league by far — a country mile.”
The best team in the league will be in Honduras tonight as the two-time Supporters’ Shield winners LA Galaxy need to win their match against LA 2005 MLS Cup hero Guillermo “Pando” Ramírez and CD Motagua in order to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer and Galavisión).
Motagua are already eliminated and have lost five straight league matches, finding themselves in last place in the Honduran league. “They're struggling in their league, but if I know those guys, they're prideful, and I'm sure their fans will be excited for the game ... my guess is they'll really be up for it,” says Landon Donovan, who is a doubt for the match due to a quad injury.
There’s another CONCACAF Champions League result that will matter greatly to MLS fans. After the Colorado Rapids lost 2-0 to Santos Laguna last night, they need a draw between Isidro Metapán and Real España later tonight to advance to the quarterfinals from Group B (8 p.m. ET, Galavisión).
Meanwhile, they’re still celebrating Toronto FC’s qualification to the quarterfinal round of the CCL. Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star characterizes passage to the knockout stage as a “genuine sporting achievement.” Another writer pens a column about how TFC are the pride of Canada.
Another Canadian side, the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps, are dealing with the gripes of a former player, who says he “had big problems with the coach,” Tom Soehn. He responded to the report that detailed the departure of Mouloud Akloul.
Staying in Canada, there is a new report that says hockey teams need to be worried about the growth of soccer and the shifting demographics in the country.
Off the field, there is some big news coming from Detroit. The owners of the Silverdome, who have bid for an expansion side, have released their most bullish statement to date: “If we were to be approved tomorrow, we could have the Silverdome renovated and a team on the field by 2014.But we have to hold tight and see what happens with New York. ... Once that is resolved, we hope to be the next in line.”
Plans for a stadium complex in Henderson, Nev., just outside Las Vegas, cleared its first major hurdle yesterday. Here's an outline of the work left to be done by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
There’s another Premier League team to add to the list of English clubs chasing FC Dallas defender George John. After a deal with Blackburn fell through this summer, Wigan Athletic are now joined by Everton in the pursuit of the center back.
Things appeared to be going swimmingly for Jozy Altidore at AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands. So it came as a complete surprise that his coach has opted to bench him for today’s Europa League matchup. Find out more here.
Watch US defender Oguchi Onyewu and Sporting Clube de Portugal take on FC Valsui in Europa League action later today (3 p.m. ET, GolTV). That match follows Club Brugge and Birmingham City, which features another American, Jonathan Spector (1 p.m. ET, GolTV).
Familiar with the “scudetto” worn by the reigning champions in MLS? The USL is getting in on the act and will have champions Orlando City wear it. Orlando City also updated their logo for good measure. (PHOTOS)
After rumors yesterday that the University of Akron’s Caleb Porter would be named Olympic coach, there is news this morning that New York legend Tab Ramos could be announced as the new Under-20 national team manager as early as today. (SPANISH)
The famous sports bra belonging to US women’s soccer star Brandi Chastain will be on display at an exhibit called "City of Champions: 2001, a San Jose Soccer Odyssey", which will also feature the Quakes’ 2001 MLS Cup title run.
Lastly, we leave you with video of a brawl between Qatar’s Al Sadd and Korea’s Suwon Bluewings in the semifinals of the Asian Champions League yesterday. It erupted after Al Sadd didn’t do the sportsmanlike thing and return the ball to Suwon after an injury. Instead, they went for goal (VIDEO).
Expansion Draft: Details released of how the Montreal Impact will build their team
Team of the Week: Three MVP candidates among Week 31’s best XI
MLS Cup Top 50 Moments: #32 Was Eskandarian’s hand ball deliberate in 2004?
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