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What you need to know

Atlanta's Almada in Argentina’s preliminary roster ahead of final pre-World Cup friendlies:

Thiago Almada was included in the Argentina men’s national team’s preliminary roster ahead of this month's friendlies against Honduras (Sept. 23) and Jamaica (Sept. 27) — their final warm-ups before Group C action gets underway in November.

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The Recap

PORTLAND TIMBERS VS. ATLANTA UNITED

  • What happened: The Timbers won two penalties and converted both, while Atlanta United struggled for large chunks of the game to get off a shot. Eventually, Josef Martinez found the net with a header in the 88th minute, but that’s all the Five Stripes could put together. Portland picked up a huge 2-1 win that got even bigger later in the night.
  • What it means: At the final whistle, it meant Portland had secured a spot above the playoff line for at least one more week. But with the Galaxy drawing against Sporting KC and RSL losing to LAFC last night and Minnesota United falling to FC Dallas on Saturday. It all means the Timbers gained critical points on three teams they’re directly fighting in the playoff race. That’s a stellar weekend for Portland. They still need some help of course. The teams they’re chasing all have a game or two in hand or are three or four points ahead in the standings. But they looked in total control against Atlanta yesterday. They’ll need to put together similar performances over a brutal homestretch that features four games against Minnesota, Columbus, LAFC and RSL. For Atlanta, it just means they’re one step closer to the sweet release of the offseason. They’re technically still alive, but I’m not sure anyone particularly wants 2022 to last any longer than it has to.

D.C. UNITED VS. COLORADO RAPIDS

  • What happened: Nothing. Despite a decent amount of chances for both teams, no one found the net.
  • What it means: That both teams got their steps in for the day. I guess it also means Colorado are unofficially, but pretty much officially done. They’re nine points back of seventh-place Portland with just five games to go. I’m not mad at you Rapids, I’m just disappointed. Really, really disappointed.

TORONTO FC VS. CF MONTRÉAL

  • What happened: Ohmygod, everything. Federico Bernardeschi converted a penalty in the fifth minute followed by Lorenzo Insigne finding the net just moments later to put Toronto up 2-0 inside of the first seven minutes. But those goals were just the setup to us speed-running the full second-half of 2022 Toronto FC experience. CF Montréal’s Kamal Miller found the net in the 19th minute, followed immediately by Djordje Mihailovic doing the same in the 21st. Kei Kamara then completed the first half comeback with a 43rd minute goal to send us \into the break\ at 3-2. Alistair Johnston added another after halftime to make it 4-2 and Toronto couldn’t claw their way back into it despite a stoppage time goal from Insigne. CF Montréal won 4-3. Sheesh.
  • What it means: First and foremost it means Toronto should be furious with themselves. They had a genuine chance to get back into the playoff race if they could just keep Montréal off the board for a little while. Instead, all of their worst tendencies got put on full display and reminded us they still have a lot of work to do in the offseason to get the Death Star they’re attempting to build operational. The Reds have four games left to make up a four-point gap and all of the teams they’re chasing have a game or two in hand. They practically have to win out at this point and that still may not be enough.Meanwhile, CF Montréal set a club record for wins in a season and got to throw another outstanding moment onto the pile for the 2022 season. They’re getting a lot of those lately, huh?

LA GALAXY VS. SPORTING KC

  • What happened: Whoo boy, good question. Sporting KC stormed back from a 1-0 deficit with second-half goals from Johnny Russell and Felipe Hernández to take a 2-1 lead in the 76th minute. However, LA won a penalty in the 88th minute that Chicharito calmly converted for his second goal of the night. LA then won \another\ penalty and, with the game on the line, Chicharito…well, you should really watch the video, but he attempted a Panenka and he really probably shouldn’t have. The game finished 2-2.
  • What it means: It means the Galaxy left the window open a little wider than they should have. They ended the weekend three points behind Portland with two games in hand. It doesn’t sound like much, but for a team that missed the playoffs last year on Decision Day, two dropped points feels critical right now. It would be the darkest kind of comedy if Chicharito’s missed penalty became a determining factor in LA’s playoff hopes, especially after he already bagged a brace. But that possibility is totally on the table now. For SKC, it just means they still don’t know how to finish off games. They could have legitimately won five straight if it weren’t for surrendering late goals. At least they’re still playing pretty well to close out the season.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION VS. NYCFC

  • What happened: The same thing that’s been happening for NYCFC. The Revs overran the Pigeons as Jonathan Bell, Noel Buck and Tommy McNamara each found the net in a 3-0 win.
  • What it means: That’s six losses in their last seven games for NYCFC. Has any team ever gone from so good to so bad in a single instant like this? It’s fascinating. I mean, just consider the fact that even after dropping six of their last seven, they’re still in a home playoff spot with a +13 goal differential. The Revs were ruthless against a struggling team last night and picked up three points and jumped into a playoff spot. That’s only on goal differential for now, but they won’t complain. They do still have to hold off FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami the rest of the way though. Both teams are within striking distance and have a game in hand.
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SEATTLE SOUNDERS VS. HOUSTON DYNAMO FC

  • What happened: Just a little tiny scare to get Seattle fans’ hearts going. A 26th-minute goal from Houston’s Daniel Steres put Seattle behind 1-0, but Nouhou’s (!!!!!!!!!) 59th-minute goal got Seattle back in the game and Fredy Montero’s 76th-minute winner got them back in the playoff race.
  • What it means: Seattle aren’t dead yet. They’re six points behind seventh-place Portland with a game in hand and five games left to play. They don’t quite need to win out the rest of the way, but they do need something close to that. It’s still a steep uphill climb here. But a Sounders team with a little life is a scary thing.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES VS. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

  • What happened: Jeremy Ebobisse scored his 15th goal of the season and Jamiro Monteiro added a second for the Quakes in a 2-0 win.
  • What it means: The Quakes are still having fun out there, which is nice. It also probably means the Whitecaps are done. It’s an eight-point gap to seventh place with just five games left. They’d need something borderline miraculous.

LAFC VS. REAL SALT LAKE

  • What happened: It took a half, but LAFC eventually got going as Ryan Hollingshead and Chicho Arango each found the net in a 2-0 win.
  • What it means: LAFC stopped the bleeding. After losing three straight, they needed this one. They’re atop the Supporters’ Shield standings for another week. RSL however, are potentially in some trouble here. They’re equal on points with seventh-place Portland and just three points ahead of eighth-place LA, who have a game in hand. Suddenly, their meetings with LA on the penultimate week of the season and Portland on Decision Day are looming very large.
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Good luck out there. Don’t forget where you were for life’s most critical moments.