Click here to read the Monday Postgame for a full review of the final week of the season.
“Something happened with his kneecap.”
New York Red Bulls fans wake up to that phrase this morning as uttered by manager Hans Backe. It comes in reference to talismanic striker Luke Rodgers, who confesses he’s hoping his swollen knee heals in time for the first MLS Cup playoff wild card matchup on Wednesday against FC Dallas (9 p.m. ET, FOX Soccer and TSN2, GET TICKETS).
“There’s been a lot of fluid on my knee. It’s 50-50 if I can go,” Rodgers tells the NYPost.com.
Backe doesn’t necessarily sound disappointed that his club drew FC Dallas, who have the fourth best record in MLS, in the do-or-die wild card round: “I think we have a good track record against Dallas.”
A win in Dallas would set up the most intriguing of conference semifinal matchups in the West: LA Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls.
Check out the complete playoff schedule, with matchups, dates, times and television coverage.
In the East, a trip to MLS Cup goes through Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. Sporting ensured the No. 1 seed in the conference with a 1-0 victory on the road against D.C. United. This was a storybook clincher, with the game-winner scored by hometown defender Matt Besler: “It really hits home for me, because I did grow up here and I know how important it is for Kansas City teams to make the playoffs.”
Right behind SKC in the East were the Houston Dynamo, who enter the postseason unbeaten in their last six matches after Sunday’s 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy. "I think this team's ready for the playoffs. I think we've been ready for a while,” said Dynamo manager Dominic Kinnear.
The bright spots for the LA Galaxy, who played a reserve side? Sean Franklin was back on the field, rookie Daniel Keat played well and 16-year-old Jack McBean scored his first professional goal in his debut.
While the Dynamo sound like a confident bunch, the opposite can be said of the Columbus Crew, who are less than four days away from facing the Colorado Rapids on the road in the wild card round (Thursday, 10 p.m. ET, GET TICKETS): “There is still a lot of improvement to be made if we want to win a championship,” says veteran Robbie Rogers.
As fans await the latest injury news on Mauro Rosales, there is still a feeling that things can be different this time around for the Seattle Sounders in the postseason. At least Kasey Keller believes it: “We plan on going a lot further in the playoffs than we have before. ... I feel maybe this year we’re at a better place starting the playoffs.”
We have our first clue that there will a new surface installed at CenturyLink Field in Seattle ahead of next year’s season. Manager Sigi Schmid dropped more than a hint this weekend: “CenturyLink is a little harder to play on right now; it'll be easier next year once the new turf gets laid.”
Seattle will take on Real Salt Lake, who are winless in their last six league matches after conceding a late equalizer to Portland’s Futty Danso on Saturday night. It doesn’t matter much to veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando: “We had our great streak, our worst streak, and I think right now we are almost where we want to be. ... All these streaks go away once you start the playoffs.”
Speaking of the Timbers, the grades are in for Portland’s first MLS season: The Oregonian hands out a “C” for forwards and central defenders.
Toronto FC are looking ahead to next year and director of player development Paul Mariner’s first task is to ensure defender Richard Eckersley extends his stay from English side Burnley. They had dinner on Friday night to discuss the matter.
There is a chance that Frank Klopas might stay on as manager of the Chicago Fire, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. In the meantime, we learn that Sebastián Grazzini will definitely be back, while the future of Diego Chaves and Pável Pardo have yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, the LA Galaxy’s manager has provided the latest update on David Beckham’s future: “The chances are 50-50,” says Arena.
One of the most intriguing offseason stories will involve Charlie Davies and whether he has a future at D.C. United. Beat writer Steve Goff of The Washington Post has offered his take: “My guess is United concludes Davies will never be the player he once was. ... Maybe it’s best for both sides to move on.”
Speaking of United, the club’s captain, Dwayne De Rosario, will be waiting to see if he did enough to capture league MVP honors after finishing as the Golden Boot winner. He only beat out Chris Wondolowski on the assists tiebreaker for the goal-scoring crown. But the best goal of the season may have been scored in the final match of the campaign by Houston’s Adam Moffat: watch it here. (VIDEO)
There’s no fooling around in Vancouver. New manager Martin Rennie will be in town next week to lead the team in a postseason camp. One of the big questions heading into next year is whether Davide Chiumiento will still be around: “For sure I want to be here next year, but I don't have to prove [anything],” says the mercurial playmaker.
There’s just one match remaining in the second-division NASL. The NSC Minnesota Stars drew first blood in the NASL final with a first-leg victory against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. It’s a Minnesota side that is reportedly being funded by the NASL league office through 2013 as it continues its search for a new owner.
It was a good weekend for American Exports who score goals after Herculez Gomez scored another two in Mexico, while Chris Rolfe matched the feat in Denmark. Ex-Galaxy striker Edson Buddle also hit the target in Germany.
Levante and Udinese are tops in Spain and Italy, respectively, Sevilla held Barcelona to a 0-0 tie, AC Milan came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3 in Serie A, Bayern Munich and Chelsea lost, league leaders Chivas de Guadalajara beat Club América in the Mexican Clásico and Manchester City registered a historic 6-1 victory at Old Trafford over city rivals Manchester United. (VIDEO)
You’ll have to settle for the English second division as far as live action is concerned today with Brighton & Hove Albion hosting West Ham (2:40 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus).
Lastly, for those of you wondering exactly what dance Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo were reenacting after one of the superstar’s hat trick of goals on Saturday, here’s the inspiration: as seen by 27 million viewers on YouTube. And even Neymar is doing it in the Santos locker. (VIDEO)
FC Dallas’ Hyndman provides latest update on MVP David Ferreira’s recovery and playoff chances
Top 50 MLS Cup moments: #28 The most memorable MLS Cup bicycle kick
RSL manager Jason Kreis disappointed his team failed to come up with a win vs. Timbers
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