Seattle Sounders manager Sigi Schmid was on the field to witness the greatest comeback to date in MLS playoff history when San Jose stormed back from 4-0 down in aggregate goals to knock off the LA Galaxy 5-4 in 2003.
Now Schmid is looking to top that in tonight’s second leg at CenturyLink Field (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes).
If the Sounders succeed in overturning a 3-0 first-leg loss at Real Salt Lake, Schmid says it will rank among the all-time greatest events in MLS history: "If we have the result we want to have, it'll be a game that people remember for a long, long time. That's our objective, to create a game you're not going to forget."
While Real Salt Lake sweats out the health of center backs Jámison Olave and Nat Borchers, The Salt Lake Tribune sums up the theme for RSL heading into tonight’s second leg: “Don’t Blow It.”
The first of the two conference championship berths that will be clinched tonight will be up for grabs in Kansas City, Kan. (8 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer), where Sporting Kansas City will look to finish off the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids. Livestrong Sporting Park will be rocking with fewer than 500 tickets remaining for the match.
Sporting have made such a splash on the local scene with its new stadium and on-field success this year, they even have The Kansas City Star editors touting the club’s slogan: “We believe that we will win.”
You know you’ve made an impression when people create new words just for you. Note the use of the word “beast” as a verb by Sporting’s Graham Zusi in this feature piece about teammate and Rookie of the Year candidate C.J. Sapong on a specific play involving Colorado’s Marvell Wynne: “There’s not many times [Wynne] gets knocked off the ball. But on this particular play, C.J. just beasted him. I almost laughed right there on the field.”
LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan is not done criticizing the New York Red Bulls for the melee that occurred after Sunday’s first leg at Red Bull Arena. He tells a local radio station: “When you have people who are disgracing or shaming the game that we are trying to build, that is really frustrating and none of us want to see that.”
But NYRB manager Hans Backe has now had enough. He takes exception to Donovan calling NY the cheapest team he’s ever seen in MLS. “Let them talk,” Backe said. “We are on another level.”
Ahead of Thursday night’s showdown at the Home Depot Center (11 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes), LA’s David Beckham continues to be grilled about his future. While Donovan says Galaxy “are all assuming that he is going to be back,” this article offers another clue: He admits that he and his family are happy living in LA. “Who doesn’t like living in LA?” he said.
Beckham is making news back home with a statement that shows he still has ambitions to be called up again to the English national team: “I’d love to play for England again, and I believe I will.”
Today is a travel day for the Philadelphia Union, who head to Houston after practice for their second leg Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup against the Dynamo on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes). The Union hope to have veteran forward Veljko Paunovic back in the lineup: “We hope we have him available because he is a big piece of our team,” Philly assistant John Hackworth said.
Here’s what the Union have waiting for them in Texas: Houston forward Brian Ching calling out some of their players for being “a little dirty.” He explains why: “They kind of get stuck in a little bit harder on tackles and leave their legs out there.”
In other news, the Dynamo’s president confirms that the club has granted permission to the New England Revolution to speak to Steve Ralston about the open head coaching vacancy after Steve Nicol was not renewed.
There is news of an MLS-commissioned survey to gauge interest of soccer fans in Baltimore regarding a potential future MLS team. D.C. United reacted to the new in this Washington Post report.
Remember that 10-day training stint at West Bromwich Albion for D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid? Well it sounds like WBA don’t see it as a training stint: "This week has been a good opportunity for him and us to see if he is worth pursuing," said assistant coach Michael Appleton.
In case you missed it, the Montreal Impact continued building their squad on Tuesday with the signing of an ex-New York Red Bulls player.
Staying in Canada … Did you know that the son of the Vancouver Whitecaps owner is getting ready for the draft? The NHL draft.
Those Icelandic celebration experts at Stjarnan FC are back at it again and in this video they are teaching players in the UK how to do it. There are a few more tricks: the “Lazyboy,” the “Cowboy” and the “Penguin.” (VIDEO)
Lastly, we leave you with the emotional story of Billy Sharp, a player for English second-division club Doncaster, who played and scored on Tuesday night, just three days after the tragic loss of his baby boy. It’s as moving a soccer story as you’re going to read about this year.
Talking Tactics: Why Nowak’s lineup gamble came up empty
Playoffs in Profile: A career is reborn for Sporting’s Jimmy Nielsen
MLS Cup Top 50 Moments: #19 Jeff Agoos captures record fifth MLS Cup crown
Get the The Kick-Off delivered to you!
Enter your email address below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.