Kick Off: Conference Championships Leg 1 Recap | OCSC in the market?

Before we move on to the news, wanted to wish the best to you and yours during the Thanksgiving holiday. We’ll reconnect on Monday, ready and raring for Leg 2 of the Conference Championships.

Here’s everything you need to know about MLS and North American soccer heading into the break:

Sounders get a leg up in Houston

Defending champions Seattle have one foot in the MLS Cup door after scoring a 2-0 victory over Western Conference Championship Leg 1 hosts Houston on Tuesday night. Gustav Svensson nodded home the opener mere moments before Dynamo defender Jalil Anibaba saw red, and former Houston striker Will Bruin added late first-half insurance. RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

Though the Dynamo were already down a goal by the time they lost a man by the 16th minute, coach Wilmer Cabrera was most disappointed by the way they responded after the ensuing penalty kick (which was stopped by Joe Willis to keep the game tight). READ MORE

Conversely, Charles Boehm says the Sounders are now playing like favorites to record an MLS Cup repeat as they charge through the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. READ MORE

Crew SC, TFC battle to Leg 1 draw

Eastern Conference finalists Columbus and Toronto FC have it all to play for in the return after dueling to a scoreless draw in Tuesday's Leg 1 opener at MAPFRE Stadium. The home side had the only three shots on target in the game, but also lost key midfielder Artur for the second leg due to yellow card accumulation. RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS

After the match, Reds wingback Steven Beitashour was pleased with the gained opportunity for the treble chasers to decide this tie in front of their home fans. WATCH VIDEO

In his review of Tuesday's contests, Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle demonstrates how TFC earned a desirable result by disrupting the supply line from Crew SC traffic director Wil Trapp. READ MORE

Almiron: I followed Tata to Atlanta

Fresh from claiming the MLS Newcomer of the Year award, Atlanta United star Miguel Almiron explained why coach Gerardo Martino was his inspiration to join the club in a Players' Tribune essay. READ MORE

Friedel pays tribute to Pochettino

Though he says lessons were taken from all of his Premier League managers, freshly hired New England boss Brad Friedel told The Guardian that his main coaching mentor was his last: Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino. READ MORE

Rapids land Blomberg

Colorado have moved to enhance their midfield by inking a pre-deal to acquire 30-year-old AIK midfielder Johan Blomberg on a free January transfer. READ MORE

Report: OCSC's Arrascaeta bid rejected

According to the Brazlian edition of Goal, Cruzeiro have knocked back an offer [in Portuguese—ed.] for playmaker Giorgian De Arrascaeta from Orlando City. The outlet reports that the Lions bid $7 million plus a tidy sell-on percentage for the 23-year-old Uruguay international. READ MORE

Meanwhile, FourFourTwo's Paul Tenorio capped his Tuesday column by claiming that the Lions are among the MLS crowd showing interest in Miami FC's NASL Golden Boot man Stefano Pinho. READ MORE

Exports: Omar Gonzalez hits in Pachuca's big cup win

Pachuca defender Omar Gonzalez bagged an early looping header, and it stood up as the winner as the home side clinched a Copa MX final date against Jonathan Gonzalez and Monterrey. READ MORE Must-Watch

Playoff Central: Reviewing Tuesday's conference final doubleheader