MLS Cup Playoffs

Major League Soccer

MLS Cup Preview: Sporting KC treating final as just another game

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By ALAN HAINKEL

In what will be weather more suited to playing ice hockey on a backyard pond (Saturday's forecast high is 24), Sporting Kansas City will try to win their franchise's second MLS Cup, having won their first in 2000.

This time, however, they will be playing in front of their home fans, in what will be the club's 36th consecutive sellout.

SBI MLS Fantasy: MLS Cup Final

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By CASEY CANNON

Hello and Welcome to the Soccer by Ives Fantasy Corner – now with more snow on the pitch! Every week I dig through statistics, news, and rumors to provide the reader with the kind of fantasy advice that only the last MLS fan paying attention can provide.

Well back in my younger days there were these MLS playoffs and as I recall four teams played for the right to play in the MLS Championship game.

Jose Goncalves Named MLS Defender Of The Year

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New England Revolution centerback Jose Goncalves has been named Major League Soccer's 2013 Defender of the Year.

In his first season in MLS, Goncalveshelped solidify a back line that featured a rookie and two other un-proven defenders to take the New England Revolution into the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time in four years.

Revolution’s Goncalves named MLS Defender of the Year

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By DAN KARELL

In his first season in Major League Soccer, there's no doubt that Jose Goncalves hit the ground running.

The physically-imposing center back helped solidify a back line that featured a rookie and two other un-proven defenders to take the New England Revolution into the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time in four years.

The SBI Show: Episode 93 (Recapping the MLS conference finals, and more)

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

The stage is set for the 2013 MLS Cup Final after Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake booked their places with impressive victories in the MLS conference finals.

Episode 93 of The SBI Show takes a look back at both conference finals, as we discuss the key figures and moments from the matches at Sporting Park and Jeld-Wen Field.

Timbers vs. RSL: SBI Live Match Commentary

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The Portland Timbers have a monumental task tonight, but they'll face it in a home stadium with arguable the best home-field advantage in MLS as they face Real Salt Lake in the second leg of their Western Conference Final (9pm, ESPN).

RSL comes in off a 4-2 victory in the first leg, meaning Portland has to win by two goals to force overtime, or win by three goals to advance to the MLS Cup Final.

Dwyer and Sapong lead Sporting KC past Dynamo to advance to MLS Cup final

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By DAN KARELL

Not even the frigid cold air in Kansas City on Saturday evening could turn down the heat inside Sporting Park.

Behind goals from once-reserve forwards C.J. Sapong and Dom Dwyer, Sporting Kansas City erased an early deficit to defeat the Houston Dynamo, 2-1, in the second leg of the Eastern Conference finals, advancing to the MLS Cup final for the first time since 2004.

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs: Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo Game Times, TV Schedule, Predictions, & Open Thread

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The MLS Cup Playoffs are back, with Sporting Kansas City taking on the Houston Dynamo for a spot in the MLS Cup Final.

Despite the fact that there is a waiver draft happening on Monday, there are still games to be played in this 2013 MLS season. Tonight is the second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals/MLS Cup Semifinals, with the Houston Dynamo traveling to Kansas City to take on the Sporks.

Locals bow out of NCAA tournament, MLS playoffs resume, more news

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Drexel, Delaware and Penn knocked out of NCAA tournament. MLS playoffs return - remember them? European parliament calls on FIFA bring pressure on Qatar to improve working conditions. More news.

In Defense of the MLS Playoffs

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Playoff drama at Red Bull Arena (photo: soccer.si.com)

OTF contributor T.J. Zaremba's manifesto tells the Editor he's wrong...

Scott Fenwick, the Grand Puba of On The Fire, will dislike this piece. His OTF Radio cohort, Brian Smith, won't be fond of it either. Last week, in the second segment of their podcast, both engaged in an anti-MLS Playoffs tirade.

PRO releases referee assignments for Conference Finals second legs

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Photo by Patricia Giobetti/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The referee assignments for the upcoming Conference Finals matches are in.

Professional Referee Organization (PRO) announced on Thursday the officiating crews for next weekend's decisive legs in the Eastern and Western Conferences Finals.

MLS Playoff Preview: Sporting KC vs. Dynamo

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By ALAN HAINKEL AND DAN KARELL

A budding rivalry takes a new step forward as Sporting Kansas City meets the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight season.

Both teams this season faced their fair share of adversity in the postseason already, with Sporting KC having to come back from a goal down on aggregate to win in extra time, whole the Dynamo came back from two deficits to the New York Red Bulls to outlast them in extra time too.

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs: Conference Finals Preview

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Here we are, the conference finals of the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs. Four clubs coached by former MLS players. Some seriously good matchups that will unfortunately span two weeks due to the FIFA break.

I have to make this round of the preview quick. So here it goes.

Eastern Conference:

Sporting KC at Houston Dynamo:The edge goes to the Dynamo in this one.

MLS Playoff Preview: Timbers vs. RSL

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BY MIKE DONOVAN AND TYLER GRAY

For the second time in three years, Real Salt Lake finds themselves in the Western Conference finals, just two games away from what would be an incredible appearance in the MLS Cup final, based on the preseason predications.

Standing in their way is Caleb Porter and his gritty yet highly clinical Portland Timbers, who won the season series, 2-1-0, though RSL did defeat Porters side in the U.

Dynamo down Red Bulls on the road, advance to Conference finals

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By DAN KARELL

The Houston Dynamo had failed to defeat the New York Red Bulls in their first four meetings this season. But none of that mattered when the teams faced off for the fifth time on Wednesday night in the second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

In their third game in seven days, Dominic Kinnear's side pulled off an impressive 2-1 victory after extra time against the Red Bulls, progressing to the Eastern Conference finals with an aggregate score of 4-3.

Sporting KC top Revs in overtime, book place in East final vs. Dynamo

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By ALAN HAINKEL

KANSAS CITY, Kansas — In an intense, physical affair, Sporting Kansas City overcame a one-goal deficit from the first leg of their conference semifinal with the New England Revolution to force extra time at Sporting Park.

Claudio Bieler, playing his first match in more than a month, came on as a sub in the 84th minute and scored in the second half of extra time for a 4-3 win on aggregate.

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs: Conference Semifinal Leg 2 Previews

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Can New England hold off Sporting KC tonight? (Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports)

So last week I was a little off, okay, good ways off on nearly all of my 2013 MLS Cup Playoff previews/predictions for the conference semifinals. I still managed to come close on some things though. The conference semifinals turn to the return legs of the round tonight and tomorrow, so it is only fitting to put out another preview/prediction post for it.

What soccer specificity? Eyesore pitches tarnish solid playoff weekend

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Three of last weekend's playoff games took place on fields marked up for American football, much to the irritation of fans around the league.

The SBI Show: Episode 87 (Recapping the weekend MLS playoff action, talking Americans Abroad, and more)

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By IVES GALARCEP

A quartet of exciting conference semifinal first legs have set us up for four thrilling finishes as the MLS playoffs hit full swing.

In Episode 87 of The SBI Show, we take a look back at all four conference semifinal matches from the weekend, including Portland's win in Seattle, New England's upset of Sporting KC, New York's second-half collapse against Houston and the LA Galaxy's wasteful 1-0 victory against RSL.

A closer look at the MLS Cup Playoffs

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By IVES GALARCEP

The MLS Cup playoffs kick off tonight in New England and Seattle, and the conference semifinals are shaping up to be some truly memorable affairs.

Here is my Goal USA preview of the conference semifinal match-ups, as well as a look at the players who could be breakout stars in the post-season.

Portland Timbers

RSL advances to MLS Cup Final after dispatching Timbers

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By MIKE DONOVAN

PORTLAND, Ore.-Real Salt Lake used an early goal to solidify its aggregate lead and never looked back as the club booked its spot in the MLS Cup final for the second time in franchise history.

Robbie Findley's first-half goal was the difference as RSL defeated the host Timbers, 1-0, on Sunday night at Jeld-Wen Field.

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs: Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake Game Time, TV Schedule, Predictions, & Open Thread

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With Sporting Kansas City crowned champions of the Eastern Conference, all eyes now turn to Portland to see if Real Salt Lake or the Portland Timbers will join them in MLS Cup.

After falling behind in the early moments, Sporting Kansas City settled down and dispatched the Houston Dynamo by a score of 2-1.

RSL roll past Timbers, but late goal gives Portland hope

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by TYLER GRAY

SANDY, UT. Portland scored the early goal but it was Real Salt Lake that ended the night as the team in control.

The Timbers shocked the home side with an early Will Johnson free kick goal, but RSL rattled off four straight goals from four different players before securing the 4-2 first-leg victory at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Real Salt Lake vs. Timbers (Your Running Commentary)

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The top two teams in the Western Conference square off tonight at Rio Tinto Stadium when the Portland Timbers pay a visit to Real Salt Lake in the first leg of their conference final series (9pm, ESPN2).

The Timbers come in off a resounding victory against the Seattle Sounders, looking thoroughly dominant in beating their arch-rivals.

Timbers dominate Sounders, book place in West Final vs. RSL

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By MIKE DONOVAN

PORTLAND, Ore.-Not since the Timbers inaugural season as a professional soccer team had the club knocked their rival, the Seattle Sounders, out of postseason play. But that is exactly what Portland did on Thursday night in front of a frenzied crowd, some of whom had waited 38 years for a match of this magnitude.

Alonso da respiro al Sounders en derrota ante Timbers

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Seattle Sounders FC 1 (1) 2 (2) Portland Timbers Johnson 15´ Nagbe 67´ ALONSO 90´ Un poderoso remate de zurda del cubano Osvaldo ALONSO que no pudo detener Donovan RICKETTS le ha alargado vida en los playoffs a los Sounders FC a pesar de caer 1 2 ante los Portland Timbers en el [...]

Chicago Fire Soccer

On The Fire Soccer Radio #15: Better Late than Never

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S.mouse, Frank Yallop, MLS Playoffs hate, and 70′s Brazilian funk. What more could you ask for?

OTF Radio #15: Better Late than Never http://otfradio.podbean.com/2013/11/14/otf-radio-15/ And remember, you can find On The Fire Soccer Radio on iTunes & Stitcher too!

#cf97 Off-Season Weekly #1: Yallop Settles In

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The gaffer and his vets played Q&A at Toyota Park this week (photo: @ChicagoFire)

#cf97Withdrawals led OTF editor Scott Fenwick to muse on the news from Fireland this week...

Frank Yallop certainly hit the ground running.

Within days of inking his contract to become Chicago Fire's Director of Soccer and head coach, Yallop sacked assistant coaches Leo Percovich and Aron Hyde, reassigned first assistant Mike Matkovich to an academy position, and showed Scouting Director Rafa Carmona his walking papers less than a year and a half after he was brought in from club partner Atletico Madrid.

New England Revolution

MLS Emerging Talents: New England Revolution's Diego Fagundez

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The New England Revolution may have gone out of the MLS Playoffs last week, but the club are certainly headed in the right direction. With the likes of USMNT youngster Juan Agudelo and Diego Fagundez leading the front-line, the Revolution made the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Agudelo will now enter the next phase of his career as he joins Stoke City of the English Premier League in January, but the future of Fagundez is still to be determined.

MLS Playoffs: Conference Semifinals TV Schedule, Predictions & Open Thread

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And then there were eight. The MLS Conference Semifinals - which you may as well just call the MLS quarterfinals - get underway Saturday night with the first two of four games this weekend. These are essentially the first legs of two-legged ties, which will finish up mid-week, and they're all at the site of the lower seed.

United States Men's National Team

The SBI Show: Episode 88 (Talking MLS playoffs, the USMNT, and more)

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By IVES GALARCEP

With the MLS playoffs speeding toward the season-ending MLS Cup Final, the latest episode of The SBI Show catches you up on the weekend's action in the Conference final openers and more.

Episode 88 of The SBI Show takes a closer look at Real Salt Lake's resounding 4-2 win against the Portland Timbers, which has RSL in control and a step closer to returning to MLS Cup.

The SBI Show: Episode 86 (Previewing MLS Playoffs, talking USMNT, and more)

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By IVES GALARCEP

With the play-in round in the books, and the final eight teams decided, the 2013 MLS Playoffs are ready to really kickoff this weekend and The SBI Show breaks down all the action in our latest installment.

Episode 86 of The SBI Show takes a close look at all four conference semifinal match-ups, including the highly-anticipated Portland Timbers-Seattle Sounders series, and the tricky New York Red Bulls-Houston Dynamo match.

New York Red Bulls

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs: Conference Finals Game Times, TV Schedule, Predictions & Open Thread

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It might not be the match-ups the suits at MLS HQ and the league's broadcast partners wanted, but we certainly got the four results I wanted to see from the conference semifinals over the last week. Mostly, we got the Not New York Red Bulls, the Not New England Revolution, the Not LA Galaxy and the Not Seattle Sounders, which I think most D.

MLS Cup Playoffs: Conference Semifinals, Second Legs - Game Time, TV Schedule, Predictions & Open Thread

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Some of the first legs were cagey, and some were wide open. Some (well, most) had football (as in gridiron) lines marring the field, and some had less-than-attractive play on showcase. But damn if the story lines aren't pretty compelling coming into the second legs of the MLS Cup quarterfinals conference semifinals.

2013 MLS Playoffs: Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg Scouting Report

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After the first legs, the Eastern Conference semifinals are both wide open. The Houston Dynamo's inspired fightback - or is that the farcical collapse by the New York Red Bulls? - in the second half at BBVA Compass and MLS's allergy to the away goals rule means that the second leg at Red Bull Dumpster Arena is a winner-take-all affair.

SBI Reader Poll: Was Olave’s tackle a red card?

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By DAN KARELL

The first 64 minutes of the 2013 New York Red Bulls playoff campaign were going about as well as they could have hoped for.

They held a 2-1 lead on the road against the Houston Dynamo, and though Mike Petke's side had conceded early in the second half and were on the back foot, they were repelling the Dynamo's subsequent attack and still in the game.

Dynamo use impressive comeback effort to draw ten-man Red Bulls

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By DAN KARELL

Even without head coach Dominic Kinnear on the sidelines, the Houston Dynamo showed why they're such a threat in the playoffs.

Despite trailing by two goals to the New York Red Bulls after 31 minutes of the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Dynamo battled back in the second half to level the scoreline deep into stoppage time, earning a 2-2 draw.

The Rest

Is This The Most Ridiculous Interview A Footballer Has Ever Given?

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The Vancouver Whitecaps' Darren Mattocks gave one of the most ridiculous interviews last week when discussing his current club and his future.

Mattocks is back in Jamaica after his club failed to make the MLS playoffs this season, but the talented striker wasn't able to put a close to his season just yet.

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs: Our Complete Coverage

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All of Black and Red United's playoff coverage - all of it, sadly, devoid of D.C. United - in one unhappy place.

With D.C. United basically firing everybody (except, so far, Ben Olsen and Dave Kasper), our betters in the league set out in the MLS Cup Playoffs tonight, with the Don't-Call-It-A-Wild-Card Round, which pits the fourth and fifth place teams in each conference in a single-game elimination.

THE STARTING 11: Reasons gridiron lines are good for Major League Soccer

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"YOU SUCK, SEAHAWK!"
"Oh the huge manatees!" North American football purists - that's purists of football played in North America, not purists of North American football; football meaning football, not football - were all in an understandable tizzy this weekend. You see football fans, (football not football) a majority of MLS' showcase playoff matches - televised on national TV - featured pitches covered in NFL gridiron markings.