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By RYAN TOLMICH
With the Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup title in their back pocket, the Seattle Sounders now look toward the MLS Cup playoffs with the hope of completing a historic treble.
The quest towards the league’s first ever treble begins Sunday, as the Sounders kickoff their postseason campaign against the surging FC Dallas.
While the Sounders enter the playoffs as one of the favorites to claim the MLS Cup, the LA Galaxy are believed to have plenty to say in response. Fresh off a disappointing 2-0 loss to the Sounders last week, the Supporters’ Shield runners-up will look to book their spot in the conference finals in a series with last year’s MLS Cup runners up, Real Salt Lake.
Here is a closer look at this weekend’s Western Conference playoff matchups: Continue reading
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By RYAN TOLMICH
Just over two days ahead of a crucial playoff battle, FC Dallas’ Mauro Diaz has been hit by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
The league announced Friday that Diaz has been suspended for one game for leaving the bench area in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps. In addition, Diaz has been fined an undisclosed amount, while the club has been issued a warning for their first violation of the mass confrontation policy this season.
The incident in question occurred in the 85th minute of Wednesday’s action following a Fabian Castillo foul on the Whitecaps’ Sebastian Fernandez that sparked pushing and shoving between both sides. Diaz then entered the field of play and joined the fracas despite having been substituted in the 79th minute. Diaz was issued a yellow card for the incident.
Diaz, who is in his second season with the club, has scored three goals in 17 appearances this season.
FC Dallas are back in action Sunday when they host the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference semifinals.
What do you think of Diaz’s suspension? How will FC Dallas cope without him?
Share your thoughts below.
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By IVES GALARCEP
The MLS playoffs are underway and there are results to discuss and match-ups to preview in the latest episode of The SBI Show.
Episode 175 of The SBI Show takes a look back at the mid-week knockout round victories by FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls. We also break down the MLS conference semifinal match-ups, and make our predictions.
Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss Jurgen Klinsmann’s FIFA Coach of the Year nod, the return from injury of a handful of Americans Abroad, Raul’s signing with the New York Cosmos and much more.
Give Episode 175 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:
By FRANCO PANIZO
Slowly but surely working his way back to a regular role, John Brooks is eyeing his potential first league start since September.
Brooks will be hoping to get the nod for the first time in more than a month when Hertha Berlin visit Paderborn on Sunday. The 21-year-old centerback is fresh off making a start, playing 120 minutes and helping Hertha record a cleansheet in a penalty kick defeat to Arminia Bielefeld in DFB Pokal action, and that midweek performance could pave the way for him to be included in Hertha’s lineup in a Bundesliga match for the first time since Sept. 19.
Danny Williams is also eager to make his return to his side’s starting , especially after spending the last several months nursing an untimely knee injury. Williams has been cleared to take part in Reading’s encounter with Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, and while it seems more likely that he comes off the bench, the 25-year-old midfielder may have done enough this week in training to show he is ready to play from the opening whistle. The last time Williams played and started for the Royals was on April 22.
Wonder what other match might be worth watching? Look no further than Terrence Boyd and RB Leipzig’s home game vs. Kaiserslautern on Monday. Boyd opened his scoring account with Leipzig in a DFB Pokal fixture on Wednesday, and will be aiming to build on that while also moving his third-placed club up the table and into an automatic promotion spot.
Here is who the Americans Abroad square off with this weekend: Continue reading
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By FRANCO PANIZO
HARRISON, N.J. — Mike Petke has some tough decisions to make. Some real tough decisions.
Having seen Peguy Luyindula and Ambroise Oyongo come off the bench to help the New York Red Bulls rally to victory vs. Sporting Kansas City on Thursday, Petke will have to carefully weigh whether or not to start them when his club’s Eastern Conference semifinal series vs. D.C. United begins on Sunday.
Both Luyindula and Oyongo played integral parts in helping the Red Bulls unlock Sporting KC’s defense in Thursday’s play-in game, with each recording assists in the 2-1 victory at Red Bull Arena. Luyindula had secondary helpers on both New York goals while Oyongo delivered the game-winning cross, albeit via a right-footed cross that should’ve been dealt with.
Assists aside, the two dynamic players helped the Red Bulls open up a Sporting KC defense that was standing tough. Luyindula brought an instant spark and added dimension to the attack after coming on in the 65th minute, holding the ball well in the advanced central midfielder role and combining with captain Thierry Henry and the author of both of of the heroic goals, Bradley Wright-Phillips.
“Peguy, when he’s on, is able to control the ball, is able to do things with the ball that not many people can: spreading the ball out, hold the ball for us when we’re giving it away too much.” said Petke. “I thought he did well. I thought he stepped into a difficult situation where we weren’t having success going through the middle and him jumping into the middle spot. I think there were times that he did well, held the ball for us, linked up well with Thierry and Bradley.”
By IVES GALARCEP
Though it may not quite be a battle with major title implications anymore given Chelsea’s runaway position as leaders, but the Manchester Derby still has plenty on the line when the red and blue sides of Manchester meet on Sunday at the Etihad.
City currently sits in third place in the English Premier League, but will face a Manchester United side feeling good about a hard-earned draw against Chelsea last weekend. The Citizens saw their three-match winning streak snapped last week against West Ham, and will look to keep Manchester United away from the top four with a victory.
In Germany, struggling Borussia Dortmund will look to halt a surprisingly bad start to the Bundesliga season with a victory against rival Bayern Munich. Jurgen Klopp’s side has lost four straight matches and sits just a point out of the relegation zone, but Dortmund has a history of pushing Bayern to the limit so another memorable match shouldn’t be ruled out.
In MLS, the Seattle Sounders take on FC Dallas on Sunday and the Los Angeles Galaxy meet Real Salt Lake in the West Conference playoffs. In the East, the New England Revolution meet the Columbus Crew in what should be the most entertaining of the conference semifinal series.
Here is a rundown of all the weekend’s soccer action: