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2018 MLS Cup Playoffs

 



East Fork Utd
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Oct 27, 2018, 3:49 PM

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Sunday marks the end of the 2018 MLS regular season which is dubbed "Decision Day". 11 games will kick off simultaneously from coast to coast, and while only 2 of the 12 playoff teams are unknown, seeding for the playoffs is very much in play.

In the East, Columbus Crew, which looked safe for the playoffs a month ago now finds itself in a virtual must-win situation. Fortunately, the team closes out the regular season at home against Minnesota United, which has a poor road record this year. If the Crew slip up, Montreal could take the final Eastern Conference playoff slot if the Impact win at New England, which was eliminated from playoff contention a few weeks ago. It's been a wacky year for Columbus, which was embroiled in a season-long fight to stay in Ohio rather than move to Austin, Texas as its owner wanted to do. Legal proceedings to keep the team in Columbus had begun as the City Council in Austin gave preliminary approval for a site to locate the moved MLS team. Within the last 2 weeks though, a local ownership group stepped up to purchase the team and keep it in Columbus. The loyal Crew fans breathed a sigh of relief over this news, and the league got a black eye from the whole affair, as it was either indifferent or supportive of the move to Austin. Franchise moves in North American professional sports are fairly common, and it causes quite a bit of angst and bitterness in fans who have lost their teams to other cities. What riled up the Columbus fanbase was the fact that the current owner was not from Ohio and over the past year has not invested much money at all in acquiring new players or improving the stadium where the Crew play. Neutral soccer fans here weighed in on the dispute and a 'Save The Crew' campaign became a public relations nightmare for MLS, who was willing to shutter one of its original franchises and move it to an unproven soccer market. Despite this, the team have played well until the past 4-5 weeks. Another distraction for Columbus is that its head coach, Greg Berhalter, is on the short list to become the head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team.

The top of the East standings will be decided too. Currently, Atlanta United, in only its second season of play, leads the New York Red Bulls by a point. Atlanta plays at Toronto FC, who have had a disatrous 2018 season after winning MLS Cup for the first time last year. Toronto cannot defend its title this year, but it could deny Atlanta a chance to win the Supporters Shield, which is symbolic of the team that finishes with the highest point total. Atlanta are on 69 points. The Red Bulls sit at 68 and play host to Orlando City on Sunday. Orlando is presently last in the Eastern Conference.

DC United play at Chicago. The Fire have been awful this year, and could possibly finish last in the Eastern Conference, depending on how results go Sunday. DC was mired in last place in the East for much of the year, but two things happened to turn this team around. First, it moved into its new stadium after many years of discussion and planning. The 22,000 seat Audi Stadium is much more intimate than the RFK Memorial stadium, and the fans have a great viewing experience compared to what they had. Second, the arrival of Wayne Rooney has sparked this team to heights that weren't seen as realistic in early July. Rooney's play has inspired the team to play better than seemed possible for the first half of the season, but playing 14 of its last 17 games at home hasn't hurt either! DC hasn't played a road game in 5 weeks, and even though it's against a team that's had a most disappointing season, DC could be looking at home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Still, DC United have a poor record away from home (1 win, 9 losses, 6 draws). Rooney has also said he's committed to DC, and unlike recent overseas MLS stars, he says he won't be playing anywhere during the off-season.

In the Western Conference, the top 4 teams are separated by 3 points. Sporting Kansas City and Los Angeles FC are tied at 59, FC Dallas is at 57, and Seattle Sounders are at 56. LAFC play at Kansas City, and must win to take the top seed in the West. Dallas probably won't get the top spot even if it wins at lowly Colorado. The goal difference between it and the teams ahead of it won't be made up in case of a tie on points. Dallas is currently +9, compared to +17 for Los Angeles and +24 for Sporting KC. Well, it's mathematically possible for Dallas to finish first, but fairly unlikely. Seattle cannot finish in first place if it beats this year's wooden spoon recipient, San Jose, but the Sounders could get a first-round bye in the playoffs with a second place finish in the West.

The 'other' team in Los Angeles (the Galaxy) have a chance to qualify for the playoffs if it can beat Houston. The Dynamo were surprise winners of the U.S. Open Cup last month, which qualified them for next year's CONCACAF Champions League. That's been the only bright spot for Houston, which was knocked out of playoff contention several weeks ago. Zlatan Imbrahimovic is the catalyst for the Galaxy. As he goes, so goes the team. This team was mired in mediocrity for the first five months of the season, but since mid-August when the team fired its head coach (Sigi Schmid) and installed Dominic Kinnear as the interim manager, they have played rather well. A win by the Galaxy will get them into the playoffs. A draw would not be good enough even though it would tie them on points with current 6th placed team Real Salt Lake, and the Galaxy have a +6 advantage in Goal Differential. In MLS, the first tie-breaker is the number of victories a team accrues. Salt Lake, whose season concluded last week, sit on 14 wins, while the Galaxy have 13.

Real Salt Lake will be the only team on the sidelines for Decision Day. That won't be a problem next year as FC Cincinnati joins MLS to bring the league's total membership to 24 clubs. Of note for 2018, Atlanta United's Josef Martinez set the all-time season record for goals scored. He's currently on 30 (old record was 27). Tata Martino, head coach of Atlanta United, has announced he will step down after MLS Cup to take the head coaching job for Mexico's National Team. Also from Atlanta, the team set the all-time attendance record in MLS this season. AUFC have averaged about 53,000 fans.

Teams who are already secured in playoff positions are trying to avoid the first round as a 5 or 6 seed. The playoffs begin next Wednesday and Thursday with a single elimination game hosted by seeds 3 and 4. The Conference semi-finals and finals are two-legged affairs, with MLS Cup being decided December 8th hosted by the highest remaining seed of the 12 playoff participants.

Next year, Minnesota United moves into a new stadium. The team has been playing the first two seasons at the University of Minnesota.


(This post was edited by East Fork Utd on Oct 27, 2018, 4:11 PM)


East Fork Utd
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Oct 30, 2018, 1:25 PM

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Decision Day didn't disappoint! Of the 11 matches played, only 1 ended in a scoreless draw (DC United at Chicago).

The New York Red Bulls emerged as the number 1 seed in the East and winners of the Supporters Shield, thanks to a 1-0 win over Orlando. The Red Bulls will now have home field advantage throughout the playoffs and could host the MLS Cup final if it gets that far. The franchise have never won MLS Cup, despite winning the Supporters Shield in 3 of the past 6 seasons. In fact, the Red Bulls have only played in the Final once in its 22 year history (lost to Columbus in 2008). New York took the top spot after Atlanta United went to Toronto and got roasted by TFC, 4-1. It was a satisfying finish to what was a horrible season by Toronto standards.

The Montreal Impact had to win in New England to have a chance to make the playoffs, but the team's relatively toothless attack put them in the back seat of this contest, which the Revolution won, 1-0.

Columbus endured a 90-minute weather delay (due to lightning in the area) and a Minnesota comeback to nail down its playoff position. The Crew ultimately charged in front by 3-0 before settling on a 3-2 final score.

New York City FC, in the doldrums since Patrick Vieira left the team as head coach in the summer, got out to an early lead on the Philadelphia Union and were never headed, en route to a 3-1 win. The win allowed NYCFC to stay in 3rd place in the East where it will play...the Philadelphia Union in the first round on Wednesday! So, it should be interesting to see how the teams approach this contest with such a short turn around between matches. The winner advances to meet Atlanta United in the East semi-final round.

Columbus will travel to Washington to face DC United on Thursday. The winner here gets to play a two-leg series against the New York Red Bulls.

In the West, wackiness ruled the day. First, the Los Angeles Galaxy, needing only a win to qualify for this year's playoffs, were stunned at home by the Houston Dynamo. Not only did the Galaxy lose to a team that had previously only won once in away games in 2018, but they did it in spectacular fashion by squandering a 2-0 halftime lead! The Dynamo knocked in 3 second half goals which enabled idle Real Salt Lake to claim the final Western Conference playoff spot. The Galaxy were an exciting and frustrating team to watch all season long. The team scored 66 goals (good for 3rd best in the league) but surrendered 64 (6th worst in the league).

Alphonso Davies, the 17-year old Canadian phenom, netted both goals for his team as the Vancouver Whitecaps defeated the Portland Timbers, 2-1. Davies got a well deserved standing ovation at game's end as it will be his last MLS contest for a while. He's off to join Bayern Munich and should be eligible to play for the team in January if he's considered good enough to crack the team's roster. By all accounts, he is one of the finest if not THE finest young player to ever come out of MLS. Portland, which rested some of its starters prior to the playoffs, could have finished high enough in the standings to get a home game on Wednesday had it won. Still, the Timbers have to like their chances on the road, because...

FC Dallas blew its chance to capture the 2nd seed in the West and a first round bye that went with it. Dallas lost at Colorado, 2-1 after the Rapids scored twice in a five-minute span following the 80th minute. It was a worrying end of the season for Dallas for the second consecutive year. Last year, FCD collapsed in the second half of the season and missed the playoffs after leading the West through mid-July. This year, Dallas was able to hang onto a playoff position, but the team have only scored two goals from open play since early September.

San Jose, winners of this year's wooden spoon, took a surprise lead in Seattle, thanks to an own goal. The Sounders rallied though with a couple of second half tallies that vaulted the team into 2nd place in the West when all the results were known. This is the 3rd consecutive season Seattle have had a sensational second half of the season run. The Sounders had earned 15 points in its first 17 contests this year, but in the last 17 games, Seattle won 14 times and recorded 2 draws with just 1 loss. The team have played in the last 2 MLS Cup finals (both in Toronto) and have split the results. This could be a dangerous team once again. The Sounders rank 2nd in the league in goals allowed (37). New York Red Bulls gave up 33 goals in 34 league games.

In the ultimate battle for first place in the West, Sporting Kansas City defeated Los Angeles FC, 2-1, despite playing with 10 men for the last 20 minutes. The loss, coupled with Seattle's win, moved LAFC down to 3rd place where it will face Real Salt Lake on Thursday night.


East Fork Utd
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Nov 2, 2018, 3:41 PM

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And then, there were 8.

The knockout round is complete. Thursday's games were more entertaining and compelling than Wednesday's fare.

On Wednesday, New York City broke out to a 2-0 halftime lead and coasted to a 3-1 decision over the Philadelphia Union. The score was identical to the final when the two sides met four days earlier to close out the regular season. NYCFC proved to be the only home side to win its elimination game and advance to the quarterfinal round.

Portland traveled to Dallas and grabbed a 1-0 halftime lead on the hosts. The Timbers then found themselves reduced to 10 men following a red card early in the 2nd half. The joke among MLS fans is that being reduced to 10 men equates to a 'kiss of death' for the team with the man advantage, since they never seem to win those games. Sure enough, Portland extended its lead to 2-0 with 15 minutes to play! FC Dallas was able to score in the 3rd minute of stoppage time to make the final 2-1 in favor of the Timbers.

Thursday's wackiness began in Washington as DC United took a 1-0 lead on the Columbus Crew. The Crew were able to tie the game within 10 minutes, then the contest continued to be a stalemate through the second half, despite both teams engaging in some good, end-to-end action. The game went to extra time, and Columbus took its first lead of the night in the 96th minute. United kept attacking after that goal and was finally rewarded with an equalizer in the 116th minute. So, it was onto penalty kicks to determine the winner.

Columbus won the PK shootout, 3-2 to advance. DC United keeper Bill Hamid saved one penalty while Zach Steffen of Columbus saved 2, including one from Wayne Rooney. The other Columbus miss hit the upright and bounced away. The other DC miss was an epic sky ball that went into the upper deck of Audi Field!

The final knockout round game saw first-year team Los Angeles Football Club get dismissed by surprising Real Salt Lake, 3-2. RSL took a 1-0 lead. LAFC tied it by halftime, then took its first lead in the 57th minute. Salt Lake tied it up 15 minutes later, then scored the game winner in the 84th minute. All 5 goals in this one were of exceptional quality. I recommend going to 'mlssoccer.com' to check them out. LAFC tried, but could not get the tying goal despite having almost 10 minutes of second half stoppage time to work with.

So, all the winning teams get home games Sunday in the first legs of their Conference semi-finals. #2 seed in the East, Atlanta United, travels to play #3 New York City FC. Top seeded New York Red Bulls visit #5 seed Columbus. Interesting to note that the Red Bulls have never beaten the Crew in a playoff series. The only time NYRB played in the MLS Cup Final (2008), they lost to....the Columbus Crew!

Out West, #1 Sporting Kansas City visit #6 Real Salt Lake. #5 Portland Timbers play host to Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders who are the #2 Western Conference seed. The second leg of the Seattle-Portland series will be played on November 8. The other three contests' second legs will be played on the 11th.


East Fork Utd
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Nov 20, 2018, 3:14 PM

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The Conference Championship series are set following the semi-final round. Here's how things shook out in the first leg.

Seattle at Portland (1-2)--The visiting Sounders quieted the raucous Portland crowd with an opening goal in the 10th minute. The lead was short-lived however, as the Timbers equalized just 7 minutes later. Portland took the lead in the 29th minute, and that was that in terms of scoring. The teams went back to Seattle with the Sounders feeling good about scoring an away goal.


Atlanta United at New York City (1-0)--United got the win by scoring the crucial away goal in the 37th minute.


New York Red Bulls at Columbus (0-1)--The Crew scored the only goal of the game in the 61st minute.


Sporting Kansas City at Real Salt Lake (1-1)--After a scoreless first half, the home team knocked in the first goal in the 51st minute. Sporting answered with a goal of its own 9 minutes later to close out the scoring and take the important away goal with them as they headed back home.


Here's how the 2nd legs went:


Portland at Seattle (2-3)--This game was a real snoozer for 67 minutes, then all hell broke loose! Seattle scored the first goal in the 68th minute giving them the lead in the series, thanks to their away goal. Ten minutes later though, Portland tied the game and took the aggregate lead. In the waning moments of stoppage time, the Sounders scored the equalizer to force extra time. Portland went back in front on aggregate, with a 93rd minute goal, but Seattle answered with a penalty kick in the 97th minute. There was no more scoring after that, and it was sort of funny to see the Timbers players celebrating, because they thought they had won the tie on away goals. The series ended 4-4 on aggregate, with Portland scoring 2 away goals. Now, I don't know what the Laws of the game says about away goals on games that go into Extra Time in an aggregate series, but for the MLS Playoffs, the away goal rule does not apply if a match goes 120 minutes. So, it was off to penalty kicks to determine the series winner. The Timbers won the shootout 4-2 as they had one goal saved by Seattle's keeper, Stefan Frei. Jeff Attinella saved one Sounders PK and the other Seattle miss was banged off the post. After the 65th minute, this game was one of the most exciting playoff contests the league had ever seen.


New York City FC at Atlanta United (1-3)--Home-standing Atlanta stretched out its 1-0 aggregate lead to 3-0 by scoring a couple of first half goals in the 25th and 42nd minutes. City scored just before the halftime whistle to give it a glimmer of hope, but they couldn't put anything together to make a second half run, and Atlanta put a cap on the series with an 83rd minute goal to win on aggregate 4-1.


Columbus at New York Red Bulls (0-3)--The Red Bulls tied up the series with a 17th minute goal, and things stayed that way until NYRB slotted home goals in the 73rd and 76th minutes to clinch this series by a 3-1 scoreline. The Crew didn't seem to make much of a threat on the New York goal, especially in the second half when the outcome of the series was hanging in the balance.


Real Salt Lake at Sporting Kansas City (2-4)--Fireworks aplenty in this contest as Sporting scored twice in the first 20 minutes of play. That seemed to seal the fate of RSL, which began a desperate chase to get back into the series. Their diligence paid off in the 60th minute when they got their first goal. Kansas City answered with another goal 7 minutes later. Not to be outdone, Salt Lake scored in the 72nd minute to make the home fans sweat some more. There was a whopping 7 minutes of stoppage time in the second half, and SKC wrapped things up with a very late goal to take the series 5-3 on aggregate.


The playoffs continue on the 25th. In the East, Atlanta United hosts New York Red Bulls for the first leg of the series. In the West, Sporting Kansas City travels to Portland. The second legs will be contested on the 29th. The winners play for MLS Cup on December 8th. Because of a superior regular season, whichever team wins the Eastern Conference will serve as hosts for the finale.


(This post was edited by East Fork Utd on Nov 20, 2018, 3:21 PM)


East Fork Utd
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Nov 29, 2018, 10:44 PM

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MLS Cup finalists will be known in a few hours.

The Eastern Conference Final looks settled. Atlanta United torched New York Red Bulls in Georgia Sunday, with a comprehensive 3-0 pasting. After falling behind 2-0, New York scored what looked to be an important away goal, but it was nullified on an offside call. Atlanta scored the last goal in second half stoppage time, and that could prove to be the clinching score in the series. The Red Bulls certainly have it in them to erase their deficit, but it will be an awfully high hill to climb if they want to play for the Cup on December 8th.


In the Western Conference Final, Portland and Kansas City played to a scoreless draw on the Pacific coast. The Timbers had the better run of play, but failed to net a goal in the contest. It's a good thing the first leg was held in Portland. Kansas City and many parts of the upper Midwest were under blizzard warnings on Sunday. The KC area ended up with about 6 inches of snow and much higher drifts as the relentless winds didn't subside until Monday afternoon. Sporting Kansas City must win in regulation to advance to the title game, but any goal scored by Portland in regulation could be a killer for the home side. The weather in Kansas is much better for tonight's deciding playoff game. It will be cold, but dry.


East Fork Utd
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Nov 30, 2018, 2:18 PM

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In the second legs of the Conference Finals, one game turned out to be a fairly boring affair, while the other had lots of drama and excitement.

The dull game happened at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. New York Red Bulls, trying to overturn a 3-0 first leg loss, once again failed to generate any offense that would have given their fans hope for an improbable comeback. Atlanta actually had the better of the few chances throughout the game, and the Red Bulls could only muster a consolation goal in second half stoppage time. Final for the game was 1-0, and Atlanta advances to MLS Cup following the 3-1 aggregate win. Quite an accomplishment for a team in its second year of existence. For the Red Bulls, another bitter playoff end of their season. NYRB have played the most playoff games in MLS history without winning the Cup. In fact, the franchise has only played in one Final, which it lost in 2008. Another interesting statistic for MLS is that the playoffs are an entirely different animal from the regular season. The Red Bulls won the Supporter's Shield on the last day of the regular season. Finishing with the most points in the league (72 pts. in 34 games) guaranteed them of home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but in the end, it did not matter. This is the 23rd season MLS has been in existence, but the top team in the regular season has only won MLS Cup 7 times!

The Western Conference Final was much more entertaining to watch (for neutral fans, anyway). The grounds crew at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas did an exceptional job in clearing the snow off the field from last weekend. There were no traces of it anywhere on the field of play; not even along the sidelines. After a scoreless first leg in Portland, Sporting Kansas City logged the first goal in the 20th minute and had the run of play for much of the first half. Early in the second half, Portland tallied the equalizing goal which effectively gave the Timbers the series lead. Portland extended that lead in the 60th minute, and the home team was reeling. SKC got the tying goal in the 81st minute, but it needed one more score to advance to MLS Cup. Despite 9 minutes of second half stoppage time, the winning Kansas City goal never materialized. But, Portland got a third goal in the final minute of stoppage time on a nice counter-attack after Sporting had been putting on pressure to try and win the game and the series. Final score was 3-2 Portland, which was also the aggregate score. The Timbers, who won MLS Cup in 2015 in Columbus, will now venture to Atlanta to try and repeat the feat. Despite living so far away, the Timbers Army is legendary for the support it gives its team in away matches. The final on December 8th should be a sellout, as Atlanta fans have embraced their soccer team with support that makes other teams envious. About 72,000 will be in attendance. Atlanta United plays in a domed stadium with an artificial surface. The stadium's primary tenant is the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, but both franchises are owned by the same guy. For the record, Portland also plays on an artificial surface in an outdoor stadium which currently holds 21,000. It is being expanded in the off-season to accommodate 24-25,000 fans, but that means the Timbers will probably be on the road for much of the first part of the 2019 season until the renovations are finished.


East Fork Utd
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Dec 12, 2018, 1:27 AM

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Sorry about the tardiness of this final report. I got a call at the last minute to go to a Trivia Night, which I originally wasn't going to attend. Then, the busy-ness of the holidays got in the way!

MLS Cup 2018 was played before a league-record crowd of 73,019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The home side opened the scoring in the 39th minute thanks to a Portland defensive lapse, as Josef Martinez, the league's leading scorer, slotted home an easy shot. In the 42nd minute, Portland nearly tied the game, but Atlanta United keeper Brad Guzan denied Jeremy Ebobisse's header attempt.

Atlanta United got an insurance goal from Franco Escobar off a beautiful free kick effort in the 54th minute. After that, the Timbers offered few threatening chances, and the team's surprising playoff run came to an end. For Martinez, who logged a record 31 goals in 34 regular season games for Atlanta, it may have been his last appearance for United. He and a couple of his teammates are said to be on the radar for European teams during the winter transfer window. Atlanta's head coach, Tata Martino is definitely gone, as he agreed to take over the helm of Mexico's National Team prior to the start of the playoffs.

In just its second year of existence, Atlanta United become MLS Champions. It will be interesting to see how the team performs next year as well as who the new head coach will be plus the new players brought in to replace those who are expected departures. In the past, Atlanta has gotten a reputation of being a city with fair-weather fans, regardless of the sport involved. United become just the third team in the city to win a sports title.


paulh66
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Dec 12, 2018, 10:46 PM

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Great thread, EFU, I've enjoyed reading these updates.

More than ten times the crowd in Atlanta for the MLS Cup than attended the local soccer club's last major final in 2013, the NASL Bowl, which also took place in Atlanta. That was the old Atlanta Silverbacks v NY Cosmos, at an almost full Silverbacks Park....times change so quickly!

Over here, Newcastle United are being linked with Atlanta's Miguel Almiron, the suggestion being that Atlanta have already lined up his replacement, the lad from River Plate who scored in the Copa Libertadores a few days ago. As you say, it looks like the MLS side will need rebuilding but they certainly seem to have the right people in charge of recruitment.


Northumbrian
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In Reply To
Great thread, EFU, I've enjoyed reading these updates.

More than ten times the crowd in Atlanta for the MLS Cup than attended the local soccer club's last major final in 2013, the NASL Bowl, which also took place in Atlanta. That was the old Atlanta Silverbacks v NY Cosmos, at an almost full Silverbacks Park....times change so quickly!

Over here, Newcastle United are being linked with Atlanta's Miguel Almiron, the suggestion being that Atlanta have already lined up his replacement, the lad from River Plate who scored in the Copa Libertadores a few days ago. As you say, it looks like the MLS side will need rebuilding but they certainly seem to have the right people in charge of recruitment.


Also really enjoy this thread. I saw the Atlanta Chiefs play in the old NASL and win 5-0 against Edmonton back around 1980.
Lots of speculation in the local press up here about Miguel Almiron. Wonder if his first game for Newcastle could be the first weekend in February (after the transfer deadline) in the first ever league game at Tottenham’s new stadium?


cope1
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Dec 17, 2018, 4:05 PM

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I love watching the development of MLS. I lived in the US in the 80s and soccer just didn't exist (immediately post-NASL) so this is all quite surreal for me.

Cincinnati begin next season, with Miami and Nashville in 2020. Any guesses on the 2 to make it up to 28 which I believe MLS are aiming for? Sacramento looked a shoe-in but hasn't got there yet.

PS. Just noticed that there is intent to go to Austin, but not sure if that means a franchise has been awarded.


(This post was edited by cope1 on Dec 17, 2018, 4:12 PM)


windydcfc
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There’s a link from 2 days ago, about the those cities who are in the running for the expansion places https://www.google.co.uk/...5763e6ce21f.amp.html



Non League Projection - 2020/21: https://docs.google.com/...UTgVhKYTo/edit#gid=0
Step 1: https://www.google.com/....119447550000018&z=7
Step 2: https://www.google.com/...677250654298405&z=15
Step 3: https://www.google.com/...358611350589399&z=16
Step 4: https://www.google.com/...536616305542566&z=16
Step 5: https://www.google.com/...399355140531952&z=16
Step 6: https://www.google.com/...1556307438963813&z=9


Tykeoldboy
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Dec 19, 2018, 5:36 PM

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Atlanta United will be joined in the CONCACAF Champions League in 2019 by 4 more MLS teams. These are

Sporting Kansas City, - Western Conference Champions but qualify by winning the 2017 US Open Cup

New York Red Bulls - Eastern Conference Champions but qualify by having the best overall aggregate record for both 2017 & 2018

Houston Dynamo - 2018 US Open Cup winners

Toronto FC who also play in the MLS qualify by winning the Canadian Championship



The feeling of utter devastation when you pick up your mug and realise you already finished your tea.


East Fork Utd
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Re: [Tykeoldboy] 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

First, thanks for the kind comments about my updates. It is much appreciated!

Second, one of the stalwarts involved with MLS' growth and popularity recently passed away. Sigi Schmid died on Christmas Day in Los Angeles. Schmid was 65 and migrated with his family to the United States from West Germany in 1957. He was the collegiate head coach at UCLA for 19 years and won 3 National Championships before he began his professional coaching career. He coached three teams that won the Supporter's Shield, symbolic of the best MLS regular season (LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew, Seattle Sounders). The Galaxy and Crew each won MLS Cup titles under his leadership. He also coached Seattle to 4 U.S. Open Cup titles (our equivalent of the FA Cup). In all, Schmid's MLS teams logged 266 victories, making him the winningest coach in league history. He had been hospitalized for the last three weeks as he was awaiting a heart transplant. All in all, a good guy who may have lost his touch on the sidelines the past three or four years at the helm of his teams, but anyone who played for him lauded him as a real 'player's coach'.

Third, the offseason has been pretty busy as teams try to shape their 2019 rosters, but the biggest splashes have come from the coaching ranks. Atlanta United and the Los Angeles Galaxy had vacancies to be filled, but the first job filled came in Columbus. The Crew hired Caleb Porter, the former head coach of the Portland Timbers who won MLS Cup in 2015. Prior to his MLS success, Porter was the head coach at the University of Akron, which he turned into a national college power. Porter replaces Gregg Berhalter who left to become the head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. Frank de Boer was hired to lead Atlanta United. The Galaxy job is still vacant, but reports indicate Guillermno Barros-Schelotto, a former standout with Columbus has been offered the position. He most recently was the head coach at Boca Juniors.

Fourth, all things seem quiet on the expansion front. The Austin City Council recently gave its approval on the proposed site for a new stadium. How soon the stadium will be built and when the team will begin play is currently unknown. MLS has yet to approve the sale of the Columbus Crew from Anthony Precourt to the Haslam Family, who also own the NFL's Cleveland Browns. It is presumed that once the sale is finalized, Precourt can then begin construction on the Austin stadium, and he will get his final divorce decree from Columbus (much to the delight of Crew fans). Regardless of who the owner is, the Crew WILL play in Columbus for 2019. There is talk that Columbus will build a new stadium closer to the downtown section of the city, once the sale is finally approved by the League's Board of Governors. FC Cincinnati becomes the 24th team in MLS and has a new stadium under construction. The team will play at the University of Cincinnati for the next two seasons. Miami and Nashville have also been awarded franchises, but stadium construction in both locations has not yet begun. Both should be ready to play in 2021. The most recent buzz on expansion has surrounded St. Louis. A family of 8 members who attained much of their wealth on a successful nationwide rental car business have offered to build a soccer stadium near downtown St. Louis, WITHOUT asking for any money from local taxpayers to help construct the facility. This was not the case in the Spring of 2017 when another ownership group made a similar offer, but was asking for money from the City and the State of Missouri to help pay for the cost of construction. Voters in St. Louis rejected that idea at the ballot box, and it was thought that the city would be pushed way down the list of potential expansion candidates. The 8-member Taylor Family consists of 7 females, and it's thought that would be very attractive to the League to have a franchise that is majority-owned by women. With other investors joining them to put together a proposal package to impress the league, money is definitely no problem here. The Taylor women admit that they are not soccer fans and don't know much about the sport, but what they do care about is St. Louis, their hometown. The entire group has done its homework in putting together its plan and it traveled to several MLS cities to see what their stadiums looked like and ask questions about problems they encountered before, during, and after construction was finished and what solutions they came up with to resolve those problems.

So, other than Austin (likely to come to MLS) and St. Louis (looking so much better now than it did less than 2 years ago), I haven't heard much about other potential locations. Phoenix, San Diego, Detroit, Indianapolis, San Antonio, and Sacramento are the names you hear about the most. Secondary locations mentioned are: Charlotte, Las Vegas, Raleigh-Durham, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Milwaukee, and Rochester.

In the meantime, Happy New Year!


(This post was edited by East Fork Utd on Dec 27, 2018, 10:01 PM)

 
 


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