This Week in MLS – November 6, 2012
MLS Cup Playoffs: EightTeams Become Four by Thursday Night
Significant home-field advantages will play a key role this week as eight teams will be whittled down to four by Thursday night.
After a wild night during the first leg of the semifinals, D.C. United will travel to New York to face the Red Bulls in for game two live on NBC Sports Network at 8:00 p.m. ET. New York posted an impressive home record in 2012 of 11-2-4 while outscoring their opponents in Red Bull Arena 34-18. The two-game, aggregate goal series is currently tied 1-1.
D.C. will be without Andy Najar who drew a red card during the last match while the Red Bulls wait to hear if Rafa Marquez will be available Wednesday after exiting the game after the first half with a calf injury.
With a one-goal advantage courtesy of a stoppage-time free kick from Victor Bernardez, the San Jose Earthquakes get set to host the LA Galaxy on Wednesday (ESPN2, 11PM ET). The task will be an uphill battle as San Jose has lost only one game at Buck Shaw Stadium this season. While looking to erase a one goal deficit, the Galaxy defense will have to handle the league’s most potent attacker, Budweiser Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski.
After sustaining a broken nose in the first leg, Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando is ready to face Seattle Sounders FC Thursday night. While the series is currently tied 0-0, RSL is riding a home-field advantage where they have outscored MLS opponents 131-52 since opening Rio Tinto Stadium in 2008.
When the Houston Dynamo travel to Sporting Kansas City, enjoying a 2-0 advantage, Dynamo fans will wait to see if Will Bruin can score in his third consecutive playoff match. The Missouri native notched three goals during the Knockout Round and the first Conference Semifinal game so far in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Wednesday, November 7
New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United, 8:00 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network/RDS2)
Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo 9:00 p.m. ET (MLS Direct Kick)
San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy, 11:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2/TSN2/RDS2)
Thursday, November 8
Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 10:00 p.m. ET (MLS Direct Kick, TSN2)
MLS W.O.R.K.S. and MLS clubs support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts
MLS W.O.R.K.S. and MLS clubs are supporting relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Fans attending the Red Bulls vs. D.C. United match on Wednesday are encouraged to bring non-perishable food, winter clothing, cleaning supplies and toiletries on Wednesday to Red Bull Arena, where volunteers will collect the donations.
Additional ways to help can be found on the MLS W.O.R.K.S. site and individual club web sites.
Extra Time After Hours
In a continuing effort to bring the MLS fan as much analysis as possible, MLSsoccer.com will host live shows following each playoff match to discuss, analyze, and break down every MLS Cup Playoff match. Be sure to visit http://www.mlssoccer.com/blog following each match to hear MLSsoccer.com editors dissect tactics, contemplate strategy and critique performances
AT&T MLS Goal of the Year – to vote CLICK HERE
Just like last year, the AT&T Goal of the Year competition will be decided from a field of 64 goals. The First Round will consist of 16 groups of four, with the top two vote-getters going through to the Second Round. The next four groups are Groups 13-16 (Nov.6-7)
Check It Out
Colorado Rapids: Quick Clip: Soccer Tennis
FC Dallas: Friday Free for All: Chris Seitz
Portland Timbers: Stand Together Awards Banquet: David Horst talks to players & fans
Real Salt Lake: Catchy RSL chant created by Utah punk rocker
San Jose Earthquakes: March to the Cup: Never Say Die
Seattle Sounders FC: Goalball
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Warm welcome home
"They tried to turn me into a center back. I'd rather score than stop people from scoring.”
-Will Bruin, talking about one of the trainers for the Missouri region’s Olympic Development Program
“That would be my best memory of Vancouver – going to L.A. and beating them because they’re one of the kingpins of MLS.”
-Dane Richards, talking about Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s playoff game against LA Galaxy
“I am okay with it. There are real issues in New York and New Jersey. People are suffering. This seemed to be the simplest solution.”
-Ben Olsen, commenting on the venue change in the first leg of the D.C. United and New York Red Bulls playoff series
"They're not the defending champions for no reason. They showed that. They've been there before."
-Justin Morrow, on the LA Galaxy being tough opponents in the playoffs
"It will have to go down as one of the single best individual performances by anyone who's ever worn an RSL jersey.”
-Real Salt Lake Coach Jason Kreis, commenting on Nick Rimando’s performance against Seattle Sounders FC
"You always hate playing against him, but everyone wants him on their team.”
-FC Dallas’ Andrew Jacobson, talking about San Jose Earthquakes Forward Steven Lenhart
“It’s weird. I’m not going to say I thought I’d be an MVP candidate, but I knew eventually I would get my chance to make an impact for the team. Now that I’m able to, it shows that the hard work is paying off, but I don’t look at it like two years ago I was nothing.
-Graham Zusi, on his breakout performance this year with Sporting Kansas City
@AJD_20– November 2, 2012
@dwaynederosario– November 3, 2012
Big day today as we kick off the 1st game of Play-offs at RFK 8pm tonight. Bring the the noise @DC, @Maryland & @Virginia . Vamos United!
@jagudelo11– November 3, 2012
Hate not having a game this weekend. But uno where u can catch me, training in Home Depot center #dedication
@eGehrig16– November 3, 2012
Love seein this. Kirks a legend, always will be. Hope you're resting peacefully my man. http://instagr.am/p/Rlq5CGS3cl/
@kwamekazi– November 4, 2012
MLS playoffs are coming on. So done talking to everyone until Sporting Kansas vs Houston dynamo is over. Phone will be off. Shhhhh.
@RealDanGargan– November 4, 2012
This San Jose Earthquakes team is about to get turned in to a Disney movie. This is absurd.
@DaxMcCarty11– November 5, 2012
My jaw and face still hurt from getting a ball straight to the face n the 1st leg. You kno what doesnt hurt? My upper lip. #stacheprotection
@ClydeSimms19– November 5, 2012
Eastern Conference Semifinals – Second Legs
New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United – Wed., Nov. 7, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN; TSN2; RDS2)
· The first leg marked the first time in postseason history that two own goals were scored in the same MLS Cup Playoffs game.
· The teams met once during the regular season at Red Bull Arena, when Brandon Barklage scored twice against his former club to give the Red Bulls a 3-2 victory on June 24.
· D.C. United were able to extend their undefeated streak at RFK Stadium to 17 games across all competitions with the first-leg draw, after ending the regular season unbeaten at home since losing the first game of the season.
· D.C. United have won their last two playoff games at New York, a 2-0 victory in 2004 and a 1-0 victory in 2006. Both of those victories came in the first leg of conference semifinal series, both won by United.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo – Wed., Nov. 7, 8 p.m. CT (MLS Live; Direct Kick)
· For a third consecutive match in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the Dynamo defeated Sporting KC 2-0. One year ago, it was a Houston 2-0 win at Livestrong Sporting Park in the Eastern Conference Championship that propelled the club to a third MLS Cup appearance.
· Will Bruin scored his third goal in two MLS Cup Playoffs games for the Dynamo, matching the club’s single-season mark for goals in a single postseason, when Brian Ching scored three times in the Dynamo’s 2006 championship season. Bruin has 15 goals in all competitions for Houston this season, a new club record.
· The Dynamo extended their home undefeated streak to 29 games across all competitions with the win against Sporting, and have not yet lost a competitive match in their new BBVA Compass Stadium home.
· The teams played twice at Livestrong Sporting Park this season, both draws: a scoreless result July 7, and a 1-1 tie on Sept. 14.
Western Conference Semifinals – Second Legs
Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders FC – Thurs., Nov. 8, 7 p.m. PT (MLS Live; Direct Kick; TSN2)
· Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders played to a third scoreless draw in four meetings this season in the first leg at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.
· For RSL, it was their third consecutive scoreless draw, after playing to 0-0 ties in their final two regular season games. Sounders FC have been shut out in four of their last six games against MLS competition.
· For Sounders FC, they’ve also been blanked on the offensive end in six of seven playoff games in the club’s history. The only time they’ve scored in a postseason match came in last year’s second leg vs. Real Salt Lake, a 2-0 win in Seattle which following a 3-0 RSL victory in Utah.
· The teams played to a scoreless draw in their lone league meeting at Rio Tinto Stadium this season, on July 4.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy – Wed., Nov. 7, 8 p.m. PT (ESPN2/Deportes, TSN2, RDS2)
· The San Jose Earthquakes did it yet again, grabbing the first leg of their Western Conference Semifinal Series with a game-winning stoppage-time goal from Victor Bernardez. During the regular season, the Quakes scored an MLS-record eight goals in stoppage time – five of those to win games. San Jose scored 22 of their MLS-leading 72 goals after the 75th minute.
· It was also the second time this season the Quakes scored deep in added time in defeat the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Alan Gordon scored in the 94th minute for a 3-2 San Jose win May 23.
· The teams met at Buck Shaw Stadium less than a month ago, with the Quakes twice coming back from one-goal deficits before the teams ended in a 2-2 draw. They also played June 23 at Stanford Stadium, San Jose storming back from a 3-1 hole to win 4-3.
· The Earthquakes have never lost at home to the Galaxy in the MLS Cup Playoffs. After a win in 1996 in the first postseason game ever for both clubs, the Quakes also won in the dramatic 2003 Western Conference semifinal second leg. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in 2005 after the Galaxy won the first leg at home.