MLS Regular Season
Say hello to NATIVO.
Today, just a day after the 2014 MLS season ended, the league, in partnership with adidas, has unveiled the 2015 MLS Match Ball.
Emblazoned with the new MLS logo plus nods to both the United States and Canada, NATIVO will be kicked around at all MLS games next year and uses the same material and technology as the famed "Brazuca" ball used at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
FC Dallas played Seattle Sounders FC to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals at Toyota Stadium Sunday night. Goalkeeper Raul Fernandez made seven saves in the match and FC Dallas took the lead from the penalty spot in the first half. Andres Escobar was taken down in the penalty box by Seattle midfielder Marco Pappa and Michel converted the PK in the 34th minute.
First Half Highlights
Seattle managed to tie things up midway through the second half when Osvaldo Alonso just barely got his head to a free kick by Pappa in the 64th minute and redirected it past Fernandez. Fabian Castillo nearly got the go-ahead goal late on if not for an exceptional save by Stefan Frei to keep things level.
Second Half Highlights
FC Dallas dropped a 2-0 result to the Portland Timbers in the regular season finale at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night. Portland took a 1-0 lead in the first half on a goal by Darlington Nagbe.
First Half Higlights
The second half featured two disallowed goals for FC Dallas. The Timbers eventually iced the game with a Maximiliano Urruti goal in the 82nd minute.
Second Half Highlights
Hear from Pareja, Loyd & Ulloa on #FCDvPOR with FCDTV's Quick Kicks:
Here are the best pictures from Saturday's win over Colorado:
Saturday's win at Colorado coupled with Real Salt Lake's draw at Portland has made the playoff picture pretty clear for FC Dallas with one week left to go in the season. Let's talk about it:
FC Dallas will finish third in the Western Conference if:
-Real Salt Lake loses or draws against Chivas USA on Wednesday night
-FC Dallas defeats Portland Timbers FC on Saturday night
If FC Dallas finishes third, our Western Conference semifinal playoff schedule will be:
WC Semifinal 1st leg - LA Galaxy/Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas - Saturday, November 1 or Sunday, November 2 Toyota Stadium
WC Semifinal 2nd leg - FC Dallas at LA Galaxy - 8:00PM - Sunday, November 9 StubHub Center
2nd leg - FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders FC - 9:30PM Monday, November 10 CenturyLink Field
FC Dallas will finish fourth in the Western Conference if:
-Real Salt Lake defeats Chivas USA on Wednesday night
-FC Dallas draws or loses to Portland Timbers FC on Saturday night
If FC Dallas finishes fourth, our Western Conference playoff schedule will be:
Wild Card Round - Vancouver Whitecaps/Portland Timbers at FC Dallas - 7:30PM Wednesday, October 29 Toyota Stadium
If FCD wins the Wild Card Round, our WC Semifinal schedule would be:
WC Semifinal 1st leg - LA Galaxy/Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas - Saturday, November 1 or Sunday, November 2nd
WC Semifinal 2nd leg - FC Dallas at LA Galaxy - 8:00PM - Sunday, November 9 Toyota Stadium
WC Semifinal 2nd leg - FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders FC - 9:30PM Monday, November 10 CenturyLink Field
For those not familiar with the MLS Cup playoff format, the top five teams in each conference make the playoffs.
Fourth place hosts fifth place in a one-game wild card playoff with the winner playing the top seed in a two-leg semifinal while second will play third also in a two-leg playoff. The two-leg playoff rounds will feature home games at both stadiums and whoever has the highest combined score will advance. The lower seed will host the first game while the higher seed will host the second match.
The winners of the semifinals will play each other in a two-leg conference final and the winners of the conference finals will play in the one-game MLS Cup played at the home of the remaining team with the most points earned in the regular season.
Not a ton of highlights in this one, but there's only one that matters. Here are your #COLvFCD match highlights:
Just two weekends remain in the MLS regular season. Can you believe it? FC Dallas clinched the playoffs with last week's heart-stopping win over Los Angeles and now they turn their sights to earning the #3 seed which would ensure not having to play in the 4th vs 5th wild card game. Here's the playoff breakdown:
1. Seattle Sounders FC
60 points(+13 GD) - 2 games remaining - Last match: 1-0 loss vs Vancouver - Next match: 10/19 at Los Angeles - Last 5: L-W-W-L-L
The Sounders surprisingly fell to Vancouver at home, a result that puts their Supporters Shield aspirations very much in doubt. They end the season with back-to-back games against LA and will clinch the Shield with a win in either match.
2. LA Galaxy
60 points(+34 GD) - 2 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 loss at FC Dallas - Next match: 10/19 vs Seattle - Last 5: L-W-W-W-D
The Galaxy lost their first game of the season after scoring first in a 2-1 loss at FCD on Sunday. It was really a missed opportunity with Seattle having lost earlier in the weekend. They'll host the Sounders on Sunday and need four points from their two games against Seattle to clinch the Shield.
3. Real Salt Lake
52 points(+13 GD) - 2 games remaining - Last match: 2-0 win vs San Jose - Next match: 10/17 at Portland - Last 5: W-L-L-W-L
Jeff Cassar's side stopped a slide with a much-needed win against San Jose at home on Saturday. They've got a tricky test at Portland on Friday night and need a win to keep off hard-charging FCD and stay in control of their own destiny in the race for the third seed.
4. FC Dallas
51 points(+11 GD) - 2 games remaining - Last match: 2-1 win vs LA Galaxy - Next match: 10/18 at Colorado - Last 5: W-L-W-L-W
FC Dallas got a huge win against Los Angeles that took a ton of pressure off Oscar Pareja's side. They need one point to clinch a home playoff game and could leapfrog RSL for the third spot, though they'll need to ensure three points against a Colorado team that hasn't won since July. **NOTE** The first tiebreaker is wins and FC Dallas currently has one more than RSL with 15, so a tie in the standings would see FCD jump RSL.
5. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
46 points(+1 GD) - 2 games remaining - Last match: 1-0 win at Seattle - Next match: 10/18 at San Jose - Last 5: W-W-W-L-L
The Whitecaps scored another hugely impressive result winning at Seattle last weekend to stay above Portland for the final playoff spot. The Whitecaps have their toughest test left on Saturday with a tricky trip to San Jose. Two wins from their final two will ensure a playoff spot for Carl Robinson's side.
6. Portland Timbers FC
45 points(+4 GD) - 3 games remaining - Last match: 3-0 win vs San Jose - Next match: 10/17 vs Real Salt Lake - Last 5: W-W-L-W-D
Caleb Porter's men easily dispatched San Jose 3-0 to keep pace with Vancouver for the final playoff spot. They have a tough test against RSL on Friday before finishing the season at FC Dallas. Things look pretty difficult for the Timbers when you compare schedules between the two sides but Porter's side has shown amazing resiliency.
FCD PLAYOFF SCENARIOS:
FC Dallas will clinch a home playoff game if:
-Vancouver fails to defeat San Jose
-FC Dallas wins or draws at Colorado
IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY:
If there were no games left and we were looking forward to the start of the playoffs, here are the current matchups:
WILD CARD GAME
Vancouver Whitecaps FC at FC Dallas
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
Seattle Sounders FC vs FC Dallas/Vancouver Whitecaps FC
LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake
Scott and Daniel break down the three keys to Saturday's game in Colorado:
With a 2-1 come-from-behind win, FC Dallas assured the playoffs are back for the first time since 2011 and two players have been named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week for Week 32.
Defender Matt Hedges earned his team-leading fifth nomination of the season while Andres Escobar earned his second nomination of 2014 after playing a huge part in both goals. In all, FCD has has 13 players named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week this season.
Here's what MLS had to say about their performances:
M: Andres Escobar (FC Dallas) – The Colombian winger enjoyed a superb evening in a crucial match for FC Dallas, and he couldn't have picked a better night for a coming out party. Influential on both goals in FCD's 2-0 victory over the Galaxy.