It's playoff time in MLS and all the action started last night as Seattle Sounders FC dropped the Colorado Rapids 1-0 to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals vs their rival Portland Timbers. Tonight the Houston Dynamo host Montreal in the Eastern Conference Wild Card game at 7:30PM on NBC Sports Network.
In all, the MLS Cup Playoffs feature 15 pulse-pounding games and earlier yesterday, MLS released the full playoff calendar culminating in MLS Cup on Saturday, December 7 at the stadium of the highest remaining MLS Cup Playoff seed. For fun, we polled a couple of the FCD players to give us their predictions on what's going to happen over the next six weeks and added our own picks as well.
Let us know in the comments what your predictions are and who you think will lift the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.
Seattle vs. Colorado
(Wed. 10/30 @ 9:30 pm CT - NBCSN)
Houston vs. Montreal
(Thurs. 10/31 @ 7:30 pm CT - NBCSN)
It's been a very solid sophmore season for Matt Hedges and the UNC-graduate capped 2013 with a game-winning goal in Saturday's 2-0 win over Seattle. For his efforts, Hedges has been named to MLSsoccer.com's team of the week for week 34, the next to last week of the season. Matt tied for the game-high with 12 clearances in Saturday's win and with a likely start ahead of him in this weekend's season finale will finish with 33 appearances and 32 starts in 34 MLS Regular Season games.
MLS had this to say about Hedges' performance:
DF: Matt Hedges (FC Dallas) – Not only did Hedges lead the FC Dallas defense to a clean sheet in Schellas Hyndman's home farewell, a 2-0 win over Seattle, he got forward to open the scoring and spark the Dallas attack after a choppy first hour of play.
Kenny Cooper loves to play the Chicago Fire as a member of FC Dallas. There can be no doubting that.
Cooper scored two more goals against Chicago on Saturday night to up his career tally against the Fire to eight goals in eight matches, making him the all-time FCD leading scorer against their Brimstone Cup rivals.
For his effort, Cooper was named to the MLSSoccer.com week 33 Team of the Week.
Said MLSsoccer.com about Cooper: FW: Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas) – Unfortunate to be on the losing end after a commendable two-goal effort against Chicago to make it three goals in two games for the big striker. His resurgence may have come too late to save Dallas this season, but it should bode well for his and the team's chances in 2014.
Limited tickets are still available for FC Dallas Fan Appreciation Day this Saturday, October 19. Fans with a ticket to Saturday's match are welcome to enjoy an EPL viewing party, a player autograph session, FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders FC presented by Degree Men and more!
VIEWING PARTY: The Toyota Stadium gates will open extra early on Saturday morning (11 a.m.) as FCD will be hosting a viewing party of Manchester City vs. West Ham United on a portable big screen on the North Concourse. That match is scheduled to kick of at 11:30 a.m. CT as NBC's lead-in to the broadcast of the FC Dallas game live from Toyota Stadium.
FREE FOOD: Attendees of Saturday morning's viewing party will be offered free CiCi's pizza (while supplies last) and can take advantage of some exclusive pre-game drink specials (cash only, good until 1 p.m.).
MERCH DEALS: The first 100 fans who make a purchase of $25 or more at the FC Dallas Team Shop will receive a free Fathead. Special gameday offers in the Team Shop also include $25 off jerseys and $5 off hats.
AUTOGRAPH SESSION: Fans are also encouraged to arrive early on Saturday morning to take part in an autograph session featuring select FC Dallas players on the North Concourse.
GIVEAWAYS: The first 5,000 people through the gates will receive FC Dallas Player Face Fans presented by Degree Men.
SKYDIVER: Just before kickoff, witness retired Sgt. First Class Dana Bowman as he parachutes into Toyota Stadium.
2013 HOME FINALE: Cheer on your FC Dallas in the final home game of 2013 against Clint Dempsey and Seattle Sounders FC presented by Degree Men in a match that will be nationally televised on NBC.
POST-GAME MATCH: All fans are encouraged to stay after FCD takes on the Sounders and cheer on your Special Olympics FC Dallas Team in a friendly game against FC Dallas Youth.
All you need in order to attend FC Dallas Fan Appreciation Day is a ticket to Saturday's game, so BUY YOURS NOW!
A late comeback wasn't enough for FCD tonight with Dallas falling to Chicago 3-2, eliminating Schellas Hyndman's men from MLS playoff contention. Here's all the highlights from tonight's match:
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Chicago Fire 3, FC Dallas 2
GOAL: Anangono puts the Fire in front off a nice header from a corner kick
GOAL: Magee inadvertently deflects a shot past Seitz
GOAL: Anibaba's brilliant strike puts the Fire up 3-0 early in the second half
GOAL: Kenny Cooper starts FCD comeback using his body to create a goal
PENALTY: Jackson taken down in the box
GOAL: Cooper scores his third goal in two games off a penalty kick
SAVE: Seitz keeps FCD alive with a breakaway save
If you watched MLS or NFL games around the country last weekend, you no-doubt saw plenty of pink around the field celebrating breast cancer awareness month and that pink is coming to Frisco.
For Saturday's game against Chicago, you'll see lots of pink around the field including special pink match balls, pink corner flags, jerseys with the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon and pink goal nets like these in Seattle.
Je-Vaughn Watson wasn't around at FCD practice today to talk about his fantastic assist in Salt Lake as he's joined up with the Jamaican National Team for upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against the United States and Honduras, but FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman certainly had a reaction to Watson's lung-bursting run.
"We’ve seen Je-Vaughn do that before where he just knocks the ball [forward] and starts running like Usain Bolt," said Hyndman. "He’s a tremendous athlete, so my reaction was 'here he goes' and then he got past the player and I thought 'now will he make the right decision' and he made a perfect choice."
"What a change, because I would imagine that when I made the change to bring him on, Salt Lake is winning 1-0 and they probably had a smile on their face with Castillo coming off because he was terrorizing them to a point, but I don’t think they were prepared to get a fresh person on the field that’s a runner and I think that paid off for us."
The run gets more impressive every time you watch it as Watson bursts forward from the right side of the field over to the left in what is likely a 100+ yard run culminating in a ball that eventually made it across to Cooper for FCD's goal. Watson's assist was just another solid moment in what has been a rich run of form for the Jamaican with a goal and two assists in his last four appearances.
It was a fantastic weekend for FC Dallas' loanee players with goals coming from two different countries.
HIGHLIGHTS: Strikers 2, Rowdies 1
In Fort Lauderdale, the Strikers matched up against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in a huge Florida derby matchup. On-loan forward Bradlee Baladez proved to be the hero for the Strikers scoring the game-winner in the 84th minute of a 2-1 victory for the home side.
Baladez replaced Yaikel Perez in the 80th minute of Saturday's match and after a nice dummy from Justin Chavez received a pass with only the keeper to beat. Baladez blasted one into the top corner to double the Strikers' advantage, a goal that would prove crucial after Carl Cort volleyed home a spectacular goal for the Rowdies with only seconds left in stoppage time.
Goalkeeper Richard Sanchez had a nice game for the Strikers making three saves while the only Rowdies goal was an unstoppable effort. With the win, the Strikers pull into a four-way logjam at second place in the NASL with just four games remaining in the fall regular season schedule.
Warshaw scores again for Angelholm
Over at Angelholm, Bobby Warshaw continued his fantastic run of form scoring the first goal of the Swede's 2-0 win over Ljungskile. It's Warshaw's fourth goal for Angelhom in just six matches and his third in the last four games. Just three games remain in the Swedish Superettan season which wraps up on November 2.
Deportivo Saprissa kept hold of their top spot in the Costa Rican first division with two wins last week. Moises Hernandez did not feature in either game having been suspended for the first match. Two games remain in the Costa Rican first division season with playoffs looming for Saprissa.
FC Dallas took a point from Rio Tinto Stadium off 10-man Real Salt Lake via a Kenny Cooper second-half goal. Here's the highlights from the penultimate road game of the season:
FULL HIGHLIGHTS - FC Dallas 1 Real Salt Lake 1
POST - Jackson's header caroms off the post early in the first half
RED CARD - RSL defender Kenny Mansally sent off for upending Jackson
SAVE - Rimando with a huge stop on Jackson's flick
SAVE - Seitz comes up big on Grabavoy chance
GOAL - Saborio latches on to a long ball and volleys it past Seitz
GOAL - Cooper finishes Watson cross