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)
The polls are officially open for 2013 AT&T Goal of the Year voting as MLSsoccer.com unveiled groups A-D today. FC Dallas fans should have a special interest in the outcome of group D, which includes Mauro Diaz's sensational one-time volley strike against Vancouver Whitecaps FC from Week 28.
A great goal for sure, but Diaz's tally is up against stiff competition with candidates by Portland's Will Johnson, San Jose's Alan Gordon and Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio also occupying group D. Voting for groups A-D is open through 11:59 pm PT, Thursday, October 31 - that's 1:59 am CT, Friday, November 1 - so vote early and vote often to push Mauro through to the next round!
WATCH: Group D
Full match highlights from FC Dallas' 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.
GOAL: Walter Martinez gives the Earthquakes a 1-0 lead in the first half.
GOAL: Chris Wondolowski doubles the lead with a rocket from the right side of the box.
WATCH: MLS Original Ramiro Corrales subs off to a standing ovation in his final match.
GOAL: Stephen Keel scores his first of the season to cut the lead in half late.
HEAD COACH HUGO PEREZ CALLS 30 PLAYERS TO U.S. U-15 BOYS’ NATIONAL TEAM TRAINING CAMP
U.S. U-15 BNT Camp Runs from Oct. 26-Nov. 3 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, Calif.
CHICAGO (Oct. 23, 2013) – Thirty players will join U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team head coach Hugo Perez and his staff at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, Calif., for a week-long training camp from Oct. 26-Nov. 3.
The camp will feature four games against U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. The U.S. U-15 BNT will play a pair of matches against local club side Chivas USA, which is splitting its U-15/U-16 Academy team to field a U-15 and U-16 side on Wednesday, Oct. 30. The U.S. also has two matches on Saturday, Nov. 2, against Northwest Division club Crossfire U-15/16 and Southwest Division club Real Salt Lake AZ U-15/16.
Twenty-four players invited to the U-15 BNT training camp currently play for U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams, eleven of whom represent six different MLS club academies, including the Colorado Rapids, D.C. United, FC Dallas, LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union. The roster also includes two players from Liga MX side Club Tijuana’s youth ranks.
Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Abonce (FC Dallas; The Colony, Texas), Carlos Avilez (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy; Westminster, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Alvarado (New York Red Bulls; Queens Village, N.Y.), McKay Eves (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Kyle Gruno (Philadelphia Union; Saddle River, N.J.), Almir Kurtanovic (Jacksonville FC; Jacksonville, Fla.), Antonio Nava (De Anza Force; Redwood City, Calif.), Mark Salas (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Cody Sundquist (Placer United; Lincoln, Calif.), Angel Uribe (Club Tijuana; San Diego, Calif.), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Raul Aguilera Jr. (OCYS; Sanford, Fla.), Jose Alfaro (Chicago Magic PSG; West Chicago, Ill.), Leonel Alvarenga (Real So Cal; Canoga Park, Calif.), Jose Carranza (D.C. United; Manassas, Va.), Luis Carrillo (Dallas Texans; Tyler, Texas), Ernesto Espinoza (Club Tijuana; San Ysidro, Calif.), Roberto Hernandez (Texas Rush; Houston, Texas), Nicholas Taitague (FC Richmond Magic; Midlothian, Va.), Juan Pablo Torres (Georgia United; Lilburn, Ga.)
FORWARDS (9): Luis Arreola (FC Athletico; Wheeling, Ill.), Lucas Del Rosario (CASL; Durham, N.C.), Omir Fernandez (New York Red Bulls; New York, N.Y.), Jonathan Gonzalez (Atletico Santa Rosa; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Wilfred Inalien (Boca United Academy FC; Tammarac, Fla.), Edwin Lara (Unattached; San Leandro, Calif.), Jeanpaul Marin (New York Red Bulls; Rego Park, N.Y.), Jesus Nunez (LA Galaxy; Anaheim, Calif.), Adolfo Trujillo (De Anza Force; Livermore, Calif.)
It was a banner weekend for FCD's loanees last weekend with four goals scored and some huge wins. Here's the roundup:
HIGHLIGHTS: Strikers 6, Silverbacks 2
Forward Bradlee Baladez doubled his goal tally for the season scoring twice in Fort Lauderdale's 6-2 thumping of Atlanta. Baladez entered in the 64th minute and subsequently scored the Strikers' final two goals in the 67th and 83rd minutes of the big win. Baladez has four goals in ten appearances this season for the NASL side. Fort Lauderdale encourages you to vote Baladez for NASL Play of the Week!
Goalkeeper Richard Sanchez tallied his fifth win of the season in goal for the Strikers who have two games left in the season.
Warshaw scores twice in Sweden
In Sweden, Bobby Warshaw continued his red-hot time with Angelholms FF. Warshaw scored the first two goals of Angelholms' 5-2 win over Varnamo, their second-straight win and fifth-straight game unbeaten. Warshaw has six goals in seven appearances for the Superettan side that sits comfortably in mid-table with two games left to play.
Down in Costa Rica, Saprissa defeated Limon 5-1 moving back into first place in the league, though Moises Hernandez did not feature in the game.
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.
Full match highlights: FC Dallas 2, Seattle Sounders FC 0
MISS: Lamar Neagle's bicycle attempt goes just wide.
GOAL: Matt Hedges gives FCD the go-ahead goal off Michel's free kick.
GOAL: Michel taps in the insurance goal after a frantic sequence in the box.
The seasons are winding down in both the NASL, Costa Rica and Sweden where FCD's loaned players are spread out.
HIGHLIGHTS: Rowdies 2, Strikers 1
It was a disappointing Saturday for Fort Lauderdale who were eliminated from Soccer Bowl contention by their rival Tampa Bay Rowdies in a 2-1 loss.
Richard Sanchez started and made three saves in the loss while Bradlee Baladez came on for the last 12 minutes of the match. Sanchez has started and played every minute of all 11 matches of the Strikers fall season with 14 goals allowed in his 11 starts. For Baladez, a minor mid-season injury meant some missed time but has appeared in nine of 11 matches including three starts and two goals scored.
Three matches remain in the Strikers' season which ends on November 2.
Bobby Warshaw and Angelholms FF were idle last weekend as most European leagues took the weekend off for FIFA international dates and they have three games left remaining in their season which also ends on November 2.
Down in Costa Rica, Moises Hernandez and Saprissa fell to 2-1 to Carmelita on Saturday falling out of first place in the Costa Rican First Division. Moises Hernandez did not play in the game. Saprissa has five games remaining in their season before a likely appearance in the playoffs.
Degree Men is our title sponsor for Saturday's home season finale against Seattle Sounders FC and they want to see you DO:MORE to support FC Dallas in the final Toyota Stadium match of the season!
They have team-signed jerseys and balls to give away in conjunction with our Fan Appreciation Day and all you have to do to be entered to win one is post a picture on Twitter or Instagram of how you DO:MORE to cheer on FC Dallas using the hashtag #DoMoreDTID. Winners will be randomly selected from all entries and each winner will receive an FC Dallas team-signed jersey or team-signed ball from Degree Men! The contest is open from 12:00PM on Thursday, October 17 to 12:00PM on Tuesday, October 22 and winners will be notified on Tuesday afternoon.
Degree Men will also be handing out free FCD player faces to the first 5,000 fans through the gates so grab your player face on Saturday, send us a picture showing that you DO:MORE to support FC Dallas and you could win some FCD-signed gear!