Sylvae MLS News

20Nov/130

Orlando City Officially Joins Major League Soccer as 21st Franchise

Major League Soccer and Orlando City officially announced the club will join the MLS in 2015 as the league's 21st franchise. Major League Soccer announced the news: PHOTO: The moment a dream became reality for @OrlandoCitySC. http://t.co/0h2lCvHJoM #MLS21 pic.twitter.com/7OedqE7VVA — Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 20, 2013 Orlando City confirmed the news as well: We are officially the 21st @MLS Club! #MLS21 — Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) November 20, 2013 Orlando City has been a dominant force since joining USL Pro, which is the third level of soccer in the United States. The Lions have finished first or second in each of their three regular seasons in the league and won two championships, including the 2013 title. The steady growth of the franchise paired with solid attendance numbers, including more than 20,000 fans for this year's championship match, was enough to convince the MLS that Orlando could handle a top-division franchise. Adding Orlando to the mix is the latest expansion effort by the league, which is already set to add New York City FC and a club fronted by David Beckham, as pointed out by Kyle Bonn of Pro Soccer Talk. The biggest concern for Orlando, and the other clubs joining the MLS as part of the expansion surge, is ...
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20Nov/130

MLS Cup Playoffs 2013 Schedule: Previewing 2nd Leg of Conference Championships

This weekend, MLS' final four will compete again to determine which two squads advance to the MLS Cup. Each conference championship is currently framing two highly contrasting scenarios. In the East, Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo enter the second leg on even footing after playing to a scoreless stalemate in their earlier battle. Out in the Western Conference bracket, the Portland Timbers dug themselves a deep hole after losing by two goals to Real Salt Lake. They now must return the favor and win big to climb back in the aggregate score.   Houston Dynamo at Sporting Kansas City (tied 0-0)   When these teams met earlier on Nov. 9, the games featured many bumps and some physical play but no scoring. The Dynamo nearly entered the scoresheet in the first half, but Kofi Sarkodie's goal was waved off due to an offsides penalty. That close call was the closest either club came to breaking the draw at BBVA Compass Stadium. Each team looked drained, especially after needing extra time to sneak through the semifinals. That led to some unexciting performances from players gashing at their loaded slates, but now two weeks have passed since the opening bout. While Houston has knocked out Sporting KC in the past ...
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11Nov/130

Best and Worst from the 1st Leg of the MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Final

The best action from the first leg of the MLS Cup playoffs conference final was highlighted by Real Salt Lake, but what about the worst? Plenty of candidates met the criteria this weekend. Futty Danso had a mental lapse. The Portland Timbers suffered a deja vu result at Rio Tinto Stadium Sunday night. But all that pales in comparison to one forgettable Saturday afternoon.  Read below to find out why.   Best: Real Salt Lake Cruise to Victory Mission accomplished. Real Salt Lake defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2 Sunday night. For the third time this season, the Claret and Cobalt stood victorious after an aesthetic battle with their Northwest rivals. The club is now just 90 minutes from returning to the MLS Cup final. According to the club's official website, head coach Jason Kreis attributes the victory to 75 minutes of consistent play: Bookends, right? The beginning wasn’t good, the end wasn’t good, but the 75 minutes in-between were really good. I credit [Will Johnson] for that fantastic goal. We don’t get goals scored on us like that too often. Our response to that first goal was terrific. Our guys just got better and better as the game wore on and we got back to the things that we ...
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10Nov/130

MLS Cup Playoffs 2013: Examining Players Who Will Dominate in Conference Finals

With just four teams remaining in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs, the matches are getting more important with each passing day. The conference finals feature a pair of excellent matchups that could truly go either way, so it will be up to the star players to step up and play at an elite level. Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers will do battle in the Western Conference Championship, while Sporting Kansas City will take on the Houston Dynamo out east. Many fans are surprised that the likes of the Los Angeles Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls are already out, but that speaks to the talent on the remaining teams. Here is a closer look at three players who will almost certainly rise to the occasion and play to the best of their abilities in the conference finals.   Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake) No player remaining the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs scored more goals during the regular season than Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio. The Costa Rican star was the driving force behind Real Salt Lake's attack all season long, and that should continue in the playoffs. Although Saborio has yet to score in two playoff matches, there is reason ...
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9Nov/130

MLS Cup Playoffs 2013: Updated Schedule and Predictions for Remaining Matchups

We are down to the final four in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs, and the conference championship matchups are set to kick off Saturday and Sunday. The Eastern Conference Championship will pit No. 2 seed Sporting Kansas City up against No. 4 seed Houston Dynamo, while the Western Conference Championship matches the top two seeds, No. 1 Portland Timbers and No. 2 Real Salt Lake. The Dynamo emerged all the way from the early Knockout Round. Leg 1 of the Sporting Kansas City and Houston showdown is Nov. 9 at 2:30 p.m. ET, and Leg 2 is Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Leg 1 of the Western Conference Championship takes place Nov. 10 at 9 p.m. ET, with Leg 2 set to kick off on Nov. 24 at 9 p.m. ET. The MLS Cup final is scheduled for Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. ET. This is the third consecutive year that the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City will meet up in the MLS Cup Playoffs. This budding rivalry will certainly provide soccer fans with an intense two games, even if the top-seeded New York Red Bulls have been eliminated on the Eastern side of the bracket. It is worth noting that the Dynamo ...
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8Nov/130

MLS Cup Playoffs 2013: Key Conference Championship Storylines

The MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Championships are about to begin and will feature some teams that observers expected to make it to this round and some that have been completely unpredictable. Out West, the top-seeded Portland Timbers will take on second-seeded Real Salt Lake, while the fourth-seeded Houston Dynamo will clash with second-seeded Sporting Kansas City in the East. The Western Conference Championship will feature a battle between two of the conference’s most consistently dominant teams. Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference round will be a tight contest between two sides that few could’ve predicted coming into the year.   Relentless Portland Attack The Timbers got a big win over their rivals, the Seattle Sounders, in the Western Conference Semifinal and proved that their offense isn’t to be trifled with. Portland piled up five goals over the course of the series and, while Seattle put up an impressive effort on defense at times, the Timbers were often just too much for them. Players like Donovan Ricketts and Diego Valeri supplied some of the team’s offensive firepower, but it's midfielder Darlington Nagbe that powered the attack in the middle. Nagbe completed 40 of his 44 passes in the second leg of the team’s matchup with Seattle and made some key ...
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8Nov/130

MLS Cup Playoffs 2013: Conference Finals Schedule and Predictions

After Real Salt Lake's upset over the two-time defending champion LA Galaxy, the MLS Cup Conference Finals are set, paving the way for the final matchup next month. The Portland Timbers knocked off their hated rivals, the Seattle Sounders, to win their first-ever MLS Cup Playoff series. In the Eastern Conference, the Houston Dynamo knocked off the New York Red Bulls, while Sporting KC advanced on aggregate over the New England Revolution. It's been a wild playoffs so far, with the Supporters' Shield winner—the Red Bulls—knocked out and the class of the league for so long—the Galaxy—heading home to play golf. There are upstarts in the Conference Finals, and it's made for some really exciting play. Below is a schedule for the rest of the playoffs, and then, we will get into predicting what teams will advance to the MLS Cup.   Eastern Conference Kansas City had a fine regular season, finishing second in the conference and just one point behind the Red Bulls for the Supporters' Shield. It scored 47 goals and allowed a league-low 30 goals. Keeper Jimmy Nielsen, at age 36, has been fantastic. On offense, its led by Claudio Bieler, who has scored 11 goals and notched four assists.  The Dynamo shocked the world with their ...
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8Nov/130

MLS Cup Playoffs: Conference Final Schedule and 5 Things to Watch for This Round

Fatigue and rest will be the story to watch in the conference finals of the MLS Cup playoffs. But an additional four storylines will complete your preview. Only two matchups remain. Both ties scheduled for this round will be dissected from a unique angle to intensify your viewing pleasure. So, what exactly warrants your attention in the coming days? Read on to find out.   Note: Unless otherwise mentioned, credit all statistics to the official MLS Press Box Stats and Standings.Begin Slideshow
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8Nov/130

MLS Playoffs: Real Salt Lake Advances to Western Finals with Gutsy Win

Real Salt Lake came into the home leg of their Western Conference semifinals matchup against the Los Angeles Galaxy needing to overcome a deficit.  In the first leg, the Galaxy had notched a 1-0 victory at home in LA thanks to an absolutely brilliant long strike from defender Sean Franklin. That goal threatened to oust RSL from the playoffs, if they couldn't come up big on Thursday night. To say that RSL did indeed come up big in their 2-0 win over the Galaxy would be a massive understatement. In what was possibly the most inspired and gutsiest performance RSL has had since winning the 2009 MLS Cup on penalty kicks against the Galaxy, Jason Kreis' team dug deep in a tension-filled game that sent RSL on to the Western Conference Finals against Portland. In the first half, RSL was very much in control and had several near misses. In the 35th minute, Sebastian Velasquez finally put the team on the board by heading home a cross from Chris Wingert. Velasquez's goal tied up the aggregate for the series at 1-1.  RSL continued to push in the second half, but a Chris Schuler header hit the crossbar in the 74th minute while an Alvaro Saborio ...
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7Nov/130

5 Things We Learned from MLS Eastern Conference Semifinals

On Wednesday night, the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference semifinals were decided with the Houston Dynamo downing the New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City beating the New England Revolution. Both home-and-away series came down to extra time. The Dynamo beat the Red Bulls 2-1 at Red Bull Arena to take the series on a 4-3 aggregate. Sporting beat the Revolution 3-1 at Sporting Park to also win their series 4-3 on aggregate. Here are five things we learned.Begin Slideshow
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