MLS Team of the Week: Altidore and Valdez Dazzle in Postseason

The home teams were thoroughly dominant during the opening two rounds of the Major League Soccer postseason.  Three of the four home sides advanced out of the knockout round by a combined score of 9-6. Only the Montreal Impact were able to pull out a result on the road.  The results were even more lopsided on Sunday as Montreal, LA, Toronto and Seattle outscored their opponents 7-0 on home soil in the first leg of the conference semi-finals.  Seattle, led by unexpected hero Nelson Valdez, came closest to securing a spot in the next round, as they defeated FC Dallas 3-0 at CenturyLink Field.  We considered performances from both the knockout round and first leg of the conference semi-final round for our MLS Team of the Week. Continue reading to see who fit into our best XI from the first week of the MLS play-offs. Begin Slideshow
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Previewing the 1st Leg of the MLS Conference Semifinals

The conference semifinal stage of the MLS Cup Playoffs begins on Sunday with four first-leg contests between the eight remaining sides in the competition.  New York Red Bulls and New York City FC will head to Canada to face Montreal Impact and Toronto FC respectively in the Eastern Conference.  FC Dallas visit the Seattle Sounders and the L.A. Galaxy host the Colorado Rapids in the two Western Conference showdowns on Sunday.  Below we took a look at each of the individual matchups and what each team needs to do to take an upper hand into the second leg.        New York Red Bulls at Montreal Impact  Plenty of people will point to the other Eastern Conference semifinal as the one with the most attacking firepower, but the matchup between the Red Bulls and Impact carries three of the front-runners for the Most Valuable Player award.  Bradley Wright-Phillips earned his second MLS Golden Boot in three years with 24 regular-season goals, while teammate Sacha Kljestan led the league in assists, with 19.  The pair of Red Bulls playmakers are surrounded by plenty of experience with Dax McCarty, Felipe and Mike Grella a part of the midfield setup. Academy product Alex Muyl may be the most impressive player ...
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MLS Player Rankings: Golden Boot Winner BWP Ends Regular Season on Top

In a league in which parity and competition reign supreme, one player has been able to dominate the headlines since the middle of the summer.  Bradley Wright-Phillips of the New York Red Bulls won his second Golden Boot in three years behind one of the best scoring runs in league history.  The scorer of 24 goals is once again the top man in our Bleacher Report MLS Player Rankings. The Englishman faced stiff competition from David Villa, Jozy Altidore, Ignacio Piatti and teammate Sacha Kljestan for the top spot, but none of them could keep up with him every week.  Our player rankings take into account the last four performances from a specific player, with the most recent one holding more value. Continue reading to see who landed where beneath Wright-Phillips in the final Bleacher Report MLS Player Rankings of the regular season.Begin Slideshow
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MLS Cup Playoffs 2016: Dates, Schedule, Odds, Bracket and Live-Stream Info

There will be a new MLS Cup winner in 2016. Both the Portland Timbers—the reigning champions—and 2015 runners-up Columbus Crew SC failed to qualify for the playoffs, marking the first time in MLS history that neither finalist has made it to the postseason, per Alicia Rodriguez of the league's official website. FC Dallas, the Colorado Rapids, the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC have already booked places in their respective conference semi-finals. They are waiting for the winners of Wednesday's and Thursday's fixtures. The LA Galaxy are the favourites for their match against Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, DC United don't expect to be troubled by the Montreal Impact in the Eastern Conference.   Here are the schedule and streaming details:   2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Schedule Date Time Conference Match TV Live Stream Wednesday, Oct. 26 7:30 p.m. ET (12:30 a.m. BST) East Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union ESPN 2, UniMas, TSN 2/Sky Sports 2 WatchESPN Wednesday, Oct. 26 10:30 p.m. ET (3:30 a.m. BST) West LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake UniMas/Sky Sports 2 MLS Live Thursday, Oct. 27 7:30 p.m. ET (12:30 a.m. BST) East DC United vs. Montreal Impact UniMas, RDS2/Sky Sports 3 MLS Live Thursday, Oct. 27 10 p.m. ET (3 a.m. BST) West Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC Fox Sports 1, UniMas/Sky Sports 3 Fox Sports Go Here are the live-stream links: MLS Live, WatchESPN, Fox Sports Go. For the full ...
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MLS Team of the Week: Kaka, Molino, Giovinco Impress on Decision Day

The final day of the Major League Soccer regular season was supposed to hand us 90 minutes of drama-filled action with playoff berths on the line.  However, instead of the final playoff positions being determined late on, they were sealed long before the final whistle thanks to a few spoilers.  The Vancouver Whitecaps were the biggest spoiler on Sunday as they trounced Portland. Two of the other impressive showings on Decision Day came out of eliminated sides Orlando City and New England.  Due to the offensive outburst on Decision Day, we aligned our team selection in a 3-4-3 formation. Continue reading to see who was named to the season's final Bleacher Report MLS Team of the Week.Begin Slideshow
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D.C. United Emerging as Dark-Horse MLS Cup Contender as Regular Season Ends

When you start compiling a shortlist of MLS Cup contenders, the teams that easily come to mind are FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls, who lead the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively. Maybe you're drawn to the Colorado Rapids' worst-to-first story and the club's grind-it-out defensive mindset. Some will talk about star-studded Toronto FC and a second-year New York City FC club led by David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard.  You can't count out Bruce Arena and the LA Galaxy either anytime the postseason rolls around, especially with the star power they can trot out on to the pitch any given week combined with the former United States head coach's managerial genius. But there's one other team you should add to the mix among the perennial favorites and top teams from the 2016 regular season.  They definitely aren't the sexy pick to be crowned champions on December 10, but D.C. United are a team to look at as a serious MLS Cup contender.  Under the guidance of manager Ben Olsen, D.C. have put together a six-game unbeaten run and have lost just once since July 31.  The Black and Red were left for dead along with the Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire, who ...
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MLS Player Rankings: BWP Remains on Top, Piatti, Mullins Surge Up List

As the best teams in Major League Soccer jockey for position in the standings, the league's best players are all trying to knock Bradley Wright-Phillips from the top spot in the Bleacher Report MLS Player Rankings.  Despite the efforts of many, Wright-Phillips kept his No. 1 spot for another week after a splendid performance at Red Bull Arena on Sunday. Beneath the New York Red Bulls striker is a group of forwards rounding into form at the right time, an unexpected new addition to the top 10 and plenty of D.C. United talent thanks to the Black and Red's recent form.  Our player rankings take into account the last four performances from a certain player, with the most recent one holding the most stock.  Continue reading to see who else was named to the Week 33 edition of the Bleacher Report MLS Player Rankings. Begin Slideshow
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MLS Team of the Week: Piatti, BWP, Accam Impress in Week 33

The penultimate weekend of the Major League Soccer regular season didn't produce too much in terms of drama, but it did set the stage for what should be a thrilling Decision Day on Sunday.  Two of the remaining playoff positions in the Eastern Conference were secured by D.C. and Montreal during the first round of matches on Sunday. New England failed to capitalize on a Philadelphia loss as it fell to Chicago. The quintet of Western Conference matches that followed left us wanting more as only five goals were scored, three of which came out of Dallas and Seattle.  Although the overall play across the league wasn't spectacular, there were some individuals who shined as their teams locked up spots in the postseason.  Continue reading to see which 11 players were selected for the Week 33 MLS Team of the Week. Begin Slideshow
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Resurgent Seattle Sounders Benefiting from New Mentality Under Interim Boss

Rock bottom for the Seattle Sounders came at the end of July.  Two days after their miserable performance against Sporting Kansas City on July 24 resulted in a 3-0 loss, the Sounders parted ways with longtime boss Sigi Schmid, who led the club to four U.S. Open Cups and the 2014 Supporters' Shield.  “Initially it’s tough," Sounders defender Chad Marshall told Bleacher Report in a phone conversation. "Sigi was a huge part of this club. He was the only head coach they had since coming into MLS. He was a big part of the success and won a bunch of trophies. It was sad to see him go. I know how much he cared for the club and wanted us to do well."  Since Schmid left the club and Brian Schmetzer took over as interim boss, the Sounders have won seven, drawn four and lost just one match to move into fourth place in the Western Conference. Schmetzer, who was an assistant under Schmid, brought a new approach to training that motivated everyone from the start. "When Schmetzer took over, he instilled his philosophies and how he wanted things to work," Marshall said. "Training instantly became more demanding, more physical, and I think that’s ...
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Colorado Rapids on Accelerated Path Toward Winning Trophies in 2016

The path to achieve a string of advantageous goals was set out during the preseason by the Colorado Rapids. They just didn't think they'd travel down that path so fast in only one season.  After finishing with the worst record in Major League Soccer's Western Conference a year ago, the Rapids have the inside track to win the Supporters' Shield, which is awarded to the team with the most regular-season points.  “We set very tangible goals, clear goals as a group, and had a pathway and process in which we’re going to achieve those things," Colorado manager Pablo Mastroeni told Bleacher Report in a phone conversation. "I think when you clearly define what you want to achieve, the road you want to take to get there and what it’s going to take to get there, I think things become a little bit more achievable because they’re always in sight," Mastroeni continued.  "Looking back, if you would’ve said we’d be in this place, I would say that’s where we want to go, but I think you’d still go, 'Wow, that’s quite an achievement,'" Mastroeni said.  The Rapids enter Thursday's match with the San Jose Earthquakes two points back of Western Conference leaders FC Dallas, but the clash at ...
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