MLS Cup Playoffs 2014: Schedule and Predictions for Conference Semifinal Battles

Halfway through the conference semifinals in the MLS Cup Playoffs, it seems like we could be set for a few upsets.Each matchup features a two-legged battle with an aggregate score, which means everyone is still alive after the first set of matches. However, one No. 1 seed is currently facing a two-goal deficit while the other could only draw in the first contest.If these teams do not come back with strong performances in the second leg, fans could be in for a surprise this postseason.Here is a look at what to watch for in each match, with predictions for which teams will battle in the conference finals. Eastern ConferenceAfter a 2-0 defeat at the hands of New York Red Bulls, D.C. United are in serious trouble. The team with the most points in the Eastern Conference could be headed out of the playoffs in the first round.Bradley Wright-Phillips continued his campaign as the top scorer in the league this season, putting himself in rare territory, as Paul Carr of ESPN FC noted:Meanwhile, the two goals in the first match were set up by the legendary Thierry Henry, which impressed Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated:However, it is important to note New York had ...
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MLS All-Star Game 2014: Full Rosters, Starting XI and Predictions

The most interesting exhibition match of the summer will be between the MLS All-Stars and Bayern Munich. Instead of a competition featuring half of the top Major League Soccer players against the others, the league decided to put all of its best players together against a European opponent. While the American contingent has struggled for the most part in these matches, the group continues to fight hard in each matchup. Most importantly, the upcoming competition will feature a number of players who were prevalent at the recent World Cup. The MLS squad will include a bunch of members from Team USA, while Bayern Munich have plenty of athletes from Germany and other teams. This will make the friendly an exciting match to watch no matter who wins. Here is a look at what to watch for in the upcoming battle.   When: Wednesday, August 6 Time: 9:30 p.m. ET Where: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon TV: ESPN2 Live Stream: ESPN3   MLS Top Player to Watch: Clint Dempsey If MLS wants to compete with one of the best teams in the world, it will need a lot of help from a player with tons of international experience. Clint Dempsey has played a big role for the United States national team and has also had ...
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MLS Cup Playoffs 2013: Most Important Player for Each Remaining Club

With only four clubs remaining in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the pressure is on for each side to play its best. In order for that to happen, the teams will need some great performances from key players. Some of the league's biggest stars are no longer in contention for a league championship. Landon Donovan and the L.A. Galaxy have been eliminated, along with Clint Dempsey and the Seattle Sounders. The New York Red Bulls and Thierry Henry are also out after finishing the regular season with the most points. Still, there are plenty of key players remaining around the league. These stars will have a big role in the next few matches, and the one that performs the best could end up raising the trophy at the end of the year.   Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City The strength of Sporting KC is the defense, which led the league with the fewest goals allowed this season. Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler took care of business on the back line and made few mistakes to keep every match low scoring. However, the offense does not run without Graham Zusi. Despite bouncing back and forth to the United States national team, he still managed to total seven assists ...
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Landon Donovan Injury: Updates on USMNT Star’s Ankle, Potential Return Date

United States national team and Los Angeles Galaxy star Landon Donovan will miss some time after suffering a sprained ankle. According to Scott French of, the midfielder has been ruled out of his club's upcoming CONCACAF Champions League match against Isidro Metapan. Donovan injured his ankle in Saturday's match against D.C. United and was removed at halftime. He had this to say about the incident: It was my fault. I gave away a bad ball in midfield and then won it back, but Silva and I got tangled up, he fell on my ankle and it rolled. I couldn't run anymore. I was trying to run and I couldn't run. At that point, you're doing yourself more damage and the team damage. The veteran has only made 17 starts for the Galaxy this season out of a possible 28, but he is second on the team with eight goals and eight assists. He trails only Robbie Keane in each category. Still, the club has certainly suffered without him. They stand in fourth place in the Western Conference with only six matches remaining in the regular season. Clint Dempsey's Seattle Sounders are currently in first place. It will take a strong finishing effort to win a third ...
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MLS All-Stars vs. Roma: Most Impressive Performances in Exhibition Match

The best players in the MLS were no match for a middling Serie A squad, as Roma defeated the MLS All-Stars 3-1 Wednesday. In the match, the Italian club showcased more cohesion, which is not surprising considering the host squad was full of players who had rarely played together, if at all. There was also a great deal of skill from the winners that could not be matched. Still, there were impressive showings from both sides in this one, highlighted by the following players' performances.   Kevin Strootman, Roma After coming over from PSV Eindhoven in Holland, Kevin Strootman is expected to make a big impact for Roma this season. If he plays like he did against the MLS All-Stars, his new club will be very happy. The 23-year-old midfielder needed just four minutes to score the opening goal in the match and was able to make a consistent impact throughout the 90 minutes. He also showcased his passing ability with an assist on a second-half goal. Strootman is generally known for his defensive ability as a sure tackler who can stop opposing attacks, but he proved in this one that he could be a big help on the offensive end as well. As he continues to improve, he ...
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MLS All-Star Game 2013: Favorites to Win MVP in Exhibition Against Roma

The MLS All-Star game is more than just a showcase of talent for the league, it is also a chance to prove it can hang with some of the top clubs in the world. After consecutive losses to Manchester United in the annual event, the best in the country were able to defeat Chelsea by a score of 3-2, with Chris Pontius earning the MVP award. The squad will now try to get a winning streak going with the upcoming match against Roma. While the Serie A club is certainly capable of getting a win, there are a number of MLS players looking to stand out with a strong performance in this one. If the host squad is able to pull out a victory, watch for these players to be named MVP of the match.   Graham Zusi Over the past year, Graham Zusi has been a breakout star for the United States national team. The midfielder has becoming a regular at World Cup qualifying matches and has shown a great ability to set up plays for teammates. That skill has been apparent in MLS play for a while, as he led the league in assists during the 2012 season. With the All-Star game taking place in ...
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MLS Cup 2012: Score, Grades and Highlights from LA Galaxy vs Houston Dynamo

Los Angeles Galaxy won its second MLS Cup in a row with a 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo.Houston had been playing well coming into the game, but it could not compete against the Galaxy and the California crowd.Calen Carr started the scoring for Houston with a goal just before the end of the first half in the 44th minute.He ran past Tommy Meyer and put the ball in the back of the net after an assist from Adam Moffat. The Galaxy then got an equalizer from Omar Gonzalez, as the defender put in a header in the 60th minute. Landon Donovan then put Los Angeles in front with a penalty kick only five minutes later. Although Houston had some chances, it was not able to come out on top. A Robbie Keane penalty kick sealed the win in extra time. Despite the fact that these two sides met in last year's MLS Cup, neither team was expected to be in the league's title match. Houston ended the MLS regular season as the No. 5 team in the Eastern Conference. At 53 points, the club was 10 points behind Kansas City for the division lead.Los Angeles was even further back of San Jose for the ...
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