San Jose Earthquakes v Colorado Rapids

ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

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Portland has a little opening this week in its quest to get off rock bottom, a home date against Chivas USA. But for this week … still on the bottom. Here are Nos. 11-19 in  ProSoccerTalk’s weekly rankings countdown.

(Nos. 1-10 are on deck …so check back)

19. Portland Timbers – About the big managerial change: this thing is not working out very well. You really have to wonder where this team’s mind is? Interim manager Gavin Wilkinson called that weekend collapse down in Dallas (a 5-0 loss) “humiliating.”

18. Colorado Rapids – Goalkeeper Matt Pickens (pictured) just re-upped his deal at DSG Park. Otherwise, not much good to say about a team that has lost five in a row. That’s getting to be pretty disturbing total in a league of abundant parity; Losing streaks that go any further usually mean significant player or coaching upheaval.

17. FC Dallas – Is Lady Luck finally starting to look Dallas’ way? The Texans took advantage of Portland’s malaise, taking the Timbers behind the woodshed in that 5-0 beat-down referenced above. Now comes a home date vs. Los Angeles, which is without its top two players, David Beckham and Landon Donovan – quite convenient for Dallas.

16. Montréal Impact – The Impact’s home record doesn’t look much like something an expansion team could cook up, 6-3-2 after last week’s win over Montreal at Stade Saputo. So cheers to you guys for that. But 1-10-1 road mark: blek! New York comes to visit this week, and it looks like a fun one. Can we get that with a side of Alessandro Nesta, please?

15. Toronto FC – Does wily old MLS hand Paul Mariner know how to work a deal in this league, or what? He swiped Eric Hassli from Vancouver for a Canadian song, and now Danny Koevermans injury (unfortunate as it is) doesn’t look quite so devastating.

14. Chivas USA – Losing to L.A. last week had an extra sting; the Galaxy is ahead of Chivas for the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Robin Fraser’s team is still hanging around, but at this point they probably have a better chance of reeling in Seattle than Los Angeles, where the DPs have all found their groove.

13. Philadelphia Union – The club has won three of its last five, but the latest test was a forgettable loss to the Red Bulls. Now that the All-Star game has come and gone at PPL Park, we can all go back to wondering about Freddy Adu and what his absence last week was all about.

12. New England Revolution – Saer Sene’s goal-scoring has fallen right into Boston’s Back Bay, and who knows if the divers can recover it? The Revs are winless in three matches, and this week’s trip into PPL Park, home to the much improved Union, doesn’t look like the best spot to upend a spiral.

11. Columbus Crew – Following two consecutive losses, the men in yellow surely needed last week’s three points against D.C. United. Dilly Duka was a first-half beast; his ability to stay healthy and remain in the lineup could be the difference in reaching the playoffs or watching the playoffs.

MLS Cup Playoffs: LA Galaxy 3-1 Real Salt Lake (video)

Los Angeles Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme (37) congratulates forward Alan Gordon (9) for scoring against the Real Salt Lake during the first half of a knockout round MLS playoff soccer match in Carson, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
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The game in 100 words (or less): The LA Galaxy are through to the conference semifinals of the MLS Cup Playoffs, where they’ll take on the Colorado Rapids beginning Sunday, for the seventh time in eight years with a 3-1 knockout-round triumph over Real Salt Lake at the StubHub Center on Wednesday. Alan Gordon put the home side ahead inside the first quarter-hour before RSL drew level seven minutes later, but Emmanuel Boateng bagged a quickfire brace to complete a pair of brilliant individual exhibitions of dribbling inside the penalty area. With Steven Gerrard unavailable and Robbie Keane only fit to feature off the bench, Bruce Arena turned to Gordon, who gave way to Keane early in the second half after picking up an injury of his own, to play the fulcrum of the Galaxy attack, and it worked to near-perfection during the opening half-hour. Landon Donovan started the game and played 87 minutes, providing the kind of defensive work rate that’s been missing up and down the flanks of LA all season. Sebastian Lletget put in a near-flawless passing performance while playing deep in midfield. Don’t look now, but those are the Galaxy’s biggest question of 2016, all just about answered as the playoffs begin. I won’t say, “I told you so” if/when they win MLS Cup 2016, but…

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three Four moments that mattered

14′ — Gordon finishes from close range for 1-0 — Landon Donovan -> Giovani dos Santos -> Alan Gordon. Just like Bruce Arena drew it up in preseason midseason last month this week this morning.

21′ — Plata converts from the spot after Morales’ dive — Javier Morales was angling for a penalty from the moment he entered the penalty area. All Emmanuel Boateng had to do was look at him, and Morales was going down.

26′ — Boateng weaves through to make it 2-1 — Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Boateng took advantage of some poor defending, and the Galaxy were back in the lead.

34′ — Boateng cuts inside, blows past his man, makes it 3-1 — There’s playing in top gear, and there’s having an extra gear that you rarely have to use because no one else on the field has it. Boateng falls into the latter category.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Emmanuel Boateng

Goalscorers: Gordon (14′), Plata (21′), Boateng (26′, 34′)

MLS Cup Playoffs: Toronto FC 3-1 Philadelphia Union (video)

Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC
Chris Young/The Associated Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): 10 years later, Toronto FC are MLS Cup Playoffs victors. For eight seasons, the playoffs eluded them altogether. Last year, they were one-and-done in embarrassing fashion at the hands of their local rivals. In 2016, it was  their year — a proclamation we’d heard plenty times before — and so far, they’ve lived up to the hype. Wednesday’s 3-1 home victory over the Philadelphia Union in the knockout round gets the monkey off the Reds’ back, but more importantly, afforded Sebastian Giovinco, who bagged a goal and an assist on the night (his second straight game with such a line), 90 more minutes of game time after missing more than a month through injuries as the regular season wound down. After 270 minutes of action, the Atomic Ant looks sharp as ever, and destined to terrorize New York City FC, whom TFC will face in the conference semifinals, beginning Sunday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three Four moments that mattered

15′ — Atlidore feeds Giovinco for 1-0 — The first playoff goal in TFC’s 10-year history. Poor goalkeeping, ball-watching defending, terrible touches, an overhead cross, and a strike off the crossbar. There’s a lot going on here. Watch it all right here.

49′ — Osorio slams home from the corner for 2-0 — The Union have been bad at defending set pieces all season, so is it at all surprising a set-piece gaffe effectively ended their season? No, it’s not.

73′ — Bedoya puts the loose ball home for 2-1 — Speaking of failing to effectively clear a corner kick, the Union were gifted a lifeline 15 minutes before full-time.

85′ — Altidore puts it out of reach, seals it for TFC — Ken Tribbet did not have the best night a center back has ever seen. His final blunder resulted in Jozy Altidore reclaiming TFC’s two-goal lead, and ending the Union’s 2016 season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Giovinco (15′), Osorio (49′), Bedoya (73′), Altidore (85′)

Men In Blazers podcast: Mourinho’s Chelsea return; Bradley’s 1st point

Men In Blazers
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Rog and Davo break down Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea with Manchester United, another stumble for Manchester City and Bob Bradley’s first Premier League point.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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VIDEO: Altidore, Giovinco combine for TFC’s first-ever playoff goal

Sebastian Giovinco
Chris Young/The Associated Press via AP
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It’s been 10 years in the making, and Toronto FC finally have their first-ever goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

After failing to qualify for the playoffs in each of their first eight seasons, 2015 saw the Reds venture into the postseason for the first time ever, only to be thumped in the knockout round, 3-0, by their 401 derby rival Montreal Impact, of all sides.

This is the year, though, or so we’ve said and been told all season long. While it remains to be seen how deep of a run TFC can muster in 2016, they’ll always have the Jozy Altidore‘s terrible first touch; Altidore’s wayward second and third touches; Altidore’s overhead cross; and Sebastian Giovinco’s strike, all of which you can watch in all its hilarity glory below.

[ MORE: Power rankings — Playoffs edition | MLS Cup predictions ]