Pay special attention to this while examining the on-going playoff race, especially as it concerns the tightly packed East:
Clubs and supporters have recognized all year that a new playoff format made a top-three finish highly preferable to a fourth- or fifth-place finish. Those bottom finishers among the five play an extra match – or as my NBC colleague Brian Dunseth put it the other night during the important Eastern Conference contest in Kansas City, “It puts one more match between you and MLS Cup.”
So the math is pretty simple: the higher finish the better, clearly – but be sure to avoid those last two spots at all costs.
Well, allow me to throw one more wrinkle in this playoff crinkle: Finishing fourth is highly preferable to finishing fifth.
Why? If your club is forced to deal with that mid-week, winner-take-all one-gamer, the new “wildcard” playoff match in each conference, far, far better to host than to travel. (The fourth place side hosts the match.)
(MORE: Who has the easiest schedule remaining in the East?)
The regular season concludes with three matches on Sunday, Oct. 28. Wild-card matches (4th place vs. 5th place) will be played on the following Wednesday (Oct. 31) or Thursday (Nov. 1).
The conference semifinal first leg matches will begin that Saturday (Nov. 3) or and that Sunday (Nov. 4).
So, consider that as you look at he current Eastern Conference standings:
Crystal Palace may have a new home in the next few years.
That’s according to reports out of English, which state that Crystal Palace owner Steve Parish is set to make a major stadium announcement before Christmas.
Crystal Palace’s home stadium, Selhurst Park, is nearly 100 years old, and the club has looked over the last few years at either new locations for a stadium in South London or ways to renovate the current ground.
“When I came into this thing, the aim was to bring something for all of us to be proud of on the pitch and very importantly off the pitch,” Parish told the Croydon Advertiser. “We want to give everybody in Croydon a south London stadium that we can all be proud of and not lose our atmosphere and uniqueness.
“That’s a dream for me, a lifelong dream and one that hopefully everybody will share when they see what we’ve put together. It’s fantastically exciting times for us to look forward to.”
Unlike in America, where many sports owners demand a new stadium every 20-25 years or so, in England, there are many stadiums still in use across the Football League and Premier League that were initially built in the 1800s.
It’s unclear who would pay for a new Crystal Palace stadium, what it would look like and how many seats it would hold, but perhaps a new stadium and facility could help
There’s never been more on the line in the latest Trilliam Cup matchup.
For the first time, Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew will meet in the MLS Cup playoffs, kicking off at 8:00 p.m., with both teams taking different paths to the Eastern Conference finals.
Toronto FC battled the New York Red Bulls to win on away goals, after a 2-1 win in Red Bull Arena in the first leg, but tempers flared and the Supporters Shield winners will be without both Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore on Tuesday night. The Crew meanwhile survived an incredible 120 minutes at Atlanta United to win in a shootout, and then carried that momentum into a 4-3 aggregate victory over New York City FC.
[FOLLOW: MLS Conference Finals Play-by-Play]
Now, with the Crew’s status in Columbus still up in the air, Crew fans have one chance to pack MAPFRE Stadium to support their team and prove to the league they can support an MLS franchise.
Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the upstart Houston Dynamo host a sold-out crowd as the defending MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders visit, with kickoff set for 9:30 p.m.
The Dynamo stunned the injury-riddled Portland Timbers in the last round and the Dynamo has lost just once at home in MLS action this calendar year. On the other side, the Sounders are getting a major boost, with Osvaldo Alonso and Jordan Morris close to returning, either in this game or next week, and Clint Dempsey remains fit and raring to go back in his home state.
Follow all the action from tonight’s MLS Cup playoff matchups.
On it’s face, Los Angeles FC signing an Egyptian international may be strange.
But when you think about who’s calling the shots, it makes all the sense in the world.
LAFC coach Bob Bradley brought in a former player of his from his time with the Pharoahs, as Omar Gaber became the latest player to join the new MLS club. Gaber comes from FC Basel on a season-long loan. The 25-year-old right back has played just once for Basel in the 2017-2018 season in the league, finding himself on the outside looking in and looking for a new place to prove his fitness ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
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“I loved working with all the Egyptian players, and had a great opportunity to get to know Omar during that time,” Bradley said in a statement. “He’s always been admired by teammates and fans for his all-around contributions and willingness to give everything on the field. I am proud to welcome Omar Gaber to LAFC.”
Gaber is the fifth signing this offseason for LAFC.
Romelu Lukaku doesn’t have to worry about having to serve time in a Beverly Hills, Calif. jail cell.
After being issued a citation this past July for multiple noise complaints at a residence, on Tuesday a Los Angeles court ordered that Lukaku pay $450 to the Beverly Hills Police Department to reimburse them for multiple responses to the residence. The decision by the court reduces the Manchester United striker’s offense from a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum of six months in jail, to a charge of disturbing the peace.
“They are reaching a disposition in this case that the first thing that must happen is the defendant must pay Beverly Hills Police Department $450 for multiple response calls.,” Jane Godfrey, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner said.
Of course, it was unlikely that Lukaku would ever face jail time for his offenses, but perhaps now with this out of the way, he can get back to doing what he does best; scoring goals.