Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Jason Hernandez

Highlights and context of Los Angeles Galaxy, Houston Dynamo playoff wins


Safe to say that last night’s events will do nothing to tame one debate that reverberates steadily around Major League Soccer, and has for years: that the regular season should count for more.

The divide is between “traditionalist” who like the way of other lands, where league champion is decided by a single table. You circle the guys on top at year’s end, hand them the trophy and move on.

The MLS way is more in line with American sports, with a playoff system.

And commence the next round of this in long-standing squabble in … 3 … 2 … 1 ….

Because there is a fresh round of evidence here.

Eastern Conference champion Sporting Kansas City squandered chance after chance, and went tumbling out of the playoffs as a result.

(MORE: Going over the waste from Livestrong Sporting Park)

Out West, the San Jose Earthquakes record breaking season came crashing down as the Los Angeles Galaxy finally began playing like the champs we knew last year. Since it’s pretty much the same guys, we can only say, “about time.”

(MORE: Analysis of the Galaxy’s 3-1 win)

But L.A. certainly wasn’t the same earlier this year, as they dug that big Southern California hole. They may well race on toward a second consecutive title, never mind that awful mess they left strewn across March, April and May.

So, while we bite down into the nitty gritty of this one – again – go back and check out the highlights from last night’s pair of elimination contests.

First the Sporting KC demise:



Then the Buck Shaw Stadium ambush. Remember, San Jose did not lose a match previously at their Santa Clara home this year.  From the Supporters Shield winner’s perspective, rotten time for a first, eh?


MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.