MLS Cup final may be spared the truly wet stuff

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CARSON, Calif. – The weather for today’s MLS Cup final  just outside of L.A.?

Let’s go with: “Something less than ideal … but hopefully not awful.”

Not for this time of year, at any rate.

Forecast for this afternoon in Carson, Calif., location of the Galaxy’s Home Depot Center, calls for temperatures in the mid-60 under cloudy skies. The better news is that the forecast pegs rain chances at just 10 percent, which isn’t too bad.

The Dynamo held their day-before practice in the rain yesterday; The Galaxy mostly got away with just dampness and sprinkles for their workout. (It seemed a little surprising that HDC and MLS officials allowed the teams to rehearse inside the stadium; there are, after all, about seven competition-worthy fields surrounding the big bowl on the Cal State Dominguez campus.)

This new MLS format for awarding the final (best record among the pair of finalists) will always make MLS Cup weather a talker and a potentially decisive variable.

What if San Jose had hosted the final, for instance? The Earthquakes did, after all, enter the post-season with the best odds of hosting. Check out the opening words from the forecast for Northern California, where heavy rain has made a mess of things all week: “An ‘atmospheric river’ will bring a flood threat to [northern] California with heavy rain and high winds …”

You never want to see “Atmospheric river” in the forecast for the league’s ultimate decider.

Not that many plenty of performers from both sides aren’t accustomed to dealing with conditions that run the gamut of the crappiness scale. David Beckham played all those years in Manchester. Ditto for Irishman Robbie Keane; there’s rarely a shortage of moisture around any EPL ground.

The men in orange deal with moisture of a different kind most of the year; Houston is among one of the nation’s humidity capitals.

Here’s what the Dynamo players say about the prospect of a match in the wet stuff today, if it comes to that. The Video is courtesy of CSN Houston:

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Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

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EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

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Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

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On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET