Breaking down Major League Soccer’s manic playoff push

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Believe it or not folks, tomorrow we enter October.

I know, I know, you haven’t even got you’re Halloween costume picked out or anything… but there are more important things to worry about, because the race to make the MLS playoffs is perhaps the tightest contest we’ve seen in recent years. Maybe ever.

Most teams have four games to play, a few have three, and the entire 34 game season is edging towards an incredible month in October, as 10 teams are fighting for the final four playoff spots in both the Eastern and Western Conferences. The top three sides in each conference have some breathing space, so we will leave New York, Montreal, Sporting KC, Seattle, Real Salt Lake and Portland out of the equation… for now.

(MORE: Max Urruti’s goal, close (correct) call see Portland top LA – Video)

We are not going to make any predictions at the moment, we will simply give you the facts. How many points each teams has, how many games they have left and who they will play. The fact that New England and Columbus square off twice in a row in the last two games of the season, as is the same scenario for Colorado and Vancouver out West, means it will truly be a ‘playoff-esque’ atmosphere as all four teams go for broke to finish fifth.

But now it’s up to you to do the hard bit, and decide who’ll make it to the postseason. With the re-emergence of teams such as Colorado, Philadelphia and Dallas this season, it’ll be a hard one to call. The last day of the regular season is going to be epic, roll on October 27.

Below is how the standings in each conference look right now, as only the top five make the playoffs.

Eastern Conference

4. Houston 44pts (4 games left) – Montreal (H), Sporting KC (H), New York (H), D.C. United (A)

5. Philly 42 (4) – Toronto (H), D.C. United (A), Montreal (A), Sporting KC (H)

6. Columbus 41 (3) – Sporting KC (H), New England (A), New England (H)

7. NE 41 (4) – New York (A), Montreal (A), Columbus (H), Columbus (A)

8. Chicago 40 (4) – D.C. United (A), FC Dallas (A), Toronto (H), New York (A)

Western Conference

4. LA 45pts (4 games left) – Chivas (H), Montreal (H), San Jose (H), Seattle (A)

5. Colorado 45 (4) – Seattle (H), San Jose (A), Vancouver (H), Vancouver (A)

6. San Jose 44 (3) – Colorado (H), LA (A), FC Dallas (H)

7. Vancouver 41 (4) – Portland (H), Seattle (A), Colorado (A), Colorado (H)

8. Dallas 40 (4) – RSL (A), Chicago (H), Seattle (H), San Jose (A)

VIDEO: Pedro scores stunning goal for Chelsea

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Not a bad way to start the Premier League weekend…

12 minutes into the first game of Matchweek 9, Chelsea’s Pedro curled home a stunning effort into the far corner and off the far post after a corner was played short to him.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A simply stunning goal from the Spaniard which you can watch in the video above.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Watford in top five clash

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Chelsea host Watford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as fifth and fourth clash.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea are without a win in three games in all competitions and some pressure is starting to build on the Blues as they’ve fallen further behind the two Manchester clubs atop the PL table.

As for Watford, Marco Silva‘s men are in fourth place and aiming to keep up their impressive away form in the PL this season with three of their four wins coming on the road.

In team news Chelsea’s injuries are piling up with Victor Moses and N'Golo Kante missing but Alvaro Morata does start after recovering from his hamstring injury, while Watford start Troy Deeney up top after his impressive cameo against Arsenal last week.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Courtois; Rudiger, David Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Ampadu, Zappacosta, Musonda, Willian, Batshuayi

Watford: Gomes; Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos; Femenia, Cleverley, Doucoure, Holebas; Pereyra, Deeney, Richarlison. Subs:

Sky Blue’s Sam Kerr named NWSL league MVP for 2017

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CHICAGO (AP) Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr has been named the National Women’s Soccer League’s Most Valuable Player for this season.

Kerr, a standout on the Australian national team, had a league-record 17 goals and became the league’s fifth Golden Boot winner to also be named MVP.

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

She became the first NWSL player to score four goals in a game on Aug. 19 against the Seattle Reign. Kerr rallied Sky Blue from a 3-goal deficit to beat the Reign 5-4.

Kerr’s award was announced Friday. The league had earlier announced the season’s other award winners: North Carolina’s Abby Dahlkemper was named Defender of the Year, teammate Ashley Hatch was named Rookie of the Year, Portland’s Adrianna Franch was named Goalkeeper of the Year and the Thorns’ Mark Parsons was named Coach of the Year.

The Mendy Effect: Pep praises injured back

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Full back Benjamin Mendy cost Pep Guardiola and Manchester City $68 million, but perhaps he’ll be just as valuable as a very expensive sports psychologist.

The “Shark Team” member was amusing on social media even before his ACL injury sent him to the sidelines until at least April, but he’s become a must-follow Twitter fixture with his in-game messages (See some of his work below).

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

City faces Burnley at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

It’s fairly clear his act has translated in private, too, as apparently Mendy is just as good in group messages (Let us in, Pep. We won’t tell anyone). From ManCity.com:

“Usually, players who are out for a long time with injury are sad. They sometimes train apart and feel isolated.

“Mendy decided to be present. He is communicating on social media, WhatsApp and he calls his teammates and messages me. He is going to be so important outside the pitch because people like him make the atmosphere much better.”

It’s not surprising for anyone who’s been following the former Le Havre, Marseille and Monaco man.

Keep in mind, these Tweets below are from the last few days alone!