- Portland claimed the Western Conference regular season championship by throttling Chivas USA down in Southern California, 5-0. Supporters Shield was already out of the question thanks to Kansas City’s win earlier in the day, but the Timbers’ win ensured that Caleb Porter’s team has the best chance in the West of hosting MLS Cup. How’s that for a turnaround?
- Philadelphia was eliminated in the 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City. Anybody remember when the Union was right at the top of the East and Jack McInerney was scoring a goal every time he got out of bed … or so it seemed? What a fall from grace it was for John Hackworth’s young team.
- With Philly out of the playoff picture, four teams (Montreal, Chicago, New England and Houston) remain eligible for the three remaining playoff spots out of the East. Chicago, New England and Houston all control their fate, all able to qualify for the post-season with wins on Sunday. But if one slips up, Montreal is in.
- Sporting Kansas City’s win positioned the club to take Supporters Shield if New York cannot get the job done Sunday; Mike Petke’s Red Bulls need a win to seal the Supporters Shield – which would be the club’s first major trophy in 18 years. (And believe me, I have to keep double checking to make sure that’s really true.)
- Who knows what Montreal’s loss at Toronto (1-0 at a wet and rainy BMO Field) will do for TFC manager Ryan Nelsen, where yet more organizational reshaping may be underway in the coming off-season. But we do know how much it helped the other Eastern Conference playoff pursuers. Read more about that here.
- In Montreal’s loss, Golden Boot pursuer Marco Di Vaio failed to register a goal. That means he and Chicago’s Magee remain level at 20 goals each in a dandy chase for the league’s final scoring leadership. More on that one here. By the way, Magee takes the Fire’s penalty kicks … which gave him a bit of an edge on Di Vaio coming into the weekend, anyway.
- Don’t forget about this: why MLS clubs are fairly desperate to avoid finishing fourth or fifth, why it’s apples-and-oranges better to finish no worse than third.
Given the rivalry surrounding the two megawatt superstars plying their trade in Spain, you may be surprised to learn that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best of friends.
[ MORE: Top USMNT-Mexico rivalry moments ]
At least that’s what this spoof video conveys, as the Real Madrid and Barcelona stars help each other navigate tax season and toilet troubles.
Brilliant stuff, from FootbOle:
You could argue its the biggest match between the U.S. and Mexico outside of the 2002 World Cup’s Round of 16, and there would be few arguments against you.
The United States and Mexico will tangle on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, with the winner advancing to the 2017 Confederations Cup finals in Russia.
It’s only so often that these rivals match up in a “do or die” match. Sure World Cup qualifiers carry critical import, but they don’t always become the decisive moment in the qualifying cycle.
Aside from the aforementioned World Cup match and the first match in the rivalry — see 1934 below — no other match has carried as much international weight as Saturday.
So with anticipation high, let’s dance backward in time to the Yanks’ best moments in the rivalry. And let’s also imagine what would have to happen to put Saturday in the mix.
(Of course, our apologies to Mexican fans. We aren’t including the times you slapped American soccer in the face).
2001, 2005, 2009, 2013 — “Dos a Cero” to the fourth power
There is no more celebrated score line in USMNT history than the 2-0 hurting it put on Mexico in four successive home World Cup qualifiers.
2002 — World Cup Round of 16
Goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan prodded an upset of the world’s then-No. 7 ranked nation, as the USMNT carried a feel of destiny through its best World Cup.
1934 — World Cup qualifier
Aldo Donnelli scored all four goals as the States won the first recorded match against Mexico, and it was a big one. The winner would go on to the 1934 tournament in Italy, while the loser would go on a tour of European friendlies. The States won, and wouldn’t win again until the qualifiers for the 1982 tournament.
2012 — First win at Azteca
It may’ve been a friendly, but Michael Orozco’s finish will go down as the Yanks’ first ever winner in the fortress of Mexico City.
1980 — World Cup qualifier
Though it meant little to the Yanks’ fate in the 1982 tournament — the U.S. finished last in a group with Mexico and Canada — it was the first win over El Tri in 46 years.