Conference semifinal pairings set for MLS Playoffs, who’s your favorite now?

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Following Houston’s 3-0 shellacking of Montreal in the Eastern conference play-in game on Thursday night, the field for the the 2013 MLS Cup Conference semifinals is complete.

These four series are going to be spectacular.

With postseason specialists Houston making it in and the indomitable force of Seattle dispatching Colorado, the heavyweights of MLS will now slug it out as the elite eight must be whittled down to four.

(WATCH: Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers & Houston Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls on NBC Sports Live Extra)

Let’s see who’s left, and who they’re up against, as the conference semifinal action begins this Saturday with the first legs, and the second legs take place a week later.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo

Mike Petke has worked wonders with the Red Bulls in his first season in charge. RBNY have leaned on star duo Theirry Henry and Tim Cahill, who wouldn’t. But they also looked great at the back and can score goals from all over the pitch. They faced Houston three times this season and won all three, with 2-0, 4-1 and 3-0 victories. But after being runners up for the last two years, you just can’t rule out the Dynamo in the postseason, can you?

Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution

On paper SKC wins the series hands down, but Jay Heaps’ plucky Revs side have other ideas. It’s about time Sporting made it to MLS Cup after flattering to deceive in the past few seasons after losing to arch nemesis Houston, Peter Vermes will be revealed his side are not facing the Dynamo. New England could cause a shock here, but I highly doubt it.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders

So, this is happening. The Timbers and Sounders have never meet in the MLS playoffs, but they’ve met plenty of times in the NASL, A-league and USL versions. And the Sounders have won three out of the five games, and two of the three series’ they’ve battled out. Ominous? Seattle looked unconvincing down the stretch and for times against Colorado, but will a Cascadia clash against fierce rials and much favored Portland catapult them into action…

Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy

When RSL won the cup in 2009, they beat LA on penalties. Ever since a burgeoning rivalry between the two franchises has seen spats between Jason Kreis and David Beckham and plenty of other unpleasantness between the two sides. Expect things to boil over, as RSL’s youngsters come up against LA’s old heads and two great coaches in Kreis and Bruce Arena clash out West.

VIDEO: Top Premier League goals – Week 6

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From Fabian Delph‘s curler to Alvaro Morata’s surging run and dink and from Philippe Coutinho‘s perfect free kick to Leroy Sane’s delicate touches.

Boy, did we have some fine strikes in the Premier League in Week 6.

[ LIVE: Stream every Premier League game

Click play on the video above to see the best of the bunch and let us know your favorite in the comments section below.

“What is your favorite?” I hear you cry. Settle down, settle down. I love a good curler which clips off the bar and in so I’m going with Delphy’s goal against Crystal Palace. Sublime.

PHOTO: New USMNT jersey for 2018 World Cup leaked?

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Now, of course, they have to qualify first.

But if Bruce Arena’s men do make the 2018 World Cup in Russia they could be wearing this beauty in the photo below.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

With all leaked jerseys there is a real possibility it could turn out to look completely different but information from Conrad Burry of Sportslogos over the weekend suggested something along these lines.

Take a look at the photo below of the home jersey (the away jersey is said to be “Midnight Navy with a second color of Blue Nebula”) and let us know what you think.

Champions League score picks – Week 2

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The UEFA Champions League group stage kicks off Week 2 on Tuesday, so let’s have some fun and try to predict the scores.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Feel free to join in down in the comments section, as I’m predicting another unbeaten week for all five Premier League teams in action.

[ MORE: Group stage predictions ] 

Below you will find score predictions for all 16 UCL games across the next two days.


Tuesday

Group E
Sevilla 3-1 Maribor
Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool

Group F
Man City 3-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Napoli 3-1 Feyenoord

Group G
Besiktas 0-2 RB Leipzig
Monaco 2-1 FC Porto

Group H
Borussia Dortmund 1-3 Real Madrid
APOEL 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Wednesday

Group A
CSKA Moscow 1-2 Manchester United
Basel 0-2 Benfica

Group B
Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Bayern Munich
Anderlecht 2-1 Celtic

Group C
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Chelsea
Qarabag 1-3 Roma

Group D
Sporting Lisbon 1-3 Barcelona
Juventus 2-1 Olympiacos

Court hearing opens into spectators attacking referees

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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) Witnesses in Uruguay’s capital testified before a judge on Monday about an attack on two referees by spectators at a soccer match.

A male and a female referee were attacked on Saturday during a second division under-19 game between Basanez and Platense.

The next day, the Uruguay Football Association cancelled all organized football as referees protested the violence by refusing to officiate. Officials are expected to meet on Wednesday to decide if they will lift the stoppage.

Witnesses told Judge Julia Staricco it started after a kid threw rocks on the field with encouragement from his father. The female referee’s partner asked the kid to stop, leading to an argument with other spectators who punched and kicked the referees.

An attorney representing the country’s referees union, Fernando de Los Santos, says the officials suffered bruises to their bodies.

“There are several people responsible here: The players, especially who are all young in the under-19 category; their parents, and their families,” de Los Santos said.

“This is not new. We’ve seen this kind of violence in the lower divisions. But this is the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

The Basanez and Platense clubs have issued statements condemning the violence. Basanez also said it fired one of its players who was part of the attack.

The case is being handled by the same local judge who recently charged three people for violent acts during the Penarol-Nacional derby.