Heads up on New York Red Bulls-D.C. United series …

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UPDATE: The conference call is done and the solution’s been announced. As fallout from Hurricane Sandy, D.C. United and New York have swapped home legs of their Eastern Conference semifinal. Saturday’s opener, originally scheduled for Red Bull Arena, will take place at RFK, with New York now hosting Wednesday’s second leg. Steve has more on the implications, below. -rf

According to The Washington Post, officials from the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United will hold an afternoon conference call to discuss this week’s playoff match scheduled for Saturday in Harrison, N.J., one of the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The Red Bulls issued this understandably vague statement yesterday, essentially saying the arena emerged without major damage but that not much else had been decided.

Wednesday, just after 1 p.m. ET, Steven Goff reported in his Soccer Insider blog at The Post that officials would huddle today, and he suggested that a decision would need to be made this afternoon if schedules were to be altered.

The teams could switch game days in their two-leg, home-and-away series, with Saturday’s game being played at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and next week’s contest going to New York.

(MORE: full MLS playoff schedule and post-season explainer)

But that would remove a small, competitive edge that D.C. United earned by virtue of being the higher (No. 2) seed in the East:  If the aggregate score is tied after both matches, a 30-minute extra time will decide the series (followed by penalty kicks if necessary.) If the series venues are reversed, New York would get the home-field advantage in the 30-minute extra time should it come to that.

There are also network TV concerns; Saturday’s match is scheduled for NBC Sports Network.

Suffice to say the choices aren’t easy, because there are a lot of moving pieces – and a lot of them don’t involve a soccer game. What D.C. United president Kevin Payne told Goff:

They were originally told they might not get [electricity] back until Monday, but I would obviously be concerned if the PATH train service isn’t running and you have to think about the emergency service workers and what they are going through right now. Do they really want to now deal with a special event on the weekend where they have to dedicate half of the police force of Harrison to traffic control? It’s a tough situation.” 

MLS Three Things: RBNY beats Atlanta, is a special club right now

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At this point, Jesse Marsch could take the USMNT job, Tyler Adams could bolt for the Bundesliga, and we’d still have to select the New York Red Bulls to finish with a home playoff game.

[ MORE: Willian’s shot at Conte ]

That’s how well run RBNY is these days, which is to take nothing away from their coach and 19-year-old star, but considering they navigated a solid CONCACAF Champions League run en route to this start… well…. wow.

On a night when Luis Robles’ ironman streak ended, Kaku recorded two assists, and Ezequiel Barco bagged his second goal in three matches, they don’t even meet the requirements of our three things.

Form giants deliver more goals

Marsch’s men have been shutout once this season, and most multiple goals in four-consecutive wins. Three of those four wins have come on the road, at LA, Colorado, and now Atlanta.

RBNY has the best points-per-game in Major League Soccer, has scored the joint-most goals despite playing in the second-fewest games, and is allowing barely more than a goal-a-game.

Bet against ’em. We dare ya.

BWP delivers the goods

RBNY’s 33-year-old English star scored twice and won a penalty that Daniel Royer converted as he continued his assault on all future Red Bulls’ hopes of becoming the club’s leading scorer.

Bradley Wright-Phillips has almost 50 more goals than his nearest competitor, Juan Pablo Angel, and he makes headers look like child’s play.

Victory comes with a price

Kemar Lawrence was lost with a scary-looking face-plant on a clearance, and needed to be stretchered off the pitch. Hopefully it’s not long-term for the Jamaican back.

Willian “edits” Conte out of FA Cup champions photo

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Willian is not a fan of Antonio Conte.

Come to another conclusion if you like, but it’s hard to argue the Brazilian wizard’s feelings following his Instagram post after Chelsea beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: Matic wants squad changes at Man Utd ]

Willian covered his manager in trophies following the win, and it’d be a stretch to call that a tribute to the Italian’s tactical brilliance.

The player recorded seven goals and six assists despite playing less than all but 12 Chelsea players in league play (12th place Alvaro Morata had 11 and 6).

We’re accepting alternative explanations for the since-deleted Instagram photo below:

Elis scores twice as Dynamo beat Fire 3-2

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) Alberth Elis scored two second-half goals to help the Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Sunday for their first road win of the season.

Elis, on a one-on-one breakaway, cut back to evade defender Johan Kappelhof and ripped a right-footer from the center of the box into the back of the net to give Houston (4-3-3) a 3-2 lead in the 74th minute.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Dynamo’s Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the fourth, running onto a long through ball from Tomas Martinez and rolling the finish past sliding goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. Nemanja Nikolic tied it in the 14th minute and then fed Diego Campos for a goal about two minutes later. Elis converted from the spot to make it 2-2 early in the second half after Mauro Manotas drew a foul in the area conceded by Sanchez.

Chicago (3-6-2) has lost three of its last four games.

 

Inter Milan back in the Champions League after late heroics (video)

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It’s been more than a half-decade since Inter Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League, an infamous run that ended on Sunday.

Inter scored twice in the final 13 minutes to beat fifth-place Lazio and advance into the Top Four via head-to-head record.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

Lazio held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but could not get the job done at home, collecting red cards in the 79th minute and stoppage time.

Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino scored his third goal of the season, redirecting a corner kick home in the 81st minute, as Inter clinched fourth place in Serie A.