Photo credit: Seattle Sounders / Facebook

MLS Playoff Picture: It’s now or never with 2 games to go

Leave a comment

By 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, the 12-team field for the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs could be set, with only seeding — home-field advantage and knockout-round byes — left to be determined on the final day of the regular season, next Sunday, when all 10 games will be played at the same time.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

All of this Sunday’s games in the Eastern Conference are schedule to kick off at 3 p.m. ET, with all games in the Western Conference kicking off immediately thereafter, at 5 p.m. ET.

Eastern Conference

Already clinched

New York Red Bulls, New York City FC, Toronto FC

Can clinch this weekend

Montreal Impact — With a win over Toronto, would clinch a playoff place; would also clinch a playoff place with a draw or loss against Toronto, and a New England Revolution draw or loss against Chicago Fire.

D.C. United — With a win over NYCFC, would clinch a playoff place; would also clinch a playoff place with a draw or loss against NYCFC, and a New England draw or loss against Chicago.

Philadelphia Union — With a win over Orlando City SC, and a New England draw or loss against Chicago, would clinch a playoff place; would also clinch a playoff place with a draw against Orlando, and a New England loss against Chicago.

Western Conference

Already clinched

Colorado Rapids — With a win over Portland Timbers, and an FC Dallas loss to Seattle Sounders, would clinch the Supporters’ Shield.

FC Dallas, LA Galaxy

Can clinch this weekend

Seattle Sounders — With a win over FC Dallas, would clinch a playoff place; would also clinch a playoff place with a draw or loss against Dallas, and the same result (or worse) by Portland against Colorado Rapids.

Real Salt Lake — With a win over Sporting Kansas City, would clinch a playoff place; would also clinch a playoff place with a draw or loss against Sporting KC, and the same result (or worse) by Portland against Colorado.

Sporting Kansas City — With a win over Real Salt Lake, and a Portland draw or loss against Colorado, would clinch a playoff place.

Willian “edits” Conte out of FA Cup champions photo

John Walton/PA via AP
Leave a comment

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

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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)

Giuseppe Lami/ANSA via AP
Leave a comment

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.

Matic: Man Utd needs more experience in its squad

AP Photo/Tim Ireland
Leave a comment

Nemanja Matic would like to see a bit more veteran bravery in his Manchester United side.

The title-winning 29-year-old midfielder finished second in the Premier League this season, his first with the Red Devils after a strong run with Chelsea.

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

The Blues beat United in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, and Matic says the answer to winning hardware isn’t in talent as much as it is wisdom.

From the BBC:

“The only team who is better than us this year is Man City,” said Matic. “Obviously, they play amazing football. But we are second and we are in the Champions League next year, which is the most important thing. I think we need some players with some experience to bring some more qualities to our team.”

United loses one veteran cog in Michael Carrick, and both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney have skipped town in the last year.

Who could fit the bill in terms of old hats in current United positions of weakness? Well, a full offseason for Alexis Sanchez will help, and perhaps the rumors of Toby Alderweireld make the most sense of any we’ve seen in recent weeks.