Felipe Martins

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MLS Deadline Day sees Saints winger move to RBNY

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We’ve had loads of moves on Deadline Day in Major League Soccer involving teams like Southampton, Barcelona, and Stoke City amongst others.

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The Red Bulls have added Southampton’s Josh Sims on a short-term loan deal as a Young Designated Player.

It’s a little surprising we don’t see more of this from the Premier League to Major League Soccer, and Sims will hang out at Red Bull Arena before returning to Saints by New Year’s Day.

Sims, 22, plays right and left wing, and chipped in three assists in a half-season loan to Reading last season. He also played 208 Premier League minutes, picking up an assist, and has 27 first team appearances for Saints.

Montreal is turning to a familiar face in taking 20-year-old academy product Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla on loan from Barcelona.

The twice-capped Canadian international has three goals and two assists for Montreal before moving to the Camp Nou, where he’s been a fixture for Barcelona B, where Ballou has posted three goals and two assists as well.

Ballou may pair with Bojan, as the ex-Barcelona and Stoke City striker has also moved to Montreal.

The Houston Dynamo have acquired a seldom-used player with a good league track record in the form of Christian Ramirez.

It’s all about the GAM and TAM going back to LAFC, who have Adama Diomande and plenty of depth in attack. Then again, Houston’s got some spice, too.

DC United has added three players, the most prominent being former Galaxy and Crew striker Ola Kamara.

The Norwegian will buttress Wayne Rooney‘s game before taking the starring wheel from him after the season (Mesut Ozil has also been linked with a move to DC).

DC also acquired Felipe Martins from Vancouver and Emmanuel Boateng from the Galaxy.

The Vancouver Whitecaps had a very lively postseason media day

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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You know what sounds terrible? Being a part of the 2018 Vancouver Whitecaps.

Aside from Alphonso Davies’ sale to Bayern Munich, the ‘Caps struggled to keep any semblance of momentum all season and saw their poor campaign cost longtime coach Carl Robinson his job.

[ MORE: MLS Playoff Preview ]

“Robbo” must’ve been smirking a little today, as the Whitecaps had a post-season press conference for the ages. It included tears, a captain asking out (again), and some pretty damning complaints.

Take this one, from 24-times capped New Zealand international and starting goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.

Cue the “This is fine” meme.

Vancouver fired Robinson with five matches left in the season and playoff hopes still alive. They promptly took four points out of the next 12 and were eliminated before winning on the Decision Day and finishing two points back of sixth.

Captain Kendall Waston wasn’t happy with the move then, and spoke out more forcefully on Tuesday. Waston said he “doesn’t like two-faced people” and expects a transfer. Vancouver says he won’t be sold for less than market value.

Felipe Martins was in tears as he recapped a rough personal season that included his father-in-law dying, a loss of a family dog, and further unnamed family issues.

And Efrain Juarez was not pleased with his teammates speaking out in public.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-2 NY Red Bulls

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The games in 100 words (or less): Aside from the opening 10 minutes, New York Red Bulls dominated up and down the field, peppering Joe Bednik and easing to a 2-0 win on the road. Connor Lade became the unlikeliest of scorers, and Felipe finished it off smoothly with a free-kick. Once they took the lead, the visitors defended well under pressure. RBNY moved into third in the East with the win, ending a skid, their first win in nearly a month.

Three moments that mattered

32′ – What…just…happened? A lofted ball across the box came to Mike Grella, who ripped a first-time volley. The ball slammed into a diving Seb Hines, and the referee pointed to the spot for a handball. Hines’ went full-stretch into the block, and it appeared the ball hit his outstretched arms. However, after conferring with the assistants, the referee changed his decision, giving a corner kick and leaving New York players and coaches flabbergasted. It appears the officials decided the ball came off Hines’ face instead of his arms, something which replays confirmed.

37′ – Five minutes after the controversy, the Red Bulls took their lead with authority. A Red Bulls corner popped out to the top of the box, and Connor Lade charged it down overtop the sliding challenge of Cristian Higuita, ripping the ball into the upper corner for a 1-0 lead and Lade’s first MLS goal.

59′ – RBNY put the game away with a beautiful set-piece. Brek Shea brought down Felipe right outside the box, and set the visitors up. With Felipe behind the free-kick and Dax McCarty standing in front to shield it, the former curled it through the wall and into the back of the net.

75′ – The visitors needed one big save from Luis Robles to seal the victory. Cyle Larin came off the bench with Orlando City down two, and he almost brought the home side back in it. With a perfect feed from Kevin Molino, Larin was free, but he took a bit too long to pull the trigger, and Robles closed him down enough to save the eventual shot.

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Man of the match: Felipe Martins

Goalscorers: Connor Lade (37′), Felipe (59′)

MLS preview: MLS Cup places to be booked on Sunday

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The last team to overcome a two-goal deficit in the second leg of a two-leg MLS Cup Playoffs tie was the 2004 Kansas City Wizards. On Sunday, two conference finals favorites — higher seeds, at least — will take their shot at rewriting the above piece of history in their bids to qualify for MLS Cup 2015.

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The New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas, each the top seed in their respective conference and one-two finishers, respectively, for the Supporters’ Shield, have 90 minutes to overcome two very difference two-goal deficits against the Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew SC.

Note: A player who accumulates his second yellow card (of the MLS Cup Playoffs) in the second leg of the Conference Championship series IS ELIGIBLE to play in MLS Cup, as playoff yellow card accumulation resets following the Conference Championships. (A red card, whether a straight red or two yellows, in the second leg still equals a suspension for MLS Cup.)

FC Dallas 1-3 Portland Timbers — 5 p.m. ET, ESPN

While history isn’t on the side of teams attempting to come back from two goals down in the second leg, FCD have one thing going for them: an away from the first leg — of course, they would have been better served to have not given away a third goal in the game’s dying minutes and headed home slight favorites with an away goal and a one-goal deficit. As things stand, though, 2-0 puts FCD through to MLS Cup — which they would host against Columbus Crew SC and play away to New York Red Bulls.

A big problem for FCD in the first leg was how much time Portland’s full backs, Alvas Powell and Jorge Villafana, spent overlapping into FCD’s defensive half. Because of this, FCD’s rabid wingers, most notably Fabian Castillo, were limited in their effect on the counter after being forced to drop so deep to defend. With Portland defending a two-goal lead on Sunday, look for Powell and Villafana to sit back quite a bit more, thus putting the keys to FCD’s season into the hands of Castillo and Mauro Diaz. The great thing about Diaz, if you’re an FCD supporter, is that he’s brilliant enough to singlehandedly pick teams apart whether they’re stretched all over the field or bunkered deep.

Regular season: POR 3-1 FCD (4/4); FCD 4-1 POR (7/25)
Injuries: FCD — OUT: Rolando Escobar (facial fracture) | POR — OUT: Ben Zemanski (knee)

New York Red Bulls 0-2 Columbus Crew SC — 7:30 p.m. ET, FS1

If FCD are standing on tenuous ground, the New York Red Bulls are running on quicksand. No away goal in the first leg, coupled with Kei Kamara‘s late goal to make it 2-0, means anything but a perfect performance on Sunday, and they’re out. 2-0 send the series to extra time, but here’s where it gets supremely tricky for the Red Bulls: a single Crew SC goal in the second leg means RBNY need four goals to advance. That would seem quite unlikely.

For the entirety of the 2015 season, RBNY’s greatest strength was their spine: Matt Miazga and Damien Perrinelle at center back, and Dax McCarty, Felipe Martins and Sacha Kljestan in midfield. In the first leg, the midfield trio had its worst game of the season — completely overwhelmed with pressure and unable to press high themselves — which put the center of defense — already down Perrinelle to a season-ending knee injury — under tons of pressure. From the moment Justin Meram hit the back of the net, eight seconds into the game, RBNY’s entire gameplan was out the window — they were forced to chase a goal they didn’t really want, and in turn gave up a second late on. They’ll need to start better in the second leg, set their high line of pressing much more quickly when turning the ball over, and attack the wings to limit the attacking impact of full backs Harrison Afful and Waylon Francis, who absolutely destroyed them in the first leg.

Regular season: CLB 1-2 RBNY (3/28); CLB 2-1 RBNY (7/4); RBNY 2-1 CLB (10/3)
Injuries: RBNY — OUT: Damien Perrinelle (knee), Chris Duval (broken leg) | CLB — OUT: Kristinn Steindorsson (knee)

VIDEO: Felipe’s stunner helps New York Red Bulls clinch playoff berth

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Felipe Martins, take a bow.

The New York Red Bulls became the first team to clinch its place in the 2015 Major League Soccer postseason on Sunday as Jesse Marsch’s side beat the Portland Timbers 2-0 at Providence Park.

[ MORE: Van Gaal says United “can challenge for title” ]

Martins, 24, has now scored three goals and added five assists in his first season at Red Bull Arena following three seasons at the Montreal Impact. His play in midfield for RBNY has won plenty of plaudits and his goal in Oregon may well turn out to be one of the goals of the 2015 MLS season.

Take a look at the video above to see the diminutive Brazilian midfielder spank his effort in from all of 40-yards just before half time to stun the Timbers Army into silence and set the Red Bulls on their way to a big road win.

[ MORE: Mourinho has another dig at Wenger ]

With the victory, Marsch’s side sit top of the Eastern Conference standings with 48 points from 28 games and have played two games less than each of the three teams directly below them. With six games to go they are also level on points with the Western Conference leaders, the Vancouver Whitecaps, as New York aims to seal its second MLS Supporters’ Shield in three seasons.

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