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MLS Three Things: TFC falls again, Guzan red ruins marquee match

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Five MLS matches hit midweek to join the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in bringing a busy Wednesday for soccer in the USA (and Canada).

[ MORE: Other MLS Things — The Archive ]

We are here to talk about three of them.

Brad Guzan deprived us of cool dual litmus tests

Two of the top teams in Major League Soccer met in Atlanta on soccer, and we can’t really tell you which team proved its mettle (Not that anyone’s doubting the quality of either).

That’s because Yohan Croizet played a delightful ball to Khiry Shelton, and Brad Guzan… didn’t… get it… right. Sent off, Sporting KC was able to break through with a pair of second half goals in a 2-0 win.

Shots were still just 18-17 for KC despite the DOGSO red, but playing in Atlanta is no picnic.

Soccer is a funny game

Toronto FC took 24 shots, 10 of them from Sebastian Giovinco, but Seattle took its chances and spun a 2-1 win out of not much in an MLS Cup Final(s) rematch Canada.

Homegrown Sounders 18-year-old Handwalla Bwana scored the winner after Magnus Wolf Eikrem took advantage of overly enthusiastic center back Michael Bradley on the opener (see video below).

TFC’s seven points are seven back of a playoff spot, and Victor Vazquez left the game with injury (Jozy Altidore is already out). Uh oh.

By the way, TFC’s best player this year after Giovinco has unquestionably been Jonathan Osorio, who bagged another goal tonight. The 25-year-old hometown kid is completing better than 90 percent of his passes.

On the flip side, Auro has been a major defensive liability several times this season. Hey, maybe we’ll see a proper 90 (or more) from these two in December.

Kevin Ellis: Golden Boot candidate

In his first 90 professional games, Kevin Ellis scored six goals.

The 26-year-old defender now has two in his last two, and this one is pretty nice.

Chicago needed this win, which pulls it back within sight of the playoffs. Montreal did not need this loss, its seventh of the young season.

Sporting KC signs Vermes to long-term extension

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The one constant at Sporting Kansas City is set to remain at the club into the next decade.

Sporting KC announced it had signed Vermes to a five-year contract extension, keeping the club’s winningest manager and arguably the face of the team in Kansas City through the end of the 2023 season. Vermes is currently the longest-tenured manager in Major League Soccer.

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“This is a great day for Sporting Kansas City,” Sporting Club co-owner Mike Illig said in a statement. “Peter has become one of the most successful managers in the history of Major League Soccer, and we are delighted to extend his contract at the club. This long-term deal shows commitment from the organization and from Peter, who has helped the club accomplish remarkable things on and off the field for the last decade. He has guided the first team to four major championships and seven straight playoff appearances while playing an integral role in the development of the Sporting KC Academy, Swope Park Rangers and world-class facilities such as Children’s Mercy Park, Swope Soccer Village and Pinnacle. His passion, energy and attention to detail make him one of a kind, and we are excited for Peter to lead Sporting KC well into the future.”

Since becoming head coach in 2009, Vermes has overseen the club’s rise from a mediocre team playing in a cavernous NFL stadium to one of the league’s powerhouses. Vermes led Sporting KC to the 2013 MLS Cup title as well as U.S. Open Cup titles in 2012, 2015 and 2017.

Considering the nature of coaching changes in modern-day soccer, this is a big deal, especially for the club to make such a long-term commitment. Vermes has been linked with the U.S. Men’s National Team job in the past and again since Bruce Arena’s resignation, but it appears that Vermes is content to stay in MLS for the foreseeable future.