La liste des joueurs protégés par l’Impact de Montréal en vue du repêchage d’expansion | List of Protected Players

MONTRÉAL – 16 Novembre, 2019 11:48 heure de l’est

Communiqué:

L’Impact de Montréal a dévoilé samedi la liste de ses 12 joueurs protégés en vue du repêchage d’expansion, qui aura lieu ce mardi 19 novembre à 17:30 HE.

L’Impact a protégé les joueurs suivants:

  • le gardien Clément Diop,
  • les défenseurs Victor Cabrera, Daniel Lovitz et Jukka Raitala,
  • les milieux de terrain Bojan, Lassi Lappalainen, Orji Okwonkwo, Ignacio Piatti, Samuel Piette, Saphir Taïder, Shamit Shome et Ballou Tabla.

Les joueurs membres du programme Génération adidas de la MLS qui n’ont pas gradué à la fin de la saison 2019, de même que les joueurs formés au club faisant partie de l’effectif et âgés de 25 ans et moins, sont exclus du processus, c’est-à-dire Jason Beaulieu, Mathieu Choinière, Clément Bayiha, James Pantemis, Daniel Kinumbe, Karifa Yao et Thomas Meilleur-Giguère.

Joueurs Non-Protégé

Les joueurs suivants peuvent donc être sélectionnés lors du repêchage d’expansion:

  • Zachary Brault-Guillard
  • Omar Browne
  • Evan Bush
  • Rudy Camacho
  • Jorge Corrales
  • Rod Fanni
  • Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Il est disponible au repêchage puisqu’il est un joueur formé au club âgé de 25 ans et plus.)
  • Ken Krolicki
  • Bacary Sagna
  • Amar Sejdic
  • Maximiliano Urruti
  • Jeisson Vargas.

L’Inter Miami CF et Nashville SC, qui amorceront leurs activités en MLS l’an prochain, pourront chacun sélectionner cinq joueurs parmi les joueurs non protégés des autres équipes, excluant les équipes qui ont vu un de leurs joueurs être choisi par le FC Cincinnati l’an dernier, soit D.C. United, les Vancouver Whitecaps FC, le FC Dallas, le Houston Dynamo et les New York Red Bulls.

Notons que les équipes pourront perdre un joueur maximum lors de ce repêchage.


List of protected players by Montreal Impact ahead of MLS expansion draft

The Montreal Impact unveiled on Saturday its list of 12 protected players in preparation for the expansion draft taking place this Tuesday, November 19.

The Impact protected goalkeeper Clément Diop, defenders Victor Cabrera, Daniel Lovitz and Jukka Raitala, as well as midfielders Bojan, Lassi Lappalainen, Orji Okwonkwo, Ignacio Piatti, Samuel Piette, Saphir Taïder, Shamit Shome and Ballou Tabla.

Players who are members of the Generation adidas program who haven’t graduated at the end of the 2019 season, as well as homegrown players part of the roster and aged 25 and under, are not part of the process. Those players are Jason Beaulieu, Mathieu Choinière, Clément Bayiha, James Pantemis, Daniel Kinumbe, Karifa Yao and Thomas Meilleur-Giguère.

Unprotected Players

The following players can be selected during the expansion draft:

  • Zachary Brault-Guillard
  • Omar Browne
  • Evan Bush
  • Rudy Camacho
  • Jorge Corrales
  • Rod Fanni
  • Anthony Jackson-Hamel (available, even though he’s a homegrown player, because he’s aged 25 and over.)
  • Ken Krolicki
  • Bacary Sagna
  • Amar Sejdic
  • Maximiliano Urruti
  • Jeisson Vargas.

Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC, who will both play their inaugural MLS season in 2020, can each pick five players among those who are not protected from other teams, excluding the teams that saw one of their players chosen by Los Angeles FC last year. Those teams are D.C. United, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo and the New York Red Bulls.

Teams can lose only up to one player during the expansion draft.

MLS Offseason Calendar Starts Today

MIAMI, Fla. (November 11, 2019)—

Today marks the beginning of the MLS offseason player movement calendar. 

The action will start with a 55-hour window starting at 1 pm ET today in which teams may sign and trade players.

Other important dates include the MLS Expansion Draft on Nov. 19, which you will be able to watch on MLSsoccer.com and the MLS mobile app, 

Also, the deadline for clubs to exercise options that are contained in some players’ contracts is on November 21.

For players who qualify, the opening of free agency is on November 25. 

You can read more about the rules and procedures surrounding the various drafts, the criteria for qualification and the processes for player movement at the Russo Law and Soccer website. Links are below:

Re-Entry Draft Rules And Procedures

Expansion Draft Rules And Procedures

End-Of-Year Waivers Rules And Procedures

Complete 2019 MLS Offseason Calendar

The complete offseason calendar is outlined below:

Nov. 11, 1:00 PM ET

Trade Window Opens
Following a 10-week roster freeze, MLS clubs may sign and trade players.

Nov. 13, 8:00 PM ET

Trade Window Closes and Blackout Period Begins
Blackout Period begins whereby clubs may no longer sign and/or trade players until conclusion of 2019 Expansion Draft.

Nov. 14

Club Deadline to submit Bona Fide Offers
MLS clubs notify the League Office in writing of players who have been extended a bona fide offer.

Nov. 19, 5:00 PM ET

2019 MLS Expansion Draft
Watch live in the MLS app or on MLSsoccer.com. Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC may select up to five players each from the eligible player list. The list of players eligible for selection in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft will be released on Nov. 16 at 10:00 AM ET:

Expansion Draft Rules And Procedures

Nov. 21, 1:00 PM ET

Club Deadline to Exercise Options
MLS clubs notify the League Office in writing of players whose options they are exercising.

Nov. 25, 3:00 PM ET

End-of-Year Waivers
The End-of-Year Waivers process is conducted in reverse order of 2019 season finish, taking into account postseason performance. Per the Expansion Priority Draft, Nashville SC will have the 25th pick and Inter Miami CF will have the final selection in each round.

Eligible for selection are players who do not meet the minimum requirements for Re-Entry Process or Free Agency. The list of players eligible for the End-of-Year Waivers will be released on Nov. 22: End-Of-Year Waivers Rules And Procedures

Nov. 25, 3:00 PM ET

Free Agency Opens
Clubs may engage with players, other than their own, that are eligible for Free Agency. Free Agency eligible players are out-of-contract and option-declined players who are at least 28 years old and who have completed a minimum of eight service years. The complete list of Free Agents will be released on Nov. 22.

Nov. 26, 3:00 PM ET

2019 MLS Re-Entry Process – Stage 1
The Re-Entry Process, Stage 2 is conducted in the same format as Stage 1 and consists of MLS players who were not selected in the Stage 1. Not all unselected Stage 1 players will be available for selection as players may re-sign with their previous club between stages or may opt out of the process.

The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Process – Stage 1 will be released on Nov. 22: Re-Entry Draft Rules And Procedures

Dec. 3, 3:00 PM ET

2019 MLS Re-Entry Process – Stage 2
The Re-Entry Process is conducted in reverse order of 2019 season finish, taking into account postseason performance. Per the Expansion Priority Draft, Nashville SC will have the 25th pick and Inter Miami CF will have the final selection in each round.

The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Process – Stage 2 will be released on Nov. 3 at 10:00 AM ET: Re-Entry Draft Rules And Procedures

“They play like a team in crisis.”

Former Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger’s Discusses Barça After 0-0 Draw in Champions League.

MIAMI, Fla. (November 7, 2019) —

Arsène Wenger analysed Barcelona for BeIN Sports for the midweek UEFA Champions League match versus Slavia Prague. He maintains that Barça play like a “team in crisis.”

The reigning La Liga champions were stunned on Tuesday night after they were unable to break the deadlock against Slavia Prague and were held to a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou.

“They’re top of the league, they’re top of their group and they play like a team in crisis,” the legendary former Arsenal boss said on beIN Sports.

“Their game is too slow. There is no dynamic in the last 30 meters, it’s too individual.

“And every time they lose the ball, it looks like they will concede a goal on [the] counterattack because they cannot deal with pace against the opponent… the team lacks dynamic, lacks energy, lacks confidence.”

It was the first time since 2012 that Barcelona captain Lionel Messi failed to score in a home Champions League group game. He came close, striking the bar in a superb solo effort.

Wenger agrees with my own opinion that Barcelona are far too reliant on the Argentine superstar. He echoed that in discussing the Culés’ failure to make the breakthrough against Slavia Prague.

“Barcelona is an interesting case because they have a history of fantastic collective play, and on top of that, came Messi to make differences,” the 70-year-old explained.

“Today, it looks like they play and they wait for Messi to do something, but the basic strengths of the team play is a bit gone. And you think, when will Messi get the ball to do something?”

“And before, the music, the basic music, was the fantastic team play, making it difficult to catch the ball, and then on top of that came Messi.

“Today, it looks to me that they lost charisma.”

Wenger continued his brutal assessment of Barca’s performance with a stat comparison for ‘distance covered’ in the match.

Barcelona managed to cover 97 km in comparison to Slavia Prague’s 109 km, with the Frenchman saying it was the equivalent of 84 box-to-box runs.

He added: “Barcelona was beaten tonight really, physically, and then, not enough pace.”

While critical of Barça manager Ernesto Valverde, he was careful not to blame him entirely. “At the end, it’s always the coach who is guilty, he’s not always responsible,” he said. “There’s a difference between being guilty and responsible, you know?”

“As we said, Valverde does not make the decision on who comes in. He has to do the best with what he has.”

“So, what we speak about raises many questions: who has the final word when you buy a player? Secondly, is this really the player that the team needs?”


Source Credit: Sport Bible

Liverpool Set To Sign New Kit Supplier Deal

MIAMI, Fla. (October 29, 2019) —

European Champions Liverpool Football Club are set to sign a new kit supplier agreement with Nike that is reported to be worth £75 million (€84.8 $93.2).

This would match Manchester United’s 10-year deal with adidas and place the Reds among the top 5 clubs in the category of kit supplier deals. FC Barcelona currently has the largest kit supplier agreement at €113.5m with Nike. 

This after the London Commercial Court dismissed New Balance’s complaint for breach of contract in a dispute that centred over “matching rights” contained in the kit supplier agreement between New Balance and Liverpool which expires at the end of this season.

#soccerbusiness #commercial #russo #russosoccer #miami @lfcmiami  @the.liverpool.corner @anfield.times #nikesoccer #supplier


Russo Law and Soccer Briefs offers a quick glance on stories making news in the world of football.

Miami Voters Said ‘YES’– Tell the City Commissioners To Respect Your Vote!

Thursday Oct. 24th, at 6:00 p.m. the City of Miami Commission will meet at City Hall and Miami Freedom Park is once again on the Agenda.

Some Commissioners are determined to destroy the grand vision of Miami Freedom Park, a project which will transform a place that is public on paper but which in reality cannot be enjoyed by most residents of Miami. A project which will provide so much for our community: jobs, a large park, a tech hub, public soccer fields, a home for Inter Miami CF and a place for all to gather.

Some commissioners are trying undermine our 62% majority vote that we City of Miami voters returned last November. They represent the people and should not place their own agenda over the will of our residents.

Voice your support for our Miami Freedom Park! Inter Miami CF needs your support at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall.

Miami City Hall
3500 Pan American Dr,
Miami, FL 33133

DIRECTIONS

CONTACT THE COMMISSIONERS

Inter Miami CF have made it very easy to voice your support for Miami Freedom Park to the Commissioners.

Click the button below to automatically e-mail them and add your voice to the cause! Make sure to share with all your friends & family!


Photos: Inter Miami CF and Miami Freedom Park, LLC

Villarreal – Atlético In Miami ? The Latest

The round 16 game would be the first regular season match of LaLiga Santander to be presented outside of Spain.

MIAMI, Fla. (October 17, 2019) —

LaLiga is continuing its attempts to stage an official league game in the United States by proposing that the Villarreal-Atletico Madrid match scheduled for the weekend of December 7-8 be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

Having previously attempted to arrange a game in Miami last season between Barcelona and Girona, LaLiga seem determined to make the event happen.

Spanish newspaper El Confidencial first reported that an agreement is already in place between LaLiga and both clubs to play the match in Miami, which would be a designated home game for Villarreal:

Tal y como hiciera la temporada pasada, aunque finalmente sin éxito, LaLiga estudia llevarse un partido de Primera División fuera de España, y más concretamente a Estados Unidos. Tras el fiasco del Girona-Barça del curso anterior que tanta polémica suscitó, el presidente de la patronal, Javier Tebas, no ceja en su empeño de expandir “la industria del fútbol español” a otros continentes, especialmente el norteamericano.

Support From Both Clubs

Today, LaLiga Santander confirmed that both Atlético de Madrid and Villarreal have agreed to play their December 6 meeting in the United States. The game is set for Friday, December 6 at 22:00 CET (16:00 EST), but there is also talk of playing the match on Sunday, December 8, 2019, which from the standpoint of ticket sales in Miami makes more sense. They now hope that the Spanish FA, among other governing bodies, consents.

“Atletico Madrid work every season to promote our brand across all continents.”

Miguel Angel Gil, CEO, Atlético de Madrid
Miguel Angel Gil, CEO, Club Atlético de Madrid Photo: RTVE

“A match in the US would allow us to continue working on it,” Gil added. “Additionally, we’d bring Spanish football to fans outside our country. It’d be a great game that would mark the future.”

Villarreal president Fernando Roig joined with the sentiments. “Everything about exporting football and Spanish sport is good for everyone,” he said. “And, of course, for Villarreal. The US is a very important country where we have official club academies. It would be very special for us to play there.”

“It would be positive for everyone.” Fernando Roig, President, Villareal C.F.

The Villareal President went on to say: “I hope this time it comes to fruition. We’re starting to see if Villarreal-Atleti can be played in Miami,” Villarreal president Fernando Roig told El Transistor. “Both us and Atleti have agreed to play in Miami, but I would like this to be a consensual agreement from everyone. I would like there to be a consensual agreement because I think that taking LaLiga abroad would be good for everyone.”

The club also said it would work out a plan to reimburse ticket holders who would not be able to see the game played at the Estadio de la Cerámica, although the precise nature of the reimbursement has not yet been revealed.

Sanctioning Process

The next step in the process to bring the Round 16 match to Hard Rock Stadium is for LaLiga to make a formal application to the Real Federación Espanola de Fútbol (RFEF) which is the licensing body of spanish football. LaLiga intends to file this application today, October 17. The league has also informed the players on both sides prior to announcing the plan. In addition to the RFEF, LaLiga will once again seek the approval of UEFA, and the United States Soccer Federation.

Prior Plan Scrapped

In August 2018, LaLiga announced that it would play at least one match per season overseas as part of a new 15-year partnership with Relevent Sports Group to promote the league in North America. But a proposed game between FC Barcelona and Girona at Hard Rock Stadium for January 2019 was shelved after Barcelona’s board of directors backed out of the match, citing “a lack of consensus” among stakeholders.

While the Barça board cited a lack of consensus, the real reason was that the RFEF, along with UEFA, FIFA and the United States Soccer Federation, had not approved the game.

The fallout from the failure of these bodies to approve last season’s match continues. In September, LaLiga’s North American partner Relevent Sports Group filed an antitrust lawsuit against the USSF (ÜS Soccer”) in the United States District Court For The Southern District of New York, alleging that Us Soccer conspired with global governing body FIFA and Soccer United Marketing, the commercial arm of Major League Soccer, to block official matches from foreign clubs being held in the U.S. There is also a similar lawsuit between LaLiga and the RFEF over the right to stage games overseas.

Economic Benefit To Both Clubs

Both Atlético de Madrid and Villareal CF are looking to increase their presence in the North American market, Atletico Madrid toured the U.S. this summer, including participating in the MLS All-Star Game. Having a regular season match in Miami would be a boost to the marketing of both clubs.

Miami is the leading choice for holding LaLiga games in the United States, given the league is in a fifteen-year agreement with Relevant Sports, which is tied in to the ownership group of Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise. Hard Rock Stadium, originally opened in 1987 and known as Joe Robbie Stadium, has undergone extensive upgrades in recent years, and is perfectly suited to host soccer matches. It even has the look of a modern European football arena. On top of that, Miami traditionally has among the highest support for soccer of any city in North America, given its large percentage of the population with ties to Latin America, and, to a lesser extent, Europe.

Photo: Hard Rock Stadium

Recapítulo En Castellano:

  • El organismo presidido por Javier Tebas cuenta con la aprobación de ambos clubes, que ven la propuesta como una oportunidad histórica. El encuentro se disputaría el domingo 8 de diciembre.
  • Por segundo año consecutivo, LaLiga estudia seriamente la posibilidad de llevarse un partido de la Primera División española a tierras estadounidenses.
  • Javier Tebas no ceja en su empeño de expandir más el mercado del fútbol nacional a otros continentes, especialmente el americano.
  • Ambos clubes implicados están de acuerdo con la iniciativa, asi lo aseguró Fernando Roig, presidente de Villarreal, más tarde en declaraciones al programa ‘El Transistor’ de Onda Cero: “Es bueno para que exportemos LaLiga a un país tan importante. No hay problemas por parte del Atleti. Esperamos que todo siga su curso”.
  • LaLiga presente que el enfrentamiento entre castellonenses y madrileños se juegue en Miami (Florida) en el Hard Rock Stadium, junto a la misma empresa promotora, Relevent.
  • Este pasado martes José Manuel Llaneza, vicepresidente del club amarillo, se reunió en Madrid con miembros de LaLiga para comprobar algunos detalles y dar su visto bueno a la operación.
  • El Villarreal compensará a sus aficionados, los grandes damnificados por esta medida, de alguna manera que todavía no se ha concretado. No se descarta que el club sufrage vuelos chárter para sus socios con la esperanza de que ningún abonado se quede sin disfrutar de un hecho que la junta directiva considera histórico. “Es posible. Estamos estudiando y viendo alternativas diferentes. No habrá problemas”, indicó Roig.
  • En su momento, la Federación (RFEF) se opuso por completo a que los partidos del campenato doméstico se celebraran fuera del país, pero se desconoce qué postura defenderá ahora una vez que ha maniobrado para organizar la próxima edición de la Supercopa de España en Arabia Saudí (del 8 al 12 de enero). Fue en septiembre de 2018 cuando la RFEF presidida por Luis Rubiales rechazó por completo la idea de un partido en Florida, que tampoco convenció a la FIFA ni a la AFE.

MLS Decision Day 2019 – Here’s What Is At Stake

MIAMI, Fla. (October 5, 2019) —

The last day of the MLS season is upon us. It’s called “Decision Day.” For most fans of soccer around the world, that means a final chance for some clubs to survive relegation, or for a club to seal the championship. For MLS, which follows the model of North American sports leagues, the final round of the season is a chance for some clubs to secure a place in the postseason tournament, known as MLS Cup.

For this season, MLS made some changes which definitely gives more emphasis to the regular season and rewards teams for better performances. The post season was revised to a single elimination format which involves single games at the home of the higher seed, rather than two legs that flattened the odds. This means teams are vying to finish high enough in the table to secure a very important home matches in MLS Cup.

All games kickoff Sunday, October 6 at 4 p.m. EDT.

Fixtures For Round 34

What’s at Stake? Here are the main 2019 MLS Decision Day Storylines:

  • In the Eastern Conference, three teams – D.C. United (4th place / 49 points), New York Red Bulls (5th / 48 points) and Toronto FC (6th / 47 points) – will be playing for the final spot available to host a playoff game.
  • In the Western Conference, four teams – Portland Timbers (46 points), FC Dallas (45 points), San Jose Earthquakes (44) and Colorado Rapids (42 points) – are competing for two playoff spots.
  • The Seattle Sounders FC and Minnesota United are tied for second in the table on 53 points. They play each other in Seattle at CenturyLink Field; the winner secures the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference.
  • The Los Angeles Galaxy can assure themselves of having a home game in the playoffs with a win over Houston. Last year, Houston’s win at Carson cost the Galaxy a spot in the playoffs. Zlatan and company are hoping to set the record straight this time.
  • Chasing the Golden Boot Award: LAFC’s Carlos Vela is tied for MLS’s most goals in a season record, set last year by Atlanta’s Josef Martínez, at 31 goals. If Vela scores Sunday, he gets the record. Currently at 29 goals for the season, LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is chasing Vela for 2019 top scorer and the record.

Probing 2019 MLS Decision Day Questions:

Eastern Conference: Should Teams Watch out for the Revolution?

With the Eastern Conference qualifiers already set in stone, Atlanta versus New England looks to be the most interesting match of Round 34 on this side of the league.

Atlanta can lock up the number 2 seed in the East with a win against New England combined with a Philadelphia loss or draw.

Ironically, despite winning a lot of matches in their three-year history, the Five Stripes still have not won on decision day. In 2017, Atlanta drew 2-2 with Toronto FC at home. The following season, they were crushed 4-1 at BMO Field. On Sunday they’ll face a dangerous New England Revolution side that come into Mercedes-Benz Stadium on a high.

New England has been looking like a time on the rise under Bruce Arena, riding some serious momentum. New England clinched the seventh and final playoff spot in the east with a 2-0 win over top-seed New York City FC, a team that recently defeated Atlanta United 4-1 in the Bronx.

Toronto FC currently sit sixth in the table, just one point behind the Red Bulls from New Jersey.

Atlanta United has not done well versus the Reds, while the team from New Jersey has won in Atlanta before. It’s reason enough for Atlanta to want to avoid playing either of these sides right away in the first round of the playoffs.

New England comes into Atlanta with nothing to lose. They are in the playoffs, something that looked impossible until Arena took the helm. The pressure sits squarely on Atlanta United. This is Arena’s first visit to Atlanta with the Revolution. The way he sets up New England today could tell us how he may approach a potential playoff rematch. Expect New England to stay compact and look for the counterattack. Columbus Crew used this trategy in Atlanta on September 14th and came away with a win. Frank de Boer’s team failed to find the necessary attacking solutions, and were subsequently punished in transition. How will De Boer adjust? It should be a study in tactics.  

Western Conference: Can Los Angeles Football Club Finish With The Most Points In History?

LAFC has been the dominant team this season, with only a couple of blips on the radar. They will likely use the final game of the season to remain focused. As the top seed, after this game they will have a first-round bye that will give them two-and-a-half weeks’ rest. With a win, LAFC have a chance to finish with the most points in a single season. Will they do it?

Can Colorado actually sneak in to the playoffs?

The Rapids had been building up momentum for months. After starting the season 0-9-2, they rallied under interim coach Conor Casey toward something resembling respectability. Robin Fraser took over as the Colorado Rapid’s head coach in late August, with his only previous managerial gig having been with Club Deportivo Chivas USA.

“By the end of the first session, I thought that not only were they a good team, that they have a really good spirit, and a lot of belief in themselves,” Fraser said. “That’s when I felt like this could be a really fun project.”

Now, on the last round of the season the Rapids have a chance, though admittedly a slim one, of making the playoffs. Can they do it? To reiterate, despite having started the season winless through 11 games the Rapids are still alive heading into the final round.

If Colorado upsets LAFC — the best team in the league, already owning the Supporters’ Shield and with the top playoff seed already clinched — and Dallas loses to Kansas City and San Jose loses to Portland, the Rapids are in. Even if the ‘Quakes draw with the Timbers, Colorado can still qualify through tiebreakers if they win by two goals or more. This ‘perfect storm’ isn’t exactly likely. LAFC is the top team, Dallas is at home, and Kansas City is playing only for pride. But wouldn’t it be a great story of overcoming odds?

Colorado has been scoring goals. Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio are both in the double digits (13 and 11, respectively), while Andre Shinyashiki and Jonathan Lewis have come on stronger. Fraser wants to inject a possession style of play but joining so far into the season has made that difficult. Yet he’s optîistic.

“I really admire the character of the team. They care about each other, and I think you see that in how they play, adds Fraser.”

No matter what happens on Sunday, that’s something to build on and carry over. And if they can get into the playoffs they will definitely be a team to watch.

Which club, the Portland Timbers or San Jose Earthquakes, will stumble into the playoffs?

Their game at Providence Park in Portland is the only semi-do-or-die matchup on the schedule in Round 34. Despite going a combined 1-7-3 in September, at least one of them will drag themselves into the playoffs on Sunday afternoon. Portland has played its last three games to a draw. Portland can lose this game and still get into the postseason torunament if Dallas also loses. The Earthquakes, who need a win, won the first meeting between the teams, 3-0.

There is a sense that both teams might be approaching unhappy endings.

This could very well be Diego Valeri’s last game as a Timber. Negotiations over a new contract have not gone well, and the two sides have different demands. Valeri has been the face of the Timbers since his arrival in 2013. He’s gone above and beyond — not just on the pitch, but as an ambassador in the community as well. Yet neither side looks likely to budge at the moment. This might be it.

Moving past Valeri’s situation, the Timbers have had a strange and trying year, summed up by Brian Fernandez’s goal drought and red card that has him suspended for this all-important finale.

San Jose sits just below the playoff line on 44 points. But if you had offered them this position at the beginning of the season — win one, final game and you’re in — surely they would have taken it. The club has done much better under head coach Matías Almeyda in his first year with the team, who has imparted an exciting style of play.

San Jose has slumped late, however. They have lost eight out of 10 since early August. Either opponents have figured them out or Almeyda’s physically demanding high press has ground them down. There are also rumours out of Mexico that Club de Fútbol Monterey are looking for a new manager, and, you guessed it, his name is Matías Almeyda.

Almeyda is a bigger name that most people realise, having been successful in his native Argentina and leading Chivas Guadalajara to the CONCACAF Champions League title just last year Earlier this week, he admitted that links with Monterrey and a return to Liga MX made him “happy.” How quickly the sand can shift in the world of soccer.

Is Seattle or Minnesota a real contender?

The victor of the Sounders-Loons game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle will lock up the No. 2 seed in the west, and home-field advantage all the way to the conference final. However, If Real Salt Lake wins in Vancouver and the LA Galaxy win in Houston, whichever side loses the match at CenturyLink Field would drop to fifth.

Seattle seems to feel rightly disappointed by this year’s performance: “I think anytime we don’t compete for the Supporters’ Shield, with the talent that we have, is a fail,” midfielder Cristian Roldan said this week.

“Maybe it’s more of a redemption-type game for us,” goalkeeper Stefan Frei said. “We’ve had so many opportunities to make a statement game, and we’ve squandered quite a few of them. … We’ve been very, very fortunate. Let’s be honest. I think our season has been not the best. It was nice to finally start on top, but the remainder of the year has been a struggle. At some point, we have to make that statement.”

Minnesota has qualified for the playoffs for the first time. Their highlight moment of the season was a 2-0 away win at LAFC, which is also LAFC’s only loss since El Tráfico on July 19th. Carlos Vela was absent that match. But with the MVP favourite reinstated last weekend at Allianz Field, Minnesota still ground out a 1-1 draw. The Loons formula against Los Angeles was to stay compact, give LAFC possession in less dangerous areas, and have a ruthless mentality on the counter.

The Loons are playing with confidence, no matter the opponent.

Who Will Win The Golden Boot?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is second in the goal-scoring race with 29 goals. In fron is Carlos Vela of LAFC, who has 31 goals, a mark which places him in a tie with Atlanta United Josef Martínez for the most goals in a single MLS season. Zlatan had this to say:

“I am trying to score goals every game, that is part of my responsibility, part of what I have to do to help my teammates,” I have 29 goals in 28 games. If I would have the same amount [of] games like the other ones, it would be different. But now I’m chasing someone that has more games than me. If we score we score, we’ll have to see what the end number will be. If there still is a possibility, we’ll try.”

Still, the LA Galaxy star insists the ultimate aim is to achieve team glory.

“I prefer the collective win, when we win that game, that is more important,” he said. “With the collective success the individual success comes with it. If I can do good for my team, with my team, I know I’m doing good. I’m not focusing on the individual bonuses, I always say it’s like a bonus. Without my teammates those things would not be possible. If I win, it’s my team that wins. Whoever wins the Golden Boot has to think it’s not because of him, it’s because of his teammates.”


Credit to The Athletic for providing inspiration and perspective.