Man oh man, was that a crucial goal Osvaldo Alonso picked up in the 90'? Even as it is, the Sounders go into the second leg in the worst position of any of the remaining playoff sides. All other trailing sides bring the series home with a chance to come back in front of their home crowds. Seattle has to do it on the road (albeit with the shortest travel distance of the bunch).
The first series involved another set of American Football lines, as the New England Revolution hosted Sporting KC. NE had struggled in the series with the Kansas side this year, failing to score in the three regular season meetings. Scoring wasn't the issue on this day though, as they tallied twice and were up a doce. Kansas City brought one back late to save things for their return match. Local favorite Kelyn Rowe factored in with the second Revolution goal, as did Andy Dorman.
The early game on Sunday saw Houston host New York in front of a surprisingly small crowd of around 10,000. Those 10,000 were the lucky ones, being treated to a four goal affair that ended tied at 2-2. Dominic Kinnear was suspended for the match, yet the squad still demonstrated strong possession even giving up the first two goals. The Dynamo regrouped after the half and brought it even in the 50', but it took a Red Bull ejection of Jamison Olave and a stoppage time goal to even things up.
Then, there was LA-Salt Lake. Winners of three of the last four MLS Cups. Homes of goal-scoring stars like Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, and Javier Morales. And yet, it was a defender who scored the lone goal, as Sean Franklin scored in the 48'. Salt Lake will need a win at Rio Tinto to advance.
Surprising news out of Red Bulls camp: is Mike Petke really on a one-year deal with the Red Bulls? If they move through this round of the playoffs, they'd better wrap him up quickly. The cost of that contract will go up rapidly.
Or perhaps the Impact would be interested in poaching the New York native to fill a possible coaching vacancy. That of course would only come if they parted ways with current head coach Marco Schailibaum.
In the NHL, the minimum player salary is over 500,000 dollars (presumably that includes dental). MLB, NBA, and NFL minimum salaries are not far behind. Then, you have the minimum in MLS at 35,000. That is an aspect that needs to change.
After only one year in the USL, the owners of Phoenix FC have been "ejected" from the league for failing to pay their bills. New owners will be found and revealed this month, and the team will continue to participate in USL play.
Aside from some minor graffiti and the stench of rotten cabbage, the Portland Timbers traveling fanbase left Centurylink Field relatively intact. Not so for one of Russia's big derbies: Red Star Belgrade won, rivals Partizan retaliated with fire.
Toughness: A knee to the head isn't enough to take out Tottenham's keeper, though it took him several minutes to get up. No manner of toughness will help him remember what happened to that black spot in his memory.