MLS Playoffs – El Traffico Thur Night 10:30 pm LAFC vs LA Galaxy -Zlattan Ibra vs Carlo Vela
I have to give MLS Credit – the one and done approach for Playoffs has really been a huge hit. The first round game – gave us 3 overtime games and tons of goals being scored as teams put everything into each game. 2 Games were 4-3 thrillers as all but one home team won their games – which gives more meaning to the season long results. While I love the Champions League 2 game (1 home and 1 away) – I think for these playoffs – the Excitement generated and the quality of the games – gives credence to a fantastic change for MLS. Folks if you haven’t tuned in – you missed some really great games. I watched the two 4-3 thrillers including the Dallas vs Seattle game that featured a goal by Carmel High Grad Matt Hedges and a hat trick by Sounders and US winger Jordan Morris for the win in front of a packed house at Seattle’s Century Link field. Of course I also watched Ibra and LA become the only road team to advance when they took on newcomer Minnesota United 2-0 setting up EL TRAFFICO – PLAYOFFO !! Tickets are going for over $350 at LAFC’s Banc of California stadium for this classic. Of course LAFC has NEVER beaten the Galaxy – including 2 draws at home – 1 of which I was at. I can tell you the 3252 fan section is legit – as that is where we stood for our El Traffico experience last summer. Set the DVR or turn it on live at 10:30 pm on ESPN as the best 2 players in the League – Zlattan Ibrahimovich for the Galaxy vs MLS MVP Carlos Vela for the BEST TEAM in MLS this season LAFC. Video Review. Not to leave poor Atlanta United out – the defending MLS Champions and last season’s leading scorer Josef Martinez will host the Philly Union at 8 pm on ESPN 2 at 8 pm.
Huge 2-1 win for our Indy 11 at Carmel FC GK Coach Jordan Farr again had a standout night in the victory with numerous great saves! Our Indy Eleven will host a First Round Playoff Game this Saturday night vs NY Red Bulls 2 at the MIKE – Carroll Stadium at IUPUI. The return to their former home for the playoffs should make for added excitement – as the Brick Yard Battalion section has already sold out – and the more intimate stadium might well sell out as well – so get those tickets early!! The action begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be live locally on MyINDY-TV 23. ESPN+. Tickets for the first Home playoff game in years remain available for as little as $15 by visiting indyeleven.com/tickets or by calling 317-685-1100. You can watch all the USL Playoff action on ESPN+.
NWSL Ladies FINALS Sunday
The NWSL has reached the Finals of their playoffs with the game on ESPN2 on Sunday as the Defending Champs North Carolina Courage with US star Heather O’Reilly host the Chicago Red Stars with US Goalkeeper Alysa Neurer and world’s best player Sam Kerr of Australia at 4:30 pm on the Duece.
Carmel High Girls on to Semi-State
The defending State Champion Carmel High Girls defeated Lawrence North 7-0 and Avon 2-0 last weekend to advance on to Semi-State this weekend at 5 pm in Evansville where they will face Castle on Saturday. Great to see so many former Carmel FC girls both starting and playing well. Good luck lady Hounds! See Story Below.
GAMES ON TV
Thurs, Oct 24
8 pm Fox ESPN2 Atlanta United vs Philly Union – MLS East Semi
10:30 pm ESPN LAFC vs LA Galaxy MLS West Semi – El Traffico
Fri, Oct 25
3 pm NBCSN Southampton vs Leicester City
Sat, Oct 26
7:30 am NBCSN Man City vs Aston Villa
9 am ESPN+ Juventus vs SPAL
9:30 am Fox sports2 Schalke (Mckkiney) vs Dortmund
12:30 pm NBC .? Burnley vs Chelsea
12:30 pm FS2 Beyarn Leverkusen vs Werder Bremen (Sargeant)
3 pm beIN Sport Atletico Madrid vs Atheltic Club
7:30 pm ESPN+ Indy 11 vs NY Red Bulls II (Playoffs)
Sun, Oct 27
7:30 am NBCSN Newcastle (Yedlin) vs Wolverhampton
11:30 ?? Arsenal vs Crystal Palace
11:30 am NBCSN Liverpool vs Tottenham
12 noon ESPN+ Roma vs Milan
12:30 pm FS1 Borussia MGladbach (Johnson) vs Frankfurt
4;30 pm ESPN2 North Carolina Courage vs Chicago Red Stars – NWSLadies Final
Tues, Oct 29
3:45 pm EPSN+ Man City vs Southampton – League Cup
4:!5pm beIN Sport Real Madrid vs Leganes
7 pm Fox Sport 1 Eastern Conference Finals (MLS Playoffs)
WEds, Oct 30
3:45 pm EPSN+ Man City vs Southampton – League Cup
4:!5pm beIN Sport Barcelona vs Real Valladiolid
7 pm Fox Sport 1 Western Conference Finals (MLS Playoffs)
7 pm Fox Sport 2 U-17 World Cup USA vs Japan
League’s ninth season to conclude Sunday, November 17 in primetime on ESPN2
EL TRAFICO –EL PLAYOFFO Promo
Real Salt Lake-Sounders Preview
Once primed for a home semifinal game, Portland Thorns FC continued to struggle and it doomed their season.
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El Trafico rivalry hits MLS playoffs: Vela vs. Zlatan is exactly what fans want
Great rivalries are supposed to develop over time. Players come and go, fans grow old and bring their children, the games continue. Longevity is the appeal.The New York Red Bulls and D.C. United have played 95 times since 1996, with United prevailing 43 times and winning 13 Atlantic Cup titles to the Red Bulls’ 11. The Seattle Sounders-Portland Timbers rivalry dates to Seattle’s 1-0 win over their southern foes on May 2, 1975. In total, they’ve played 102 matches across 44 years and five leagues, which equates to roughly three generations of bad blood and bruising tackles.AThen there’s LA Galaxy vs. LAFC. It will have been just 572 days since the start of El Trafico when the two squads meet in the Western Conference Semifinals on Thursday at Banc of California Stadium (10:30 p.m. ET, watch live on ESPN). It took a little more than 18 months for these matchups to morph into one of MLS’ strongest, tensest and most entertaining rivalries, with this week’s game — the first with real stakes — promising to add to the rapidly developing plot. Get your tickets if you can.It’s remarkable how quickly El Trafico has become a thing, but it shouldn’t be all that surprising. Consider the squads. The Galaxy always thought of themselves as MLS’ glamour franchise. They wanted to be the U.S.’s answer to Real Madrid, an American Galacticos that could export itself internationally. This is the team of David Beckham and Hollywood, a five-time MLS Cup winner that never wavered in its ambition, even if the results on the field suffered. The team projected style and class and largesse, regardless of results.Then LAFC showed up, all black-clad and badass, bringing a downtown cool. This team was a startup that had history with the Chivas USA fanbase, only with a team and a front office that made all the right decisions. Banc of California Stadium, located just off the freeway and near public transportation, exudes confidence and embodies what MLS needs to be in 2019 and beyond. If the Galaxy wore the crown, LAFC were coming for it — and coming for it fast.The games between the two helped. In that first match, Carlos Vela scored in the fifth minute and again in the 26th while a Galaxy own goal saw LAFC jump to a 3-0 lead. The Galaxy clawed back through Sebastian Lletget, then Chris Pontius, down a goal with 15 minutes to play. Enter The Lion. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, less than 48 hours removed from landing at LAX, scored a laser from deep in the 77th minute, then won the game in stoppage time.”Since an MLS Cup, I haven’t felt that much energy,” Andrew Alesana, a capo for Galaxy supporter group the Riot Squad, said of the match.In the July rematch, LAFC again jumped to a 2-0 lead, only to watch goals from Romain Alessandrini and Ola Kamara after the 82nd minute tie the match. In August, Zlatan scored first, Vela tallied a penalty kick, and the teams tied. The Galaxy finished 2018 one point out of the playoffs, and those three matches with LAFC were the highlights.Move to 2019, and there’s a narrative that LAFC can’t beat their rivals. A 3-2 loss at Dignity Health Sports Park did nothing to change that, especially considering that Bob Bradley’s side had been the best team in the league by far up to that point. A wild 3-3 late August affair, featuring five first-half goals and a 53rd-minute equalizer from Vela, was the last match before Thursday’s meeting. Tally so far: two Galaxy wins, three draws and zero LAFC victories.hat’s fun and all, but a good rivalry needs more than exciting games to attract the casual fan. It needs characters and villains. El Trafico succeeds there, too.
It starts with the big man. Ibrahimovic talks the talk and walks the walk. He’s a physical specimen unlike any other that MLS has seen, a goal scorer nonpareil and kind of a jerk in the (mostly) most wonderful ways. There’s a real venom in his comments about LAFC, an obvious dislike that occasionally crosses the line. On the other side, there’s Vela, an elite enigma with the league’s best left foot hidden behind a grinning, aloof expression. He’s the MLS equivalent of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ — maddening, brilliant, whatever. Ibrahimovic and Vela get there in different ways, but they are equally captivating, and the rivalry benefits.As for the name, well, El Trafico is a name that’s perfect, dumb and perfectly dumb. Bob Bradley isn’t into it, and that’s fine. He’s probably not wrong. It is silly. But it’s memorable and special, too, something that stands out in a league dominated by FC this and United that. It is, like the rivalry itself, growing into something special.Seattle vs. Portland boasts the history and the passion, and the Cascadia Cup is a thing of North American soccer brilliance. The Atlantic Cup, contested between D.C. United and New York Red Bulls, has some of that same flair. Same goes for the California Clasico (LA Galaxy vs. San Jose), Hudson River Derby (NYCFC vs. New York Red Bulls), Rocky Mountain Cup (Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids) and, even now, Hell is Real between FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew SC. These all have their moments, occupying special places in the hearts and minds of an MLS club’s most rabid supporters. But if you’re a neutral, El Trafico is perfecto.
Indiana high school soccer regional roundup: Top-ranked Carmel girls, Zionsville boys advance
Staff reportsPublished 10:40 p.m. ET Oct. 19, 2019 | Updated 12:00 p.m. ET Oct. 20, 2019
Saturday’s IHSAA soccer regional finals involving Indianapolis-area teams:
Carmel 3, Avon 0: When Kelsie James needs motivation, she looks down at her armsOn the underside of her left forearm, written in black Sharpie, the letters “FTB” are on her wrist, dedicated to the Carmel boys soccer team, which was knocked out of the sectional tournament by Zionsville last week in the semifinals.A symbol of solidarity, James says, as the top-ranked Class 3A Carmel girls continue to steamroll toward the state finals in their honor.Next to those three letters is “Mamaw,” reserved for her grandma, who passed away during her junior season a year ago. On the Carmel senior’s right arm, in all capital letters, is where her and her teammates’ hearts are focused, right now, in this moment.
Mike Hargis, the father of Elizabeth Hargis, who is currently at Mercer after helping the Greyhounds win a 10th state title last year, owns that spot on the Valparaiso recruit’s arm.“Her dad has been in the hospital since August, waiting for a heart transplant,” James explained. “I’m really close with the family, so I’ve had him on my arm all season. A lot of the players have Hargis written. Our goalie has it written on her leg.”When Susie Soderstrom stole the ball in the 14thminute and fired the New Palestine regional championship’s first goal into the net on Saturday night, it was for Hargis.After the Greyhounds defeated the Orioles 3-0 for their 15th regional title in program history and 17th win this season, it was for family.“Elizabeth was really close to a lot of us, and Mike was a big part of it. He would announce during our games at home. The Hargis family is really close to all of us,” James said. “We like to keep ourselves reminded and play for him.”The Greyhounds gave everything they had in the title game, rolling toward their 12th shutout victory with Erin Baker in net and a 10-goal day after defeating Lawrence North 7-0 in the regional semifinal.“I love the game and this team especially. We’re all like sisters out there, and it’s an amazing feeling to keep winning with them,” James said. “Our motivation is that we’re all so close, and we don’t want our season to end. We want to keep playing together. We don’t want to go back to club season and all go to different teams. We want to keep driving and working hard, so we can stay together.”For one more game, they will be and if tradition holds true, they will be for two more and possibly the program’s first back-to-back state title runs since winning five straight from 2000-2004.“We’re always trying to win a state championship. That’s my expectation. That’s their expectation,” Carmel head coach Frank Dixon said. “But sometimes, it’s bad. We’ve had a great year. We haven’t lost a game, and if we would lose one of these next two, then we feel like we didn’t have a great year, and they shouldn’t feel that way, but that’s the way they will take it, if they can’t run it all the way through.”At 17-0-3 so far, the Greyhounds have never tasted defeat, and with their motto of “Back For More,” they don’t intend to this October.James made sure of it with an assist to Emma Antoine for the Greyhounds’ insurance goal with 23:21 left in the second half. She later added the team’s 54th goal this season (vs. only six allowed) in the 62nd minute off a free kick to make it 3-0.“Last year’s state championship really helped us prove to ourselves that we can get through our sectional and we can push all the way,” James said. “That drove us this year.”Along with Hargis.Friends with the Hargis’ since she was 6, James calls Elizabeth and her brother Charles, family. Much like both boys and girls program’s themselves. It’s more than a game. It’s tradition.“FTB means, for the boys because our boys lost in sectional. Both soccer teams support each other a lot. We come to each other’s games,” James said. “Every win is for (Hargis) and our family.” — Rich Torres
Tickets for MLS Cup Playoffs version of LAFC-LA Galaxy are hottest of the MLS season
October 23, 20196:22PM EDTAlex DwyerContributor
LOS ANGELES – For Thursday’s version of El Trafico (10:30 pm ET | ESPN in US; TVAS, TSN4 in Canada) in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, the media credential requests have already exceeded 300, according to a club source.That’s a staggering number in and of itself, but what about ticket prices for the Western Conference Semifinal clash between LAFC and the LA Galaxy? Tom Penn, president and co-owner of LAFC, has seen how high those figures are.“It’s not unlike our last El Trafico, where the demand for tickets is just super high,” Penn told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. Exactly how high are we talking?
LAFC vs. LA Galaxy
Thursday, October 24 at 10:30pmBanc of California StadiumGET TICKETS
According to SeatGeek, the league’s official ticketing partner, as of Wednesday evening the lowest-priced ticket was just under $160, with the highest one listed at just over $750. The average resale price for the game is $307. Those numbers easily make it the hottest game of the MLS season, with the next being the regular-season matchup between these L.A. rivals in late August (average resale price of $214). In fact, SeatGeek indicated that the last matches to garner a higher average resale price were the 2017 MLS Cup final between Toronto and Seattle (average resale price of $336) and the 2018 MLS Cup final between Atlanta and Portland (average resale price of $308).But even before LAFC knew they’d be facing their rivals from down the 110 Freeway, most tickets had already been purchased.“The vast majority of our tickets were already sold prior to the playoffs beginning, because such a high percentage of members took all their seats [for the postseason],” said Penn. “Like any other first-rate event in LA, it really rewards the people who are season-ticket holders because the members of LAFC have those tickets at a deep discount for what the market says the value is, which is great.”With the limited inventory left, LAFC have accommodated an estimated 300 visiting Galaxy supporters for the marquee matchup that again pits MVP finalists Carlos Vela against Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The game comes days after the 2019 NBA season opened with the Clippers beating the Lakers, 112-102, bringing together stars like LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard at the Staples Center. Tickets for that marquee matchup hovered at or below the asking price for the postseason El Trafíco.That also doesn’t surprise Penn, who worked extensively in the front office of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. “I went to that game last night,” Penn said of the Clippers-Lakers meeting. “Our event is more exciting and better.”For both regional and national attention – not to mention the global eyeballs that Vela and Ibrahimovic bring to the table – it’s shaping up to be a memorable LA night. And odds are as the game nears, ticket prices will continue to climb.“It was really surprising to us, the last [match against the Galaxy], how high the value was [on the secondary market],” said Penn. “It’s a real good sign for the health of MLS here.”
Frank Lampard hails Christian Pulisic as Chelsea’s ‘babies’ come of age
Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic was left out of the squad entirely when they beat Lille in the Champions League earlier this month, but the 21-year-old’s career sprang to life against Ajax Amsterdam on Wednesday.
The forward joined Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of around €64 million in the close season to become the most expensive American player in history but has struggled for minutes, making only three Premier League starts. Pulisic gave manager Frank Lampard a timely reminder of his talent by setting up fellow substitute Michy Batshuayi to score the winner in Chelsea’s 1-0 triumph over last year’s semifinalists Ajax at the Johan Cruijff Arena.
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“Sometimes the toughest part of management is leaving out players that really want to play week-in, week-out. You rely on them being positive and coming on to make an impact,” Lampard told reporters.”You have to give Christian huge credit because he looked so lively and the assist is just as important as the finish.”Pulisic had admitted to being frustrated by limited playing time, with the media speculating that he could leave Chelsea on loan during the January transfer window.”I’ve tried to shut my ears to a lot of the outside talk … I understand his quality, his young age and the fact that it’s a big move for him,” Lampard said.”He wants to know what I want from him, what the Premier League is like and that’s not always an easy ride but we’ve stayed calm and kept looking at the big picture.”Lampard said the result, which left Chelsea with six points after three games in Group H, had set the benchmark for his youthful side.”It feels huge. That always scares me because there’s a lot to do and it’s just six points halfway through the group now, but we’re entitled to be excited,” he said.”It can be a bit of a blueprint for us in terms of the work from the midfield players which was outstanding … but there’s no excuses for us now to dip from that.”The younger players are still babies in Champions League minutes so this was a huge test … but the balance of our team between young players … and experienced players who they rely on to set examples was good.”
Who will qualify from the Champions League group stage?
6:21 PM ET Dale JohnsonGeneral Editor, ESPN FC
The Champions League group stage has reached the halfway stage, but who is best placed to make it through to the knockout rounds?We look at each group, with the top two going through and third dropping into the Europa League.
Paris Saint-Germain have won all three game and will be through if they avoid defeat at home to Club Brugge — who they beat 5-0 in Belgium — at the Parc des Princes on Nov. 6. They would also be through with a loss if Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray is a draw.
Real Madrid have had a poor campaign so far, and only got their first win away to Galatasaray on Matchday 3. They only have a two-point advantage in second, but victory at home to Galatasaray next time out, coupled with defeat for Brugge in France, would almost have them over the line.
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Club Brugge and Galatasaray, who will be eliminated if they lose at the Bernabeu, are most likely to be battling it out for a place in the Europa League, unless either can pull off a shock on Matchday 4.
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Like PSG, Bayern Munich have dominated their group, having won all three matches, and a draw at home to Olympiakos in the next fixture will qualify them.
Tottenham Hotspur go into Matchday 4 in second place but with much work to do, one point ahead of Red Star Belgrade. They next travel to Red Star, who they beat 5-0 at home, and victory, together with a win for Bayern over Olympiakos, would give them a four-point advantage. A win at home to Olympiakos on Matchday 5 would then see them through. But fail to win in Serbia and the group remains wide open, especially as Spurs finish their group campaign away to Bayern.
Red Star Belgrade still have two home games left, with Spurs and Bayern to visit, so cannot be ruled out, but Olympiakos look an outside bet as they must visit Germany and England in their next two games and only have one point.
Steve Nicol says Tottenham’s win vs. Red Star will have Mauricio Pochettino rethinking his plan for Liverpool.
Manchester City have a 100% record and are all but assured of progressing. Victory away to Atalanta in their next game will complete the job.
Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk both have four points, and much will depend on the meeting of the two sides in Croatia on Nov. 6 — especially as the winners would go clear and hold the head to head between the sides. A draw would probably leave qualification down to how the teams perform against Atalanta, with Shakhtar having a home fixture against the Serie A side.
Atalanta have lost all three matches and will be eliminated if they lose at home to Man City and there is a winner between Dinamo and Shakhtar. If Atalanta can shock City, or if Dinamo and Shakhtar draw again, there is the outside chance of a late challenge for second place.
Juventus and Atletico Madrid top the group on seven points, having drawn with each other and beaten both group rivals.
Juve will be through with a win over Lokomotiv Moscow on Matchday 4, while Atletico can advance with a victory at Bayer Leverkusen as long as Juve win too.
Lokomotiv have four points to make up on the top two and may need to take something from their home game against Juve to stay in contention, and realistically need to win with a trip to Atletico on the final matchday.
Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen have yet to record a point and will be eliminated with defeat at home to Atleti. It is more likely to be a battle for a Europa League place with Lokomotiv, and Leverkusen to visit Moscow on Matchday 5.
Napoli lead the group on seven points, and will qualify with a win at home to FC Salzburg on Nov. 5 as long as Genk do not win at Anfield.
Liverpool are second, a point further back, and will also move to the brink of qualification if they beat Genk but they cannot get over the line.
FC Salzburg have been one of the success stories of the competition this season, but still look unlikely to emerge from the group. Should Salzburg lose at Napoli, and Liverpool win against Genk, the Austrians would need to win their two remaining games, and Liverpool lose both, to go through.
Bottom club Genk have only one point and will be out if they lose at Liverpool and Napoli avoid defeat.
Barcelona sit top of the table, three points ahead of Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund.
Barca cannot seal their place in the knockout stages when they host Slavia Prague on Nov. 5, but victory will leave them needing just a point to be absolutely certain.Inter are looking good after winning at home to Borussia Dortmund, and they know that a victory in Germany next time will put them in a very strong position. Dortmund’s chances may rest on winning at home to Inter, as a draw would leave them behind the Serie A side on the head-to-head rule going into the final two games. Dortmund still must go to Barcelona, while Inter will host the Spaniards.
Slavia Prague sit on one point and will be all but eliminated should they lose and there is a winner between Dortmund and Inter.
RB Leipzig hold top spot in what is a very tight group, with three points separating the four teams. Victory for Leipzig at Zenit Saint Petersburg on Nov. 5 would move them to the brink of a place in the round of 16. If Zenit win that game, however, and the group will remaining wide open — especially if there’s a victor in the other match between Lyon and Benfica to truncate the picture even further.
Realistically, Benfica may be out of contention if they lose in Lyon on Matchday 4.
Ajax and Chelsea share top spot in the group on six points, with the two teams meeting next at Stamford Bridge on Nov. 5. If Chelsea can get the home win, they will almost be over the line due to their superior head to head with Ajax and would need a point at Valencia on Matchday 5 to qualify.
A win in London for Ajax would be almost as decisive and, as long as Valencia do not win at home to Lille, a point in France on Nov. 27 would put them through.