High School – CHS Boys & Girls Finish 2nd in the State
Huge Congrats to the Girls and Boys Carmel High School teams and coach Shane Schmidt of the boys and Frank Dixon for the girls who each finished 2nd in the state this season after advancing to the State Finals last weekend at the Mike at IUPUI last weekend.
The CHS boys fell to Noblesville 3 -1 while the CHS girls lost a heartbreaker 2-1 to Homestead on a goal from former Carmel FC star Emily Roper.
Proud of both teams including our former and current Carmel FC players on both teams on the boys side GK Charlie Featherson, Will Latham, Ricky Monsey, Cade Turton, and Cole Fogleman, along with GKs Aubree Empie, Bethany Ducat, and Emily Roper, especially the Goalkeeper’s who I helped coach along the way.
Roster Set for US Men vs Mexico on Friday night 9 pm ESPN2 from Cincy
The US men welcome Christian Pulisic back to the roster just in time for the biggest game of Qualifying vs Mexico on Friday night. Your’s Truly is headed to Cincy Thursday night for the big game – Desperately looking for Tix still please RE:if you have any ! The US stand in 2nd place in the FIFA World Cup Qualifying with a 3-1-2 record during the first two “triple dates” and picking up 11 points total, including four on the road capped by a historic comeback in the 4-1 win away to Honduras on Sept. 8. Those results have lifted the United States into sole possession of second place after six matches. Great to see Pulisic back – he looked ok in his 20 minute stint for Chelsea on Tuesday late and should see time this Sunday vs Burnley. Thrilled to see new young defender Joe Scally a season long starter for Monchengladbach on the back line. He could well step right in for the injured Serginio Dest who took a knock in their Champions League game this week. Also interesting to see Pepi is the only legit #9 on the roster this time – as Zardes is hurt and Dike is in a playoff battle with Orlando. Surprising not to see Young Boys striker Jordan Pfuk however up top. I will have my preferred roster and wall to wall coverage next week heading up to the biggest game of the year USA Mexico next Friday!!
US MEn – DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB/COUNTRY; CAPS/GOALS):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 9/0), Zack Steffen (Manchester City/ENG; 24/0), Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 12/0)
DEFENDERS (9): Reggie Cannon (Boavista/POR; 22/1), Mark McKenzie (Genk/BEL; 8/0), Chris Richards (Hoffenheim/GER; 4/0), Antonee Robinson (Fulham/ENG; 17/1), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United; 14/3), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER; 0/0), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp/BEL; 8/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Galatasaray/TUR; 69/0), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; 20/2)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids; 42/2), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig/GER; 20/1), Gianluca Busio (Venezia/ITA; 7/0), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 33/8), Weston McKennie (Juventus/ITA; 27/7), Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP; 9/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 29/0)
FORWARDS (6): Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg/AUT; 13/5), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 41/8), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas; 2/2), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; 4/3), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG; 40/16), Tim Weah (Lille/FRA; 16/1)
Champions League Always Delights – Big Teams to Thru
The GOAT of Champions League came thru again as Renaldo scored 2 goals for Man United including another 93rd minute game saving goal to tie the game at 2 vs Atalanta. While Man U is struggling – the big boys of Juventus, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Ajax have qualified for the next round of 16. Adams and the Leipzig Red Bulls with Jesse Marsch as coach were eliminated in their last minute tie with PSG. Westin McKennie almost scored as Juventus cruised over Zenet. Either way he has re-established yes starting role for Juve and their new coach Allegri.
CBS/Paramount + Coverage is Really Coming on Strong
Ok so let me start by saying the CBS Coverage of Champions League is the best in the business bar none. After watching Fox Sports for Years and even ESPN before that – and their coverage of Champions League CBS is simply doing it better with regards to their Pre-Game, Post-Game and Goalazo – live jump from game to game coverage. Now the Goalazo and post game shows are normally on CBS Sports Network – which kind of compares to showing things on FS2 – many don’t have that – which is unfortunate. (Fortunately my YouTube TV does have it so I am covered. And they often play the replays of the games overnight or sometimes even right after the games – say 7 or 9 pm for some of the bigger games like Man United coming back to score the game winner in the 93rd minute. Of course all of the games for Champions League + Europa League are streamed online on Paramount plus – and you can see them live. Of course the live games can’t be fast forwarded or rewound. The good news in unlike with the EPL’s Peacock – replays on Paramount plus are 2 hours after the game ends. The pre + post game show’s with Kate Abdo are a full 5 hours long around the featured games with at least an hour before and an hour after. They often do the same for coverage of the USA games for road matches in CONCACAF. For me the $5 per month is an outright necessity if you are a fan of a Champions League or Europa League team – and even as a lover of soccer in general – CBS and Paramount Plus are really coming thru. Now if we can just convince the powers that be – that they need to put more games on CBS Sports Network and on the Big CBS. (No reason the USA vs Mexico at Azteca and say Canada on the road aren’t on CBS proper with solid lead in and lead out shows.
US Ladies – Carli Lloyd Retires
It was super classy as Carli Lloyd played her last game for the US Ladies a couple of week’s back. I was upset coach didn’t leave her in to score a goal as the US eventually put up 5 goals against a stingy South Korea team. But her final speech was pure class. Of course Lloyd is still playing in NWSL and they will have games this weekend on Sunday leading into the NWSL playoffs starting next weekend.
MLS Decision Day Sunday 3:30 pm
The season wraps up Sunday with 3 spots in the West and 3 in the East still up for grabs. Here’s a good breakdown and here’s what exactly has to happen for each team still in contention. New England can capture both the Supporters Shield and the record for most points in an MLS season as they go for 76 in their home match with Inter Miami. Montreal hosts Orlando for a winner take all spot in the playoffs – Montreal must win – while Orlando can get win or tie to make it. LA Galaxy hosting Minn United at 6 pm on FS 1 is the biggest game of the day as both teams are in with a win. But Galaxy will need help if they tie or lose.
Indy 11 Season Ends – GK Jordan Farr Plays tonight for San Antonio
The Indy 11 season mercifully came to an end Saturday night with a 2-1 loss at ? The GK Jordan Farr has been added to San Antonio’s roster for tonight’s playoff game on emergency loan. Farr comes off of back to back GK Saves of the Week. Farr has joined the Texan side ahead of its game against San Diego Loyal SC tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 5, at Toyota Field in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2021 USL Championship Playoffs. San Antonio will host SD Loyal on Friday night at Toyota Field at 9:00 p.m. ET, with the game available live on ESPN+ and SiriusXM FC. The emergency loan followed an injury to San Antonio’s Matt Cardone in its final game of the regular season this past Saturday night. The Loyal are managed by former US Superstar Landon Donovan.
The Ole Ballcoach is desperately looking for Mexico vs USA tickets next week in Cincy – if you have a line on tickets please let me know. 1, 2, 3, 4 tickets – willing to pay over price.
BIG GAMES TO WATCH
Fri 11/5 (American’s in Parenthesis)
9 pm ESPN+ San Antonio (Jordan Farr in goal) vs SD Loyal (Landon Donovan’s team) Playoffs
8:30 am NBCSN Man United vs Man City (Steffan)
11 am Peacock Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Burnley
11 am NBCSN Crystal Palace vs Norwich City (Stewart)
`1 pm Paramount+ Juventus vs (McKennie) vs Fiorentina
1:30 pm ESPN+ RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Dortmund
1:30 NBC Brighton vs New Castle United
4 pm beIn Sport Bordeaux vs PSG
9 am NBCSN Everton vs Tottenham
10:15 am ESPN+ Valencia vs Atletico Madrid
11:30 am NBCSN West Ham United vs Liverpool
2:45 pm Paramount+ AC Milan vs Inter Milan (Milan Derby)
3 pm CBSSN Chicago Red Stars vs NY Gothem (NWSL)
3:30 pm ESPN+ New England vs Inter Miami
3:30 pm ESPN+ Nashville vs NY Red Bulls
3:30 pm ESPN+ NYCFC vs Philly Union
6 pm Fox Sports 1 LA Galaxy vs Min United
6 pm ESPN+ Portland Timbers vs Austin
245 pm ESPN + Greece vs Spain
2:45 pm ESPN + Romania vs Iceland
2:45 pm ESPN+ Ireland vs Portugal
7:30 pm fubu Brazil vs Colombia
2:45 pm ESPN2 Italy vs Switzerland
2:45pm ESPN + England vs Albania
8 pm Paramount+ Honduras vs Panama
9 pm ESPN2 USA vs Mexico
9:10 pm Para + Canada vs Costa Rica
9 am ESPN+ Croatia vs Russia
12 pm ESPN+ Armenia vs Germany
2:45 pm ESPN+ Spain vs Sweden
3 pm CBSSN OL Reign vs TBD- NWSL Playoffs
5:30 pm CBSSN Portland Thorns vs TBD
2:45 pm ESPN2 Wales vs Belgium
5 pm Paramount+ Jamaica vs USA
6:30 pm fubo Argentina vs Brazil
9 pm Para + Canada vs Mexico
PARAMOUNT PLUS Live TV, Soccer & Originals Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, US Men’s National Team, CONCACAF WORLD CUP Qualifying, , Serie A, Europa League Free Trial
Pulisic back in USMNT vs. Mexico, Jamaica Jeff Carlisle
USMNT has Christian Pulisic, Joe Scally on World Cup qualifying roster
USMNT gets Christian Pulisic back from ankle injury for World Cup qualifier against Mexico
Christian Pulisic to return to USMNT roster for World Cup qualifier vs. Mexico
Weston McKennie opens up on growing up with USMNT, Juve, becoming a star
MLS Decision Day
How Bruce Arena took the Revs from the bottom to best in MLS history Bonagura
LAFC’s playoff hopes dealt a blow after draw with Whitecaps
Jordan Morris returns, but Sounders held to draw with LA Galaxy
Galaxy’s playoff hopes tenuous after tie with Sounders
Leipzig frustrate PSG with last-gasp equaliser
Dortmund to appeal to UEFA after Hummels’ red card
Leipzig boss Marsch targets referee after draw with PSG
Benzema double carries sloppy Real to victory over Shakhtar
Ajax reach last 16 as Dortmund fume over Hummels red
Champions League: Juventus, Bayern turn on style, Barcelona gets relief
Dybala scores twice as Juventus ease into Champions League knockouts
Marsch struggles to steady RB Leipzig’s erratic form
Bayern, Juventus through to Champions League knockout rounds
Japan ‘backs to wall’ for must-win World Cup qualifiers
Kante and Coman return as France look to clinch World Cup berth
Mexico to play in empty stadium for two World Cup qualifiers as anti-gay chants persist
Ibrahimovic recalled to Sweden squad for World Cup qualifiers
Manchester United vs. Manchester City (2.5)
- Manchester United (+340)
- Manchester City (-135)
- Tie (+290)
An unpredictable Manchester United against a Manchester City team that lost at home to Crystal Palace in its most recent Premier League game. What could go wrong? Man United seems likely to go with three central defenders again after it worked against Tottenham, though Raphael Varane is out for a month with a hamstring injury. Go over 2.5 goals.
Everton vs. Tottenham (2.5) [Sunday]
- Everton (+185)
- Tottenham (+150)
- Tie (+225)
Tottenham has a new manager in Antonio Conte and Everton has lost three consecutive league games after tying 1-1 at Manchester United. There’s not going to be a result that’s surprising in this one. Maybe go with the tie? We’re torn.
Leeds vs. Leicester City (2.5) [Sunday]
- Leeds (+170)
- Leicester City (+150)
- Tie (+250)
Leicester’s loss to Arsenal last weekend was its first league loss since a 2-1 defeat to Brighton in September. Leeds got its first win of the season on Sunday over Norwich. Go with Leicester.
USMNT weekend viewing guide: Decisions, decisions
MLS Decision Day means a slew of games on Sunday in addition to a full weekend of international action.
It’s the last weekend of matches before the USMNT write the next chapter in their rivalry with Mexico, so let’s get right to it with some action on Friday.
Mainz v Borussia Mönchengladbach – 3:30p on ESPN+
Cut out of the office a little early, grab a pint, and get your weekend started right with Joe Scally and Borussia Mönchengladbach kicking off on Friday afternoon. Scally has played all but nine league minutes for ‘Gladbach this season, as the club has had their ups and downs and currently sit in 10th place. The club is coming off a 2-1 win over Bochum and a 5-0 thumping of a mostly first team Bayern Munich side in the DFB-Pokal. Scally will get his first taste of USMNT camp following the match on Friday ,and while it would be unusual to throw a first timer into the mix against Mexico, there may be a door open for Scally with Sergiño Dest missing the camp due to injury.
Chelsea FC v Burnley – 11a on Peacock
Christian Pulisic has finally returned from injury, as he appeared for the first time since August in Chelsea’s 1-0 midweek win over Malmö FF in Champions League group stage action. Between his early season COVID quarantine and the ankle injury he picked up with the USMNT during the September window, Pulisic has just one league appearance for Chelsea this season, though he did pick up a goal in that match. It would be surprising to see Pulisic start this weekend, as it seems likely the team will work him up to full match fitness with some substitute appearances. Still, as long as he is healthy, he should be seeing some time for the club. Please Christian, just stay healthy.
- Zack Steffen should get a nice view of the Manchester rivalry from the bench as Manchester United and Manchester City face off at 8:30a on NBCSN.
- Chris Richards and Hoffenheim face Bochum at 10:30a on ESPN+. Richards continues to be a regular, steady presence for Hoffenheim.
- John Brooks seems to have handled his absence from the November window as professionally as one could hope and will make his case against further exclusions starting Saturday for Wolfsburg against Augsburg at 10:30a on ESPN+.
- Josh Sargent and Norwich City face Brentford at 11a on Peacock, with both club and player needing to find some way to get on track.
- Sergiño Dest is out injured so FC Barcelona will have to look to start another winger when they face Celta de Vigo at 11:15a on ESPN+.
- Timothy Weah and Lille face Angers at Noon on beIN Sports. Weah saw just 11 minutes off the bench in Lille’s loss to PSG last weekend, but started midweek in the club’s 2-1 win over Sevilla FC in Champions League group play.
- Weston McKennie has two goals in Juventus’ last two league matches, but unfortunately the club has lost both and currently sit in 9th place. They will face 7th place Fiorentina at 1p on Paramount+.
- Tyler Adams, Jesse Marsch and RB Leipzig will take on a Borussia Dortmund side that is really struggling with injuries, including the absence of Gio Reyna, who the club has recently said they hope to see return yet this year. The match will be on ESPN+ at 1:30p.
- Matt Miazga appears to have lost his starting position at Deportivo Alavés, having been on the bench the past two matches. The club face Levante at 1:30p on ESPN+.
Venezia v Roma – 6:30a on Paramount+
If you’re struggling to sleep in Sunday morning with the time change (how have we not fixed the abomination that is time changes yet), feel free to get up and check out Gianluca Busio and Venezia. You may even be treated to a Tanner Tessmann sighting as well, Tessmann received his first start for Venezia last weekend as the club played to a scoreless draw with Genoa. While you’re at it, you can check out Roma as well and curse out Jose Mourinho, who seems to have quite the beef with Bryan Reynolds. Hopefully Reynolds will be moving on in January to a club more interested in developing players.
- Nashville SC and the New York Red Bulls kick off MLS Decision Day at 3:30p on ESPN. Nashville have locked up a spot in the playoffs, so Walker Zimmerman could get a rest, but NYRB need a win to guarantee their place.
- The LA Galaxy take on Minnesota United at 6p on FS1 with both teams needing a win to clinch their playoff spot. Currently the Galaxy sit in 7th, the final playoff spot, two points ahead of LAFC and Real Salt Lake. Meanwhile Minnesota United are in 5th place but with just one more point than the Galaxy. The club is three points ahead of RSL and LAFC but could lose a tiebreaker to either club.
- Konrad de la Fuente and Olympique de Marseille face Metz at 7a on beIN Sports. Konrad started and played the first 60 minutes last weekend, picking up a yellow card.
- Yunus Musah and Valencia face Atletico Madrid at 10:15a on ESPN+. Musah did not make it off the bench last weekend in the teams 2-0 victory over Villarreal.
- Nicholas Gioachinni has had spot minutes in every match for Montpellier since joining the club but has yet to see anything meaningful. The club face Nice at 11a on beIN Sports.
- Matthew Hoppe’s Mallorca side face Elche at 12:30p on ESPN+. Hoppe has not seen any minutes recently and there may be some injury concern.
- Julian Green’s Greuther Fürth take on Timothy Chandler’s Eintracht Frankfurt at 1:30p on ESPN+. Both seem pretty far from Berhalter’s call up list at this point.
MLS Mashup (all games on ESPN+):
- Toronto FC has been eliminated from the playoffs but could play spoiler to Paul Arriola and DC United, who haven’t been eliminated but would need help in the form of NYRB and Montreal losses. The match will kick off at 3:30p.
- Matt Turner and the New England Revolution have wrapped up the Supporters Shield, so they don’t have much to play for on Sunday at 3:30p. On the flip side, their opponent, Inter Miami, have been eliminated from playoff contention.
- A win or a draw for Miles Robinson, George Bello and Atlanta United over FC Cincinnati at 3:30p will be enough for a playoff birth. Cincinnati have already clinched the league’s worst record.
- Gyasi Zardes and the Columbus Crew would need a win and a whole bunch of help (including three other teams losing and making up a -7 goal differential with NYRB) to make the playoffs one season removed from their league title. They face the Chicago Fire at 3:30p.
- CF Montreal and Orlando City face off at 3:30p, with Montreal needing a win while Orlando City and Daryl Dike can seal their fate with a win or a draw.
- James Sands and NYCFC would need a win or draw to clinch their first round bye, while Paxten Aaronson and the Philadelphia Union have already sealed their spot. Like all the other Eastern Conference matches, this one will kick off at 3:30p.
- The Western Conference matches will all start at 6p, including Ricardo Pepi, Jesus Ferreira, and eliminated FC Dallas facing Cade Cowell and the San Jose Earthquakes.
- Likewise, neither the Portland Timbers (already clinched a bye) nor Austin FC (eliminated) will have much to play for on “Decision Day.”
- Sporting Kansas City can clinch the top spot in the Western Conference with a win and a Seattle Sounders loss. SKC face Real Salt Lake, who are looking to sneak into the playoffs with a win and some help.
- Kellyn Acosta and the Colorado Rapids could also claim the top spot in the Western Conference with a win and some help. Their first order of business will be taking care of LAFC, who have not been eliminated but need some help themselves.
- Finally, while the top of the conference is crowded, it’s Cristian Roldan, recently returned Jordan Morris, and the Seattle Sounders, who control their own fate and can clinch that top spot with a win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Soccer on TV: The NWSL playoffs start, plus derbies in Manchester, Milan and Seville
Gotham FC’s Carli Lloyd plays against her first professional club in what could be her last game.
Manchester United vs. Manchester City
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. (NBCSN, Telemundo)
As headline-grabbing as United’s wild comebacks against Atalanta in the Champions League were, they’re actually nothing new for the club. The Red Devils have been playing games like that for decades, and no one knows it better than manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær. He helped author one of United’s all-time come-from-behind wins in the 1999 men’s Champions League final.an But while it may be an entertaining way to live, it’s not healthy, and this game might reveal the truth. City will be fired up after losing at Crystal Palace 2-0 last Saturday, then thumping Club Brugge at home 4-1 on Wednesday. If Pep Guardiola’s team delivers a big win over its crosstown rival, expect Solskjær’s seat to get hot again. » READ MORE: The rest of this weekend’s Premier League schedule
RB Leipzig vs. Borussia Dortmund
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
Leipzig snatched a 2-2 tie at home against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday with a 92nd-minute penalty kick, giving their European campaign a badly-needed breath of life. Let’s see if the momentum carries into the Bundesliga in a matchup that usually produces high-scoring games.
» READ MORE: The rest of this weeekend’s Bundesliga schedule
AC Milan vs. Inter Milan
Sunday, 2:45 p.m. (Paramount+)
Officially, the Milan derby is called the Derby della Madonnina, named for the statue of the Virgin Mary atop the city’s famed Duomo cathedral. Unofficially, it’s Italy’s most famous rivalry, and often its best.
In addition to having stars on the field like Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimović and Inter’s Lautaro Martínez, the teams are second and third in the Serie A standings, with Milan seven points above Inter and tied on points with first-place Napoli. It should be another electric scene at the San Siro, one of the world’s grandest soccer stadiums.
» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend’s Serie A schedule
Real Betis vs. Sevilla
Sunday, 3 p.m. (ESPN+)
Last weekend’s preview column neglected the Basque derby, Real Sociedad vs. Athletic Bilbao, one of Spain’s most fun rivalries. We won’t make that same mistake with the Seville derby, another terrific local grudge match. It’s the only one that gets called El Gran Derbi, “The Great Derby,” and it’s been played since 1915.
Sevilla has a pair of great forwards in Alejandro “Papu” Gómez and Rafa Mir. Betis’s squad includes Mexican superstar Diego Lainez, who is finally back from a long injury absence — though not on El Tri’s squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers.
» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend’s La Liga schedule
Chicago Red Stars vs. Gotham FC
Sunday, 3 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
The biggest spotlight will be on Gotham’s Carli Lloyd, as the team where she began her pro career in 2009 tries to end that career in the first round of the playoffs. But there will be big-time players to watch all over the field.
Chicago winger Mallory Pugh has been playing very well, and has regained a place with the U.S. national team after falling down the depth chart. And Gotham’s Margaret Purce will be trying to book a seat on the U.S.’ flight to Australia for a much-anticipated two-game tour Down Under at the end of the month.
Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Courage
Sunday, 5:30 p.m. (Paramount+)
While the Spirit’s year was full of turmoil off the field, the team was amazingly successful on the field. So successful, in fact, that Washington finished third in the standings despite having to forfeit two games due to breaches of COVID-19 protocols. The squad is bursting with young talent, from defenders Sam Staab and Tegan McGrady to Golden Boot-winning forward Ashley Hatch and 17-year-old phenom Trinity Rodman, the daughter of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman. And amid them all is Andi Sullivan, the present captain of the club and a potential future captain of the U.S. national team, directing traffic and controlling the tempo in central midfield.
North Carolina’s roster, meanwhile, is led by a cadre of trophy-winning veterans: center back Abby Erceg, all-world playmaker Debinha, and forwards Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald and Amy Rodriguez. The Courage have had their own share of turmoil with the firing of manager Paul Riley amid abuse allegations, and their sixth-place finish was their worst since 2015 — when the club was the Western New York Flash. But those veterans have won a pile of trophies over the years, including three NWSL regular-season titles and two playoff championships. This is their time of year.
MLS Decision Day – Sunday – Playoff Races Conclude !
MLS’ regular-season finales are at the same time on Sunday – watch the Eastern Conference at 3:30 pm ET, then continue through 6 pm ET for the Western Conference – and the context hits you over the head like a cartoon frying pan. Win/draw/lose-and-get-lucky or your season is over. It’s going to get crazy/confusing/weird. Trust me when I say the LIVE standings and second screen watch-along will be your best friends as the drama unfolds. Let’s experience it together.
Tom Bogert did us all a solid and put the totality of the stakes in one place. Here are the cliff notes:
- Three remaining playoff spots for six teams
- Seeding TBD in spots 2-4 (home-field advantage in Round One), with Philadelphia and Nashville guaranteed at least one home playoff game
- Four teams (NYC, ATL, ORL or RBNY*) mathematically able to claim a Round One home game by finishing 4th
- Three remaining playoff spots for five teams
- Seeding TBD in spots 1-3 (top team gets playoff bye, top two get Concacaf Champions League spots)
- All Round One home games claimed: Timbers will be the fourth seed, no matter the results on Sunday
Here’s how stat magician and MLS historian extraordinaire Rick Lawes described the day’s happenings:
“There have never been this many teams alive before for Decision Day, nor this many placings still up in the air.”
Nice. Here are the full scenarios.
Now that I’ve hit you over the head with some cast iron cookware – always remember to season your pan, folks – let’s get to it in the same format as last week: by ranking every Decision Day match by playoff implications from least to most.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas
BetMGM odds: SJ +110 | Draw +270 | DAL +210
Webster’s Dictionary defines PFP (playing for pride) as … this game.
Why I’m watching: This could be Ricardo Pepi’s final MLS game for FC Dallas, and it will certainly be his final game before starting for the US men’s national team against Mexico in Cincinnati for November’s World Cup qualifier. His form matters and a final memento would be nice should a big-money transfer materialize this winter.
Watch: Sunday, 6 pm ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+
New England Revolution vs. Inter Miami CF
BetMGM odds: NE -275 | Draw +425 | MIA +650
Why I’m watching: The chase for 76 and a Supporters’ Shield celebration. The Revs could extend their points record to even further heights. If they do, are they unquestionably the best regular-season team in MLS history? It’d be harder to argue no with a four-point cushion on 2019 LAFC. Bruce Arena said this week that he’ll play his best lineup. Might as well bring three more points to the Shield party! Lift it, Bruce!
Watch: Sunday, 3:30 pm ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+
Portland Timbers vs. Austin FC
BetMGM odds: POR -150 | Draw +320 | ATX +333
Austin sure PFPed hard on Wednesday night! They’ll PFP again in Portland, where Decision Day can change ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the Timbers’ playoff place. They’re the fourth seed in the Western Conference no matter what happens.
Why I’m watching: Sebastian Blanco. What a friggin’ genius. With him firing, Portland might just win MLS Cup.
Watch: Sunday, 6 pm ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+
Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire FC
BetMGM odds: CLB -200 | Draw +375 | CHI +425
You already know the Fire are PFP, more on that in a second. The Crew’s playoff chances are theoretically alive … but they must first win to have a chance and even then they’d have almost no chance of jumping over the playoff line. Here’s the winning scenario…
Crew win + DC lose or draw + MTL lose or draw + Red Bulls lose (and Crew make up a goal differential gap of seven goals) = Columbus IN the playoffs
Yeahhhhh, they won’t be defending MLS Cup.
Why I’m watching: I want to see the lineup Frank Klopas puts out there. Why? Follow the breadcrumbs.
Watch: Sunday, 3:30 pm ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+
FC Cincinnati vs. Atlanta United
BetMGM odds: CIN +310 | Draw +300 | ATL -140
It’s been three years of PFP for FC Cincinnati, with very little to take pride in on the field. The positive spin is that a new coach is on the way once new general manager Chris Albright gets through his hiring process and decides on the fourth manager (sixth if you count interim tags) in club history.
Atlanta United are basically in the playoff field. They just don’t officially have the “x” next to their name. Here’s the only scenario (it all comes down to tiebreakers vs. Orlando City) in which they’d miss out…
ATL lose by eight goals to CIN + RBNY win or draw + MTL beat ORL 1-0 = Atlanta OUT of the playoffs
The scorelines can change, but the margins would have to stay the same to make up the goal differential gap. So yeah, not going to happen. Atlanta could also clinch a top-four seed with a win in Cincinnati, plus an NYCFC loss to the Union at Yankee Stadium and Orlando loss or draw.
Why I’m watching: I watched all of Atlanta’s scoreless draw at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night. They created nothing. That’s not hyperbole. Nothing. That was with Luiz Araujo, Ezequiel Barco and Marcelino Moreno in the XI and Josef Martinez off the bench. That group put up 0.1 xG. They won’t go far in the playoffs with that sort of (lack of) production from their marquee players. Luckily, TQL Stadium seems to be an elixir for creative blocks and goalscoring woes.
Watch: Sunday, 3:30 pm ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United
BetMGM odds: TOR +175 | Draw +260 | DC +130
As for the spoiling, D.C. United are not in control of their own destiny. They must beat Toronto on the road, where they are 2-10-4 this year, then the Red Bulls must lose AND Montreal must lose or tie. If all that happens, Hernan Losada’s boys are playoff-bound!
Why I’m watching: Jozy Altidore. It sure seems like he’s back in form. That CanChamp goal against Pacific FC was a thing of beauty. Good timing for his career (and perhaps for Gregg Berhalter?)! Could we see him with the US national team soon? Don’t count Altidore out. I’m hitting follow on whatever happens next for him.
Watch: Sunday, 3:30 pm ET on TSN 4, MLS LIVE on ESPN+
7. New York City FC vs. Philadelphia Union
BetMGM odds: NYC -135 | Draw +290 | PHI +300
No more PFPs! Hooray!
Both NYCFC and Philly are IN, so there’s nothing existential about this one. The Union know they’ll have a home game, but it’d be best to avoid the Revs for as long as possible and be guaranteed to host a conference semifinal as well. Win at Yankee Stadium, and they’ll lock in as the No. 2 seed.
NYCFC, though three points back of Philadelphia, are in a similar position. They just need help from the Red Bulls. If they win and the Red Bulls beat Nashville, the blue side of New York will finish second in the East. If NYCFC don’t win, either Atlanta or Orlando can jump them with a win. If they draw, they’ll get the No. 4 seed on the wins tiebreaker. Got it?
Why I’m watching: This could be a conference semifinal. It could be a conference final. I always watch the previews before I see a movie in the big theater. Plus, Taty Castellanos is chasing the Golden Boot presented by Audi with 18g/8a at present. That’s fun.
Watch: Sunday, 3:30 pm ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+
Nashville SC vs. New York Red Bulls
BetMGM odds: NSH +145 | Draw +195 | RBNY +200
Nashville are in the same situation as Philly, both sit on 53 points, but they need help from NYCFC to finish second in the East. That’s because Nashville are, according to amateur MLS Twitter statisticians, still a subpar team. Wait, what? How does that make any sense when they’ve just lost four times all year? Well, they haven’t yet won 13 games, which is the historic and universally accepted cutoff for such things. I don’t make the rules! I kid, but actually it does matter because the first tiebreaker wins, and they trail the Union and NYCFC 12 to 14.
The Red Bulls’ playoff scenario is simple. If they win or draw in Nashville, they’re in. No matter what happens on Decision Day, if they make the playoffs, they’d go on the road in Round One. Should they lose, it basically comes down to Montréal and D.C. United – I know the Crew are mathematically in it as well (but not really, see above) – failing to get all three points.
Why I’m watching: Can Nashville win (key word) a home game with playoff-level stakes? That’s the test in the actual playoffs, and though they’re undefeated at home … they’ve drawn eight of 16 games, which would mean a 50 percent chance for visiting teams to spring an extra-time or shootout upset. I want to see if Gary Smith’s team can handle their business in 90 minutes against a potential Round One opponent.
Watch: Sunday, 3:30 pm ET on ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Seattle Sounders
BetMGM odds: VAN +175 | Draw +250 | SEA +135
The Whitecaps are in the same position as the Red Bulls. Win or draw at B.C. Place, where they are 7-1-0 this year, and they’re in. If they can’t do that, they need at least two of the clubs below them to biff it.
The Sounders could finish anywhere from first to third in the Western Conference. The top two spots come with 2022 Concacaf Champions League spots. Win and they’ll for sure play CCL ball next year. Draw or lose and that’s a maybe depending on results in Kansas City and Colorado.
Why I’m watching: ANDIAMO! The Western Conference playoffs will be better with the Whitecaps in the field. I want them to make it! From an MLS Cup contender perspective, I think we’re all interested in seeing how Nico Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz fare in their return from injury layoffs to starting roles and whether Jordan Morris can change the match off the bench. They’re all Best XI quality, but they’re not yet match fit or in rhythm for Seattle. Yet.
Watch: Sunday, 6 pm ET on TSN 1/4, MLS LIVE on ESPN+
Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake
BetMGM odds: SKC -145 | Draw +300 | RSL +350
Real Salt Lake have to win. Period. Do that and they’re in since only one of Minnesota and the Galaxy can surpass 48 points (goal differential’s at play, too).
For SKC, you can just scroll up and reread the Sounders section. Sporting could finish anywhere from 1-3 in the West. If they win, no matter the other results, they’ll qualify for CCL.
Why I’m watching: First of all, to see if RSL can prove the doubters wrong in a season of unimaginable uncertainty and make the playoffs, on the road no less! Second, both teams laid big, fat eggs on Wednesday night. Who has the shortest memory when it matters most?
Watch: Sunday, 6 pm ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+
Colorado Rapids vs. LAFC
BetMGM odds: COL +120 | Draw +250 | LAFC +200
With a win, the Rapids could finish atop the Western Conference. I repeat … THE RAPIDS COULD FINISH ATOP THE WEST. No matter what happens, they won’t finish lower than the No. 3 seed. Pretty heady stuff.
LAFC are below the line, which means they need three points and some help. Step one, win. Step two, hope either Vancouver lose OR Real Salt Lake lose or tie. If that happens, thanks to the Loons and Galaxy going head-to-head and LAFC’s positive goal differential – the only team outside the top four in the West that can say that! – then Bob Bradley’s boys will be in! It’s not out of the realm of possibility!
Why I’m watching: I know I’m going to watch the Rapids again this year. I don’t know that about LAFC. Or Bob Bradley coaching LAFC. Or Carlos Vela playing for LAFC.
Watch: Sunday, 6 pm ET on MLS LIVE on ESPN+
LA Galaxy vs. Minnesota United FC
BetMGM odds: LA +100 | Draw +260 | MIN +230
Both teams are in with a win, but only one team can win! Minnesota United are in with a tie, but that won’t help the Galaxy unless they get help. Speaking of help, both teams are currently above the line, which means they can both make it if LAFC and RSL stumble in any way. For this one, it’s better if you just read the scenarios from Mr. Lawes.
Why I’m watching: This game is a stumbling block for the rest of the Western Conference bubble. What happens here helps determine what happens everywhere.
Watch: Sunday, 6 pm ET on FS1, FOX Deportes
CF Montréal vs. Orlando City SC
BetMGM odds: MTL +100 | Draw +250 | ORL +240
This is a must-win for Montréal, and not the kind where the season continues if they don’t win. If they win, they’re in. If they lose, they’re out. If they draw, they’re out. They must win.
Orlando City are in with a win or a draw OR a Red Bulls loss. There is also that Atlanta United seven-goal differential gap, but you and I know that’s not happening. They need to get a result, otherwise it’s going to be a nerve-wracking day. Let’s be honest, it’s just going to be a nerve-wracking day. Missing the playoffs would be a catastrophe.
Why I’m watching: It smells like desperation, 90 minutes of pure desperation!
Watch: Sunday, 3:30 pm ET on TSN1, MLS LIVE on ESPN+
Champions League group stage: what every team needs to go through
Nov 3, 2021 Dale JohnsonGeneral Editor, ESPN FC
With two rounds remaining in the Champions League group stage, it’s all to play to reach the knockout rounds — or boo a consolation place in the Europa League.Here’s the state of play across all eight groups, showing what each team needs to maintain hope of progressing.Group winners and runners-up qualify for the Champions League round of 16, with third-placed teams dropping into the Europa League preliminary knockout round. Teams that finish bottom are eliminated from Europe.
QUALIFIED FOR UCL ROUND OF 16: Ajax, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool
ELIMINATED: Besiktas, Malmo, RB Leipzig
|1 – Man City||4||3||0||1||+8||9|
|2 – PSG||4||2||2||0||+3||8|
|3 – Brugge||4||1||1||2||-6||4|
|4 – Leipzig||4||0||1||3||-5||1|
Manchester City: Need a point to go through, and can secure top spot with a win at home to PSG.
Paris Saint-Germain: Will be through with two draws, or if Club Brugge fail to win either of their remaining games.
Club Brugge: Must win both their remaining games to have a chance of qualifying.
RB Leipzig: Have been eliminated from the Champions League and must win away to Club Brugge to stay in contention for a place in the Europa League.
|1 – Liverpool||4||4||0||0||+8||12|
|2 – Porto||4||1||2||1||-3||5|
|3 – Atletico||4||1||1||2||-2||4|
|4 – Milan||4||0||1||3||-3||1|
Liverpool: Have qualified as group winners.
FC Porto: Will be through on Matchday 5 if they win at Liverpool and Atletico lose to AC Milan. Four points will also be enough.
Atletico Madrid: Know that at least a draw at home to AC Milan will definitely keep their fate in their own hands ahead of the trip at FC Porto on Matchday 6. Could be eliminated if they lose to Milan and Porto beat Liverpool.
AC Milan: Must win both their remaining games to have a chance of staying in the Champions League, but their best hope may be to edge third and drop into the Europa League. Will be eliminated completely if they fail to beat Atletico.
|1 – Ajax||4||4||0||0||+12||12|
|2 – Dortmund||4||2||0||2||-4||6|
|3 – Sporting||4||2||0||2||+2||6|
|4 – Besiktas||4||0||0||4||-10||0|
Ajax: Have qualified and need a point to win the group.
Borussia Dortmund: Dortmund hold second place on head to head, which means a win at home to Sporting will send them through. A draw would leave them needing a win at home to Besikas to seal second place.
Sporting CP: Victory at home to Dortmund by 2+ goals will send them through to the round of 16 on Matchday 5.
Besiktas: Are out of the Champions League and will be eliminated completely if they fail to beat Ajax or Borussia Dortmund avoid defeat against Sporting.
|1 – Madrid||4||3||0||1||+6||9|
|2 – Inter||4||2||1||1||+3||7|
|3 – Sheriff||4||2||0||2||-1||6|
|4 – Shakhtar||4||0||1||3||-8||1|
Real Madrid: Must win away to FC Sheriff to guarantee qualification on Matchday 5, while two draws from their remaining two games would also send them through.
Inter Milan: Will be through with a game to spare should they beat Shakhtar and FC Sheriff fail to beat Real Madrid. Four points will also see them through for certain.
FC Sheriff: Will be out if they lose to Real Madrid and Inter beat Shakhtar. They may need to hope Inter fail to win and it goes down to the final day for a place in the knockout stages.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Are going to have to win both their remaining games and hope other results go their way if they to have a chance of going through or dropping into the Europa League.
|1 – Bayern||4||4||0||0||+15||12|
|2 – Barca||4||2||0||2||-4||6|
|3 – Benfica||4||1||1||2||-4||4|
|4 – Dynamo||4||0||1||3||-7||1|
Bayern Munich: Have qualified for the round of 16, and need a point to win the group (or can do so with a defeat if Barcelona fail to win at home to Benfica).
Barcelona: Will be through with win a win at home to Benfica on Matchday 5.
Benfica: Must avoid defeat to Barca to stay in contention. Two wins guarantees second place.
Dynamo Kiev: Have to win both remaining games, and hope Barca lose at home to Benfica, to have any chance of staying in the Champions League. They could yet overtake Benfica for the Europa League slot with a win in Portugal on Matchday 6.
|1 – Man Utd||4||2||1||1||+1||7|
|2 – Villarreal||4||2||1||1||+4||7|
|3 – Atalanta||4||1||2||1||0||5|
|4 – Y Boys||4||1||0||3||-5||3|
Manchester United: Will be through with a win away to Villarreal in their next match. Four points from the two games will also guarantee progress.
Villarreal: Will definitely be through if they beat Man United by 2+ goals or 1-0.
Atalanta: Can guarantee a place in the round of 16 with two victories, and four points would be enough if Villarreal lose to Man United.
Young Boys: Still in contention but need to win at home to Atalanta to have any realistic hopes of finishing inside the top 2. If they lose to Atalanta, they are sure to finish bottom of the group and exit Europe.
|1 – Salzburg||4||2||1||1||+2||7|
|2 – Lille||4||1||2||1||0||5|
|3 – Wolfsburg||4||1||2||1||-1||5|
|4 – Sevilla||4||0||3||1||-1||3|
FC Salzburg: Will be through with a win at Lille on Matchday 5, and that will seal top spot if Wolfsburg fail to beat Sevilla. Two draws will also send them into the round of 16.
Lille: If they can win at home to Salzburg, a point away to Wolfsburg would be enough to send them through.
Wolfsburg: Are sure to still be in contention on Matchday 6, when a win at home to Lille will guarantee at worst a place in the Europa League.
Sevilla: Will be out of the Champions League if they lose at home to Wolfsburg, and also be sure to finish bottom should Lille win at home to Salzburg.
|1 – Juventus||4||4||0||0||+7||12|
|2 – Chelsea||4||3||0||1||+5||9|
|3 – Zenit||4||1||0||3||0||3|
|4 – Malmo||4||0||0||4||-12||0|
Juventus: Have qualified, and need a point away to Chelsea to seal top spot.
Chelsea: Need a point to go through, and would also progress with a loss at home to Juve should Zenit fail to beat Malmo. Must beat Juventus to have a chance of topping the group.
Zenit St Petersburg: Must win both their remaining games, and hope Chelsea lose to Juve, to go through. Would also need to beat Chelsea by 2+ goals to win the head to head.
Malmo: Are out of the Champions League and must beat Zenit by 5+ goals to overtake them on head to head and have the best chance of finishing third and dropping into the Europa League.
San Antonio Acquires Jordan Farr on Emergency Loan
By USLChampionship.com Staff, 11/04/21, 11:00AM EDT
FARR HAS MADE 34 APPEARANCES FOR INDY ELEVEN IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP’S REGULAR SEASON AND PLAYOFFS
San Antonio FC has acquired goalkeeper Jordan Farr on an emergency loan following ahead of Friday’s Western Conference Quarterfinal against San Diego Loyal SC. | Photo courtesy Matt Schlotzhauer / Indy Eleven
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio FC announced on Thursday it had acquired goalkeeper Jordan Farr from Indy Eleven on an emergency loan ahead of its game against San Diego Loyal SC on Friday night at Toyota Field in the Western Conference Quarterfinals
TAMPA/INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, November 4, 2021) – Indy Eleven and San Antonio FC today announced that Indy goalkeeper Jordan Farr has been acquired by SAFC via a temporary emergency loan. Farr has joined the Texan side ahead of its game against San Diego Loyal SC tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 5, at Toyota Field in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2021 USL Championship Playoffs. San Antonio will host SD Loyal on Friday night at Toyota Field at 9:00 p.m. ET, with the game available live on ESPN+ and SiriusXM FC. The emergency loan followed an injury to San Antonio’s Matt Cardone in its final game of the regular season this past Saturday night. San Antonio FC formally petitioned the league to register an emergency goalkeeper pursuant to the league’s Emergency Goalkeeper Exemption for the playoffs. This petition was approved by the league’s Compliance and Registration Departments.Under league rules, after the Roster Freeze date, if a club is reduced to a single available and healthy goalkeeper, that club may petition the league to register an emergency goalkeeper. The subsequent registration will be permitted until such time as one or more of the originally rostered goalkeepers becomes available and healthy.“In the spirit of competition, Indy Eleven is glad to work with the USL Championship, San Antonio FC, and Jordan Farr in facilitating this unique short-term loan. As we have done in similar circumstances with Evan Newton and Kristian Nicht in past seasons, Indy Eleven is proud to provide such opportunities for our players to rise to the occasion, and we look forward to seeing Jordan do just that should he be called upon,” explained Greg Stremlaw, Indy Eleven President & CEO.Farr recorded 72 saves, five shutouts and a goals-against average of 1.33 during his 21 appearances across Indy Eleven’s recently concluded 2021 USL Championship regular season. After missing two months due to a wrist injury during the middle of the season, Farr enjoyed some of his best performances in the closing weeks of the campaign, highlighted by his first career appearance on the USL Championship Team of the Week presented by Cleer Audio for Week 26 following a five-save effort in a 1-0 win over Louisville City FC on Oct. 16.The Salem, Ore.-native also earned back-to-back Championship Save of the Week nods for impressive reaction stops during the afore-mentioned win over LouCity and a 1-1 draw with FC Tulsa in Week 27 play.The fourth-year professional has spent his entire pro career up to this point with Indiana’s Team, collecting 34 appearances across regular season and postseason action overall while recording 10 shutouts. Farr is no stranger to the postseason, having collected a 2W-1L-0D record and 1.00 goals against average during three appearances in the Eleven’s run to the Eastern Conference Final of the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs.
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