And then there were four in the Western Conference.
Seattle Sounders FC defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-0 at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday to qualify for the Western Conference Semifinals for the fifth consecutive season. Brad Evans put Seattle ahead in the 28th minute before Eddie Johnson doubled the lead in the third minute of second half stoppage time to set up a Cascadia Semifinal match between the Sounders and the Portland Timbers.
The Sounders didn't leave the match unscathed, however, as right back DeAndre Yedlin suffered a sprain right ankle injury that forced him to exit at the half. Yedlin's status may be in doubt for Saturday, but goalkeeper Michael Gspurning will not take part after being shown a straight red by referee Silviu Petrescu for catching a clearance outside the penalty area. Former U.S. international Marcus Hahnemann will serve as the Sounders goalkeeper for the first leg on Saturday at CenturyLink Field.
The second leg will take place on Nov. 7 at JELD-WEN Field.
Only four teams left in the West.
Who you got?
The LA Galaxy’s “Quest for Three” straight MLS Cups is the main theme as we head into the MLS Cup playoffs, but as they attempt to do something that has never been done before in MLS, let’s look at some of the threepeats from major sports across the world.
Check out this infographic of teams that won consecutive titles across the globe:
Threepeats by the numbers:
*ZERO – The number of threepeats in MLS history.
*ONE—The margin of point victory during the final three titles for FC Barcelona’s famed “Dream Team” which won four consecutive La Liga titles from 1990-91 to 1993-94. The last three titles were each won on the last day of the season.
*THREE – The number of NBA Final MVPs won by Shaquille O’Neal during the Los Angeles Lakers threepeat from 2000 to 2002.
*FOUR – The number of threepeats or more titles for Real Madrid, who have pulled off the feat more than any team in a major league across the world. Madrid have won the La Liga title 32 times.
*4-2-4—The formation of the Il Grande Torino side that won five titles in the forties. This was the first time that such an attacking formation had been used in global football. In the midst of their run, however, the bulk of the team was killed in the Superga air disaster.
*SEVEN – The number of World Series titles by New York Yankees managers Casey Stengel and Joe McCarthy, which is a major league baseball record. Both managers led the Yankees to consecutive titles.
* EIGHT –The number of consecutive titles for the Boston Celtics, which is the longest streak in American professional sport history. During the time, the Celtics were led by legendary head coach Red Auerbach and Bill Russell.
*TEN – The number of regular season losses during UCLA Men’s Basketball head coach John Wooden’s unprecedented seven consecutive NCAA titles between 1964 and 1976. During that span, UCLA lost more than two games only once—coming in 1975 when they lost three games. Wooden won 10 titles in 12 years.
*22—The number of titles won during the era of Liverpool FC from 1974 to 1984. Bob Paisley won two straight league titles from 1982 to 1983 before Joe Fagan completed the triple in 1984 after Paisley stepped down.
*19 – the number of consecutive series victories by New York Islanders as they won four straight Stanley Cup titles in the 1980s. The Islanders would win 16 consecutive playoff series, but moved their record to 19 in 1984 when they fell to the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup final to fall short of five straight.
*20.9—George Miken’s average points per game while leading the Minneapolis Lakers to the NBA’s first ever threepeat.
*22 --The number of goals scored by Internazionale’s Diego Milito in Inter’s 2009-10 season as he sealed the team’s third straight Serie A title.
*25—The percentage of Stanley Cup titles won by the Montreal Canadiens since 1914. The Habs won five straight titles from 1956-60 and four in 1976-79.
*33.6—Michael Jordan’s points per game during the NBA Finals. Jordan won six NBA titles with two threepeats.
*66—The Number of goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo during Manchester United’s latest three-peat from 2006-07 to 2008-09.
*88—The number of goals scored by Lionel Messi during FC Barcelona’s La Liga threepeat from 2008-09 to 2010-11.
*92—The number of appearances for David Beckham as Manchester United completed the club’s first ever threepeat in 1998-99 to 2000-01. During that span, Beckham scored four goals for Manchester United.
*126 – The goal difference for Arsenal during their threepeat from 1932-33 to 1934-35. Arsenal’s threepeat was the second ever occurrence in The Football League with Huddlesfield Town pulling off the feat from 1923-24 to 1925-26.
*300—The number for amount of bonus money offered by Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finley to members of his “Swingin’ A’s” sides in the 1970s that were the only team not named the New York Yankees to win three straight World Series titles.
We've got the date of the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinal between the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake.
RSL announced late on Tuesday that the match will take place on Thursday, November 7 at 6 p.m. PT on ESPN2, giving the teams just three days to prepare between matches.
Heading to Salt Lake City?
Share your thoughts below.
Tuesday Notes: David Beckham still eyeing Miami for MLS expansion franchise, Rennie dismissed by Vancouver
CARSON, Calif. – The clock is ticking ahead of the LA Galaxy’s match against Real Salt Lake this weekend, but there was considerable movement in North American soccer on Tuesday.
*Former LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham has selected Miami as the location that he’d like to exercise his option to become an MLS owner according to the Associated Press. However according the Miami Herald, the move is not set in stone, but is “looking promising."
*LA’s opponent in the Western Conference Semifinals Real Salt Lake locked down a new jersey sponsor with Sandy, Utah-based LifeVantage Corp. signing a 10-year, multimillion dollar deal. The LifeVantage logo will be on the front of RSL’s kits at the start of the 2014 season.
*Vancouver Whitecaps FC dismissed Martin Rennie as head coach after a 13-12-9 MLS regular season that saw the ‘Caps fall short of the postseason while also failing to win the Canadian Championship. In a press conference on Tuesday, club President Bob Lenarduzzi stated that the team is interested in former San Jose Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop.
CARSON, Calif. – Back from injury and feeling healthy, Robbie Rogers is beginning to progress into a genuine option for LA head coach Bruce Arena, but to get over the hump, he’ll need to improve in the final third.
Given a chance to start after Pablo Mastroeni suffered a late injury, Rogers went 78 minutes on the right side of the Galaxy midfield in LA’s 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC last Sunday. The start was Rogers’ first league start since July 13 and his second appearance in a week after going 45 minutes in LA’s 4-0 defeat to El Salvador's Isidro Metapán in CONCACAF Champions League.
As he aims to regain a consistent starting role with the Galaxy, Rogers admitted that it was
“[The game was] important for me because I haven’t played a game like that for a long time, so it’s important for my growth and just my development,” said Rogers, who nearly found the back of the net in the 40th minute when he his shot was saved by goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. “I've been trying to focus on every day just improving a little bit and I haven’t played that many games in two or three months, but I think that each game I've gotten a little better.
“I think that it’s good time that I’m a little bit more fit and stronger heading into the playoffs.”
LA associate head coach Dave Sarachan, who a week earlier heralded Rogers as a potential third attacking option behind work horses Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, admitted that he did well on the turf at CenturyLink Field.
“I think that he’s turned a corner physically,” said Sarachan. “We were pleased with the effort that he gave in Seattle. Going forward, there wasn't a lot for him or other players, but as far as the dirty running, tracking back, and defending, he seemed to do well… Now he has to get it going in the attacking third a little more that part needs to get a little cleaner.”
“[The Seattle game] was a difficult one, so that’s definitely one think I need to do when we’re playing at home, on such a big and with the way that we play,” said Rogers. “That would be combining a good defensive effort with creating chances [offensively]."
Want Rogers to start on the right side of midfield? Think he’ll find a goal in the postseason?
Share your thoughts below.
Kevin Stott to officiate the LA Galaxy's Western Conference Semifinal first leg against Real Salt Lake
CARSON, Calif. – Veteran referee Kevin Stott will serve as the head official for the LA Galaxy’s Western Conference Semifinal first leg against Real Salt Lake at StubHub Center on Sunday.
Stott officiated just two games for the Galaxy this season when LA opened the season with a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Fire—calling 27 fouls and awarding a single yellow card to Todd Dunivant in the 75th minute–and LA’s 3-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, in which he called 15 fouls and awarded a penalty to Gyasi Zardes that was converted by Robbie Keane.
Meanwhile, Stott served as head official for just a single match for RSL during the 2013 regular season: their scoreless draw with the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field. Stott called 29 fouls and gave two yellow cards, one of which was to RSL midfielder Yordany Álvarez.
A couple of interesting notes about Stott: He was the referee for LA’s 2009 MLS Cup penalty kick defeat to Real Salt Lake back in Seattle and he also officiated LA’s dramatic 3-1 Western Conference Semifinals second leg victory against San Jose Earthquakes in 2012.
The complete crew is below.
REFEREE: KEVIN STOTT
ASST 1: Kermit Quisenberry
ASST 2: Fabio Tovar
4th: Juan Guzman
SEATTLE –Avoiding the Knockout Round was a major objective for the LA Galaxy during the final stretch of the regular season and with that goal accomplished, they plan on taking advantage of the six days to prepare for the first leg of their Western Conference Semifinal against Real Salt Lake on Sunday.
The rest is sorely needed with Landon Donovan (left ankle inflammation), Omar Gonzalez (left hip strain), and Todd Dunivant (right MCL sprain) dealing with injuries while others like A.J. DeLaGarza, Pablo Mastroeni, and Robbie Rogers are still seeking to regain full match sharpness.
“This is huge. Because the effort we put out tonight, it would have been hard to go again on Wednesday,” Gonzalez said. “So to get this draw and put us in for a game on the weekend is huge. I know some guys need some treatment, including myself, so we're going to take this week to put in a good effort in practice, get the bodies ready and concentrate toward Salt Lake.”
Following the match, Donovan admitted the team will “happily take a week of rest” ahead of a match against a Real Salt Lake that should provide a major test for the Galaxy.
“The beauty with playing them is that both teams try to play and attack, so it should make for a very exciting series,” said Donovan “A lot of times in the playoffs, you'll see teams sort of bunker in and be safe, but we know when they come to LA, they like to pllay. It's a big field, they'll try to play, and we always try to play at home. And when we go there [for the second leg], it will be the same.
“It should be an exciting series, and it's going to come down to who makes the most plays.”
It's that time of the year, the LA Galaxy have entered the MLS Cup Playoffs looking to defend their title for a third consecutive year.
LA's postseason will begin with a two-leg, aggregate series against Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinals. With LA set to kick off the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday, I ask the question: just how confident are you about LA's chance to win their third straight MLS Cup?
Vote and leave your comments below...
SEATTLE – Thanks to Robbie Keane’s tying goal in the 78th minute, the LA Galaxy’s tempers were soothed after Omar Gonzalez’s apparent goal in the 42nd minute went uncalled by referee Mark Geiger and assistant referee Greg Barkey.
Following the match, the Galaxy players addressed the non-call that almost sent the team into the Knockout Round.
OMAR GONZALEZ: “The video shows it all. After I scored the goal, I looked at the linesman and he’s in terrible position and inside the end line when I think that he should be on the end line to make sure that the goal went in. It was clearly a yard-and-a-half in. It’s a bit disappointing that I didn’t get the goal, but the fact that we kept on playing well, and playing well, and got over it as quick as possible, shows a lot of character from us. The fact that we were able to come out in the second half and play how we did was huge for us.”
ROBBIE KEANE: “I mean, it was so obvious, wasn't it? I was standing right there. That's why I went a bit crazy at the referee, because I was right beside [the play] and I knew the ball was over the line. When something like that happens, it's very frustrating because you’re hoping that the linesman can help you out. I don't know whether [Barkey] was in line or not, I'm not too sure, but if he wasn't, it's a big problem. I hope that he wasn’t because that’s an excuse. It was definitely a goal.”
LANDON DONOVAN: “I saw it very clearly. I saw it as clearly as the linesman, so for me it was a no-brainer. I was looking right across, waiting for him to put his flag up and signal goal, but for whatever reason he didn't. I would suggest that goal-line technology would help, but that one didn't even need goal-line technology. It was real obvious. It's unfortunate. We've had a little hard luck with some linesmen this year, but hopefully it gets better in the playoffs.”
ROBBIE ROGERS: “It was a goal. I watched the replay and it was a bit ridiculous. It was such an important game too and it was in the 42nd minute, which is a very important part of the game. I don’t mean to be too harsh, but it was a really bad call.”
SEATTLE – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s postgame comments following LA’s 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC.
The comments are below...
(On the game…)
ARENA: “Competitive game. Pretty even game. It was a good result for us.”
(On the missed call on the apparent goal…)
ARENA: “Obviously I don’t see it from where I am, but I was told it was about a yard over the line. For some reason, I think we should be able to see that one. We’re fortunate to get out of it, not using that as a major sticking point in the game.”
(On Robbie Keane’s goal…)
ARENA: “It was a big goal. The second half, we played better. The game slowed down a little bit and we got a little more comfortable on the surface. We’re pleased with the point.”
(On the team’s defense…)
ARENA: “They played well tonight. I thought it was Omar’s [Gonzalez] best game in a while. Kofi Opare has been really solid for us. He’s a good young player. We play two first-year players with Kofi and [Greg] Cochrane so I’m real pleased with those young players. And Gyasi [Zardes] as well, so we got incredible experience tonight for our young kids. I think down the stretch, our veteran players made a difference for us.”
(On the tough defending at the end…)
ARENA: “It was a good game in preparation for the playoffs for us. We’re pleased with that.”
(On Robbie Rogers…)
ARENA: “I thought Robbie held up really well physically. We have to get him a little more comfortable in the attack, but I thought his game was fairly balanced. He certainly did a good job defensively. If we can get a little more out of him in the attack, it will be a positive.”
(On facing Salt Lake…)
ARENA: “I don’t remember the last time we’ve seen them. We had a good series with them this year. They’re a very talented team. We look forward to the game. It will be a good series.”
(On Robbie Keane’s play…)
ARENA: “He had a solid game and when he gets that goal, you have to say he had a very good game. Goals are rare in this sport and Robbie seems to get them at the right time. Overall, I thought the last 10 or 15 minutes of the game, he was very influential for us in terms of leadership. He and Landon [Donovan] really stepped up and got the players organized and confident so we could walk off the field with a point.”
(On being undefeated in the black kits…)
ARENA: “I mean whatever. I’m not quite sure it’s the uniforms. You put 11 bad players in that kit and I don’t think you’re going to win too many games.”
(On how this game propels them into the playoffs…)
ARENA: “We’ll only know once we’re done with the season. We’ve had a good run since August. We’ve done a good job and we’ll hopefully be healthy by the weekend when we play. We’ll be in a good position to be competitive and hopefully win the first series.”
(On how the team is physically…)
ARENA: “We had a few scrapes [tonight], but for the most part I think we held up OK.”