Playoff positions settled in Major League Soccer

The regular season concluded Sunday around Major League Soccer. The knockout-round, single elimination playoff matches are set for Wednesday and Thursday.

Toronto FC, New York City FC have first-round byes in the Eastern Conference. Seattle and Portland have byes in the Western Conference.


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Galaxy preview: Galaxy looking for necessary result to move on

Will the Galaxy’s one goal be enough to survive today’s second leg against Colorado?

The Galaxy and Rapids meet in a couple of hours in the second leg of their conference galaxysemifinal in Colorado. Giovani dos Santos scored the only goal last week to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead.

Colorado is undefeated home this season, doesn’t score a lot of goals, doesn’t allow a lot of goals.

There are numerous scenarios that could see the Galaxy through to the conference finals, including a scoreless draw, but we all know the second leg of these series are usually crazy.

Game day links:

Altitude is main concern of Galaxy heading into second leg

Jelle Van Damme making all the right moves for Galaxy in first season

Giovani dos Santos called into Mexican National team

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Dealing with altitude one of challenges facing Galaxy this weekend

To get through the second leg of their Western Conference Semifinals, the Galaxy has to deal with their No. 1 nemesis.

Tim Howard? The Colorado defense? Sure, they’re both concerns, but for the Galaxy, how

Photo by Steve McCrank // Staff Photographer

Photo by Steve McCrank // Staff Photographer

it deals with the altitude will determine how things go Sunday afternoon.

“Right now, we have a 1-0 lead and we know it is going to be tough,” Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme said. “This is going to be my second time. I struggled (the first time) after 20-30 minutes, so we have to be prepared, rest our body and just deal with it.”

The Galaxy’s first trip to Colorado this season (Mar.12) was Van Damme’s first time playing at altitude. .

“They told me it was going to be tough,” he said of that first game. “I thought it was just a mental thing, but it came true.”

Colorado went undefeated during the regular season (11-0-6). One of those victories came against the Galaxy (1-0) on March 12.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena is no stranger to dealing with altitude, whether in Colorado or Mexico City with the U.S. national team.

Is there an easy way to prepare? The Galaxy is scheduled to arrive in Colorado Saturday, a day before the game, which has been reported could lessen the impact that the altitude could have on a team.

“There’s not a whole lot you can do,” Arena said. “Make sure your team is hydrated. If you’re fit, you can deal with it. The fitter you are, the better you’re able to cope with it.

“I’ve done this for years, talking to specialists on altitude, getting the U.S. team ready for Mexico City …nobody knows. The only way to acclimated to altitude is to live there and to live there for three weeks or so in Denver, three months in Mexico City …nobody knows.”


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MLS Playoffs: Conference semifinals recap

conferencesemisThe first legs of the conference semifinals took place Sunday and all four games were won by the home teams. That sets the stage for what should be wild Sunday (Nov. 6) for the second legs.

Here is a recap and second leg schedule

Montreal 1, New York 0: Matteo Mancosu’s goal in the 61st minute led the Impact to victory.

Up next: Montreal at New York, 1 p.m. (ESPN)

Galaxy 1, Colorado 0: Giovani dos Santos scored in the 55th minute to lead the Galaxy to the 1-0 home victory.

Up next: Galaxy at Colorado, 11 a.m. (ESPN)

Toronto FC 2, New York City FC 0: Jozy Altidore scored in the 84th minute and Tosaint Ricketts added another in the 92 minute for TFC.

Up next: Toronto FC at New York City FC, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)

Seattle 3, FC Dallas 0: In perhaps the biggest shock of the first leg, the Sounders erupted for three goals in an eight-minute span to take the victory. Nelson Valdez scored in the 50th minute and Nicolas Lodeiro scored in the 55th and 58th minute.

Up next: Seattle at FC Dallas, 6 p.m. (FS1)

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Galaxy wrap: Final thoughts on the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory

The Galaxy did their part, winning the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal series against Colorado, 1-0 Sunday.

The series shifts to Colorado next Sunday. Start time is set for 11 a.m. (ESPN)galaxy

Here are some thoughts from the key participants from Sunday’s game:

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena:

“We had enough chances to get a couple goals today. You’re playing against a team that doesn’t concede many goals. You may disagree, but we certainly had chances to get a second goal today and we fell short there. Overall I think we played a pretty solid game.”

Galaxy’s Giovani dos Santos (scored the winning goal in the 55th minute)”

“We feel confident, we have six days to recover and plan the game for next weekend so we’re ready and excited for next weekend.

“I think everyone today was patient and we knew that Tim (Howard]) is a great keeper and we knew that in every play we have a lot of players that could make a difference and today everyone had a good game.”

Landon Donovan on series shifting to Colorado:

“They have to be pretty aggressive. They were pretty tentative tonight as far as their attacking desires. I would guess that they’ll put more into it to try to push forward and score more goals, which plays into what we do very well. They’ll probably have a similar mentality like us, be smart early, try to push the game in the right way and try to get a goal in. For us, first and foremost, we’ve got to make sure we defend well but we have a team full of guys who can make plays and score goals.”


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