Friday Football: MLS Playoffs, EPL in USA & More

MLS Playoff and Awards Update

The Chicago Fire beat D.C.United 1-0 Thursday in the opening MLS playoff game, while Chivas USA left early for Kansas City because of the locally poor air quality to prepare for their Saturday playoff game against the Wizards.

Just as the NFL is making excursions into England, could we see the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United facing off at the Home Depot Center?

Meanwhile, the MLS awards season is cranking up with announcements of every stripe gradually dribbling out (I’m looking forward to that club PR department award).

You can check out why D.C. United’s Luciano Emilio won the Golden Boot below:

And fan voting for the MLS Goal of the Year has just begun.

Fans are asked to choose the best 10 from 34 nominees in the first of the three-phase process, which lasts until Oct. 31.

Fans can vote here.

U.S. Nats Changes

U.S. Soccer is shuffling some coaches.

Under-17 Men’s National Team Coach John Hackworth has been named an assistant coach to Bob Bradley at the full national team level.

From the U.S. Soccer press release:

In addition to joining Bob Bradleys national team staff, Hackworth will also serve as the Development Academy Director in U.S. Soccers new player development initiative that launched earlier this year. The program which launched this fall is designed to improve the environment for elite players throughout the country, in many ways emulating the successful U.S. Soccer Under-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., which Hackworth has been a part of since 2002.

Joining Bob Bradleys staff as that team gets focused on World Cup qualifying in 2008 is a great next step as a coach, said Hackworth. Ive known Bob for many years and we have a great connection in terms of how we see the game, both technically on the field and in the ways you can help prepare a team off the field. Im greatly looking forward to being a part of his staff on the road to South Africa.

(Am I alone in thinking that’s an unfortunate name for an elite soccer coach?)

This morning U.S. Soccer introduced Hackworth’s replacement, new U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera to the media.

From the U.S. Soccer press release:

Cabrera, who holds a USSF A Coaching License, is a veteran of two World Cups with Colombia (1990 & 1998) and joins the U-17 Residency Program after serving as an assistant with the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team this year. Cabrera moved to the U.S. in 2003 to play with the Long Island Roughriders and most recently worked with the MLS Futbolito and Verano MLS grassroots programs of Major League Soccer.

A demographically smart move by Gulati given the numbers of emerging Latino players the U.S. needs to ensure don’t fall through the cracks.

College Update

Local college action today includes:

*The No. 1-ranked UCLA women’s soccer team (11-1-2; 4-0 Pac-10) hosting one of its biggest matches of the year as No. 9 USC (11-1-2; 3-0-1 Pac-10) visits at 7:30 p.m. at Drake Stadium. Tickets for the match are $7 for adults and $5 for youths and students. UCLA students are admitted free with a valid Bruin Card. Friday is a doubleheader with the UCLA men’s team, which plays at 5 p.m. against Oregon State.

*The Cal State Northridge womens soccer team (3-10-1, 1-4-0) returns home for the rest of the 2007 season after playing six of its past seven matches on the road and plays at 2:30 p.m. against Cal State Bakersfield (4-10-1).

*In a scheduling change, the wildfires have forced the kickoff of the UCLA-Washington men’s soccer game at Drake Stadium to be moved from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. That’s because San Diego State’s game against Oregon State on Sunday has been moved to Los Angeles. The Aztecs and Beavers will play at 1 p.m. at UCLA’s North Athletic Field.

Updated 3 p.m.: Long Beach State announced this afternoon that poor air quality from the wildfires has forced the postponement of tonight’s game at UC Irvine. The game has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!