The first legs of all the conference semifinals have been played, here’s how things stand (full bracket at MLSsoccer.com):
No. 1 San Jose vs. No. 4 LA Galaxy — Earthquakes lead the series 1-0 after earning another dramatic late win Sunday at The Home Depot Center. The second leg will be Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium.
No. 2 Real Salt Lake vs. No. 3 Sounders FC — This was is deadlocked with no score, as you surely well know. The series finale is 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
No. 1 Sporting KC vs. No. 5 Houston — The Dynamo currently boast the largest series lead in the playoffs after an impressive 2-0 home win Sunday. KC faces a tall task in the second leg at 6 p.m. Wednesday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
No. 2 D.C. United vs. No. 3 NY Red Bulls — A pair of own goals in the first leg has this one level at 1-1 going into the series finale at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Red Bull Arena. Remember the home dates were switched due to Hurricane Sandy damage.
Let’s get to some links:
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— In some Sounders happenings, you’ll find goals by Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero in the latest batch of MLS Goal of the Year candidates. Also, Michael Gspurning‘s latest journal entry for an Austrian publication has posted.
— In more postseason links, here’s a look at five key points from ESPN.com, a look at the tight first legs by Goal.com, here’s a look at all 10 goals San Jose has scored in stoppage time, and ProSoccerTalk examines attendance.
— Looks like Timbers beat writers, fans and such aren’t expecting Mike Fucito back in Portland next year. Speaking of Geoffrey C. Arnold of The Oregonian, it sounds like his Sounders-Timbers book is set to come out in February.
— In some goalkeeper links, SI.com caught up with Tim Howard (also, Philadelphia’s Zac MacMath will be training with Everton in the offseason). And Goal.com has this piece of Americans raising kids abroad (Kasey Keller and Marcus Hahnemann are featured in the piece).
— Here’s a recap of the Freddy Adu saga following the latest interesting chapter.
— Sounds like all the local PDL teams will be back next season.
— Messi‘s girlfriend gave birth to their first child Friday. Cap him. Quickly.
— Also Messi related, here’s a short clip of Cristiano Ronaldo chatting about the Barcelona superstar.
— Another prodigy, Neymar, has opposing fans cheering for him these days.
— Lastly, here’s video of the best goal of the playoffs so far, in my opinion, courtesy of Houston’s Adam Moffat, who’s scored many like this before…