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November 7, 2012 at 10:19 AM

MLS Cup playoffs resume (Wednesday links)

mls cup playoffs 2012.jpgWell, the Sounders are at least guaranteed of being one of the final five teams standing in the MLS Cup playoffs.

That, of course, is because the three other conference semifinals will be settled tonight.

Here’s a quick schedule:

— No. 2 D.C. United at No. 3 NY Red Bulls (series tied 1-1). NBC Sports Network. 5 p.m.

— No. 5 Houston at No. 1 Sporting KC (Dynamo leads 2-0). MLS Live. 6 p.m.

— No. 4 LA Galaxy at No. 1. San Jose (Earthquakes lead 1-0). ESPN2. 8 p.m.

The Sounders, as a result, would know if they travel or stay home for the first leg in the conference, should they beat Real Salt Lake on Thursday. For information on local playoff activities and a viewing party tomorrow, check out SoundersFC.com.

Let’s get to some links:

* * *

— Other big news today is the CONCACAF draw for the final round of World Cup qualifying. The draw is at 5 p.m. tonight and will be streamed on CONCACAF.com, unless I’m mistaken. Dates and opponents will be known, but not venues for home games.

— Also, the U.S. men’s national team is up five spots in the latest FIFA world rankings.

— Here’s a schedule regarding postseason MLS awards. First announcements come next week.

— There’s a Sounder included on the SBI All-Newcomer Best XI and a different Sounder has yet another MLS Goal of the Year nominee.

— Here’s a look at the Castrol Index ratings for the year, and here’s a look at which goal scorers finished with more or less goals than they were expected to have based on their play.

— Here’s the latest preview material on the Real Salt Lake side from The Salt Lake Tribune and The Deseret News. Plus, a blog post from a TV writer who really doesn’t look Ross Fletcher or Arlo White.

— Elsewhere around the league, Chicago is bringing back Arne Friedrich for next season, Frank Yallop was named the top coach in the Bay Area by one writer (not a small feat if you think about it), here’s an MLS player picking the Sounders to win it all, and FC Dallas cut ties with four players.

— Lastly, the UW men’s soccer team still has hopes for winning the Pac-12 title.

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