We start the soccer news with Portland knocking Seattle out of the 2018 MLS playoffs on penalties. With the second-leg finishing 2-1 Seattle in regulation, 3-3 on aggregate, the series headed to extra time. Raul Ruidaz put Seattle up in regulation in the 68th minute, shifting the series with the Sounders advancing had that score held. Portland responded with a goal from Sebastian Blanco in the 78th. Seattle equalized on aggregate when Ruidaz scored three minutes into stoppage time.
In extra time, Dairon Asprilla scored for Portland in the 93rd with Nicolas Lodeiro equalizing from the penalty spot in the 97th. Portland advanced 4-2 on penalties.
“More than what I’m feeling is how exciting the game was for everybody that came to watch,” Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said. “I felt it didn’t disappoint. Seattle and Portland brought the rivalry to this match and it was incredible. There were moments when they scored that it looked like it was going to be difficult for us. It went back and forth, back and forth, all the way to PKs. I think it delivered a very good match.”
Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer had the tough task of trying to highlight what almost worked for the Sounders. “Obviously, we’re down now,” he said. “So, the end result was not good. But, certainly there were moments of joy and euphoria – happiness, thinking you had the game in control and then it’s snatched away from you. It’s always challenging. It’s always hard. I think one constant from all the ups and downs was, again, the mentality of that group, the fight of that group. When it went low, they picked themselves up. During the highs, you could just tell. You could just see on the field that they were in that moment. At the end of the day, Portland is going through.”
With this game scheduled early due to stadium availability, the focus now shifts to Sunday and the rest of the playoff schedule. Portland waits for the winner of the Sporting KC vs Real Salt Lake series (3pm ET – ESPN). That’s tied 1-1 with top seed Sporting the favorite at home. In the Eastern Conference, Atlanta hosts NYCFC with a 1-0 lead and the away goal tiebreaker (5:30pm ET – ESPN). The Red Bulls host Columbus (7:30pm ET – FS1) with the Crew up 1-0.
Also in the soccer news, Louisville City is back-to-back USL champions, shutting out Phoenix Rising 1-0 at home. Luke Spencer scored the game’s only goal in the 62nd minute with Greg Ranjitsngh making three saves to keep the clean sheet.
ESPN’s Tim Vickery previews the Copa Libertadores final first-leg. The Guardian’s Ben Fisher explains the importance of Marco Reus for the Borussia Dortmund attack. The NY Times’ Rory Smith asks about Manchester City in the wake of the Football Leaks about the club’s finances. FourFourTwo’s Richard Jolly uses Alexis Sanchez to explain both Manchester teams. Inside World Football’s Andrew Warshaw relays media reports on the latest in the Swiss investigation into FIFA. Reuters’ Tom Bergin and Cassell Bryan-Low look into how soccer agents are paid in Europe.
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Logo courtesy of the Portland Timbers