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Around The Forest: Portland Timbers set to face Houston Dynamo in conference semi-finals

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Houston squeaks by Sporting KC, Crew beat Atlanta to move on in the MLS Cup Playoffs

Portland

Timbers to face Houston Dynamo in Western Conference Semifinals on Oct. 30, Nov. 5 | Portland Timbers
The Portland Timbers will face the Houston Dynamo in the first leg of the two-game, aggregate-goal Western Conference Semifinals in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs at BBVA Compass Stadium on Monday, Oct. 30, it was announced this evening. The opening game of the semifinals against the Dynamo will be televised nationally on FS1. Kickoff for the match will take place at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific).

MLS Cup Playoffs

Fourth substitution used for the first time in MLS during ATL-CLB match | MLSsoccer.com
We saw it in action for the first time on Thursday night as both Atlanta United and Columbus Crew SC made use of the extra sub during the extra time period that followed their 0-0 regulation draw. The single-elimination Knockout Round match proceeded to a penalty kick shootout, which Crew SC won 3-1.

Martino calls elimination unfair, says he "didn't talk about penalties" | MLSsoccer.com
It was one of the wilder and exciting 0-0 draws you’ll ever see, with a 41 combined shots and 14 saves between the two goalkeepers. Atlanta had 23 total shots, with eight on goal, yet all of them either flew off target, were saved by goalkeeper Zack Steffen or pinged off the woodwork.

Crew SC's Zack Steffen after huge win: "We wanted to shut the crowd up" | MLSsoccer.com
Before leading his team to victory in a penalty-kick shootout against Atlanta United, Steffen came up with eight saves in the first 120 minutes of the match. During the shootout, he notched two more saves to secure the victory and secure a spot for his team in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against New York City FC.

Crew SC savor underdog win: "We relish the idea of knocking people off" | MLSsoccer.com
Before one of the biggest matches of their lives, manager Gregg Berhalter passed along one message to his Columbus Crew SC squad: “Play to the moment.” What a moment it was. In front of an MLS playoff record crowd – one that, at one point, lit the stadium with cell phone flashlights beaming – Berhalter’s side did exactly what he asked of the

Atlanta United set MLS postseason attendance record | MLSsoccer.com
Much has already been made of Atlanta United's series of attendance records during their debut season in MLS. Last week, when they hosted Toronto FC, they set a regular-season league attendance record, with 71,874 gathering to watch the teams play to a 2-2 draw.

Old meets new for Houston Dynamo: Vicente Sanchez sets up Alberth Elis | MLSsoccer.com
The Houston Dynamo are loaded with young attacking talent, but in Thursday’s Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Knockout Round match against Sporting Kansas City, it was 37-year-old their 1-0 victory at BBVA Compass Stadium. Sanchez entered the match in the 87th minute, but took the reins in extra time. Sanchez then linked up with 21-year-old Alberth Elis, one of the Dynamo’s young attackers, for the game’s only goal.

United States

What teams should the USMNT face in 2018? - Stars and Stripes FC
The United States Men’s National Team, after not qualifying for the World Cup, may be in a state of flux, and there are obviously a lot of questions about the team and the direction it will go moving forward. Still, they have matches to play, and after next month’s friendly against Portugal, the team will be off until their annual January camp begins.

Two former YNT stars make strong USMNT cases in opening round of MLS Playoffs - Stars and Stripes FC
The opening round of the MLS Cup Playoffs is in the books and if you’re not watching these games, you may be missing out on something very important for the U.S. men’s national team. The back-to-back days have seen two former U.S. youth national team stars shine and make strong cases that they deserve to be on the senior team as soon as possible.

World

Jose Mourinho on Nemanja Matic and Eric Dier interest: We got the player I really wanted - ESPN FC
Jose Mourinho insists he got the midfielder he wanted in the summer when he signed Nemanja Matic, despite Mauricio Pochettino's claims the Manchester United manager was interested in Eric Dier.

Dzeko volley named UEFA Champions League Goal Of The Week, presented by Nissan! | Goal.com
Edin Dzeko’s stunning volley versus Chelsea has been named UEFA Champions League Goal of the Week, presented by Nissan! The Roma man struck in his side’s exhilarating 3-3 draw with Chelsea on Matchday Three.

Is AC Milan's Chinese revolution already on the verge of collapse? | Goal.com
AC Milan were only halfway through their summer spending spree when Roma president James Pallotta exclaimed, "I have no idea what’s going on there! It makes zero sense! "They didn’t have the money in the first place to buy the team, as they borrowed almost €300m from some people that I know in London, at a pretty high interest rate.