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Around The Forest: Gearing up for the MLS Playoffs

USMNT headed into must win, Toronto has one more box to check and much more!

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Major League Soccer:

For Toronto | By Sebastian Giovinco
I've been in Toronto nearly three years now, and there are two things I still have yet to see. One of those things is Niagara Falls. And I’ll get there, eventually. But first, there’s something else want to see. That I need to see.

Despite loss to Minnesota, Atlanta still hopeful they can catch NYCFC |
The Five Stripes came into Tuesday’s home match against fellow expansion club Minnesota United FC needing a win to move into second place in the East ahead of NYCFC via tiebreaker. A victory would’ve put them in pole position to avoid the Knockout Round in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, something that’d be very valuable for Tata Martino’s banged-up roster.

Giovinco had feeling Toronto would lose to Seattle in 2016 MLS Cup - ESPN FC
Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco admits he had a bad feeling going into Toronto FC's 2016 MLS Cup loss to the Seattle Sounders, telling family members before the match that he feared things wouldn't go his team's way.

Toronto FC still has one box left to tick to cap impressive season -
For Toronto FC, two of the three boxes have already been ticked off. The Reds won a second consecutive Canadian Championship in the summer, and then clinched their first-ever Supporters’ Shield trophy, the award that goes to the team that finishes the MLS regular season in first place, with a 4-2 home win over the New York Red Bulls last weekend.

Major League Soccer playoffs taking shape in East. West? Not so much
There's just one more playoff spot left to claim in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference, while the West remains rather wild. Toronto reigns above the entire league at 19-5-8 (65 points) this season. The Reds claimed the Supporters' Shield last weekend with a 4-2 victory over the New York Red Bulls.

United States:

Big question heading into USA-Panama World Cup qualifier: Tim Howard or Brad Guzan? - The Washington Post
In the weeks, days and hours leading to a U.S. men’s national soccer team match, speculation and intrigue about Bruce Arena’s lineup swells among supporters and pundits alike. Will Christian Pulisic play on the wing or in the middle? Has Jozy Altidore retained striker’s honors? What is the partnership in central defense?

World Cup team 'changed the game forever' for U.S. - LA Times
Brian Bliss remembers coming off the field after the game that changed everything, believing nothing really was different. Perhaps it was the fatigue of playing 90 minutes on a stiflingly humid day in Trinidad. Or the shock of the 1-0 win that had qualified the U.S. soccer team for a World Cup for the first time in four decades.

2026 World Cup bid committee narrows list of potential host cities to 32 |
The United Bid Committee for the joint Canada-United States-Mexico FIFA World Cup bid for 2026 announced on Wednesday they have narrowed the list of host city candidates once more, to 32 locations around North America.

U.S. vs. Panama: Panama Scouting Report - Stars and Stripes FC
The United States Men’s National Team faces a tough task as it takes on Panama in the penultimate game of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. Los Canaleros enter the match with a 3-2 record in their last five, although those two loses were 1-0 games against Mexico and Costa Rica. Panama’s all-time record against the USMNT is 1-11-6, but has never beaten the U.S. in a World Cup qualifier. Despite Panama’s struggles against the USMNT, this team is more than capable of winning.


For Rome | By Francesco Totti
Twenty-seven years ago, there was a knock on the door of our apartment in Rome. My mother, Fiorella, went to answer. Who happened to be on the other side would define my football career.

Matteo Darmian open to Italy return but holds no regrets over Man United move - ESPN FC
Manchester United full-back Matteo Darmian says he still follows Italian football and would consider returning to Serie A if the opportunity were to arise, but he is happy with his decision to move to Old Trafford two years ago.

Barcelona fans to have no away ticket allocation for Atletico Madrid match - ESPN FC
Barcelona say that none of their supporters will attend their upcoming La Liga visit to Atletico Madrid due to the home side's allocation of tickets for away fans, amid the continuing political turmoil in Spain related to a push toward Catalan independence.

Bayern Munich news: Jupp Heynckes offered Carlo Ancelotti's old job until end of the season |
Jupp Heynckes has confirmed that he has been offered the opportunity to become Bayern Munich interim boss until the end of the season. The former Bayern coach, who will be taking over for a fourth spell in charge should he accept the offer, has revealed a meeting with Uli Hoeness, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Hasan Salihamidzic. "They have asked me to takeover as a coach until summer 2018. We spoke about many things."

Lionel Messi news: Messi gets pissed off if he's not given the ball, says former Barcelona team-mate Xavi |
Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has revealed Lionel Messi gets "pissed off" if he's not given the ball. The duo played alongside each other in Catalunya, winning seven Liga titles together, until Spain international Xavi left for Qatari club Al Sadd in 2015.