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Around The Forest: Timbers fall to Dynamo in Western Conference Semi’s

Columbus Crew and Toronto FC advance to Eastern Conference finals, NASL in further trouble and more!


Injuries, ill fortune and ... injuries derail Portland Timbers playoff run |
The Portland Timbers entered the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs on a roll. With Caleb Porter's squad's health seemingly restored, the team looked poised to make a deep playoff run as the late-breaking top-seed in the Western Conference. Instead, their injury problems resurfaced and the now-reeling Timbers were unable to keep the Houston Dynamo's explosive attack off the board in both legs of their Western Conference Semifinal, dropping the series by a 2-1 aggregate margin.

Major League Soccer

Jozy Altidore, Sacha Kljestan exchange barbs after halftime ejections |
US national team teammates Jozy Altidore and Sacha Kljestan were both ejected during halftime of Sunday's Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs match between Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls, which ended with TFC advancing on away goals.

Toronto's Michael Bradley: New York Red Bulls "did nothing" in second leg |
It was anything but pretty, but Toronto FC will simply be relieved to fight another day after advancing to a second straight Eastern Conference Championship by defeating the New York Red Bulls on away goals. Despite losing the second leg at home, 1-0, the reigning Supporters’ Shield winners advanced on the away goals tiebreaker following a 2-2 aggregate scoreline and will now make preparations to face Columbus Crew SC with a chance to host a second consecutive MLS Cup on the line.

How it happened: Altidore, Kljestan incident overshadows TFC playoff march |
Six yellow cards and two reds later, one side emerged when the dust settled at BMO Field on Sunday night. Toronto FC moves on to Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship against Columbus Crew SC, advancing past the New York Red Bulls on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

Columbus Crew SC content with advancement despite playing "sloppy game" |
Columbus Crew SC fell, 2-0, to New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night, but advanced to the Eastern Conference Championship via a 4-3 aggregate score. The healthy advantage Crew SC established in last week’s first leg allowed them to take a more defensive-minded approach in the trip to the Big Apple, and they were able to hang onto their lead despite turning in a subpar performance.

Columbus Crew SC looking forward to much-needed break before TFC showdown |
Two things made Columbus Crew SC happy on Sunday: Their advancement to the Eastern Conference Championship, and the fact that they are headed for a much-needed break. Crew SC survived their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against New York City FC on Sunday night, winning, 4-3, on aggregate despite falling 2-0 at Yankee Stadium in the decisive leg. Columbus will next take on Toronto FC for a place in the MLS Cup Final, but not before enjoying a week of respite.

Armchair Analyst: TFC fight, Crew SC survive, and Houston ride a rocket |
I've been watching this league for 21 years, and in terms of raw entertainment – both on the field, off the field and in the tunnels – today was probably top three. I love to see players lose their minds, like Toronto FC and Red Bulls did; I love to see a desperation push for an equalizer, which is what NYCFC gave us; and I love to see an underdog come good with a road upset, as the Dynamo did.

MLS expands variety and distribution of gear in landmark deal with Fanatics |
Major League Soccer announced a broad long-term global agreement with apparel company Fanatics on Monday, expanding the scale and scope of Fanatics’ relationship with MLS beginning in 2019. The partnership will see MLS and Fanatics roll out an assortment of new fan gear apparel and accessories prior to the 2019 season.

United States

Change vs. Continuity in the USSF President race - Stars and Stripes FC
If there is one thing U.S. Soccer fans seem fairly in favor of, it is replacing Sunil Gulati as U.S. Soccer Federation president. Since the U.S. Men’s National Team failed to qualify for the World Cup, the calls for him to step down or not run for re-election have been growing.

NASL’s request for injunction against U.S Soccer denied - Stars and Stripes FC
The NASL suffered a setback this morning as a federal judge denied the league’s request for a preliminary injunction against U.S. Soccer. As a result, U.S. Soccer’s decision to deny the league Division II status remains in effect. The ruling comes after both sides spent the past week arguing in front of Judge Margo Brodie in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.


Bayern Munich should look at Christian Pulisic deal - Lothar Matthaus - ESPN FC
Bayern Munich legend Lothar Matthaus has said his former club should look to make a move for Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic. U.S. international Pulisic was Dortmund's best performer in an otherwise disappointing showing Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to Bayern, drawing specific praise from sporting director Michael Zorc, who said he was the only player to show "courage," and coach Peter Bosz.

Arsenal news: Lacazette should confront Wenger after benching him at Man City, says Shearer |
Alan Shearer has urged Alexandre Lacazette to confront Arsene Wenger after the striker was left out of the starting line-up for Arsenal's 3-1 loss to Manchester City. The France international joined the Gunners from Lyon in the summer for a fee of around £50 million, becoming the club's record signing in the process.

West Ham sack Slaven Bilic as ex-Man Utd boss David Moyes waits to take over |
West Ham have sacked manager Slaven Bilic after a terrible run of form. The club's 4-1 loss to Liverpool at the weekend left them in the Premier League's bottom three, having collected just two wins from their opening 11 games of the season.