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Around The Forest: Portland Thorns clinch home playoff berth

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Alexi Lalas has a go at the USMNT, MLS set to break attendance record, again, and more!

Portland:

Portland Thorns FC clinch home playoff game with 1-0 road win at Boston Breakers | Portland Timbers
Sunday evening at Jordan Field in Boston, Portland Thorns FC clinched a home playoff game for a second consecutive season, earning a 1-0 win on the road against the Boston Breakers in front of 3,015 fans. Forward Christine Sinclair helped Portland secure the win, tallying the game-winning goal in the 72nd minute.

Major League Soccer:

Sloane Stephens and Jozy Altidore are the Toronto Sun's "Power Couple" | MLSsoccer.com
Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore was one of the top performers of Week 27, scoring his 12th and 13th goals of the MLS season en route to a 4-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.

MLS roster freeze deadline set for September 15 | MLSsoccer.com
We're about to hit the final stretch of the 2017 MLS regular season, and soon teams will no longer be able to make any changes to their rosters. The 2017 roster freeze deadline is set for Friday, September 15, which is the day teams must submit their 30-man roster for the final six weeks of the regular season and the playoffs.

At last: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez opens Atlanta United's new home with long-awaited goal
No one on Atlanta United’s roster had produced more shots on goal this season without hitting the back of the net than Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. But Sunday in the 14th minute of the first MLS game at shiny new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Pirez finally got his.

SoccerAmerica - Crowd Count: MLS set to break attendance record again 09/09/2017
Boosted by Sunday crowds of 45,314 in Atlanta and 44,679 in Seattle, MLS average attendance climbed to 21,596 for 2017. Atlanta United still has seven home games at its new Mercedes-Benz Stadium—two when it opens the entire stadium—so MLS should again break the league record of 21,692 fans set in 2016 if the remaining teams maintain their current average.

Anton Walkes loving 'every single moment' of loan spell with Atlanta United - ESPN FC
Anton Walkes is learning from former Barcelona boss Tata Martino and will this weekend walk out in the first match at the world's most expensive football stadium—little wonder the Tottenham defender is loving life on loan at Atlanta United.

Monthslong emphasis on involving outside backs in attack results in two goals by Real Salt Lake defenders - The Salt Lake Tribune
The morning of Real Salt Lake’s 3-2 loss at Vancouver, left back Chris Wingert tuned into Premier League action and watched forward Harry Kane curl a cross into the net and accidentally score his 100th goal for Tottenham.

TFC still not satisfied despite clinching playoff spot - Sportsnet.ca
It wasn’t that long ago that a playoff berth was viewed as the Holy Grail by TFC, something far beyond the reach of a franchise that stumbled and bumbled its way through its first eight seasons in Major League Soccer, lurching from one embarrassment to the next. Now, the playoffs are a mere formality, a given, the minimum requirement.

Chasing History: Toronto FC on pace for one of the greatest seasons ever | MLSsoccer.com
With six matches left to play in the 2017 regular season, Toronto FC are currently on pace to log one of the greatest single seasons in MLS history. Having already captured the 2017 Canadian Championship crown back in June, here are some of the other all-time marks within reach of the Reds:

United States:

World:

How 'introvert' Zidane rose to the top as Real Madrid's Galactico coach
When he took over from Rafa Benitez as Real Madrid boss in January 2016, he was seen by some as a last throw of the dice by president Florentino Perez and described as a “plaster” by Catalan sports daily Mundo Deportivo.

Man City top PSG and Man Utd as most expensive team in football history | Goal.com
Manchester City have put together the costliest squad in football history in terms of transfer fees, according to a CIES Football Observatory study. The Blues have spent €853 million in transfer fees on their current squad, even putting them ahead of big-spenders Paris Saint-Germain, who come in a close second at €850m.

Premier League news: Frank de Boer sacked by Crystal Palace after four games | Goal.com
Crystal Palace have fired Frank de Boer after just four games in charge. The Dutchman was hired to replace Sam Allardyce in late June, signing a three year contract, but has lasted less than three months in the job.

Club Rankings: Top 30 teams in the world | Goal.com
Real Madrid have been voted the best team in the world by Goal editors from our 38 editions across the globe. Zinedine Zidane's men became the first side to successfully defend their Champions League title by routing Juventus 4-1 in Cardiff in May and were just as emphatic victors in our poll to decide the top 30 clubs on the planet, which was based upon squad strength and recent success.