The Road to the MLS Cup is almost complete as the 2nd leg of both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals will be played on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Details on the games, TV coverage and previews can be found below.
The other item(s) of interest – Contract Deadline Day Monday has changed the St. Louis representation in Major League Soccer. I’ve got the details further down.
UPDATE – MLS Cup Final is Saturday December 9th at 3pm on ESPN. It will feature Toronto v TBD
Wednesday Nov 29, 6:30 pm – on Fox Sports 1
Toronto FC (20-5-9) wins 1-0 on Josie Altidore’s late goal to defeat the Columbus Crew SC (16-12-6)
PREVIEW: Toronto hosts Columbus
After a tense scoreless draw at MAPFRE Stadium last Tuesday, the Eastern Conference Championship will be entirely up for grabs next Wednesday on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Thursday Nov 30, 9:30 pm – on ESPN
Seattle Sounders FC (14-9-11) v Houston Dynamo (13-10-11)
Joe Willis (Denver/Chaminade) is the backup keeper for the Dynamo but with starter Tyler Deric’s arrest for domestic battery he started the two playoff games in November. The win against Portland and last week’s first leg loss to Seattle. I suspect we’ll see him Thursday as well.
PREVIEW: Sounders host Dynamo
After going down a goal and a man early and eventually succumbing to a 2-0 home defeat against the Seattle Sounders last Tuesday, only the Dynamo’s best away performance of 2017 would be enough from keeping holders Seattle from returning to MLS Cup.
CONTRACT DEADLINE DAY
Monday was the first Contract Deadline Day of the MLS offseason. A total of 12 MLS clubs made their first important decisions for the 2018 season, revealing the player contract options they have picked up for next year and those they are declining. Out-of-contract players were also be announced. The four playoff teams have until Dec. 1 (Conference Finalists) or Dec. 10 (Cup Finalists) to make their decisions. Here’s the full MLS Report.
JOHN BERNER, Colorado Rapids (SIUE/St. Mary’s) – option declined with Tim Howard and Zac MacMath signed at GK
JOE WILLIS, Houston Dynamo (Denver/Chaminade) – PLAYOFFS BABY!
CONNOR SPARROW, Real Salt Lake (Creigton/Vianney) – the ONLY GK under contract at the moment. Will Nick Rimando return (free agent, in negotiation)?
NICK BESLER, Real Salt Lake (Notre Dame/Blue Valley West) – under contract, Matt’s younger brother
WILL BRUIN, Seattle Sounders (Indiana/DeSmet) – PLAYOFFS BABY!
MARK PAIS, Toronto FC (Tulsa/SLU/Ladue) – third GK for title contenders!
Alec Kann, Atlanta United (former STLFC goalkeeper) – option exercised
Matt Polster, Chicago Fire (former SIUE) – option exercised
Patrick Doody, Chicago Fire (former STLFC) – option declined
Lawrence Olum, Portland Timbers (former STL Lions) – under contract
Chris Shuler, Real Salt Lake (former AC St. Louis/STL/Chicago) – option declined
James Musa, Sporting KC (former STLFC) – option exercised
For background, Matthew Doyle offers his look at the best available players. As he notes in the report, for the big names (Nick Rimando at Real Salt Lake) free agency opens December 12th. Plenty of time for negotiations to be completed. As for the others, many may renegotiate new deals with their current clubs over the next two or three weeks as well.