Sounders, LAFC prepare for another playoff battle

Carlos Vela is the lone player remaining on the Los Angeles FC roster from the franchise’s first game in March 2018, a 1-0 victory at Seattle. Vela and LAFC will return to Lumen Field on Sunday night for an MLS Western Conference semifinal match. The Sounders are 4-0-3 at home against LAFC since that initial meeting and have twice knocked the Black & Gold out of the playoffs. “The best moment was the first game

Dynamo’s different brand of ball to be tested by Sporting KC’s experience

When Sporting Kansas City visits the Houston Dynamo in Sunday’s Western Conference semifinal, the visitors will represent the old guard clashing with an up-and-coming challenger. Kansas City’s Peter Vermes is the league’s longest-tenured manager at 15 seasons. And he’s guided Sporting to an MLS Cup, three U.S. Open Cups and now 11 postseason appearances over that span. But earlier this season, it appeared his run might be near an end after SKC earned only three

FC Cincinnati chasing playoff revenge on Union

FC Cincinnati and the Philadelphia Union meet for the second consecutive season in the Eastern Conference semifinals, this time with top-seeded Cincinnati playing host thanks to a monster 69-point regular season. Both teams have dealt with extended breaks after sweeping their best-of-three conference quarterfinal series. And each one is dealing with key absences because of those quarterfinal games. Fourth-seeded Philadelphia will be without left back Kai Wagner for the second game of a three-game suspension

Crew’s high-powered offense, Orlando City’s defense set to clash

Contrasting styles will be on display when Orlando City host the Columbus Crew in an Eastern Conference semifinal on Saturday. Under coach Wilfried Nancy, the Crew like possession that leads to putting opposing defenses on their heels. They led MLS with 67 goals in the regular season and scored eight during the three-game opening-round series against Atlanta United. The playoff format adjusts to single-elimination matches for the conference semifinals and finals, as well as the

Atlanta United attempt to overcome Crew’s home-field advantage

Atlanta United feels they have the momentum. The Columbus Crew will rely on their home-field advantage. Something has to give when the third-seeded Crew host No. 6 Atlanta in the decisive match of their Eastern Conference first-round best-of-three series on Sunday. Atlanta avoided elimination in Match 2 at home on Tuesday with a 4-2 victory following the Crew’s 2-0 win in Columbus in the Nov. 1 opener. “I think we got some momentum after scoring

FC Dallas hope to snap 12-year drought in Seattle in Match 3

Visits to Seattle traditionally aren’t much fun for FC Dallas. With a Western Conference semifinal berth on the line, FC Dallas will aim to halt an 18-match MLS winless streak in Seattle when they battle the second-seeded Sounders on Friday night in the finale of a three-game, first-round series between the teams. The winner moves on to face third-seeded Los Angeles FC. Seventh-seeded FC Dallas is 0-14-4 in the shadow of the Space Needle since

Short-handed Union eyeing sweep of Revolution

The Philadelphia Union will try to close out their first-round MLS Cup playoff series with the New England Revolution on the road Wednesday night in Foxborough, Mass. But if they’re going to sweep the best-of-three set, they will have to do it short-handed. Union starting defender Kai Wagner was given a three-match suspension after admitting he directed a racial slur toward New England’s Bobby Wood during Match 1. And Julian Carranza — whose 14 non-penalty-kick

Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada back for must-win match vs. Crew

Atlanta United are hoping a not-so-secret weapon can keep their postseason hopes alive when they host the Columbus Crew on Tuesday in Match 2 of the first-round, best-of-three series. The Crew, the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, won the opener 2-0 at home on Nov. 1 on a brace by Cucho Hernandez while limiting Atlanta to one off-target shot. Atlanta expects that to change with the return of Thiago Almada, a finalist for

Road warriors Orlando City vie for clincher vs. Nashville SC

No team in MLS was more successful on the road this season than Orlando City SC. The Lions will try to continue that pattern on Tuesday night when they visit Nashville SC with a chance to clinch the best-of-three, first-round series between the two Eastern Conference squads. Orlando City went 9-4-4 on the road in the regular season, accumulating the most victories and points (31) in the league. The Lions are in position to clinch

Dynamo chasing efficiency vs. RSL with chance to advance

The Houston Dynamo will look to remain undefeated against Real Salt Lake this season when they travel to Sandy, Utah, for Game 2 of a best-of-three opening-round playoff series Monday. The Dynamo opened the short series with a 2-1 victory over RSL on Oct. 29. The win improved Houston to 3-0-1 across all competitions against Salt Lake. Dynamo captain Hector Herrera and midfielder Amine Bassi scored goals in Game 1, marking the first time in