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The Daily Dirt, November 6: Under Pressure

Quadruple header of MLS playoff action today

New York Red Bulls v Montreal Impact Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Thoughts on today’s MLS playoff games:

Colorado vs. Los Angeles, 2:00 p.m. ESPN (Galaxy lead 1-0 on aggregate)

The Colorado-LA game is going to come down to the individuals. For Colorado, they need Shklezen Gashi and Jermaine Jones to do something special in the middle of the field. LA has found something that works with Alan Gordon as an old school #9 (and a pretty effective one at that) up top and players running off of him.

What has made this work is Landon Donovan’s return to the team, and his new style of play. He has turned into a bit of a workhorse, tireless running defensively, sliding inside to help Baggio Husidic and Sebastian Lletget. His soccer IQ will be key today in knowing when to help against Colorado’s 3 central midfielder and when to exploit space behind them.

I think LA finds a way to get through in this series.

New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal, 4:00 p.m. ESPN (Impact lead 1-0 on aggregate)

Montreal has been so good thus far in the playoffs, but they might have a problem here with Matteo Mancosu possibly not at 100%. He has been an outstanding player for them since arriving this summer and has made the team say, “Didier who?” If he is out, the Impact will get even more defensive to try to hold serve. They will look to find Dominic Oduro more on the counter, utilizing his speed.

New York has to get Sacha Kljestan some help in creating chances, Montreal did a pretty good job of neutralizing him in the first leg. They can find opportunities wide as the Impact’s outside backs are susceptible to giving up opportunities. Also, Bradley Wright-Phillips has to shake off this playoff funk he’s been in. The stoppage time miss he had last week was shocking.

The Red Bulls should get through in this one, but I don’t trust them yet in these moments. They have to show why they were the best team in the Eastern Conference today. It’s time for them to grow up.

New York City vs. Toronto, 6:30 p.m. FS1 (Toronto leads 2-0 on aggregate)

That second goal last week dramatically changed this series. It means that NYCFC has to open this game up from the start and we could see the some fireworks at Yankee Stadium tonight.

No one has come back from a 2-0 deficit since 2004. NYCFC has the firepower to do so, but they’ll need to get a goal in the first thirty minutes to have a realistic shot at it. They’ll also likely need to shutout Toronto, which is unlikely.

Things don’t look good for NYCFC here, but it should be a fun game to watch.

FC Dallas vs. Seattle, 9:00 p.m. FS1 (Seattle leads 3-0 on aggregate)

The Mauro Diaz injury completely wrecked Dallas’ chances at the never seen Treble in American soccer. Now down by three, it would take a major miracle for Dallas to make it past Seattle and into the Conference finals.

Just like NYCFC, it will take an early goal to throw Seattle off and make them start to question themselves. We will see how Brian Schmetzer handles the pressure if that happens. Dallas will throw everything they have at the Sounders and need Mauro Rosales to turn back the clock to replace Diaz. Seattle can sit back for the most part and have Nicolas Lodeiro try to hit Jordan Morris on the counter.

For Dallas, they really have nothing to lose tonight. They already have two trophies in 2016, and advanced in the CONCACAF Champions League. Pulling off an unthinkable comeback tonight would only add to the season. They’ll come out with everything they have, but can it be enough?

Barring something epic, Seattle keeps their own magic carpet ride going.


Domestic

Previewing today’s second legs of the Conference semifinals (MLS)

What do the Rapids need to do to defeat the Galaxy? (Burgundy Wave)

Three things to watch from the Galaxy’s perspective (LAG Confidential)

Expect a similar lineup for Seattle in today’s game at Dallas (Sounder at Heart)

Red Bulls ready for a must-win game today against Montreal (Once a Metro)

Toronto trying to get to their first Eastern Conference final, but they have to survive NYCFC and Yankee Stadium today (Waking the Red)

Jurgen Klinsmann will announce the USMNT roster for the Mexico and Costa Rica games this afternoon (Stars and Stripes FC)

New York Cosmos will host Indy Eleven in NASL’s Soccer Bowl. Cosmos going for third title in four years:

International

Juan Carlos Osorio’s philosophy as Mexico’s national team manager (BBC)

Chivas earns a playoff spot with their 1-1 draw with Leon (FMF State of Mind)

GOLAZO by Monterrey:

Local

Dalton State advances to the semifinals of the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament in Montgomery with a 4-0 win over Middle Georgia State (DS Roadrunners)