ExtraTime Radio
Bring on the 2016 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs! Decision Day was over in a flash, and the Armchair Analyst is in studio for one last show to help digest it all and look ahead to midweek Knockout Round action.
 
How did FC Dallas get over the finish line on the way to the Supporters’ Shield and double? What happened to Portland as the Timbers flamed out in Vancouver?  Is Seattle the favorite in the West? How crazy do you have to be to bet against Bruce and Landon in the playoffs? And that’s not even mentioning the Eastern Conference, where Toronto FC are targeting their first-ever playoff win, both sides of New York earned byes, Drogba drama continues and D.C. United are hitting their stride at just the right time.
 
Finally, it’s time for Knockout Round previews, plus the reasons why every playoff team will lift MLS Cup … or crash out.
 

 

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After months of buildup, we’re almost there. Decision Day looms, and the guys are busy trying to figure out the best way to watch 10 games at once without missing any action. In the Western Conference, three playoff spots are up for grabs, and the biggest game on the docket seems to be Seattle hosting Real Salt Lake with one of the two guaranteed a spot – and perhaps both in the field should other results go their way. Yura Movsisyan calls in to discuss the mounting pressure, his permanent MLS move and the evolution of the league and RSL. Then it’s Supporters’ Shield talk and mourning for Mauro Diaz.

Out East, the field is basically set, but seeding remains in flux. It matters where you finish. Like, a lot, according to Andrew’s research. Will Toronto FC or New York City FC skip the Knockout Round? Can D.C. United get a game at RFK? Will Didier Drogba be extra jacked to prove himself after Joey Saputo put out last weekend’s fire in Montreal? What about Philly? Are they destined for a quick exit, or might Jim Curtin put a charge in his troops?

In the mailbag, Darlington Nagbe’s USMNT future is in flux, a listener wonders what MLS matchup an international-audience would find most intriguing, plus someone floats a Kei Kamara-to-Seattle trade that Matt doesn’t see happening.

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Whoa. Just whoa. If you thought Week 33 and the Final Push to the Playoffs packed a punch, what will Decision Day be like? With the Armchair Analyst in New York City, the guys get in the same room for banter, breakdowns and some serious analysis of Sunday’s MLS doubleheader.

Starting in the Western Conference, FC Dallas grabbed control of the Supporters’ Shield race … but may have lost Mauro Diaz for months and Kellyn Acosta for the playoff run. The magical unicorn’s apparent Achilles injury breaks Andrew’s heart, but perhaps Carlos Ruiz and his timeless goal magic can fuel an MLS Cup run in Big D. Seattle, meanwhile, wasted another opportunity to clinch a playoff spot, meaning there are three up for grabs among four teams with Portland and Kansas City controlling their own fates. Can Colorado pip Dallas to the Shield? It’d be a fitting bow on the Rapids’ best regular season ever.

In the Eastern Conference, Drogba-gate dominates the headlines. Long story short, Didier Drogba decided coming off the bench wasn’t for him, so the Impact went out and nabbed a point sans superstar via a hard-fought draw with archrivals Toronto FC, led by Sebastian Giovinco (the Atomic Ant is back!) and Jozy Altidore. Elsewhere, the Red Bulls locked up the top seed, but gave their fanbase more late heart palpitations, Philly backed into the Knockout Round, D.C. United are playing the best soccer in MLS, and New York City FC are still the most schizophrenic team in North America.

Don’t tune out before the mailbag, in which Doyle explains the origins of the Octagon, Michael Bradley’s TFC future gets a harder look, the guys explain the repercussions ofSunday’s Expansion Priority Draft, MLS affiliates book their places in USL Cup and Steve Jobs … no, Bob Bradley … nearly leads Swansea City to a massive road win in his first EPL match.

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It’s Final Push to the Playoffs time, and that means two blocks of games to occupy your Sunday afternoon plus a live show featuring some ExtraTime Radio flavor. The guys, with Doyle back in the mix, start in the Western Conference, where Seattle wasted a golden opportunity midweek, Portland are holding on for dear life, Colorado are chasing an unlikely Supporters’ Shield, Yura and RSL got a deal done and LA might be better off without Steven Gerrard.

 

In the Eastern Conference, Toronto vs. Montreal headline the slate of games. TFC head coach Greg Vanney joins the guys to discuss the home slide that dropped them out of the Shield race, Jozy Altidore’s hamstring, those Michael Bradley rumors and the 401 Derby. Plus, an MVP discussion, another year of D.C. proving the doubters wrong, whether the East will be red or blue and Philadelphia’s suddenly desperate playoff reality.

 

The mailbag begins with US national team talk. Should Julian Green be in consideration against Mexico? Is Sacha Kljestan really a starting central midfielder after so long out in the cold? Finally, Doyle’s thoughts on the rumors surrounding CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

 

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Following a historic trip to Havana for the US national team’s first friendly on the island since 1947, MLSsoccer.com’s own Arielle Castillo returns to tell her story. The people, the architecture, the food, the vintage cars, the bureaucracy – the stories are as colorful as the country itself, and you won’t want to miss out on her travel diaries. Oh, and of course there was a game to play as well. Julian Green impressed, Chris Wondolowski silenced some doubters and Ethan Horvath got a shot. There’s also a Tuesday friendly against New Zealand to preview after Jurgen Klinsmann juggled his roster.

 In the second segment, Ben ‘The Research’ Baer gets on the mic to help David and Andrew preview the week to come in MLS. The Rapids control their own Supporters’ Shield destiny, and are making history at home. Meanwhile, Seattle and Houston clash on Wednesday with the Sounders aiming to make Ben eat his words. Finally, a word of warning for playoff teams who miss out on a home game or fail to finish in the top-two spots.

 The mailbag has CONCACAF fever, both of the CCL and World Cup qualifying variety. Nick Rosano, our very own CONCACAF expert, joins to walk you through the proposed changes to both being floated in the media.

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The international break is here, which means an MLS breather but there’s still a huge US national team game to chat about as Jurgen Klinsmann and the boys head to Havana for a historic friendly against Cuba (4 pm ET; ESPN2, UniMas). What’s the right lineup mix as the US prepare for a huge match in November against Mexico? The top three: Geoff Cameron-John Brooks, Jozy Altidore-Bobby Wood and Fabian Johnson-Christian Pulisic. Plus, David is hyped about Bob Bradley’s new job at Swansea City.

 

There may only be one MLS game this weekend, but there’s still plenty of MLS scuttlebutt for the guys to gab about, starting with some big news on the broadcast side as the season comes to a close. That lone game? Houston vs. Colorado, a matchup that has Andrew eating crow, and everyone praising the job Pablo Mastroeni has done in his third year as head coach. Plus, stadium and Homegrown news in Atlanta, an update on the Quakes general manager search, Goalkeeper of the Year candidates and, bizarrely, MLS players turned police officers.

 

In the mailbag, a listener asks for an update on the USL playoffs, Sigi Schmid’s LAFC candidacy gets the once over, Vancouver’s disappointing season raises the stakes for 2017 and the guys praise Patrick Mullins in Doyle’s stead.

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With the holidays and vacation keeping Matt and David from their customary spots in the ETR lineup, Andrew turns to super sub Calen Carr to pick up the slack after an intense MLS weekend that saw Seattle solidify their hold on a playoff spot, D.C. United continue their rapid climb up the Eastern Conference table and Colorado keep pace with their Supporters' Shield dreams. The red line will dictate the rest of the season as teams fight to stay alive or for seeding. Alphonso Davies and the Vancouver Whitecaps are out of the race, but Andrew and Calen can't help but rave about the 15-year-old who is turning heads in British Columbia. He's the truth. So is Dax McCarty, whose return may have solved the Red Bulls' issues.

The latest US national team roster dropped over the weekend, and the guys applaud Jurgen Klinsmann for making timely choices from a deep pool. In bigger US national team news, former manager Bob Bradley became the first American to coach an EPL on Monday morning when Swansea City hired the one-time World Cup boss.

In the mailbag, Calen reveals why this week is bigger than most, and one listener hopes/wishes/prays for Lionel Messi to ATL UTD.

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Andrew’s back, and there’s a bevy of MLS news to break down following midweek MLS and CCL action that saw Seattle jump above the red line and a quartet of clubs solidify their quarterfinal standing. You’ll want to stick around for a surprise call to Ben ‘The Research’ Baer, who may have to eat his words when it comes to that infamous Sounders predictions, as well as some strong words of support for Wade Barrett, a warning for the Union, some bizarro MLS predictions for the Timbers and a Soccer Sunday breakdown.

 The guys are tickled to welcome Atlanta United FC technical director Carlos Bocanegra to the show following a blockbuster coaching signing for the 2017 expansion side. Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino will lead ATL into MLS, and Bocanegra explains the how and why behind what amounts to a DP signing on the sideline. Plus, is Andres Guardado a target? Bocanegra answers the tough questions then explains what it’s like to build a team from scratch.

In the mailbag, the guys ponder whether Bob Bradley would leave Europe for LAFC, and one fan notices a dust up between Didier Drogba and some fans in New York.

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Three more teams locked up their playoff seeds this weekend but chaos still reigns as teams fight to get above the redline. Matt and Ben join David as he tries to pull the strings in midfield one last time in place of Andrew. DC United got the biggest win of the weekend over a fading Orlando City SC and Patrick Mullins takes the time to call in. He discuss his fight for playing time in his career, current goal scoring run, and favorite DC eateries ahead of a midweek redline clash with Columbus (Wednesday 9/26, 7:30 pm ET on MLS Live.) The guys also breakdown Jordan Morris’s improvement this season, Ola Kamara’s star potential, and debate a potential PK for Jozy Altidore.

In the second segment MLS is gonna MLS as Portland falters on the road once again and Colorado starts scoring but forgets to play defense. Then the guys look forward to four massive midweek MLS games that could decide playoff fates for Seattle, Columbus, and DC and could spell doom for Orlando, Montreal, or San Jose. On top of MLS action Portland, FC Dallas, and New York Red Bulls have CCL action that could decide their groups as the round comes to a close.


In the mailbag referees pick up assists, the guys discuss USMNT manager shortlist (Doyle adds a surprise name), and Chicago Fire fans lament the lack of playing time for the kids.

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The list is finally out as the top 5 names on the 24 under 24 have been released and there is some serious attacking talent leading the way. David calls on the full roster of ETR talent with Matt, Ben, and Calen to break it all down. What are the most promising trends? Where does the development pool need to do better? And who are the biggest snubs? After that Jordan Morris joins the show to tell the guys all about his rookie year, being a professional player living back at home, and to preview Sunday's national tv clash on ESPN with Landon’s LA Galaxy.

In the second segment the guys break down all the matchups for the upcoming weekend. There are major playoff implications in both the east and west plus a few teams that could clinch their playoff spots. Plus the battle between the "Research Baer" and the Portland Timbers heats up.

In the mailbag it looks like Atlanta United might be closing in on their first manager, and the guys jump up to their 34 over 34 list to close things out.

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