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Angels Links: Drama and excitement in MLS Playoffs

Plenty of tension and pettiness on display this weekend!

MLS: Eastern Conference Semifinal-New York Red Bulls at Toronto FC Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC advance in chippy, feisty affair at BMO Field

In the end it was Toronto FC who advanced against the New York Red Bulls, as expected by many, but they did not seem convincing doing so. They lost 1-0 on the night, and maybe more importantly, they will go into the first leg with arguably their two best players suspended, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco. Giovinco will be out because of yellow card accumulation, while Altidore was sent off after a halftime dust up with Red Bulls captain and fellow USMNT member Sacha Kljestan. The ejections came due to a fight in the tunnel that seemed to involve everyone on both teams. This was a carryover of a scuffle that happened on the field at the end of the first half. Giovinco fouled Tyler Adams which set things off, with Altidore and Felipe being the main antagonists. Then later Kljestan shoved Altidore, who went down very easily which set off more bad blood between the teams. In the end, Toronto advanced, but with the way they played, responded to antagonism, and missing their two best players, they could be in trouble in the Eastern Conference finals.

NYCFC win second leg 2-0, come up just short against the Columbus Crew

Speaking of the Eastern Conference finals, Toronto FC’s opponent will be Columbus Crew SC. The Crew were also favored to go through after their big first leg win, but they got through by the skin of their teeth. New York City FC won 2-0 on the night, and had their chances to complete the comeback, the two clearest chances being Rodney Wallace hitting the post, and Jack Harrison had his shot saved instead of crossing after making a great run into the box. Credit to Columbus, not just for their first leg win, but also when they seemed on the ropes in the second half they were able to take the sting out of the game, and limit NYCFC’s chances late on. Columbus has to feel great after moving on, and has a good shot to make the finals, especially with Giovinco and Altidore being suspended. For NYCFC, this was certainly a better showing than their playoff series last year, but in the end, they came up just agonizingly short.

In the late game, the Houston Dynamo stunned the Portland Timbers 2-1 to move on to the Western Conference Finals. They will square off with the Seattle Sounders.

Chelsea FC beat Manchester United 1-0, City extend title lead with win over Arsenal

Chelsea defeated Manchester United 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, to rebound nicely after their midweek defeat to Roma in the Champions League. Despite Jose Mourinho’s penchant for making games against other big sides dull affairs this game was actually relatively good, especially compared to the United-Liverpool game earlier this year. It wasn’t enough to get a result though, as Alvaro Morata got on the end of a ball from Cesar Azpilicueta and headed it past David De Gea for the winning goal. Chelsea are now only one point behind United and Tottenham. This allowed Manchester City to stretch their lead at the top of the table, which they did by beating Arsenal earlier in the day 3-1. Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring for City, and a Sergio Aguero penalty put them up 2-0. Arsenal thought they had a way back in the game after an Alexander Lacazette goal made it 2-1, but then Gabriel Jesus scored to make it 3-1 on a play that, to be fair did look to be just offside. City with an eight-point lead at the top are going to be tough to catch, especially the way they are playing.

Mainz goalkeeper goes to play the ball out of the back, forgets one crucial element, the ball

We’ve all been there, making an embarrassing mistake. Thankfully most of us don’t make it in front of thousands of people watching at a Bundesliga game. The same cannot be said for Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner, who went to play the ball out of the back, but comically, forgot the ball. Thankfully for him, the mistake did not concede a goal. Still, that goalie will probably not live this down for a while.

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