Hope everyone had a nice Halloweekend and enjoyed that extra hour of sleep. Daylight savings time is incredible.
We've got plenty of Monday morning Lion Links to get your week started off right. Let's get to it.
Red Bulls Grab Road Goal, Timbers & Caps draw in MLS Playoff Action
With the knockout round of the MLS tournament in the books, the conference semifinals got underway with two rivalry match-ups on Sunday.
On the West coast, the Timbers and Whitecaps locked horns in the first leg of a Cascadia Cup duel. There wasn't much offense to speak of in this one, which is a victory for Vancouver, considering the match was played in Portland, but this should lead to a competitive second leg next weekend.
In other action, Montreal won at home over Columbus Crew, 2-1, with Patrice Bernier and Johan Venegas canceling out Federico Higuain's early goal, and Clint Dempsey's free kick golazo in the 87th minute gave Seattle Sounders a 2-1 win over FC Dallas in the late game at CenturyLink Field. Dallas had led 1-0 on an early Fabian Castillo goal, but Andreas Ivanschitz and Dempsey brought the Sounders back in the second half.
Here's the schedule for the second leg matches (all times Eastern):
MLS schedule next Sunday DCU at NY, 3 (ESPN) Montreal at Columbus, 5 (ESPN) Seattle at Dallas, 7 (FS1) Portland at Vancouver, 10 (FS1)— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) November 2, 2015
Adrian Heath Returns to England
Not permanently (I hope). But the Gaffer was back in his native England this week to visit at least one of the clubs where he plied his trade as an undersized midfielder.
Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) October 31, 2015
Heath made over 100 appearances for the Clarets, including a stint as a player-manager in the late 90s. That was the beginning of a ten-year managerial career in England, before Heath made the jump to a small club in Texas called the Austin Aztex. You probably know what happened from there.
Eddie Johnson Decides to Call it Quits
One of the more electric American strikers in recent memory (and Bunnell, FL native) Eddie Johnson officially announced his retirement from soccer on Sunday at the age of 31. Johnson was forced out by a heart condition that kept him out for the entire 2015 season and caused MLS to void his contract with D.C. United.
NYRB Goalkeeper Luis Robles Herds Sheep with Cheerios in New York Times Profile
One of the interesting things about MLS is that, for many American players, it's basically a one-shot deal. When they reach a certain age, many of these guys are unwilling to travel to foreign countries to try and scrape out a career away from their family and friends. If they don't make it in MLS, they're not going to make a career playing soccer.
That's what makes Luis Robles' career so interesting.
In 2012, the Arizona native was released by third division German side Karlsruher SC. He returned to the States and signed with Red Bulls as a reserve keeper, picking up what he figured would be his last paycheck. But this weekend, he was starting in goal for the Red Bulls during the MLS Cup playoffs.
Robles was profiled this weekend in a really well-written New York Times piece. It's worth a read if you want somebody to root for in the playoffs. Oh, and this is also an actual paragraph from Robles' time in Germany:
His agent put him up in the barn of an old country house, where Robles took up residence in the spartan washroom. In fits of boredom, he would walk the sheep on the property, luring them around the grounds with Cheerios
We've all been there man.
Two American Coaches Reach 2016 Europa League Qualifying
Head coaching positions in Europe have always been tough to come by for Americans, but at least two Yanks have managed to achieve some success across the pond.
2 American born coaches have qualified clubs for Europa League qualifying next season: John Caulfield at Cork City & Bob Bradley at Stabaek— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) November 1, 2015
The 2016 Europa League will feature two American managers, as Bob Bradley at Stabaek and John Caulfield at Cork City both saw their clubs qualify this week.
It would probably be more accurate to describe Caulfield as American-born (he was raised in Ireland and sounds like it), but the Cork City manager was in fact born in New York City.
Bob Bradley, of course, still bleeds red, white and blue after a tenure as manager of the USMNT. He coached Egypt for a brief time before securing the manager's job at Norwegian club Stabaek. He's been linked to several EPL jobs and was rumored yesterday to have a deal in place with Ligue 2 side Le Havre.
Little late on this one, but come on Andrea. At least pretend to care.
Andrea Pirlo giving everything to keep out a corner... https://t.co/RPreYZpBfG— Football Fights (@FootbalIFights) October 27, 2015
That's all the Lion Links we have for today. Stay tuned to The Mane Land this afternoon for our coverage of the NWSL Expansion Draft, as we learn who are newest members of the Pride will be.