We sent Ben to scout the hills of distant Virginia to scout for new blogging talent, so you're stuck with me for the second straight day. However, I got some help from other B&RU staff members because 90% of my links were just match reports. You can thank them for there being some variety here.
Anyway, there's no D.C. United news so let's go elsewhere:
Crystal Dunn wins NWSL MVP | Black and Red United
For anyone that missed it, the NWSL got their MVP right. My previous thoughts on the subject are best summed up in this tweet from last week:
New plan: 1. Peacefully dismantle the US government 2. Install Crystal Dunn as benevolent dictator 3. Enjoy endless prosperity— Jason (@chestrockwell14) September 18, 2015
Attractive soccer and MLS’s drive to be one of the world’s best leagues | Top Drawer Soccer
Will Parchman with some thoughts on what makes the world's supposed best leagues, and what makes an attractive team. This is hugely subjective, of course, but still a fascinating angle on Don Garber's stated goal of MLS being one of the world's best leagues within a decade.
More Lukewarm Oatmeal: MTL 2, CHI 1, recap | Hot Time in Old Town
Chicago is all about the #1 draft pick. Best to finish last in a non-expansion year, though they don't have the Open Cup to make them feel better or the CCL money to help them back up the table. Frank Yallop is gone, but his team did still play Yallopball in Quebec last night.
Montreal Impact serenade birthday boy Patrice Bernier, dedicate win to absent Ignacio Piatti | MLSsoccer.com
The Impact, meanwhile, took most of they mystery out of the race for the last Eastern playoff spot. The bigger news for United: Ignacio Piatti missed the game to fly back to Argentina to be with his seriously ill father. Center back Laurent Ciman picked up a late 2nd yellow card, earning himself a suspension (and, now that he's gotten the double yellow ejection 3 times in 2015, it's an incident that calls into question his otherwise worthy DOTY campaign). Winger Andres Romero, celebrating a goal, got his 8th yellow card of the season and is suspended for Saturday as well. And then there was this:
Will Didier Drogba pick up a suspension? Yeah, don't bet on it. Remember David Beckham's once-a-week scissor tackles and Thierry Henry only being fined for a "celebration" that put Kevin Hartman out of action for weeks?
Anyway, this may be the right moment to be playing the Impact.
LA Galaxy draw Central FC, advance to SCCL quarterfinals | LAG Confidential
It would have been better for United if Central held onto their lead, but the Galaxy sealed their spot in the quarterfinals with one game left in their group. They have a +9 goal difference, so if they win the final game in Group D (at Municipal), they'll be seeded above United. However, judging from the performance of their reserves tonight, that's not a foregone conclusion.
Sounders vs. Whitecaps, CONCACAF Champions League result: Seattle easily moves on | Sounder at Heart
Speaking of winning CCL groups, an A-/B+ strength Sounders thumped a reserve-heavy, experimental Whitecaps side in Seattle. With 7 points enough to win a very tight group, the Sounders could theoretically end up being United's opponent in the spring.
Vancouver Whitecaps Lay an Egg in Potentially Season-Defining Week | Eighty Six Forever
Here's the Vancouver view of things, which - given the back-to-back 3-0 losses to Seattle and CCL elimination - is understandably less happy.
Maryland men's soccer suffers second loss of the season to Georgetown | Testudo Times
The Terps continue to struggle against local rivals (though they did beat Navy earlier this month). Also, what genius scheduled this game at 4pm on a Wednesday (specifically, a Wednesday where the papal visit essentially shut DC down)? I would have loved to go to this game, even with the result being unpalatable.
Americans abroad roundup: goals galore | Soccer Insider
Goff brings the goals. That includes Fabian Johnson, who is back healthy just in time for the United States.
Onto the links from others:
Adam M Taylor - First Listen: Cast Recording, 'Hamilton' | NPR
Here is how Adam presented it to me: "There's this musical about Alexander Hamilton that is bringing in great reviews on Broadway. And it's all hip hop. And it's streaming till Friday on NPR. And it's amazing. And you should listen to it and link it tomorrow. That is all."
I did the latter half of his request. It's after 1am as I compile this though, so a listen will have to wait.
Ryan Keefer - Introducing Playoff Seeding Projections | American Soccer Analysis
Over at ASA, they did a Monte Carlo simulation that gives DCU a 0% chance at the Shield and only a 0.03% chance of winning the East. So that sucks. But it does list our chances of making the playoffs at 99.9%, so we've got that going for us.
More Ryan - MLS coaches visit Feyenoord | Feyenoord.com
Academy coach Tom Torres is among a group of MLS academy coaches who spent a week at Feyenoord learning their methods.
I think that's more than enough. Enjoy your Thursday.