Orlando & Seattle win in the MLS playoffs, Atlanta heads to Columbus: Starting Lineup, Oct. 31
by Jason Longshore
1- The goals dried up a little bit in the MLS playoffs last night, which isn't too much of a surprise considering the combatants involved. Two clean sheets, but both were competitive matches for the majority of the 90 minutes. I think it's safe to say that the Game 1's thus far, with one to play, have been more entertaining than the typical Game 1's of an aggregate series.
2- Orlando got a late first half bombazo from Wilder Cartagena and rode that through to a 1-0 win over Nashville. Sam Surridge had one of the worst playoff misses of all time from five yards out when he tried for a strange volley instead of a header. The Boys in Gold were only able to manage 7 shots, but did put 3 of them on target. Pedro Gallese wasn't called upon often, but he made a couple of big saves.
3- In the nightcap at Lumen Field, the Sounders got a late first half penalty converted by Albert Rusnak and a second half goal from Jordan Morris to win 2-0 over Dallas. On the Dallas side of things, the biggest concern was Alan Velasco having to leave the match in the 18th minute due to injury. It was later said that he had a knee contusion, we'll see if he'll be able to go again in Game 2.
4- Lionel Messi won his record 8th Ballon D'Or yesterday, the first time an active MLS player has won the award. “I couldn't imagine having the career that I've had,” Messi said at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. “Everything that I've achieved. The fortune I've had playing for the best team in the world, the best team in history. It's nice to win these individual trophies. To win the Copa América and then the World Cup, to get it done is amazing.”
5- Aitana Bonmatí of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon D'Or for the first time yesterday. This goes along with her Golden Ball from the World Cup to cap off an incredible year for both club and country for the elegant attacker. She scored 19 goals for Barcelona in a year that saw them win the La Liga F and Champions League titles.
6- Breaking this morning, it appears that the 2034 World Cup will be played in Saudi Arabia as Australia is dropping out of their bid to host. FIFA invited bids from the Asia and Oceania with a deadline of today. Australia will instead attempt to secure hosting rights for the 2029 FIFA Club World Cup and the 2026 Women's Asian Cup, the latter a tournament Saudi Arabia has also bid for.
7- Georgia State's women won in the opening round of the Sun Belt women's soccer tournament in Foley, Alabama 1-0 over Southern Miss. Olivia Shaw's goal in the second half was the difference for the Panthers, as they advance to face the 2nd seed Old Dominion on Wednesday. Jaddah Foos, who was named to the Sun Belt's All-Conference 2nd team on Monday, earned another clean sheet at the conference tournament, where she was named to the all-tournament team last year.
8- Atlanta United has one more training session before heading to Columbus this afternoon for Game 1 of their playoff series with the Crew tomorrow night. The match will kickoff at 7:55, we'll be on the air on Star 94 (note the change) starting at 7pm with the 5 Stripes Countdown. You can also listen on the Audacy app and the Atlanta United app.
9- IFAB is currently against airing the conversations between the referee and VAR live due to the "chaotic" nature of them. IFAB chief executive Lukas Brud said, "We have given the green light to test the announcement of decisions to bring a little more transparency to decision making, but we are not prepared at this point to open up communication live to the audience." More from Brud at the BBC here.
10- Atlanta Soccer Tonight will be live from Columbus tonight on 92.9 The Game at 10pm. Join Mike Conti and I as we preview Wednesday's match, and get all the nuggets you need from the 3-4-3. You can also listen on the Audacy app.
11- On this date in 2000, Outkast released their landmark "Stankonia" album. It's one of the best albums of all-time and holds up today even as hip-hop and popular music has changed and evolved. So many great songs to choose from, but here's your Song of the Day from Stankonia: