Sporting Kansas City and Houston are both probably wishing they were back in the Eastern Conference. Vancouver keeper David Ousted accomplished a rare feat.
Andrea Pirlo's appearance with his family at Yankee Stadium on Saturday signaled an impending move to NYCFC. A former Philadelphia Union player led Serbia to
the U-20 World Cup title.
1. Competition in Western Conference proves a lot tougher.
Sporting Kansas City and Houston switched from
the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference to make room for expansion teams New York City FC and Orlando City and are pairing the price.
(6-3-6): vs. Eastern Conference: 4-0-2 vs. Western Conference: 2-3-4
Houston Dynamo (5-6-5): vs. Eastern Conference: 4-1-2 vs. Western Conference: 1-5-3
Sporting KC's 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on Olmes Garcia's stoppage-time goal left it in fifth place in the Western Conference with 24 points that would
be good enough second in the Eastern Conference.
The Dynamo's 2-0 loss at Portland left it in ninth place in the Western Conference, but its 20 points would have been good enough for
third in the Eastern Conference.
The weekend results left seven teams in the Western Conference with winning records and just two teams in the Eastern Conference above the .500 mark.
Western Conference teams are plus-12 through MLS's Week 15.
2. Ousted accomplishes rare feat.
If you think Dane David Ousted, who saved two Bradley Wright-Phillips penalty kicks in Vancouver's 2-1 win over the slumping New York Red Bulls,
is a big-time penalty-kick stopper, think again.
All eight previous penalty kicks he faced in MLS were converted. Wright-Phillips was the first player in MLS history to miss two penalty
kicks in the same game.
-- D.C. United moved back into first place
with two second-half goals from Chris Rolfe in a 2-1 comeback win over the New England Revolution on Sunday.
A photo posted by
District Ultras (@district_ultras) on
3. Pirlo spotted at Yankee Stadium -- on Old
Andrea Pirlo's appearance with his family at Yankee Stadium on Saturday -- for Old Timers' Day -- was confirmation for many the
Italian great will be joining New York City FC.
Pirlo, 36, has one year left on his contract with Italian champion and European runner-up Juventus. Multiple reports confirm his intention
to sign with NYCFC, but it is not clear whether he will join the club for the remainder of the 2015 season -- NYCFC has one DP slot unfilled -- join the club in January ahead of the 2016 season or
move to MLS after the 2015-16 Italian season with Juve.
4. Former Philadelphia Union player coaches
Serbia to U-20 title.
Veljko Paunovic, who played for the Philadelphia Union in 2011 when it made the playoffs, coached Serbia to the 2015
Under-20 World Cup when it beat Brazil, 2-1, overtime in Saturday's final in New Zealand.
Serbia's title marked the second straight tournament the USA tied the eventual champion. It
played to a 0-0 tie with Serbia in the quarterfinals and exited in a dramatic shootout that went nine rounds. In 2013, the USA tied France, 1-1, in the group stage. The Bleuets, led by Paul Pogba, later was crowned the champions in Turkey.
Paunovic, who played most of her career in Spain and had two caps for Serbia and Montenegro, came
out of retirement to play for the Union in 2011 when he scored three goals and added three assists in 17 appearances. He joined the Serbian youth national team program as a coach in 2012.
Serbia went to overtime to win all four games in knockout stage: against Hungary, Mali and Brazil, all by 2-1s, and the USA.
“Were we lucky? Yes, we were lucky," said Paunovic. "But
you have to deserve your luck and we worked extremely hard. We are a team that plays as one and, in the end, I think the team that wanted most to win this trophy has won it. It will give us confidence
for the future but we must continue building, and rebuilding, our football and our society."
A week after falling in the quarterfinals of the Under-20 World Cup to Serbia, the first U.S. U-20s returned to
action in MLS. Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Tommy Thompson (San Jose) and Jordan Allen (Real
Salt Lake) both came on as subs.