*MLS’s Western Conference playoff pairings were settled last weekend. Now the Eastern matchups are beginning to take shape. With a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night, Sporting Kansas City clinched first place in the East and will await the survivor of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 playoff in the conference semifinals. (Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger makes a strong case for casual sports fans to support SKC.)
Sporting’s win extinguished D.C. United’s slim hopes of claiming first, leaving DCU with the possibility of finishing second, third or fourth. A victory or draw Saturday at Chicago (4 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network) gives United the second seed and a first-round bye. A loss probably means fourth place and a first-round match at RFK Stadium next Wednesday — unless New York loses or draws at Philadelphia, in which case, United would finish third. If United is third, it would play its playoff opener at home Sat., Nov. 3 or Sun., Nov. 4, depending on national TV demands.
*South American officials are planning to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the confederation in 2016 with a special edition of Copa America in the United States. The event would include all 10 CONMEBOL teams, the United States and Mexico, plus four others from CONCACAF — a true tournament for the “Americas.”
Copa America is the third biggest national team competition, behind the World Cup and European Championship. It will take place as scheduled in 2015 as well, hosted by Chile.
The 2016 Copa would occur the same summer as the Euros, hosted by France.
UEFA Champions League
MF Jermaine Jones last 45 minutes in Schalke’s 2-0 win at Arsenal
D Oguchi Onyewu 1+ in Malaga’s 1-0 win over AC Milan
MF Sacha Kljestan in 18, didn’t play in Anderlecht’s 1-0 loss at Zenit
CONCACAF Champions League
F Herculez Gomez 90 (goal in 73rd: video) in Santos Laguna’s 1-0 win over Toronto FC
MF Benji Joya first 45 for Santos Laguna
UEFA Europa League
MF Clint Dempsey, GK Brad Friedel and Spurs at Maribor (1 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer, foxsoccer2go.com)
F Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna vs. Bayer Leverkusen (1 p.m., foxsoccer2go.com)
D Steve Cherundolo and Hanover at MF Alejandro Bedoya and Helsingborg (1 p.m., foxsoccer2go.com)
MF Mikkel Diskerud and Rosenborg vs. Metalist
F Josh Gatt and Molde at Steaua Bucharest
MF Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona at Sparta Prague
*In its next-to-last regular season match, the sixth-ranked Georgetown men’s team (14-2-1, 5-2-0 Big East) defeated Seton Hall, 2-0. The teams will meet again Saturday in Washington.