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Each week on languagecaster’s podcast we feature a main listening report. This week, we focus on Major League Soccer and the playoffs. You can listen to the report by clicking the link below and can also read the transcript. Explanations of vocabulary in bold appear at the foot of the post.

Listen to the main listening report here.

While languagecaster has been concentrating on European football, we shouldn’t forget that football is the world’s game and that while most of the big league’s in Europe – Serie A, La Liga, the Premier League are in the middle of their seasons – other leagues are reaching their end of seasons. We did mention the J-League last month and Nagoya, who still look as though they will be crowned champions, but this week we take a look at the MLS, Major League Soccer.

This season, sixteen teams fought it out in two conferences, the east and west. Amongst those 16 was a new ‘expansion’ team–  the Philadelphia Union. This season, the team from the north east of the USA is not involved in the MLS Playoffs, to decide the overall Champion, but neither did they flop either.

The playoffs comprise eight teams, the two top teams from each conference – this year, Los Angeles Galaxy, and Real Salt Lake from the West and New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew from the East – and the four teams that have the next four highest points totals – these four teams all came from the Western Conference, meaning that only two teams from that conference failed to make it – Houston and Chivas.

The eight teams are divided into four to contest ‘Conference Semi-Finals’ – although now the east and west tag becomes meaningless as, remember, the Western Conference has six teams in this stage – so San Jose and Colorado, both of which played in the Western Conference – are now in the east Conference semi-final play offs. And, in fact, San Jose have knocked out the leading Eastern conference team, New York over two legs and have advanced to the ‘Conference Finals’.

The other three berths in the Conference Finals will be decided this weekend, with Los Angeles, Colorado and Dallas all holding one-goal leads from the first legs. Technically, San Jose, who finished eighth in the season points rankings could be crowned MLS Champions if they go all the way and win in the final on the 21st of November. A strange way to choose your champions to most Europeans, but it seems to be working over in North America.


fought it out: contested, took part in a competition, played each other competitively

expansion team: a team added to a league to increase the league’s size; this often happens with relatively new leagues like the MLS in North America and the J-League in Japan

flopped: failed, performed badly

knock out: beat in a competition

berth: place

go all the way: win a competition, complete something

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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Listening Practice: Short Reports (2006-2016)Episode 68