Your Thursday Kick Off

PHI, HOU advance to USOC final, Deadline Day …
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Kick Off: PHI, HOU to USOC final | Late drama in Vancouver | Deadline day!

Here is everything you need to know about MLS and North American soccer this morning:

Philly clinch USOC final return

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Philadelphia are set for their third trip to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final after Cory Burke’s second half brace sparked a 3-0 victory over midweek guests Chicago. Having already ended up as bridesmaids in the 2014 and 2015 finals, the Union are especially eager to take the prize this time and earn the team’s first piece of silverware. READ MORE | RECAP

The Union will battle for the crown against Open Cup final newbies Houston, who will host the title match thanks to an eight-round shootout victory over LAFC on Wednesday night. The visitors had rallied from two down to force an extra 30 minutes on the stoppage time completion of Diego Rossi’s hat trick. RECAP

Late Caps OG knots CC first leg

A Doneil Henry own goal deep in stoppage time allowed Canadian Championship holders Toronto FC to escape Vancouver with a 2-2 draw in the first leg of this year’s final series. For a Whitecaps side that had taken the lead late through Erik Hurtado, the setback was like “a kick in the teeth” heading into next week’s decisive BMO Field return. READ MORE | RECAP

Hamid, Villafana make returns

A familiar face landed back with D.C. United on Wednesday, as the club completed an 18-month loan deal for FC Midtjylland’s US netminder Bill Hamid. The 27-year-old was limited to a lone Superliga appearance and two cup starts since joining the Wolves over the winter. READ MORE

The feeling of déjà vu is also hitting Portland, who welcomed Santos Laguna left back Jorge Villafana back to the club. The Timbers first had to trade for the top spot in the allocation rankings in order to pick up the US international, who helped the club win MLS Cup in 2015. READ MORE

New fullbacks for MTL, SEA

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Bacary Sagna brings plenty of Premier League experience to Montreal. | USA Today Sports Images

Portland wasn’t the only team to boost their ranks at fullback on Wednesday. Montreal pulled off the signing of former Arsenal and Manchester City right back Bacary Sagna on a deal though season’s end. Over in Seattle, the Sounders sealed a loan switch for Bournemouth’s Australia left back Brad Smith. REVIEW ALL DEADLINE DAY DEALS

Philly name new Sporting Director

The deals this week also extended to team front offices, as Philadelphia announced the signing of Red Bull Salzburg scouting and development guru Ernst Tanner as their new sporting director. READ MORE

Fire’s Moreno overture rejected

Predictably, not everybody was able to corral their transfer target on deadline day. According to Mexican outlet MedioTiempo, Real Sociedad firmly rejected an approach for Mexico defender Hector Moreno from the Chicago Fire. READ MORE

All 23 MLS clubs on the couch

Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle enlisted Bobby Warshaw for some help revisiting the big preseason question with a found answer and a new issue to be settled down the home stretch of the 2018 season. READ MORE

Moralez overlooked, says NYCFC

The New York City FC teammates of Maxi Moralez all agree that the veteran playmaker deserves much more MVP consideration. Moralez has very quietly rung up a joint-team best eight goals and 12 assists, which stands second in the league. READ MORE

MLSsoccer.com Must-Watch

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Andrew subs in for Calen on This Week In MLS

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