- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On July 7, 2011
- 2 Comments
- 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Week 17, What To Watch For
The second half of the season is shaping up here as we move into the weekend portion of week 17. Last night’s four games gave us plenty to go off of as New York finally woke up offensively, Colorado looked decent early but surrendered points late to KC, Chivas found a way to get by San Jose and then there was Jeff Cunningham tying the all-time scoring mark with his last minute goal against the Whitecaps.
In all, not a bad evening for MLS.
Here are some items I am keeping track of this weekend.
1. Playoff push. It’s already here folks, whether we believe it or not the playoff push is starting to really heat up after last night. Columbus got a huge road win to help push them into a tie with Philadelphia for second in the Eastern Conference and just one point back of first place. Chivas also got some big three points as they move into a tie for one of those last remaining playoff spots. I bring this up because Chivas plays one of the teams this weekend that they are currently tied with in the standings, red-hot Sporting Kansas City. KC probably hurt themselves a bit last night with the draw to Colorado as they are now six points back of Columbus and Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference. With the Western Conference being so tough this season, KC has to get into that top three.
2. Atlantic Cup rivals. Its a good weekend for rivalry games and we get started with the Atlantic Cup between the Red Bulls and D.C. United. New York looked dominant last night against Toronto (but then again who hasn’t this season?) scoring five goals. No doubt this game has a little more meaning behind it after the big trade last week between these two clubs. Dwayne De Rosario looked okay in his United debut last week while Dax McCarty has come alive in a Red Bull uniform. Sometimes the old faces in new places trick works for guys like McCarty.
3. RSL and Dallas two-step. This is the first of two meetings within the next week for these two clubs. One league match and one big USOC quarterfinal game in Dallas. The big thing to watch for is who gets rested Saturday for next week’s Open Cup match. Both coaches have been fairly vocal about winning the USOC this season, especially Jason Kreis who wants to get his team back in the CCL next year. Each know the USOC is the easiest path to the CCL these days and will want to go that route if they can. As for their league match, both are coming off nice wins from last week and will certainly make this the best matchup of the weekend.
4. Casey’s back, now Omar? For the Colorado Rapids to be successful, they need Omar Cummings and Conor Casey at full strength. Right now Casey is hot, five goals in the last six games and is really hitting his stride. If they can only get Cummings to join him in the stats department, then the Rapids will start to look and feel like the team that won it all last season. This weekend they get a Vancouver side that is coming off a tough home loss to the Columbus Crew. Both sides were in action last night so fatigue could be an issue Saturday evening. Its possible this could be the game that opens the Rapids back up and gets them into the contender role again.
5. Another draw for LA and Chicago? It’s very possible. Between these two clubs they have a combined 21 draws already on the season. Yes, you read that correctly, 21. Chicago is tough to read too at the moment, they’re decent defensively but offensively they still aren’t scaring anyone. LA on the other hand has the offense but at times this season they fail at putting teams away. This is one of those games that the Galaxy have to finish or else they could be looking at a tie with Dallas in the standings once the weekend is up.
6. Time for the Union to rise up. We’ve been impressed by the Union all season, let’s just put that out there. But now it is starting to be crunch time. They need the points and in a bad way with the Red Bulls, Crew and Sporting KC all around them. The offense needs to find a way to come alive again though on the road. San Jose is a tough cookie to crack as well but the Quakes haven’t shown the consistency at home this season that will intimidate anyone. Good time for the Union to get three points and keep the pressure on New York.
7. Cascadia Cup round two. Ah yes, the eyes of the league will all be on Portland and Seattle once again this weekend. This time the rivalry shifts to JELD-WEN Field as the Timbers try to regain their season. The last month or so has really shown a lot about this expansion club and not in a good way. Blow out losses on the road, and tough losses at home have all but killed that good feeling the team had back in April and May. At 18 points, only two teams sit below them in the standings. No doubt the Sounders would love nothing more than to win this match on the road. Expect all the fun to come out in this one from the Timbers fans as well. They’ve been impressive before this season but I’m sure we haven’t seen anything yet.