What We Learned: MLS Week 18

What We Learned: MLS Week 18

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On July 18, 2011
  • 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Week 18, What We Learned

Seattle and Colorado put on one heck of a show Saturday. (Getty Images)

I can’t saw we should be shocked by many of the results this past weekend in MLS. More draws were the name of the game and a few of them were scoreless yet again. But we did see plenty of drama over the weekend as a couple games reminded us of how interesting this league can be when the right players decide to show up at any given moment.

Looking at how things are shaping up for the playoffs right now, the Western Conference still holds a slight edge over the Eastern side. But now that Houston, D.C. and Kansas City are coming up the standings in the Eastern Conference we should see an even split of teams in the playoffs for those open wild card spots.

1. The no game in Vancouver. Sadly this was probably one of the bigger stories over the weekend. The field at Empire Field was changed to have grass for the upcoming WFC match with Vancouver and Manchester City. Well, it turned out that the field didn’t drain well and heavy rain over the weekend made the field unplayable. What a shame too. You hate to see things like this were a game is called due to field conditions and I know we saw plenty of folks calling for a forfeit. In a way Real Salt Lake has a case for one but I can tell you that Jason Kreis and company would rather get three points the natural way instead of from mother nature here.

You never want to see this happen though and its a shame that a friendly is taking more importance than a league match though. At least that’s how most folks are viewing this situation. To me what it comes down to is bad luck and possibly poor timing. Could the field had been installed a day sooner to prevent this? Who knows. I’m no field/grass expert here. Still there are a lot of “what ifs” surrounding this game that was called off.

2. A seven goal game in Emerald City. We knew the Colorado-Seattle game would have plenty of drama. Boy this one certainly did not lack for it either as the teams combined for seven goals. Funny enough this game outscored all the other MLS games on Saturday and nearly outscored them all for the weekend had Philadelphia not put a beating on New England.

I think one thing to take away from this match is the importance of Fredy Montero to Seattle. Take one look at his stats and you’ll see how important he is when he contributes. Already on the season he has six goals and five assists. Those are MVP type numbers in my book. Also, how good is Alvaro Fernandez? Such a classy goal to tie this game up at 1-1.

To me the game changed for the Rapids when Conor Casey went down. He’s been so good lately but a possible injury to his achilles tendon could be a killer for this club as they finally just got both Casey and Omar Cummings back together again. Tough break for the defending champs.

3. Scoreless in three cities. I can’t say I’m overly shocked about the three scoreless draws this weekend. San Jose and Columbus both struggle offensively. D.C. United is just one of those tough matchups for FC Dallas on all sides of the ball. And then you have New York and Chivas. Sure the Red Bulls have the offense to beat anyone but give credit to Chivas here for standing their ground against the top offense in the league.

Really not a lot to take away from any of these matches. Newly signed DP keeper for New York Frank Rost had a nice debut, a quiet one though. The headlines on Sunday over at MLSSoccer.com were calling the game understated for Rost. Well put really.

Normally I get to go to games here in Dallas but with family in town this weekend I decided to sit this one out. Judging from the game I didn’t miss a lot. Best chance of the game for either team was when Marvin Chavez had a 1v1 with keeper Bill Hamid but give credit to the former academy star, he stood the speedy Chavez up on that play. That play also shows that Dallas could really use a top flight striker here as Chavez just has poor finishing here.

4. All important road win for Portland. It wasn’t sexy, nor was it ever going to be but I have to think John Spencer will take it either way. The Timbers went in to Chicago as one of the few teams left that had yet to get a win on the road (interesting that there are still four teams still searching for a road win at this stage in the season). Only a PK from Jack Jewsbury did the trick. Again it doesn’t matter as a win like this can change a season sometimes. Portland is now back in the discussion for the playoffs out West as they sit at 21 points, just two points shy of the playoff line. Still, saying all of this Portland has work to do to their roster here as they need defensive reinforcements. I know they got the shutout on Saturday but anyone should get that against ten-men.

5. Another draw and comeback for SKC. Tough break for Houston on Saturday night. They grabbed the lead then lost two men not long after and had to play down for an entire half (and down two men for the last 20 minutes). I don’t care who you are but not many teams can keep a lead with nine men on the field, even a tighter field like at Robertson Stadium. Sporting Kansas City got yet another come-from-behind draw here, which seems to be their thing these days.

I’ll keep saying it though about KC. Something is missing in their lineup. Possibly this new DP that they signed yesterday is that missing element that I’ve been talking about for a week. Their defense has been strong lately which has been overlooked while their offense has gone away for the large part. But consider this for a moment, out of their last 15 games this season, they’ll only have to go on the road three more times. And most of those aren’t until the last month of the season. For me they have to start winning games here if they are indeed a playoff contender.

6. Philly back on top in the East. Nothing like playing a team that has zero offense and a defense that is constantly exposed. Even on the road. Philadelphia is back on top of the Eastern Conference today with a convincing 3-0 win last night over New England. Even if this win was just over New England you can say it was a good one and a much needed one for Philadelphia. Getting a win like this on a weekend where everyone else in the Eastern Conference that is chasing them drew their games is huge. It shows that Peter Nowak’s team is a legit contender in the East. I think they still need to make some moves for depth in the defense and in the midfield but this Philadelphia team is looking strong.