MLS 2011, Week 32: What To Watch For

MLS 2011, Week 32: What To Watch For

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 20, 2011
  • 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Week 32, Features, What To Watch For

Luke Rodgers is calling for a victory tonight. (Getty Images)

It comes down to one final week for Major League Soccer. Week 32 is already underway after last night’s 1-1 draw between DC United and the Portland Timbers. The team from the Rose City continues to fight on for another game while DC United sees their season and their playoff dreams come to an end.

Three clubs are still in contention for the 10th and final playoff spot this year. New York still holds all the cards and a win tonight would certainly put Portland and Chicago’s dreams to rest in a hurry but as we’ve seen anything can happen here.

1. Luke Rodgers predicts a win. Hey if Luke Rodgers says it will happen – then why not, right? Like I mentioned the Red Bulls hold all the cards in the playoff race here. A win and they are in but anything after that and it could still be Portland’s game. I have to imagine the Red Bulls know they can get in still with a draw but a loss would mean a potential disaster. New York needs to go into this game with a must-win mentality. Last week in KC they failed to have that and losing Thierry Henry to a silly red card didn’t help. Philadelphia is gunning for their first conference title here as well and you know Peter Nowak wants it badly. This should be an excellent game tonight since so much is riding on it.

2. Who will be the #3 seed? In this case Real Salt Lake holds the cards – as in tiebreakers for the 3rd playoff spot out of the Western Conference AND the 3rd place team in the league. I put emphasis on that because there is a potential CCL berth in store for whomever ends up in 3rd place. FC Dallas looked to have turned their late season slump around until this week when they got blasted in the CCL group stage by Toronto. To be fair, I have no idea where this club is going but then again RSL hasn’t been so great as of late either. RSL hasn’t won in their last five games while Dallas may have two wins coming into this weekend, they do have to go on the road to face a tough San Jose squad.

So what will be in store for this weekend? RSL has a desperate Portland squad that can still make the playoffs (though we’ll know more for sure after tonight) while Dallas is playing a team that is more or less playing for 2012. Both should be interesting matches. Both clubs want to avoid being a wild card here, that much is certain.

3. All about placement. This weekend is mostly about placement for the playoffs. We know the top two seeds, LA and Seattle, but after that it is anyone’s guess. Portland could get in the playoffs while New York could potentially leap Colorado and Houston in the standings. The biggest question though in all of this is who will be the top three out of the Eastern Conference. Right now it seems that KC has the lead in the top spot but Philadelphia will make it interesting tonight. And let’s also not forget the Columbus Crew here who play Chicago this weekend.

Like I said, it is really anyone’s guess at this point as to where everyone will end up. After tonight we’ll certainly know where things really stand.