2012 MLS, Week 30: What To Watch For

2012 MLS, Week 30: What To Watch For

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On September 27, 2012
  • 2012 MLS Season, 2012 Week 30, Features

Sporting KC hopes to cool off the Chicago Fire. (Getty Images)

Man, it is hard to believe that we are nearly in October. By the end of this week we will be heading into the final month of the season. Three clubs are already in the playoffs and three more teams can join them this weekend while four others hope to not be eliminated from contention.

It’s a busy weekend ahead with lots of playoff implications left and right. Time to take a dip into what will be the hot topics of the weekend.

1. Battle in KC. Sporting Kansas City has quietly gone on a nice eight-game unbeaten run here lately. Their Friday opponent, the Chicago Fire are also on a good run of their own, winning seven out of their last eight. Just two points separate these two clubs in the standings at the moment and with so much riding on landing home field advantage in the playoffs, this one will be huge tomorrow night.

This one comes down to defense in my book and both teams have very strong back lines. Sporting KC has been very impressive this year in holding up clubs and being at home for this one tomorrow will add a little help as the KC fans have been extra tough to deal with this season (I love the whole Blue Hell thing, it’s great). 

Chicago just needs to continue to ride their offense that has seen a huge spark lately thanks to new additions in Sherjill MacDonal, Alvaro Fernandez and the MLS return of Chris Rolfe. Each have done their part and along with others like Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko, the Fire have been very impressive on offense over the last couple months.

Don’t miss this one folks, it is bound to be one of the best games of the week.

2. Columbus barely holding on. Tiebreakers are going to come back and haunt the Columbus Crew. The boys from Ohio haven’t had a great season on offense and with the new tiebreakers set to go towards clubs that score more, it may come back to haunt the Crew for not scoring a lot until this summer.

Still, really all the Crew need to focus on this weekend is beating the Philadelphia Union. The Union haven’t matchup very well with the Crew this season and based on their last meeting, this one could still come down to the wire with a late Columbus goal. The Crew just have to continue to get their offense flowing and find ways to get a few in the back of the ol’ onion bag.

Lucky for the Crew, the teams they are chasing could stumble this weekend. Houston hosts New England but one quick look at the Dynamo and you’ll see that they’ve cooled off in a big way over the last few weeks on offense. D.C. United on the other hand has to go west to Portland, a tough venue. United has never been a great west-coast road team so for the Crew, they have to make the most of playing at home against a team that has little to play for at the moment.

3. Cascadia Cup one again. This one is huge for a couple reasons. For one, the Sounders can clinch a playoff berth with a win, it is as simple as that. Secondly, they can catch Portland in the Cascadia Cup standings with a win. And third, this one has huge implications for Vancouver as FC Dallas is still in the hunt behind them in the standings.

Vancouver showed last week that they can score goals. They got two of them against a weaker Colorado back line. But once again closing out a game didn’t happen for Martin Rennie’s club, it’s something they’ve struggled with for months now. With a team like Seattle coming to town with the likes of Eddie Johnson, Mauro Rosales and Fredy Montero coming down the pitch, the Caps have to do everything they can to get points in this one.

Seattle on the other hand knows they have to get a win. It’s not just for the reasons I listed above but it is due to the fact that they are chasing home field advantage in the West – which is huge for them. They don’t want to have to deal with a road trip to LA or Salt Lake to win a series, they want it in their building.

4. Quakes pushing for Shield, Dallas hoping for playoffs. I will go ahead and say it, San Jose does not want to face Dallas in the playoffs. While they have a great record against LA, Seattle and RSL (a combined 8-0-0 this year), they’re only 1-0-1 against Dallas. Schellas Hyndman’s team matches up against San Jose very well and this weekend we’ll see the third installment of their season battle.

San Jose is pushing for a Supporters’ Shield while Dallas is just holding on for their playoff lives. Both teams want points and this one will be a fun and cagy battle.

Dallas has been able to shut down Chris Wondolowski this year like no other team. The midfield paring of Julian de Guzman and Andrew Jacobson give Dallas a tough edge while rookie Matt Hedges and George John have done well in the middle of the defense behind them. Lucky for San Jose, Dallas will likely be without John for this game as he is nursing an ankle injury.

Dallas has to get their offense going early and please, no Jair Benitez PKs this time around. This team is healthy and dangerous now and again San Jose will be wise to knock them out now and do their part of not having to face them in the post season.

5. LA going for more in Colorado. I’ll continue to say it, don’t sleep on the Galaxy just yet. They’ve been very good these last few months. Their defense is healthy, their offense is clicking and they’re getting to the point where key guys can take a breather here and there to rest up for the playoffs. They’re just flat out dangerous in my mind at the moment.

They head to Colorado this weekend, a venue that they don’t do great at though. The Rapids always present a tough challenge and let’s face it, they’ll be playing for their playoff lives this weekend as well. One more loss and they’re toast for the most part.

This one is a midfield game in my book. LA has to get some decent possession of the ball and open up the game for Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. Defensively they’ll have enough to slow down Conor Casey but they best keep a watchful eye on Omar Cummings, a player that has burned them in the past.