2012 MLS, Week 34: What To Watch For

2012 MLS, Week 34: What To Watch For

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 25, 2012
  • 2012 MLS Season, 2012 Week 34, Features

Chris Wondolowski goes for history in the final weekend of the season. (Getty Images)

The final week of the season is here. We’ve seen one team wrap up their season in convincing fashion (Sporting KC) while everyone else is sitting at 33 games on the year – waiting to finish out the season on a good note.

I’m going to keep this weekend preview rather short today. Due to the fact that no other teams can clinch playoff spots there really isn’t a ton to preview for this weekend. It all comes down to seeding in the East for the 2-5 spots and seeding in the West between Seattle and RSL for the 2 and 3 spots. Elsewhere it will be about prepping for 2013. 

1. New York hoping to avoid a knockout game. Philadelphia couldn’t keep Sporting KC from finishing their season strong last night but the Union will get another opportunity to frustrate a fellow Eastern Conference rival on Saturday when they host New York. The Red Bulls are in the playoffs but will be looking to avoid the dreaded extra game in the knockout round.

Philadelphia has played New York tough this year and the Red Bulls have struggled away from home. The big question will be does Hans Backe go all out for this game to try to avoid the extra playoff match or does he play it conservative? With Backe you really never know, especially if he is indeed on his way out with the club after this season.

The Union on the other hand have a simple task at home in their season finale, go big. What I mean by that is simple, the players on the field need to prove their worth for 2013 and beyond to the management of the club. Young players will want to have a big game and knock off one of the bigger clubs in the league in the process. Plus, for the Union it would be good to send their fans home with a nice win to end the year.

2. United and Fire battle for second. Playoff preview in the Windy City? You betcha. D.C. United needs just a point to secure second place in the East behind Sporting KC. United have a difficult task of hitting the road to face a determined Chicago Fire team looking to secure home field advantage in the playoffs as well.

This one is fairly simple to me however, it comes down to who wants it more. Throw out the impressive play of D.C. since Dwayne De Rosario’s injury. Throw out how well the Fire have been since the start of August. This in a way is a playoff game. Anything can happen and anything will happen.

Look for a nice battle on the wings in this one as Chicago loves to play quick on the outside. United will need a strong effort from their back four in this one and potentially a big outing from guys like Chris Pontius. Also, keep an eye on the rookie battle between Nick DeLeon and Austin Berry. Both are in the running for the Rookie of the Year and many feel it is down to those two for the award. Can DeLeon pass Berry with a big performance on the final day of the season? Maybe.

3. Wondo looks for history. One goal to tie, two to break it. That is what Chris Wondolowski is dealing with this weekend as he looks to dethrone Roy Lassiter as the league’s best single season scorer. Even if Wondo doesn’t break the record he’s done very well for himself and the Earthquakes this season with 26 goals.

But one thing you can count on in Portland this weekend is every pass will go towards him. Every chance will be given to him by his teammates. Portland will do their best to keep him out of the net but you have to figure there will be a lot of folks in the stands at JELD-WEN Field wanting to see him break the record on the final day of the year. Count me in as someone who wants to see it.