2013 MLS Season, Week 17: What We Learned

2013 MLS Season, Week 17: What We Learned

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 24, 2013
  • 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 17, Features
LA ran all over Chivas USA...again. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

LA ran all over Chivas USA…again. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Time to make sense of this past week in Major League Soccer as the league rolls in to summer.

1. Time to remove the Super in SuperClasico. Seriously, if it wasn’t time to do it over the last three years, I think after last night the time has finally come. The ‘rivalry’ between Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy was always a forced one for fans across the league. And as the two clubs moved on through the years, it has always been a one-sided deal with the Galaxy nearly always coming out on top.

Sure we had some good moments early on. There were those years when Preki was in charge that saw the Goats push around their StubHub Center mates. Also, who can forget the classic showdown between Jesse Marsch and David Beckham. I still love that image of those two coming together, face to face after a hard tackle.

But lately this rivalry has lots all of that tension and emotion. LA downed Chivas 1-0 last night thanks to Homegrown striker Gyasi Zardes’ lone goal on the evening. We’ve seen more compelling games across the country in non-rivalry games, like Saturday’s wild 2-2 draw between Kansas City and Dallas. Not to mention the rivalry that no one is really talking enough about between Seattle and Salt Lake.

The more we see Chivas and LA meet on the field, the more the name SuperClasico rings less true. It feels more forced by the years and at some point when Chivas finally moves out of the StubHub Center, maybe then it will be a little more Super. But right now, its anything but that. 

2. Portland and Salt Lake take over. While Portland is riding a lovely 15-game unbeaten run, they and Real Salt Lake got solid wins at home this weekend to take a share of the lead in the league and the Western Conference from FC Dallas. Both have a point up on the Hoops but Dallas does have a game-in-hand at the moment on both of them.

For Salt Lake, this transformation from where they were in April when I saw them in person to now is pretty impressive. The youth movement and gamble has certainly paid off for Jason Kreis as the veterans are playing better with the younger guys and the younger guys are improving because of the veterans. Something about the combination just works for Salt Lake. It is the right mix and the gamble that they did in the offseason has paid off for them but oddly enough for the teams that they traded players and money with. For instance, Portland, who got Will Johnson. The Canadian midfielder has transformed Portland on and off the field and they are far better today because of that deal.

Can they both stay on top of things now that they have climbed the mountain in June? Hard to tell right now. Portland won’t have another league match until after the 4th of July when they go to Columbus. At that point the Gold Cup will be kicking into high gear and they’ll be without plenty of key players for those weeks in July. Salt Lake will deal with that as well then too.

3. Dallas shows fight. It was one of those nights for FC Dallas. They hit the woodwork a couple of times, had a weird penalty called against them before the halftime whistle and then gave up an own-goal early in the second half. They had plenty of chances throughout but nothing seemed to go right for them. Until a red card was issues to Sporting KC’s CJ Sapong. That turned the tide as Dallas pushed for a goal. Which they got. And then a minute later they got another one.

The end result was a wild 2-2 draw on Saturday night. Probably one of the wildest games that I’ve ever been to personally and it had it all. Ugly officiating along with some entertaining end-to-end action between the two clubs.

Sure, Dallas lost their lead in the West on the weekend to Salt Lake and Portland but I don’t believe Dallas fans should feel threatened by that. For one it is a long, long season and with nearly everyone at the half way mark on the year, Dallas is still in a really good position to do very well this season. Not to mention they proved one thing on Saturday, that they have the grit and determination to get a result in any game now. They’ve had close calls before this season but this was a moment for this club that could truly define their season.

4. DC finally scores a win. The ugly 13-game winless run is over for Ben Olsen and D.C. United. Whew. Chris Pontius put an end to it on the way to beating San Jose on Saturday evening. The good news for United on the win is that they actually deserved all three points. Many games this season you could tell that this group didn’t deserve the result that they got or that they totally deserved to get hammered as bad as they did. More times than not it was the latter of those two that United put out on the field. Hard to believe that this is their first win since March 9.

5. Making sense of the Eastern Conference race. So New York dropped a stinker on Sunday in Philadelphia. Houston tied Toronto in a scoreless bore on Saturday. Sporting KC dropped points in a draw to Dallas, and the Fire dropped Columbus. This all happening while Montreal and New England were off. At the moment the Eastern Conference is a eight team race. Ever since New England found their way on both sides of the ball and when Mike Magee was traded to Chicago, the race began to tighten up into a good one.

Montreal still has to edge on everyone right now with two or even three games in hand on everyone, and that four point lead is looking good too. But from second place to eighth place is tight even though some would say that seven points is a big gap. I disagree. Philadelphia is on the up tick while form is starting to go away from Houston and SKC. New York has played a bunch more games while Columbus is holding on for dear life.

The more I look at this race the more my head spins. Gosh, the next few months are going to be exciting.