- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On July 8, 2013
- 0 Comments
- 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 19, Features
The busy holiday week is over and now it is time to figure out what it all means going forward in this crazy season.
1. Parity playing through. Look at the standings for a quick second. Done? Great. What did you notice? Well, for starters you should have noticed that 10 teams are within seven points of one another at the top of the standings. And to go further 13 teams are separated by 10 points. Then there are another three clubs that are just a win away from being in that 10 point mark as well.
At the end of it all, parity is playing through this season in MLS. Teams are good for stretches and then bad for stretches. Look at FC Dallas, a team that started off hot but has since cooled off as the summer months have hit. Real Salt Lake was a team that struggled a bit early on but has then gotten pretty hot in the last few weeks, Vancouver is another team like that as well.
This all means the playoff races are going to be entertaining as ever this season. Right now there are 16 teams that are truly in contention for a playoff spot with Chivas, Toronto and D.C. United already playing for next season in my mind. Even though San Jose is closer in the standings than Chivas, I’d almost lump them in there too with that bottom three.
The best part of all of this is that we’re only in July. August, September and October are just around the corner – the time when the playoff races usually get the most interesting.
2. Are the Galaxy back? Two straight home wins this week for Bruce Arena’s club and now the question looms, are the Galaxy back again this season? We’ve seen them come and go this year but lately it is been more of the going that we’ve seen out of them with embarrassing losses or just poor play. Sunday’s win over FC Dallas may be a turning point though on the season as they dominated the road weary Hoops to the tune of an easy 2-0 win.
Robbie Keane is playing like a MVP too here. Seven goals and eight assists on the season is pretty solid. He’s only a few goals back of the league lead and is starting to show his quality all over the pitch.
The big question in my mind is can they keep this momentum up and remain consistent with their play. The addition of Robbie Rogers certainly helped as it has given the Galaxy a wing presences that lacked big time earlier this season.
3. Fan XI gets it mostly right. Yesterday afternoon the first bit of MLS All-Star news in terms of who could be playing was announced. The Fan XI was released and out of the 10 players named, only one is really questionable in my mind. The fans voted in San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondowloski, a move that isn’t bad but one that makes you question the voting system yet again.
Fans got it right else where though and really no shocker with three of the players coming from Sporting KC, the home of this year’s summer game. Raul Fernandez was voted as the top keeper, jumping Jimmy Nielsen and Luis Robles in the final week of voting.
As far as the snubs go, take your pick. Tim Cahill, Robbie Keane, Jose Goncalves of New England has been very good in that defense, and almost any number of Portland, Montreal or RSL players could be added here as well.
Thankfully the Fan XI doesn’t mean those players are the starting XI for the MLS All-Stars against Roma. They’re All-Stars in name but some could be left off the game day roster.
4. Portland’s streak comes to an end. The impressive unbeaten run for the Portland Timbers this season is over. Yesterday it came to a crashing halt in Columbus as the Crew found a way to beat the Timbers 1-0 thanks to an early goal and an early red card.
To be fair, this streak was always going to come to an end at some point. Portland has been very good this year but the amount of draws, nine in total, during that stretch also showed that they were a team that was also living a little dangerously at times as well. The loss in Columbus showed that as they had a red card, controlled the game but came up short.
Give credit to Columbus though for taking advantage of things on the afternoon. They got the goal before they had the man-advantage and late in the game they were doing very well in possession against a Portland team that usually gobbles up the ball and makes good use of it.