2013 MLS Season, Week 20: What We Learned

2013 MLS Season, Week 20: What We Learned

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On July 15, 2013
  • 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 20, Features
Things have gone very wrong for the Impact as of late. (Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports)

Things have gone very wrong for the Impact as of late. (Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports)

This last week felt like more of a normal week in Major League Soccer. Week 20 had plenty of talking points, both good and bad for some.

1. Oh Canada. I’m leaving out Toronto FC for this discussion because, well, it is Toronto after all. There isn’t much to discuss with the Reds. No, talking Canada for right now means one of two things, the Impact or the Whitecaps. Both are going in opposite directions at the moment as well.

Take Montreal right now, their current slide is proof that things weren’t nearly as good as one thought a couple months ago. New York scored four times at Red Bull Arena to sweep aside the Impact. Montreal has give up 12 goals in their last four matches, something we didn’t expect to see out of this club a couple months ago.

Vancouver on the other hand is hot, very hot. Okay, mostly Brazilian striker Camilo is hot. He has 10 goals in his last nine matches. With 12 overall, Camilo is now alone atop the league scoring lead. And his club are now in third place in the Western Conference. Before June, I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible. Now, they’re in the hunt for one of the top spots in the West.

2. RSL is legit. After seeing this club for the second time in person this year, I can confidently say, this club is for real. Four key starters missing for the Gold Cup, one defender suspended and a slew of other injuries left Jason Kreis with few options going into the game at FC Dallas this past weekend but the result was impressive. RSL downed Dallas 3-0 for their first win ever in the Lone Star State. Yes, first win ever in that state.

Javier Morales is playing like a MVP again too. His confidence on the ball is contagious and the young squad around him is feeding off of it. With an 11 game unbeaten run in all competition going on at the moment, I stand around and wonder, how and when will this team be beaten again? They’re good folks, good enough for me to think that they’re very much on their way to a Supporters’ Shield trophy this season.

3. Portland not going away just yet. I won’t lie, late Saturday night I assumed that LA was going to beat Portland in the Rose City. But Andrew Jean-Baptiste and the Timbers had other plans. The stoppage-time goal helped lift Portland over LA, giving me reason to believe that this Timbers side isn’t going away anytime soon after their second loss of the season. No, this team is certainly going to remain in the hunt and probably will be right there with RSL for the rest of the season in the Shield race.

4. Poor Chivas. Easily the worst call you’ll see all week, and maybe even all season happened Friday night in Philadelphia. The late stages of the match between the Union and Chivas USA, referee Jorge Gonzalez got the call so terribly wrong. Gonzalez’s decision to call a back pass on Edgar Mejia terribly changes the outcome of this game. At that point it was 1-1, with the Union pressing forward in the attack.

Gonzalez believed that Mejia won the ball initially, but it deflected off of Casey and then apparently off of Mejia again and then found its way into the hands of Dan Kennedy.

To explain the rule and all, let’s just go to the rule book itself for what it all means.

The applicable rule in this set of circumstances is found in Law 12: “An indirect free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, commits any of the following four offences: … touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a teammate.”

U.S. Soccer provides further context in a position paper by establishing a so-called “iron triangle” to determine whether a potential back pass warrants punishment: (1) the ball is kicked with the foot; (2) it is passed deliberately, not conveyed by a deflection or an accidental misdirection; and (3) the goalkeeper handles the ball directly from the kick by his teammate.

Gonzalez believed that one and three happened, thus he awarded the Union an indirect kick that Michael Farfan put away. Chivas wasn’t thrilled as you would expect, with nearly all 11 players rushing Gonzalez after the call, including defender Josue Soto who was sitting on a yellow card. A little bump by Soto meant he got an early bath.

5. Moffat bomb. I’ll just let the replay speak for itself.