2013 MLS Season, Week 31: What We Learned

2013 MLS Season, Week 31: What We Learned

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On September 30, 2013
  • 2013 MLS Season, 2013 Week 31, Features
Caleb Porter and the Portland Timbers made a big statement on Sunday. (Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports)

Caleb Porter and the Portland Timbers made a big statement on Sunday. (Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports)

One more month to go in the regular season. How on earth did this year’s season blow by this quickly? Yet another week down and more tightening in the playoff race. Major League Soccer executives must be tickled to have so many teams still in contention going into the final month.

1. Timbers make statement. If there was ever a time to make sure your definitely in the playoff race and potentially in the Supporters’ Shield race it was to do it this weekend. With so many draws on Saturday and Sunday, the one team that emerged from the pack for me was the Portland Timbers. Yes, it was a nasty rainy day in Oregon but the Timbers did just enough to beat the LA Galaxy on Sunday to get within three points of the Shield. Yes, three points from first place.

Do I think the Timbers have what it takes to jump over rivals Seattle, RSL and New York? I’m still doubtful on that but Caleb Porter’s team showed me that they are going to be a force come playoff time due to that home field advantage that they possess. JELD-WEN Field continues to be a nightmare for most clubs.

Oh and that goal from Max Urriti was brilliant. Maybe Kevin Payne knew what he was doing all along with that guy before Toronto shipped him off to Portland. Maybe.

2. Crew earn big points. I think it is safe to say that baring any collapse in their final three games, the Columbus Crew will rip the interim tag off Brian Bliss’s nameplate and make him their main coach for next year. Bliss has transformed the Crew over night in the month of September, winning four of five, enough to get the Crew within a couple points of a playoff spot. This club looked dead in the water a month ago, but today they stand tall as a team that could very well sneak into the playoffs at the last second.

The Crew dominated a struggling FC Dallas team last night to the tune of a 4-2 win. Columbus had yet to score four goals this season and were able to pack three in the first half on Dallas. The speed up front was the difference for Columbus as Dominic Oduro torched the Dallas left side and Federico Higuain continues to prove why he is a MVP candidate.

For Dallas, it appears that change will be coming soon as Schellas Hyndman’s days are numbered.

3. Parity still evident. Hard to believe it but for a team like Dallas, they’re still just 11 points out of first place in the Western Conference. Last year in the EPL, 11 points was the difference between first and second place in the entire league. In MLS, 11 points is the difference between first and 14th.

I continue to just shake my head every time I look at the standing in MLS. So much parity with so few games left. Normally by now we’d be talking about this team running away with the Shield or that team already clinching a playoff berth. But we’re heading into October with three teams eliminated from playoff contention and the other 16 still in place to earn one of the 10 spots. Impressive to say the least that no one has clinched yet. That will all likely change this weekend as the playoff scenarios will get laid out. One more loss here and a win there gets this team in and so forth.

I love this time of the year for many reasons but this playoff race is certainly adding to my excitement about this time of the year.

  • Bob

    I think you missed a few games this weekend. The RSL bench, led by the 3rd string keeper won on a goal from the 5th choice striker. Away. At a place they never won at before. That game sounded volumes to what the ability of RSL is. Portland barely winning off a lucky never-replicated goal from 1 goal wonder Uruuti in pouring rain didn’t make me think they were a stronger contender today than I did last week. Also NY drawing with Sounders was big. I agree on the Crew, they are tearing it up.

    • I caught those games Bob, just didn’t have the time to discuss them unfortunately. Maybe tomorrow.