Monday, September 11, 2006

MLS Week 24 recap

At long last we have it, the start to playoff finish line. With four games ending with a winner, the picture for post-season play has started taking shape, even though seven spots are still available.

In the East, Chicago has placed a good lock on one of those spots with a 2-1 win over Columbus. However, the Fire was lacking something in terms of offense, and it did not help that they lost Defender Calen Carr in the 63rd on a red card. The Crew tried everything they could to get back in it, but the Crew is still the Crew, so no points for them.

New England also seems to have a space in mind as they knocked off the Red Bulls 1-0. Making this lose even worse for the Bulls, Amado Guevara was sent off with a second yellow in the 81st. He has not done much for the club this year, but without him in the lineup for next Saturday's match against Columbus, it will be hard for New York to regain those points and make a move on Kansas City.

Talking about Kansas City, they had another explosive night as they sent the 'we try to win games without offense' Colorado Rapids home with a 4-1 sting. The Wizards were finding everything on Saturday night, but until they do this for two or three games in a row, I won't believe that they are one to anything. Remember they won 4-0 on Aug 12th and then got just one goal in their next three games.

With the Colorado defeat, Real Salt Lake had a chance to move into a tie with them for the fourth spot in the West, however they would have to win in DC to make this a reality. As difficult of a task as that is, Real almost looked up for it. Eddie Pope was ready the United attack like it was a dime store novel while United seemed happy to sit back and take it during the first half. However, Freddy Adu make a lasting mark with a fantastic free kick right before the half. DC was the strong team at the start of the second, but RSL found enough breaks in the DC line to allow Chris Klein to tie it up in the 65th. They still sit in the fifth spot, but Real might just remember this point as the one that got them into the post season.

Just like Real, Chivas has got to be happy with their point from a 1-1 match with FC Dallas since they were without Francisco Palencia. Dallas did not play a standout game, but they were good enough to frustrate the home side for much of the match. Kenny Cooper finally got back on the score line for Dallas, but his lone goal would not be enough as Juan Pablo Garcia found a lose ball in the penalty area and made the most of it. This point gives Chivas the third Western playoff spot and keeps Dallas from gaining on DC in the Supporters' Shield race.

But all Real Salt Lake's and Chivas's joy could have been for not if LA did want they love to do and win enough late season games to just sneak in. However, Houston had another plan. The Dynamo needed some points in a bad way, but Landon Donovan was going to make it tough on them as he put LA on top in the first half. But just when everyone started thinking 'here we go again' Houston rallied in the for a late first half goal and then a second half winner. So with just five games left LA sits 3-points out of the playoff race.

All and all, not a bad weekend of soccer for the MLS.



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