MLS Weekend Review: Week 25 Edition
MLS Weekend in Review
With the 2013-2014 English Premier League getting underway this weekend, soccer fans were stuffed before the dessert, Major League Soccer, was offered. It was another eventful weekend in the soccer world, especially in MLS play. Unlike in “Whose Line Is It Anyway”, the points do matter and are not made up, and every team is fighting hard to come out on top.
Before this weekend, the standings table in both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference were tight, but now things are even tighter at the top, especially in the east. The tight standings will make for some great soccer in the coming weeks, and each game will have an increased impact on the overall standings.
Just a reminder: the top five teams from each conference make the playoffs, with seed four and five of each conference playing each other in a play-in game. Because of this, it is very crucial for teams to finish in the top-three of their respective conference to avoid having to play an extra game.
Nonetheless, this weekend was filled with some very action-packed games that included some sick goals. In addition, some of the same players stepped up for their teams and helped them move up or stay where they were in the standings. However, other teams failed to make the most of opportunities before them.
In addition to some dramatic scoring and saves, some managers created some fireworks of their own. This will most likely cause MLS to look into many of the incidents. We will look at this and more.
Now sit back, relax, and enjoy this inaugural edition of the MLS Weekend Review. The topics are in no particular order, but all are worth noting. Feel free to comment below or interact with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ on your thoughts on what you liked or what I missed in this weekend's MLS review.
Phil Naegely is a writer for RantSports.com. Like him on Facebook, follow on Twitter @PnaegelyRS, and on Google.
Bakary Soumare Ejected for Confronting Opposing Trainer
While there were many red cards and ejections throughout MLS play this weekend, one really baffled me. Chicago Fire defender Bakary Soumare was given a straight red card for confronting New England Revolution's trainer.
After the final whistle, Soumare made his way towards New England's bench and to their trainer. Late in the second half, the trainer came out to attend to midfielder Kelyn Rowe, who was struck in the face. According to Soumare, he felt like the trainer was wasting time and felt it was his right to confront the trainer post-game.
In addition to Soumare earning a red card, his good friend and Revolution player Saer Sene was also given a red card. Sene tried to keep Soumare calm and out of doing more harm than good, but both got red cards.
Sorry Soumare, you have no right to confront the trainer post-game. If the trainer did indeed tell you to shut up, then be a man and walk away. However, because Soumare wanted to act like a child and start something with the trainer, Chicago will be without him for at least one game. The MLS Disciplinary Committee could potentially suspend Soumare for longer than the automatic one-game red card ban.
FC Dallas' Season Continues To Crumble
After starting the season off well and leading the Western Conference, FC Dallas' season is spinning out of control. It looked like the MLS All-Star Break was going to be time for Dallas to regroup, but that has not been the case. With the way FC Dallas has played, their playoff hopes are rapidly slipping away.
This past weekend, they lost to the Portland Timbers 2-1 and extended their winless streak to 11. If you want to make the playoffs in any sport, you have to win games; simply put, FC Dallas is not doing that.
Ben Olsen Leads The Way for Ejected Head Coaches
After DC United defender James Riley looked to have pushed Montreal's Justin Mapp into the sideline going for the goal kick, Montreal head coach Marco Schallibaum took exception to the foul. It was a rough foul, and Schaellibaum left the technical area and let the referee hear it. DC United head coach Ben Olsen didn't like what the opposing coach did, so he yelled back and tried to approach Montreal's bench area.
If you thought two head coaches getting ejected was enough, well, a third was also sent off. Chicago Fire's head coach Frank Klopas was sent off for dissent following Daniel Paladini striking Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe. This is the same incident that allegedly caused the Revolution's trainer to tell Soumare off.
Robbie Keane Channels His Inner Landon Donovan
For the second straight week, one Los Angeles Galaxy player has scored a hat-trick. A week ago, it was USMNT star Landon Donovan and on Sunday, it was Robbie Keane channeling his inner Landon Donovan.
One thing is for certain -- Los Angeles is playing some great soccer recently. On Sunday, they defeated Western Conference leader Real Salt Lake. Los Angeles definitely has some momentum headed into their match against Vancouver this Saturday.
Despite Ugly Loss, DC United's Future Looks Bright
DC United defeated Montreal Impact at home 3-1 two weeks ago, but their defense has been horrible since. While their defense couldn't keep Marco DiVaio marked, their season is a lost cause at this point. However, the optimist in me wants to point something out. United's future is bright with a influx of young players on their roster. Players like Connor Doyle, who is on loan through the remainder of the season, was a sub Saturday and scored DC's lone goal.
Simply put, players like Doyle and Luis Silva should be be permanent starters this season. DC has nothing to lose this season, and should be seeing the potential of younger players. Moreover, DC should be seeing if they can acquire Doyle after his loan expires.
Federico Higuain Puts on Another Soccer Clinic
Another week, and another two-goal performance from Columbus Crew's Federico Higuain. In addition, he could win MLS Goal of the Week for the second straight week.
Because of Higuain's heroics, Columbus has won twostraight games. Moreover, they are still outside of the playoff picture, but are only seven games out of the fifth spot.
Simply put, Higuain is Columbus' star and for another week, he put on a goal-scoring show.
Clint Dempsey Earns First Seattle Sounders Start
A week after being subbed on for an injured Obafemi Martins, USMNT star and Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey got his first start against the Houston Dynamo. He had some scoring chances and opportunities to net his first MLS goal this season, but nothing came to fruition.
I can guarantee you it won't be long until Dempsey nets his season's first goal, and it might come against rivals Portland Timbers next weekend.
Seattle Sounders Fail to Capitalize Against Houston
With the Seattle Sounders on the outside looking in to find a way into the playoff picture, they failed to secure much-needed points on Saturday against the Houston Dynamo. Their defense disappointed as Gil Barnes netted two goals in a four-minute span. Within 21 minutes, Seattle was in a two-goal deficit and ended up losing 3-1 to Houston.
In short, Seattle can't afford a repeat performance as they take on the Portland Timbers this weekend.
Philadelphia Union Earns Historic Point
With the Philadelphia Union coming off win against DC United, they traveled to Red Bull Arena eyeing first place in the east. However, they have never beaten the New York Red Bulls on the road, but that changed Saturday.
Behind a solid back-line performance and aggressive play of goalkeeper of Zac MacMath, the Union earned a historic road point and their fourth shutout in five games. Their only non-shutout was a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire.
After securing a point against New York, the Union is in fourth place, but only one place back from first.