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San Jose pads their lead in the West, Vancouver struggles, and Chicago might win the East. Predictions nobody wrote to start the season.
"And lo! When the season reached it's darkest point, on a dark and mysterious night in August, FC Dallas offered up a sacrifice.
Schellas Hyndman and Doug Quinn ventured forth with 20 head of cattle and seven virgin maidens, and they did present them to the Mighty and Omnipotent Blatter on his altar that resides high upon Mount Fifa in the Alps of Switzerland.
And he did feast hungrily, devouring the souls offered, and nodded to our Leaders in grim acceptance of their libations."
- FC Dallas 2012 Season Review
This is the only possible explanation for the Whitecaps' spectacular collapse. That our Toros even have have a chance to make it into the playoffs is remarkable. Truth be told, if the Whitecaps didn't suck so terribly at playing proper football, we wouldn't have this opportunity. But let's not look a gift-horse in the mouth! Much rejoicing was had over Sunday's draw, and it seems Pareja has done his old club a solid.
But what about elsewhere? Elsewhere the race for the East is still on (nobody is catching San Jose in the West)
The New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution were involved in a bit of a snoozer in which all the action came late. As in, stoppage-time late. No matter how you slice it, no matter how up and down New York's season has been, there are simply no excuses for dropping points to a team like the Revs, which is exactly what happened.
Joel Lindpere headed in a pretty nice goal with only extra time left to play. With his team down to ten men, not only would this have given them three very valuable points in a venue they rarely get any from, it would have given them a massive, morale-boosting rally before the final few games as they try to maintain their hold on the third spot in the East and maybe even challenge for the top.
It wouldn't last of course. New York's defending this year has been prone to terribly scheduled naptimes that lead to goals, and this match was no different. Darius Barnes took advantage of the sleepy Bulls and headed in a goal of his own to draw the match and stymie the Red Bulls' chances at taking the East. Lucky for New York that Sporting Kansas City played a scoreless draw against the Montreal Impact, otherwise it would be a lost cause.
Of course, as we have already mentioned, Chicago has ideas of their own... that Chris Rolfe dude is pretty good, huh?
Speaking of pretty good, it still stings to watch everyone dish out glowing praise match after match to Dax McCarty, who had NO business leaving Dallas. We are all still rather sore about this here in the big D.
But that's enough about the East. Who cares about a conference that has the Dynamo involved? Yuck. On a side note, Houston lost to the absolutely awful Philadelphia Union, so we can indulge in some schadenfreude there.
The biggest match of the week would have been the meetup between San Jose and the Sounders. With LA playing Toronto (cue circus music) and Real Salt Lake playing Portland (circus music gets louder), only SJ and Seattle were left playing an interesting game. In a narrative all too familiar this year, it ended in San Jose winning and padding their lead even further. The LA and the RSL games? They ended about how you would expect.*
Seattle again hasn't convinced me this season beyond "they're pretty good" and for a local team desperate for an MLS Cup to back up their fanbase, you have to wonder if Sigi's days are numbered. He's had success with them certainly, but they don't seem to make it past that final hump. Heck, they've yet to win a playoff game, so my eyes are on him if the Sounders have another early exit.
Some of this is up to management (Freddie Ljundberg, Blaise Nkufo??) but at some point the coach has to take responsibility. Then there is the talk that Montero could be heading overseas and you have a potentially nervy fanbase on your hands.
*The better teams won.
Some thoughts about week 29:
- Will San Jose be able to replicate this ridiculously successful season next year? I'm mildly skeptical, as one tends to be about teams that have an awful season one year and a brilliant one the next. You have to wonder if they have caught lightning in a bottle.
- If Dallas makes the playoffs, how do you like their chances? The teams in the West are awfully strong, with maybe Real Salt Lake the weakest of the group. That's like saying Yu Darvish is the third best Ranger. I wouldn't fancy matching up against ANY of the Western Conference teams.
- Does Chicago take the East? Pick right now! No takebacks!
- Thierry Henry and David Beckham: Douche Savants who help promote the league brilliantly, or Useless Diva Baggage that hinders refereeing fairness?