The 2013 MLS regular season is over and the dust has settled.
While in MLS the "real" trophy is the MLS Cup, and while there isn't a great deal of balance between east and west, it doesn't really matter. In most ways that count, the shield is a better measure of "who was the best team" than the MLS Cup.
New York supporters are the very essence of "long suffering fans". Prior to this season, the lack of a major trophy has condensed their blood into a concentrated form of sadness. Ever since their conversion from the Metro Stars into the Red Bulls, it has been a trying time to be a fan. They had the big city name and the big time sponsors, and yet didn't even participate in an MLS Cup Final during that time.
Now they join the ranks of the Shield winners, along with a berth into the CONCACAF Champion's League and a shiny, fancy plate to hold on to.
The Seattle Sounders tied 1-1 with the LA Galaxy while Clint Dempsey scored his first MLS goal. They're still not particularly convincing, though they did manage to pull a point out of the Galaxy, which is something they're not usually good at doing. They might have had a little but of help, courtesy of a goal that was stolen from LA.
Haven't heard about the stolen goal?
Omar Gonzalez scored on a corner kick after heading the ball into the net. The problem is the AR didn't see the goal cross the line. There's nothing to prove that the Galaxy could have beaten Seattle after that disallowed goal, but given that they managed to tie it up later? It isn't a stretch to think they could have taken three points from the Clink.
The Houston Dynamo took down DC United 2-1 to help them make the playoffs. Houston will be paired against a team that is struggling in a massive way. The Montreal Impact await the Dynamo in the knockout round.
New England have finally, finally made it into the playoffs after beating the Columbus Crew 1-0. Jay Heaps has done a pretty commendable job given his roster and all around ownership situation. While the Revs have the most outdated crest in MLS, they're probably also one of the teams who is the happiest. Just being in the playoffs is a nice step up for the Revs after the past few years.
Food For Thought:
- Are you happy for New York (and Dax)? Could you not care less?
- Which MLS playoff team will go farther in the east: Montreal or the Revs?
- Clint Dempsey has only scored one goal since returning to MLS. You don't think that will be the case next year, do you?