We have a new leader in the our conference! The team that had one of the best offseasons in MLS this winter, the San Jose Earthquakes, are the new bosses out here in the west.
The match between Real Salt Lake and the Quakes started off normal enough, but before the first half was over Fabian Espindola had gotten himself sent off and Kyle Beckerman was booked. Espindola's tackle in particular stands out as it was an awful, badly timed, two-footed slide tackle that just barely missed Sam Cronin's family jewels. Real can't really complain about that call, and Espindola didn't argue his case too much which should be a pretty big indicator of his guilt.
The final scoreline might have been different and ended up tied 1-1 if not for another red card issued to Jamison Olave for a tackle that supposedly brought Steve Lenhart down on a breakaway. As Olave was the last defender, it was an automatic red card and he was off.
To me however, it looked like Lenhart went down with very little contact and could just as easily have been booked for diving or embellishment. You can see the replay for yourself but I wouldn't be surprised to hear of a fine or something similar coming Lenhart's way.
The missing defender would prove to be a critical missing piece as in stoppage time the Quakes would go on to win the game by a final scoreline of 3-1. San Jose has earned their keep, even if a little bit of luck did break their way, and are now marked men as the leaders of the west.
The most outright disappointing result of the weekend, sadly, was the one that opened up all the action early Saturday afternoon.
Toronto might not want to start from scratch after all this re-tooling has taken so long to take hold, but if Toronto can't turn it around drastically in a few weeks, Winter might see himself out of a job by the transfer deadline.
My prediction that you would make the playoffs look silly now, thanks TFC.