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Around MLS: Week 24

Superman is BACK!
Superman is BACK!

FC Dallas has a three game winning streak, and against solid teams no less! Well, some solid teams. I hardly think Colorado barely counts as a soccer team for the purposes of our weekly MLS review, but Salt Lake and Vancouver certainly are notable.

Let's set aside for a moment how incredible FC Dallas have been lately (we'll get to the "how we're going to win the UEFA Champion's League" discussions later), and focus a bit more on other teams who are not as cool as the Toros (i.e. all of them).

What can I say about Montreal that I have not already said before? San Jose, while the strongest team this season, are certainly not invincible, with them giving up three goals to expansion side Montreal proof of that. The Impact have been on a torrid pace lately, and with DC dropping points yet again in their disaster at RFK (more on that later), there is lingering, albeit misguided, hope that the Impact can make the playoffs.

Nobody believes for even one second that Montreal will actually make the postseason, but they're exciting to watch while they try. The goal that Patrice Bernier enabled Lamar Neagle to score was actually quite nice. Meanwhile San Jose seems to have cooled off a bit, but only a bit. They still haven't had a serious losing streak and no one really looks like they will catch them for the lead. While plenty of writers opined SJ had a great offseason, few people were predicting this sort of run.

The overwhelming majority of the match (which in the future will be known as 'The Riot at RFK') between DC United and the Philadelphia Union showed the entire world how terribly awful MLS quality soccer can be. I hate to be down on our league, but this match had absolutely no redeeming value beyond circus clown level entertainment, and even that is a generous assessment. After all, circus clowns don't embarrass their Clown Club when they go out to perform.

The first 75 minutes were an awful mess of sloppy passing, broken attacking and even worse defending. I have no idea why anyone in their right mind would have continued watching this game. Zac MacMath, bless his soul, has been awful this year. He bobbled a slow (relatively) rolling ball across his box that he dove to retrieve, and his positioning was either too aggressive or not aggressive enough. He had a couple of nice reaction saves at the line, but his skill isn't in question. It's his decision making. There are times it appears he has no business being on the field for a professional soccer team.

Am I being harsh here? Ryan Meara is as green as they come and hasn't embarrassed himself quite as regularly.

That aside, the refereeing was yet again a center stage issue in the match, to which I will redirect you to this post and this other post by Steve Davis (with a side of Lalas thrown in) over at Pro Soccer Talk. He covers the late game embarrassment in excellent detail and excoriates Referee conspiracy theorists better than I can.

If New York can't keep the goals out of their net, they can always outscore you! The defense for the Red Bulls didn't do much for their reputation, letting in two goals from one of the worst scoring teams in the league, but a few average performances can be forgiven. The Red Bulls' shiny new toy, Tim Cahill, managed to get another goal in on his campaign but not before Kenny Cooper scored. Cooper's way of sending a special message to the team that fired him last year I guess.

I specifically would like to point out Daniel calling them "Poortland" on twitter. Portland has just been terrible this year, and if not for the fact that they were facing the Red Bulls might just as well have been ignored by me. Enough talk about the Timbers. Blegh. (on a side note, I still feel sorry for Timbers fans)

The Chicago Fire won against New England and some Revs fans are grumbling against their current seven game winless streak, to which I would like to point them in the direction of FC Dallas 2012. After that I would ask them to be quiet until they hit our magic number, 12. Either way, Jay Heaps has been getting some grief for the Revs' results lately, which I think is a bit silly.

The man walked into a complete mess of a team, has had close to nothing resembling a really solid squad and it's his first year in charge. Did Revs fans really expect some sort of mid-table finish? First order of business should be getting out of Gillette Stadium, then they can worry about Mr. Heaps.

The Fire on the other hand did well for themselves. A three game winning streak shows Klopas has managed the sort of results you'd expect out of his side against weaker competition. Rolfe has shown he's perhaps the sort of player the Fire have been needing all along, while Sean Johnson continues to recover from the Olympic debacle with confidence.

Truly, since the rivalry with the Fire has mostly subsided, I'm happy for them. Two very mediocre seasons are being put to bed with their performances this year. Very erratic at times and yet loads better than what had transpired previously.

So that does it for this recap. Not mentioned are Colorado *snore* and some other team from Canada I can't quite remember.

Thoughts on the DC-Philly disaster? USA beating Mexico? Premier League stuff? Throw it out there!