1) And it’s Down the Stretch We go!
The race for the MLS playoffs and seedings is coming to a head as the teams face into the final weeks of the 2014 season.
In the Eastern Conference New York, Columbus and Philadelphia are in a battle for the fifth and final position, with Toronto and possibly Houston not quite dead yet, as Monty Python once put it.
Out West things are a bit more straightforward with Vancouver trying to hold off Portland for the fifth and final playoff berth. The Whitecaps lead the Timbers by just one point, setting up a delicious showdown next Saturday in Portland.
2) FC Dallas Create Some Space
Vancouver lost a heartbreaker to FCD that virtually consigns the Caps to finishing no better than fifth place. Blas Perez was the FCD hero, scoring both Dallas goals.
The Panamanian vet will probably tell all concerned that he meant to score with his first strike, from out near the corner flag. No matter, they all count.
Perez’ second, through traffic won’t need much explanation, and when all is said and done, Perez shot Dallas to a five point cushion over Vancouver that has Dallas aiming higher. Third place Salt Lake is just a single point better than Oscar Pareja’s surprising Dallas crew.
3) NYCFC’s Jacobson Big in Norway
He may not be David Villa or Frank Lampard, but NYFC midfielder Andrew Jacobson figures to be an important player for coach Jason Kreis, when NYC 2 takes the field next March.
A solid MLS vet, Jacobson went on loan to Bob Bradley’s Stabaek, quickly establishing himself as a key player for the Tippeligaen strivers.
Jacobson scored his first goal this weekend in a 3-2 win to put Stabaek in the top half of the league. Bradley’s club has had some ups and downs this season, but a top half finish would be a success for the little club in their first season back in the Norwegian top flight, after a 2012 demotion.
4) Jermaine Jones Doesn’t Blend.
No, the New England DP did not come to America to quietly contribute. The original Germerican came to lead and he has done just that for the Revolution.
Saturday in the Revs 2-1 win over Montreal, Jones only lasted 45 minutes after a kick from Calum Mallace, yeah, Mallace.
It is hoped that Jones wasn’t too badly injured, and won’t miss time. Jones had already contributed an assist on red hot Lee Nguyen’s 13th goal, and after the match, he left Mallace with something to think about.
“I don’t know the name of the player, but he tried to kick me, maybe two or three times. It’s not nice when you feel a player tries to hurt you, and this guy tried to hurt me.” Then the warning. “We got a second game and we will see what happens there. He hurt me I can take it,” Jones, said, before adding ominously, “I’ll see him again.”
The rematch comes in Montreal on October 11. I suspect Jones may have learned his Mallace’s name by then.
5) Instant Replay Coming to MLS?
Maybe. Commissioner Don Garber told Sports Illustrated that he would like to see MLS become the first league to experiment with a challenge system. Reacting to statement from FIFA President Sepp Blatter in support of a challenge system, Garber volunteered the North American league to serve as the guinea pig for the NFL like system.
It is all speculation at the moment, and the purists will surely dig their heels in on this one, but the thought of Jose Mourinho firing his challenge flag in a fit of pique is almost reason enough to enact the rule.