It was a weekend of hopes dashed and dreams fulfilled, and when it was over 10 teams would move on to Major League Soccer’s playoffs, while nine more would have the off-season to contemplate where it all went wrong, as we check out this special playoff MLS – Big 5.
1) New England and Houston Get it Done
Needing wins to assure that their season’s would continue, the Revolution traveled to Columbus and beat the Crew 1-0, behind a Juan Agudelo goal. Meanwhile Houston piled just a little more misery on DC United, securing their own playoff berth with a 2-1 win, while assuring United of a place in MLS history. A bad place. United are now the first team in league history to complete a season with just three wins.
2) Chicago and Philadelphia Boot Their Chances
Needing wins to keep their hopes alive the Fire laid an egg at Red Bull Arena, falling 5-2 to the home team, while the Union were 2-1 losers at home to Sporting Kansas City.
After falling behind via a Graham Zusi goal at the 47 minute mark, the Union made it interesting when Jack McInerney claimed his 12th goal of the year, with 88 minutes gone. Zac MacMath kept Philly hopes alive with some fine goalkeeping, but SKC defender Lawrence Olum ended the Union’s season with a stoppage time goal.
As for Chicago, Thierry Henry’s 24th minute golazo matched Mike Magee’s early goal and a second half fusilade of Red Bull goals eliminated the Fire and clinched the Supporters Shield for New York. The Shield is the first hardware in the 18 year history of the franchise.
3) Vancouver’s Camilo Sanvezzo Wins the Golden Boot
With the young Colorado Rapids playing for playoff position and Vancouver playing for pride, pride won out, as a Camilo Sanvezzo hat trick secured the Golden Boot for Vancouver’s favorite Brazilian in a 3-0 home win.
Mike Magee’s Sunday got even worse when Camilo overtook the Chicago star with his third goal of the match. Camilo entered the game with 19 goals, two behind Magee. A 20th minute penalty kick started the ball rolling for Camilo, he tied Magee in the 74th minute, and took the MLS scoring crown with an 84th minute strike.
Colorado won’t have much time to lick their wounds, they travel to Seattle to face the Sounders in the KO playoff game Wednesday night. The winner moves on to the Conference semifinal against Portland.
Houston and Montreal meet in Eastern play-in game in Houston, after Montreal lost 1-0 at Toronto to stumble into the playoffs with a 1-7-1 record since September 14th.
4) Portland Win the West
In their third season Portland are in the playoffs for the first time, winning the Western Conference, after finishing eighth in the nine team conference just last season. Caleb Porter led the turnaround in his first season behind the Timbers bench, putting the former Akron man in pole position for Coach of the Year honors.
As for Chivas, the 5-0 loss is the third time in five games that the Goats have conceded five goals. Do you think Carlos Bocanegra is kicking himself for coming back to MLS with this bunch?
5) Dempsey Scores!
And a great sigh is heard throughout the land. Dempsey got on the end of a Lamar Neagle cross for the first goal in his MLS reboot, but Robbie Keane answered for the Galaxy in a 1-1 tie in Seattle.
L.A. were robbed of a winner when Omar Gonzalez had a perfectly good, and fairly obvious goal denied when he headed home from a corner kick. Afterward there were calls for goal line technology, but in truth the naked eye should have had no trouble with this one, as Gonzalez’ shot bounced well behind the goal line, before Ozzie Alonso cleared it away.
The tie kept the two time defending champion Galaxy out of the 4-5 play-in, in third place, while Seattle will have to go the knockout route.