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MLS Week 27: A Look Back

 Dane Richard (ISIphotos.com)

A year after wallowing in the Eastern Conference basement with the worst record in Major League Soccer, the New York Red Bulls are in first place in the East. Their 1-0 victory against Kansas City on Saturday wasn't pretty, but it provided the latest evidence that this Red Bulls squad has learned how to win even when they don't play their best.

The top four teams in MLS all won matches this weekend, with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas all posting victories as they each look to build momentum heading into the post-season.

One team that isn't building momentum head into the playoffs is the Columbus Crew, which saw its winless streak go to four after settling for a scoreless home draw against the San Jose Earthquakes.

If Week 27 did anything, it brought us closer to solidifying the eight MLS playoff teams, and at this point it is looking less and less likely that any Eastern Conference teams are going to catch the trio of Colorado, San Jose and Seattle for the final playoff berths.

Here is a rundown of the Weekend's MLS action:

MLS SCOREBOARD

Seattle Sounders 3, Toronto FC 2

Blaise N'Kufo scores again and the Sounders put together another strong performance. TFC defender Adrian Cann had an awful day, but was hardly alone as Toronto's already faint playoff hopes faded even further. HIGHLIGHTS

Philadelphia Union 1, Houston Dynamo 1

Sebastien LeToux scored yet again, this time with a brilliant equalizer to offset an Andrew Hainault strike. The Union defense put together another respectable performance, but the offense could have used Danny Mwanga in the starting lineup. For Houston, the inconsistent offense was an issue again and Dom Kinnear's off-season shopping list will certainly include a playmaker and striker. HIGHLIGHTS

Columbus Crew 0, San Jose Earthquakes 0

The Crew might have been looking ahead to the U.S. Open Cup Final, but cost itself first place in the East in the process. San Jose will take the road point, and its defense needed a shutout after being thrashed by Chicago at midweek. HIGHLIGHTS

New England Revolution 1, Real Salt Lake 2

RSL striker Alvaro Saborio re-asserted his status as the front-runner for MLS Newcomer of the Year with his game-winning goal as the Revolutions endure another disappointing result. Real Salt Lake keeps the pressure on Los Angeles in the race for the Supporters Shield as Javier Morales made his return to the starting lineup. HIGHLIGHTS

New York Red Bulls 1, Kansas City Wizards 0

Dane Richards kept his hot streak going, but it was Bouna Coundoul who stole the show on a night when the Red Bulls played much worse than they did in last week's win against Los Angeles. Mehdi Ballouchy struggled badly in a central midfield role in a 4-4-2. For KC, it was a matter of not finishing chances, which the Wizards created in bunches. HIGHLIGHTS

FC Dallas 3, Chicago Fire 0

The Dallas Express keeps on rolling as Milton Rodriguez and Jeff Cunningham scored in a romp. Chicago's defense proved mistake-prone yet again, while the attack fizzled just days after looking so good against San Jose. HIGHLIGHTS

Colorado 0, D.C. United 1

While it may not hurt their playoff chances, losing at home to lowly D.C. United is unacceptable. The attack continues to struggle with consistency, which doesn't bode well for the Rapids' post-season chances. For D.C., another win under interim head coach Ben Olsen boosts his chances of keeping the job.  HIGHLIGHTS

Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Chivas USA 1

With Michael Stephens providing a boost, David Beckham working his free kick magic and A.J. De La Garza giving the team a stable option in central defense, the Galaxy looked closer to the team we saw in the first half of the season. HIGHLIGHTS

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What did you think of this weekend's matches? Surprised to see New York in first place? Think the Galaxy can hold onto the lead in the Western Conference? Wondering if and when FC Dallas will lose a match?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. USSF officials are garbage! Match after match, the USSF shows us how inept an organization can be (won’t even mention the Klinsmann deal), but this is ridiculous. What does it have to take for someone, just to jump the wall and yank the flag out of the linesman’s hands, give swift kick (ala De Jong) and take over their duties. I was at the Galaxy – Chivas match and that was a pathetic display of professional officiating. Gordon’s goal should have never been – he was offsides from the very start of the play. And the automatic red card ejection of Lewis? Please, unless he was considering his first offense on Trujillo as a 1st yellow card offense, which was never given, then a studs up slide tackle by a Chivas player against Lewis on the restart right in front of the benches to which Lewis was able to jump up but landed back on the player.

    I think Garber & MLS need to think of the possibility to employ their own officiating crew and get away from the inept USSF. Once again, Mr. Flynn and Mr. Gulati (the puppet) seem to have no clue how to police the so-called officials that they force onto MLS.

    I would rather have parental volunteers who know the rules of the game than these officials officiate MLS matches.

    Pathetic.

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  2. Yeah, that’s why I started with the Everton loan. Still seems like a ton of physical wear-and-tear from then until now, not to mention the mental challenges and mind-boggling travel.

    And that said, I’ve never understood why people think soccer players require so much less down time than other professional athletes. A two-month break is certainly not a decade for a professional athlete. Most baseball players are off from the beginning of October to mid-February (4.5 months); most NFL players are off from the beginning of January to mid-July (6.5 months); and most NBA players are off from sometime in April or May until the last week of September (5 or 6 months).

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  3. That’s what everyone keeps saying…. We’ve had midweek matches for what seems like 2 months straight and the team just keeps winning…

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  4. correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t he have off around two month’s prior to Everton?

    I get your point but many people are overlooking that break. For a professional athlete that’s a decade.

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  5. The Fire look like a joke since the playoff push really started. I remember looking at the table in August, seeing how many games the Fire had in hand on everybody else, and thinking they were a lock to make it. Somehow they’ve found a way to waste all those opportunities.

    KC needs a miracle to catch up, and none of the teams currently slated to make the playoffs that KC can actually catch have been dropping points.

    If I’m a conference top seed, the teams I do not want to see in the first round are Dallas and Seattle. Both teams are in form and getting results (Dallas having done so for over half the season now).

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  6. Anybody else notice how gassed Landon looked last night? Grasping his shorts at every dead ball from about the 65th minute on.

    Unless he just went a little wild with the chardonnay Saturday night, he might need some time off to recharge. Maybe Everton–>MLS–>World Cup–>MLS is finally catching up with him.

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  7. Yeah, bur will anyone take the job with Benny in the wings? I still think this is why Caleb Porter turned the club down. Unless they find an older manager who wants a protoge-building two year stint. I think the best thing Benny could do for his beloved United is leave entirely. I’d call Bob Bradley and see about a national team assistant gig- or maybe place a call to his old mates in Nottingham. Go earn your chops for a few years, the club will always be here. And right now, this place is a career killer.

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  8. DC UNITED! (boom, boom, boom)!

    I was in favor of Benny getting the job until the end of the season and I think he’s done a phenomenal job so far. The team continues to play with increased belief and the style we play is closer to the DC we know.

    My only question with him taking over full time, is how likely are players to go to a club already down in the dumps but run by a coach who’s the same age?

    My vote says he stays but I can see why he would disqualify himself – he’s still young and he knows that one poor season with our poor team and that could be his career. Better maybe to wait it out as an assistant again until the boat has settled.

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  9. Ives just put an article up a few days ago addressing the debacle.

    Granted he was about four to five months behind on the topic but so were far too many Fire supporters drinking the cool-aid.

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  10. but any way you parse it, Revolution(s) can only be described as disappointing these past few games. not horrific, as they’ve had good patches and leads which they subsequently blew against good teams, just disappointing.

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  11. MAJOR GRAMMAR NERD DISCURSUS AlERT: I guess if you count it as the extrapolation of the more generally accepted “Revs,” it’s not so odd, but I prefer to think of Revolution as a noun including an implied plural, like “Crew,” “Galaxy,” or “Mutiny” (unless you just had a crew of one forcefully take over a spaceship while travelling through a galaxy of only one star, in which very singular case my examples don’t hold).

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  12. KC still plays Seattle and San Jose, both at home, plus Chicago and NE on the road. If they can somehow get past Seattle this week with 3 pts, they still have a glimmer of hope to catch the 8th place team. That final game of SJ @ KC could be critical if KC is still alive at that point.

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