As always as we head towards the end of Major League Soccer's regular season, there are teams leaving points on the table that desperately need them. The Philadelphia Union is playing out the schedule caught in the limbo of still not officially being out of playoff contention but having no reasonable chance of making up at least 15 points over their remaining six games and needing help from the team in 5th-place. Still, they had no problem knocking off that team in 5th-place, beating the Houston Dynamo 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at PPL Park. Freddy Adu opened the scoring in the 28th minute with Houston equalizing in the 44th. It was Adu again in the 50th and Josue Martinez finishing off the scoring in the 70th minute.
“Nobody’s happy," Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis said. "We wanted to come in here, get a win, and that didn’t happen. With four games left, you know, it’s got to come out. Everybody’s got to have the proper head to win this week. You’ve got to have the desire. The coach and teammates, you can only talk so much. It eventually comes down to each individual and putting everything that they have on the field for ninety minutes. That’s what it takes to win."
Also on Sunday, Branko Boskovic scored in the 64th minute and DC beat Chivas USA 1-0. Vancouver and Colorado finished 2-2 at BC Place. The Rapids took the lead through Omar Cummings in the 34th minute. Alain Rochat equalized for Vancouver in the 64th and Kenny Miller put them ahead four minutes later. Jamie Smith equalized for Colorado in the 86th minute.
On Saturday, a marquee matchup in the Western Conference ended as expected with San Jose beating Seattle 2-1 at CenturyLink Field. The Earthquakes were up two minutes in when Simon Dawkins scored. Seattle equalized in the 14th minute through Steve Zakuani, but the Quakes took the lead for good from a Chris Wondolowski goal in the 30th minute.
“A lot of my goals are just team goals as you saw tonight, Wondolowski said. "Victor Bernardez played a great ball and all I had to do was touch it into the net. I do pride myself on scoring important goals that help the team win so it does feel good to score that many game-winning goals. This team gives me a lot of opportunities and I just need to finish them.”
Real Salt Lake beat Portland 2-1 at Rio Tinto, with Fabian Espindola (14th) and Javier Morales (36th) giving the home side a two-goal lead. Bright Dike scored for Portland in the 61st minute. LA moved into 2nd-place in the West with a 4-2 win over Toronto. Juninho scored in the 11th and 33rd minutes with Robbie Keane adding LA's third goal in the 36th. Toronto responded, with Terry Dunfield scoring in the 38th and Luis Silva cutting the lead to one in the 86th minute. Keane would add a second and LA's fourth two minutes into stoppage time. Landon Donovan assisted on both Keane goals.
In the East, Chicago beat Columbus 2-1 on a standout performance from Chris Rolfe. Jairo Arrieta had given the Crew the lead in the 15th minute, but Rolfe equalized in the 23rd and scored the winner three minutes later. Montreal and Kansas City finished scoreless. New England and New York drew 1-1 with both goals scored in stoppage time. New York went down a man in the 74th minute when Connor Lade was sent off. Joel Lindpere scored a minute into stoppage time, but Darrius Barnes equalized four minutes later.
What Did We Learn?
1. San Jose is pulling away and it's about time. 11 points ahead in the West and leading the Supporters' Shield table by five points, the 2012 regular season is there for the taking. Since finishing first means hosting the Cup should that team make it through the playoffs, there really should be all to play for. Unfortunately, this is MLS where contenders are likely to drop points to teams waiting to officially exit the playoffs.
2. Ties keep the East closer than it should be. Sporting and New York both ended up splitting points in conference with teams outside of the playoff positions. The Red Bulls can talk all they want about a point on the road, their away record, and coming back from playing a man down. 1 over 3 is the difference between contending and being a question mark.
3. Dallas needs points in the worst way and they've got to try to take three next week against San Jose at Buck Shaw Stadium. There aren't tougher assignments in this League.
1. San Jose: For all the right reasons.
2. Kansas City: Still our Eastern Conference leaders, even if they can't figure out if they're a team that should be beating contenders or splitting points with 7th-place clubs.
3. LA: Beating Toronto doesn't prove a whole heck of a lot at this point, but three more points and qualifying for the playoffs with four games to spare certainly does.
4. Chicago: The new number two in the East.
5. DC United: Returning to our ranking by taking six points out of six in Week 29.