Last week, the Sounders couldn't have lucked out much better with the results of the other MLS games. Every team ahead of them in the Western Conference took something other than the maximum available points (save for the LA Galaxy, who didn't play an MLS match). This week wasn't quite so perfect: Salt Lake and Vancouver managed victories, but several other teams are now quaking in their boots as the green glow approaches from behind. Let's take a look around the league.
Perhaps it was the distraction of a club other than New York's getting a prized DP, (or perhaps the absences of Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill were more meaningful) but the Red Bulls came out flat and lost flat in Columbus. The Crew defended their burned turf with a 2-0 upset. That meant that the Red Bulls lost their hold on first place in the East, while the Crew continue to be technically alive for a playoff spot.
The Whitecaps vaulted into second place in their conference after turning a convincing 2-0 victory over San Jose. Camilo converted his 14th goal of the year and Kenny Miller put away a second. While both goals were late, the Quakes rarely threatened the goal. When they did, they were met by the excellent Nigel Reo-Coker.
Jack McInerney started the year as hot as can be, but has cooled off since then. Good thing Conor Casey was there to pick up the slack for the Union as they defended their freedom from the invading United army. The Union held on to their home field advantage for a 2-1 win.
Not so long ago, it was easy to write off the directionless Fire, seemingly destined for a high draft pick. Suddenly, they are only points outside of a playoff spot. Their run continued Saturday with a 2-1 victory over the reeling Impact. Mike Magee sat this one out, and still Chicago mustered two goals (which, if I remember correctly, is more goals than the team had through May).
Two teams were reduced to nine men this weekend, the first of which were the New England Revolution. The first to be sent off was Dimitry Imbongo Boele (try typing that one five times fast) in the 65' for yellow accumulation, followed by Andy Dorman with a straight red. The club was already behind by the time the first player was ejected, and only was scored on again in stoppage time to complete the 3-0 final score.
Salt Lake was taken to the edge by a defensive Houston Dynamo fighting to justify their playoff spot. Ultimately, a 37' Alvaro Saborio goal was enough for the Supporter's Shield leaders to fight off the desperate Dynamo side, 1-0. Houston is having the familiar problem of failing to convert chances, and that is how the Sounders find them leading into this weekend.
Perhaps the most vital match of the weekend from Seattle's perspective, the Galaxy and Dallas got wrapped up in a barn burner. The rejuvenated Landon Donovan scored three on his own, and normally that would be enough to put the Carson side on top. Dallas had the early lead, but Donovan scored his first just before the half. Three minutes into the second, Blas Perez regained the lead for Dallas, but Donovan seemed to put the game in hand with 73' and 82' goals and a 3-2 lead. Four minutes later, Perez completed a brace for a 3-3 draw. Bruce Arena is perhaps the most vocal adversary of MLS refs, and he gave them a piece of his mind (it seems rightly).
The final match of the weekend was a barn burner in another sort of way: Three reds (two shown to the home side Chivas) resulted in a 1-1 draw with Colorado at Stubhub Center. It is rare enough to have one team finish with nine men, but this MLS weekend had two such instances.
As of midnight, we had no news to share regarding the nature of Obafemi Martins' leg injury. However, Soundersfc.com has a story on the unlikely individual who was first to greet Obafemi Martins to Starfire. Sounders Academy product Denis Kalamar had formerly committed to the Portland Pilots, but now has changed to UC Santa Barbara. Theoretically to get away from all the Timbers. And finally, this Grantland piece was linked in a fanshot a few days ago, so we are linking it here as well for extra exposure (even more so than Kasey Keller's upper thigh).