He wasn't expected to be a key player when he was signed in the offseason, but Chad Barrett's presence (and goal celebrations) have been season-changing for the Seattle Sounders since the opening week of the season.
Toronto FC is all over the MLS headlines this week, and as always with TFC, it's not a good thing. First of all, the coach is out. Ryan Nelson, who minimized Toronto's recent poor run of form after the team's GM called for increased intensity from the roster. It seems Nelson had the support of Tim Leiweke, but not Tim Bezbatchenko. His replacement is a familiar name for Sounders fans, as Greg Vanney steps in to the role. Vanney teamed up with Kevin Calabro in 2009 for the Sounders FC television broadcasts. Like all interim* coaches, he wants to stick around for a while.
*Not technically interim
Immediately after the move was made, reports of Jermain Defoe's potential return to England became public. The team's leading scorer and (co)highest-paid player is being courted by QPR, who made it back to the EPL this year. It gets better, because according to one tweeter with what sounds like inside information, Michael Bradley may also be looking for a move.
From same conversation, Defoe wasn't happy in Toronto and Bradley would prefer a US club. Laughed it off but news today I'd give it weight— Ben Rycroft (@callitfootball) August 31, 2014
That move will have to wait until sometime later this month, since Defoe suffered an abductor strain last weekend and won't be playing for a while.
If Toronto can just hold onto these guys for a few more months, they can perhaps make their first-ever playoff appearance. After that, they can go crazy and tear it all down again. But they'll have to keep the Federal Way boy from making them look so bad first. Jermaine Jones contributed 25 minutes in New England's 3-0 drubbing of Toronto which effectively cost Nelson his job.
The Vancouver Whitecaps were looking good for about 50 minutes on Saturday trying to put some space between them and the next best team in the West, the Portland Timbers. But then, Portland dropped three on their Cascadian brothers, and put themselves above the red playoff line for the first time in the 2014 season. Vancouver still has a game in hand, but now has to cope with the loss (which made Seattle's shot at the Cascadia Cup much more manageable).
DC United and the LA Galaxy both won Sunday, putting each of them two points behind the Sounders (United has played one more game). It's going to come down to the wire. But, five wins out of the last nine for Seattle would set a record for number of wins in an MLS season (20).