Sounders beat Portland. That's all you likely care about and you already know that by the time you got to this article. If you didn't, I'm really unsure how you got through the front page but I digress. The Sounders took back their destiny with a 2-1 win over their rivals to the South. The Supporter's Shield, which I held today, may be close to our of reach but the playoffs are not with today's win. Unlike early iterations of Major League Standings, this one and going down the stretch will be more about how games impact the Sounders run to the playoffs than just a rundown of what happened in each match, so without further words to skim over, here's this week's games.
Chicago Fire 3 - New York Red Bulls 2: This is good for the Sounders, why you ask? Because a top side in the east fell and that makes me smile. Otherwise not much matters when two east teams play each other. The Sounders play neither team again this year and neither side will make an impact on the playoff chances of Seattle. A handful of goals and almost as many cards made this interesting at least.
Colorado Rapids 2 - Houston Dynamo 1: Good game, very good game. West teams winning is always bad honestly but if you have two playing this late in the season, the team with less points almost zero playoff chance is the one you want to win. Houston is sitting right behind Seattle and dropping all three points is giving the rave green more breathing room. Two of the three goals were PKs and five total cards went out. Houston being unable to do much at all against their Rocky Mountain counterparts has to make the Sounders feel good, though the two sides will not meet till mid-October.
San Jose Earthquakes 1 - Los Angeles Galaxy 0: You like to see the Galaxy lose? Same here but not this time. On a purely mathematical approach to the standings, the Sounders have about 1% chance to catch LA for 1st but SJ and Sounders will fight for spots 3-6 with a handful of others. A SJ loss would have helped the Sounders quest to stay above the redline. What is a good sign is that even with Leonardo red carded in the 47th, SJ could not score again at home with a man advantage. This one just made the playoffs harder but if anything it means we could have the shield if we run the table.
New York City FC 1 - Columbus Crew SC 2: With this, Columbus moved all way up to 2nd in the East, where they haven't sat all year. NYCFC is doing the opposite of Man City and losing again. No playoff impact by this one as both sides will not see the Sounders again. Interesting fact from this one, Kei Kamara had no goals or assists in this only but he did get a yellow card, so still a parting gift.
Toronto FC 2 - Montreal Impact 1: So this does kind of impact the Sounders (pun intended) playoff run. Toronto looked good in this one but Montreal looked horrid and had their best defender red carded, Laurent Ciman, as they started to turn things around with about 15 minutes left. This led to Frank Klopas' being fired, the first MLS coach of the year. Toronto will be without Jozy Altidore in Seattle next week as well as Sebastian Giovinco but will have other major attacker, Michael Bradley. Toronto's strong play and lack a red card was unfortunate going into the game against Seattle.
Philadelphia Union 0 - New England Revolution 1: This one again had zero to do with the Sounders but did have a new red card reasoning. Jermaine Jones received a yellow for "Not Visible." This was a new one to me, so if someone with more familiarity for card reasons can tell me what it is about, mention it in the comments. Other than that, Diego Fagundez got the goal with a pretty nice laser of a shot. Oh and Maidana screwed up a little....
Orlando City SC 1 - Chicago Fire 1: Tie between the Bridgeview Burners and Purple Lions in this one as the Lions make a run at their own playoff spot. OCSC holds the sixth and final playoff spot in the East. Mind you, the worst team in the West, would still be ahead of Orlando for the final East spot. Other notes, both goals were by Chicago players but one was Eric Gehrig's own goal, who was starting for own goal leader Adaliton.
Houston Dynamo 2 - Vancouver Whitecaps 0: After doing a good job and dropping points midweek, Houston took all three against the 'Caps. Like LA, Vancouver has a bit more points than the rest of the West, with 1st and 2nd (Caps are in second) sitting four+ points over 3rd place. A loss for Vancouver helps that bleak Shield run but does mean Houston is involved in the 6th place battle. Unfortunately Vancouver plays Colorado next week, after picking up two reds in this one it would have been nice to see them without Matias Laba and Kendall Watson.
FC Dallas 2 - Real Salt Lake 0: Unfortunate result again. While you could say it is better to have RSL at 32 points than 35, it is also preferable to have Dallas at 38 (with us) than at 41. A draw also would have been good for us but in the end we can't change it now. Dallas did get the win and we won't see them again to pull them back. Real Salt Lake losing today does not really change anything for us either since we do not play them till the last game of the season, any form issues today will be much different then. Another PK in this one and a Fabian Castillo goal.
Colorado Rapids 2 - Sporting Kansas City 1: Something came up Sounders!!!!!!!! SKC losing is great for Seattle because lets be honest, the points took Colorado to 33 points and even with a game in hand on Seattle it is very unlikely to have them make a run that will hinder the Sounders playoff chances. SKC's loss means they'll stay at 40 points but they do have two games in hand, let's hope they waste those. We do play them at the end of the month and in KC, but time will tell. Five cards and two Vicente Sanchez assists wrapped this game up.
Sounders FC 2 - Portland Timbers 1: WE WON!!! Biggest game of the weekend to help the Sounders playoff chances. Brad Evans PK goal that Obafemi Martins drew is the game winner after Martins opened the scoring in the 6th. Portland is still ahead of the Sounders by two points but this kept us above the redline and that is the KEY.
New York Red Bulls 3 - DC United 0: Proof that top teams can fall and it is not just us. The Red Bulls are undefeated against DC this year, the only team they have consistently shown up against, well that and Man City Lite. No change to our playoff chances with this one, just goes to show that you can buy the successful Real Salt Lake players from years ago but you can't guarantee a win that way.
The Sounders have seven games left, three at home and four on the road in MLS plus a CCL game at home. If the side takes all the points, they'll finish with 59 points. The Galaxy winning out, with a loss to included, finish with 61 points, so in order to be first in the West we will need a little help. Vancouver would be able to get 18 more points at finish at 63. DC United, if they win out would secure the shield at 65 points (Galaxy winning out with a win over the Sounders can only get to 64, but Caps can get to 66). It's simple, lose a game and our chances drop dramatically. A draw is small knock but not the end of the world but if we win out with this team, an attainable goal, we could be #1 with homefield advantage for everything. Math says we CAN win the shield with a little help (one loss besides the game against us) for LA, Vancouver, and DC and we will retain the Shield. It will be tough but no one ever said making the playoffs is easy and these boys can take it.
That's your playoff update for the week. A Sounders 2 USL Playoff Update will come out this week, stay tuned for their playoff chances and top of the West hopes.