Well that was fun, ten games in one day. Two time slots, five matches in each as the season winds down. Matchday 33 packed a punch, but the Sounders failed to capitalize on the opportunity to clinch a spot—and a home game—in the playoffs.
The day started with all ten Eastern Conference sides kicking off together. Sebastian Giovinco returned for Toronto FC and Didier Drogba was dropped from the Montreal Impact matchday squad after refusing to be on the bench today.
Biello says that he told Drogba yesterday that he would not be starting and Drogba said then he didn't want to be in the 18 and left. #Imfc— BrianWilde (@BWildeCTV) October 16, 2016
Previously eliminated Chicago hosted New England, who are fighting for the final playoff spot, and took them out 2-1. Both sides had players sent off in the second half, including Chicago’s Luis Solignac, who was judged to have kicked Revs defender London Woodberry off the ball. New England goalkeeper Brad Knighton joined him in the locker rooms about 20 minutes later for denying a Chicago goalscoring opportunity. New England will have to play their final match without Knighton, their starting keeper, but their -13 goal differential would have likely prevented a final playoff push on the last day.
NYCFC tried to catch up to the Red Bulls, who beat Columbus 3-2, but are painfully far after their 3-1 loss to DC United. DC’s three first half goals all but ended NYCFC’s run at 1st place, but they should still get a play-in round bye.
In the first of the final two matches, Giovinco picked up an assist on the game-tying goal for Toronto, while Jozy Altidore assisted and scored another in their 2-2 draw with Montreal. Orlando, eliminated earlier, held on to their pride and beat a Philadelphia Union side that could somehow crash into the playoffs despite their recent slide down the table.
Late goals and questionable calls at both ends from Geiger took the Sounders from what should have been a 2-1 win and turned it into a 2-1 loss. Stefan Frei even came up for a rare set piece in the dying minutes, and put a decent header on target from a Nicolas Lodeiro free kick that had to be tipped over the bar. That’s fine though, as Seattle is still in 5th and on the way to the playoffs, and they still control their own destiny. Marshall might be hurt, joining the Sounders’ growing injury list.
Portland earned two penalties in the first half against Colorado, and even though Fanendo Adi converted the first, his second was saved he missed the empty net with his follow-up because...Portland? Gleeson picked up an injury in the second half, straining his back while punching a corner kick clear. Portland’s lone penalty is all that they needed as they won 1-0 and moved up the table to tie with Sporting KC, but on the outside looking in from 7th place due to goal differential.
Real Salt Lake hosted Sporting KC in a match of “who can foul more without getting a red card” in their final match before meeting their playoff doom in Seattle (a regular season match that ends their ability to host in the play-in round). The scoreless draw helps Seattle immensely, and a win against RSL on the last day of the season puts the Sounders in 4th place. SKC is on the edge, but they’re still able to secure their spot in the playoffs knock the Timbers out next week. The biggest discussion from this match was probably the shoddy TV coverage.
Houston, eliminated and sad, hosted a Gerrard and Keane-less Los Angeles Galaxy. Both players plan to continue missing time for injuries and even travel to England for treatment because...hmm...LA’s super sub Alan Gordon had the lone goal in a 1-0 win.
Today’s final match in the West was Vancouver vs. San Jose: an eliminated side vs. an about-to-be-eliminated side. I know, no one really cares about this match, but here you go anyway...nothing happened. Ended 0-0 with nothing massive happening.
Seattle sits at 45 points, one ahead of Portland and SKC. San Jose and Vancouver are out. Three spots are up for grabs between Seattle, RSL, Portland, and Kansas City. RSL can lose and is only out if the other three win. Seattle can draw or lose and if Portland and SKC don’t both win will make the playoffs. A loss or draw with SKC and Portland winning will knock Seattle out of the playoffs entirely. A win gives Seattle a home playoff game against one of the other three while a loss or draw will send them on the road. If SKC and PDX draw (no matter the Seattle result), Portland will not be dancing as the defending champs will miss the playoffs.
If Seattle and Portland win, while SKC draws or loses, Seattle will host their rival in the playoffs, so just think about that while they go fight the ‘Caps in Vancouver and KC hosts San Jose.