Week 18 in the MLS season is in the books. Over the last week/weekend, there were many crucial games played in the league, and I’m here to recap them, but only the important games because those other games don’t matter. Picture a matchup between the Giants and the Phillies: you wouldn’t want to see that. It works the same way. So, let’s get right into this!
Starting with both conference leaders, the Chicago Fire overtook the lead at the top of the Eastern Conference with a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. Defender Matt Polster scored two for the fire, and Serbian international Nemanja Nikolic scored his 16th goal of the season in his 18th game, which leads the MLS. He is truly on “fire,” pun intended.
Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City didn’t fare the same. Playing the second place Portland Timbers, they two drew 1-1, which hurt Portland more than KC, as previously third place FC Dallas defeated Toronto FC, 3-1, which moved them up to second and Portland down to third. Toronto was leading the Eastern Conference by a point over the Fire, but with the loss, they dropped down to second in the conference.
Honestly, it would be easier for the MLS to conform to the rest of world football by making one league table and whoever has the most points at the end of the season wins the league. That seems too easy to do and also, America, so to the complicated conference system we go with unnecessary playoffs, but I digress.
To finish out the top four in the Western Conference, the San Jose Earthquakes moved into a points tie with Portland after defeating LA Galaxy 2-1. They caused some “tremors” in the Western Conference with their victory.
To round out the Eastern Conference top four, NYCFC and Orlando City SC both kept pace with Chicago and Toronto by each winning their games. NYCFC topped the struggling Minnesota United FC 3-1 and Orlando beat Real Salt Lake 1-0. David Villa scored for NYC in their victory, his 11th of the season.
I think a reason why Minnesota is struggling this season is because they’re playing in TCF Bank Stadium, the home of the University of Minnesota football team. I don’t think the Golden Gophers and Minnesota United FC are having success because they won’t let Target sponsor the stadium. Their fellow teams, Twins and Timberwolves, are proudly sponsored by Target *cough* Target Field, Target Center *cough*.
Now that all of that garbage has been talked about, we can recap the most important game of the weekend, the Philadelphia Union hosting the New England Revolution at Talen Energy Stadium. While the Union have been struggling so far this season, they got back to their dominant ways, blanking the Revolution 3-0. CJ Sapong scored his ninth goal of the season and Andre Blake was brilliant once again in goal. The Union moved into 8th place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the New York Red Bulls, and two points behind 6th place Columbus Crew, the last playoff position.
This week’s games are going to be played during the week: five on Tuesday and Wednesday, and one on Thursday, which just happens to be the Union traveling to Kansas City to take on Sporting KC. Some great matchups are coming up this week, so check back next week for a recap on all the action.