MLS Update: Seattle Shine In All-Star Game & Columbus Rights The Ship (For Now)
Vancouver Whitecaps (W9-L6-D7) 34 pts.
Squad report: Vancouver had an stiff challenge on Saturday when they welcomed San Jose to the BC Place. San Jose is easily the best team in the league at this point in the season. The Whitecaps struck first, and eventually grabbed the game-winning goal off a penalty, and they managed to keep Chris Wondolowski off the score sheet, which is becoming increasingly rare these days. The victory ended a four-game winless streak and moved Vancouver into third place in the west. Seattle may have two games in hand, but it’s good for Vancouver at the moment. In All-Star news, Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit played 90 minutes for the All-Stars.
Up next: Tomorrow the Whitecaps play Real Salt Lake, and its almost certain the Real is still smarting from their big loss to San Jose last week. After this game, Vancouver has a long break. They should put all their effort into this game.
Seattle Sounders (W8-L5-D7) 31 pts.
Squad report: Seattle had the weekend off, but even with the break, there’s not a lot of news. However, the Sounders had a strong showing at the MLS All-Star game. Osvaldo Alonso earned MLSSoccer.com’s man of the match award for his work in midfield through the first half and the first 12 minutes of the second. But what fan will remember is Eddie Johnson’s injury-time strike, which gave the MLS All-Stars a 3-2 win and their first victory in the game since 2008. Fredy Montero was also named an inactive All-Star just before the game, officially giving Seattle three players with the honor.
Up next: On Saturday the Sounders head to Commerce City, Colorado to take on the Rapids. Colorado is in seventh in the Western Conference, nine points behind fourth-place Seattle. The Rapids will be looking for the win, in order to move up the standings. Seattle must play smart.
Columbus Crew (W7-L7-D4) 25 pts.
Squad report: After a rough few weeks, Columbus has righted the ship, and the fan chants for coach Robert Warzycha’s firing have stopped, at least for the moment. A 1-0 win over D.C. United over the weekend played a hand, but the unexpected performance in the 2-1 win over Stoke City in a friendly was also a major part of the turnaround. Unfortunately, the injury merry-go-round hasn’t stopped just yet. Captain Chad Marshall went down with another injury, this time to his ankle. But, like always, the Crew welcomed back midfielder Dilly Duka, who played 74 minutes against United. Eventually this bad luck has to end. It just might not be until next year.
Up next: On Saturday, the Crew head to Kansas City for a rematch of the 2-0 K.C. win a few weeks ago. It’s asking a lot for Columbus to take down the second-place team in the east. I’m predicting another Sporting win.
Portland Timbers (W5-L11-D4) 19 pts.
Squad update: I said Portland had a chance at the win against FC Dallas on Saturday. I was wrong. Instead, the Timbers received a 5-0 thrashing, It was the first time Dallas has score more than twice all season. Portland is still winless on the road this season, with eight losses and two draws. Even a midweek friendly against Aston Villa was un-winnable, with Villa winning on penalties. The Timbers are now the sole possessors of last place in the west and are tied with Toronto for last place in the league. For a team with such high hopes at the beginning of the season, this is devastating.
Up next: Portland has a home game against Chivas this weekend, and I’ve been really bad at predicting games so far for Portland. I’ll go with another loss here. This is likely Portland’s lowest point of the season.
Toronto FC (W5-L11-D4) 19 pts.
Squad report: Toronto is still tied for last place, but they also didn’t have a game this weekend. Toronto managed a 1-1 draw in a friendly against Liverpool, but it was a watered-down game. Toronto did make strides, however, just off the field. The Reds acquired Eric Hassli from Vancouver as a stop-gap for the loss of Danny Koevermans to injury. It’s a solid move. Hassli has played in Europe and has experience, and Toronto has a group of young forwards. Hassli won’t produce as much as Koevermans did, but he can’t hurt.
Up next: On Saturday, Toronto welcomes Houston to Canada. It doesn’t sound like it’ll be a close game, but Toronto was thrown a lifeline last week, and still has a chance to salvage the season. Expect this game to be close.