10 Things We Learned from MLS Week 18
With the 2014 World Cup coming to an end, the attention of many American soccer fans is starting to return home to Major League Soccer.
With the league now back in full swing after a brief hiatus during the tournament in Brazil, fans were treated to a number of fantastic highlights this past weekend.
Here are 10 things we learned from Week 18 in MLS.
Dillon Serna Is One to Keep an Eye on
With the Colorado Rapids down 1-0 early in their match to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night, 20-year-old Dillon Serna scored a terrific goal to bring his team back even.
Serna took a pass from teammate Dillon Powers, promptly beat two defenders on the dribble and coolly deposited the ball in the back of the net past Union keeper Zac MacMath.
Shane O’Neill Had a Shocker
Shane O’Neill, who was called into a United States men’s national team camp this past winter, had a terrible night on Saturday against the Union.
He was directly responsible for two of the Union’s goals and could have easily shattered Union forward Danny Cruz’s ankle with a reckless tackle in the first half.
Overall, it was a very poor performance from the Rapids’ defender.
Thierry Henry Is a Cool Cat
Not only did Thierry Henry have one of the smoothest finishes you’ll ever see on Saturday night against the Columbus Crew, but he also racked up all three Red Bulls assists in their 4-1 win.
Bradley Wright-Phillips Is Having a Career Year
On Saturday, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his league-leading 15th goal of the season when he finished off a nifty passing combination between Thierry Henry and Eric Alexander.
Wright-Phillips once scored 22 goals for Charlton Athletic in England’s League One (England’s third-tier), but that was in 42 games. So far, Wright-Phillips has played 17 games for the Red Bulls in 2014 and should easily surpass the 22-goal mark by the end of the season.
Brad Davis Had a Good Night Even If the Dynamo Didn't
Brad Davis scored twice on Saturday night with two well-taken left-footed strikes. Davis has scored three times for the Dynamo in his two games since returning from Brazil.
His goals can be seen at the 1:06 and 2:38 marks of the embedded video.
Montreal Gave Away a Point
Tied 1-1 in the 90th minute, the Montreal Impact looked set to pick up a point against Sporting Kansas City before a terrible mix-up in the back resulted in a late Dom Dwyer goal.
Dwyer, the ultimate opportunist, had also scored the opening goal for Sporting in the fourth minute on a header from a Matt Besler throw-in.
Montreal sits firmly at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The U.S. Is Well Set at Goalkeeper
Sean Johnnson and Bill Hamid, the likely back-ups to United States men's national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan for the next World Cup cycle, both made top-notch saves on Saturday night.
Hamid made a terrific reaction save in the 91st minute to preserve a 2-1 win for D.C. United over the San Jose Earthquakes.
Johnson, for his part, stonewalled a 85th-minute penalty to help the Chicago Fire keep their 1-0 lead over the New England Revolution. Johnson's save can be seen at the 5:38 mark of the embedded video.
Erick Torres Is on Fire
Erick "Cubo" Torres did it again on Saturday, scoring a goal in the 81st minute to pick up the game-winner in Chivas USA's 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
It was Torres' fifth goal in as many games and his 13th of the season.
Things Are Tight in the West
With just under half the MLS season to go, only seven points separate second place from eighth place in the Western Conference. That means seven teams are fighting for four playoff spots.
Every point is going to count for those squads going forward.
The Sunday Night Game of the Week Missed an Opportunity
Only hours after the World Cup final, MLS put forth its premier matchup, the Seattle Sounders v. the Portland Timbers. And Seattle had 64,000 fans supporting them in, as usual, a lively atmosphere.
With many new potential fans just brought into the soccer fold by the excitement of the World Cup, the Seattle-Portland game, and MLS, missed a chance to continue that euphoria by playing to a scoreless draw through 74 minutes.
Following perhaps the best World Cup of all time, a 4-3 shootout between the two teams would have been a more preferable scoreline.
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