10 Things We Learned from MLS Week 20
There was plenty to see in Major League Soccer's Week 20, headlined by action on and off the field.
Vancouver Whitecaps and United States men's national team fan favorite Jay DeMerit called time on his career early in the week, announcing his retirement. DeMerit's rise from obscurity and English pub league games to the Premier League and eventually a starting spot for the USMNT in the World Cup was chronicled in the documentary Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story.
On the field, Sporting KC kept things rolling, while the New England Revolution and the Montreal Impact continued their respective slides.
There were also a number of beautiful goals, highlighted by Gaby Torres', Nick LaBrocca's, Federico Higuain's and Maxi Urruti's tallies.
Check out all the action in 10 Things We Learned from MLS Week 20.
Nick LaBrocca and Gaby Torres Beauties Led the Rapids
In Friday night's lone match, the Colorado Rapids cruised to a 3-0 win over Chivas USA on the strength of two beautiful strikes by LaBrocca and Torres. It was the first goal of the year for each player, and the night was also special because Rapids coach and ex-player Pablo Mastroeni was inducted into the team's Gallery of Honor before the match.
Can Anyone Dethrone Sporting KC?
Defending MLS Cup holders Sporting Kansas City were at it again Saturday night in a key Eastern Conference matchup, defeating Toronto FC, 2-1.
Perhaps most impressive was that Sporting scored the game-winning goal while down a man after Matt Besler received a red card with 15 minutes to go and the score tied 1-1.
Sporting have won six of their last seven matches and haven't lost a game since May.
Toronto FC Should Have Done Better
While Toronto FC are currently in third place in the Eastern Conference, they are only six points ahead of the Chicago Fire, who currently sit in eighth place.
At home on Saturday night against Sporting KC, Toronto should have done better. They hit the post on multiple occasions and missed a number of gilt-edged chances that could have helped them to at least a point.
They also had a man advantage for the last 15 minutes with the score 1-1 and not only couldn't find the winner but conceded a goal and came away from the game with nothing.
Federico Higuain Scored a Great 1
It's been a year of outstanding goals in MLS, and Week 20 was no different.
In the Columbus Crew's 2-1 win over the New England Revolution, Higuain scored this fantastic free-kick for the opening goal.
The Revs Are a Mess
With their loss to the Columbus Crew on Saturday night, the New England Revolution continued their nightmare run, which is now at eight straight losses.
Shockingly, the Revs are still only one point out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, but they are going to have to arrest their free fall—and soon.
The Fire Got Lit Up
In a matchup of teams desperate for points, the San Jose Earthquakes destroyed the Chicago Fire 5-1 Wednesday night.
The Fire have found wins hard to come by in 2014 with only three victories to their credit.
For their part, the Earthquakes have also struggled, and despite the win, they sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, eight points out of the playoff race at the moment.
The Montreal Impact Had a Rough Week
Things couldn't get much worse for the Montreal Impact, who not only are the worst team in MLS with 14 points in 2014, but they managed to lose twice in Week 20.
Playing on both Thursday and Sunday, the Impact lost 3-1 on the road to Real Salt Lake to start the week. They then gave up a late goal to the Portland Timbers at home Sunday night to lose 3-2.
Don't Count the Portland Timbers out
Things haven't gone according to plan for the Portland Timbers in 2014, but they may just finally be turning things around.
Last week, the Portland Timbers won a dramatic, come-from-behind victory against the Colorado Rapids at home; this week, they came from behind on the road to beat the Montreal Impact.
The two wins still have the Timbers out of a playoff spot but only by a single point. And with a third of the season left, you wouldn't want to bet against them or their coach Caleb Porter.
Vancouver and Dallas Split the Points
In a key Western Conference matchup between the Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Dallas, who currently sit in fourth and fifth place and in the thick of the playoff race, the teams split the points in a 2-2 draw.
The game featured two penalties, a number of very good saves from Dallas keeper Raul Fernandez and a few missed chances for Vancouver late in the match.
With only nine points separating second from eighth place in the West, every point will count heading into the final third of the season.
There's Still 1 More Game to Go
As fun as Week 20 in MLS has been, there's still one more game to go, with a key Western Conference match between the LA Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders on tap for Monday night.
Seattle leads the West, but they are tied on points with Sporting in the Supporters' Shield race. The Galaxy are one point out of a playoff spot heading into the game.
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