5 Things We Learned from MLS Week of September 12-14
It was another action-packed weekend in Major League Soccer, highlighted by a big win for the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference and the usual chaos running wild in the East.
There's also some big news regarding Chivas USA, who may end up sitting out the 2015 season.
Check it all out in this week's edition of "5 Things We Learned from MLS."
A Big Win for Seattle
On Friday night, the Seattle Sounders picked up a big 3-2 win over Real Salt Lake. The victory gave Seattle a three-point lead in the Supporters' Shield race and was likely a death blow to RSL's chances at the same trophy.
The closest competitors to the Sounders are currently the LA Galaxy, who only picked up a point against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday (and could have won the game had Robbie Keane converted a first-half penalty).
Seattle also has a game in hand over its other competitors in the Supporters' Shield race and clinched a playoff spot with the win.
The Sounders' victory came on the backs of two beautiful goals, one scored by Lamar Neagle and another coming off a great combination between Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.
RSL nearly managed a point in the match but was forced to play the last 22 minutes short after Nat Borchers was ejected for a foul on Martins as the Nigerian was about to go in alone on the RSL goal. The gamble nearly paid off, as RSL kept the score even at two goals until the fourth minute of stoppage time when Seattle tallied to steal the win.
Chaos Reigns in the East
Trying to make heads or tails of the playoff race in the East has long been acknowledged as a fool's errand in this MLS season, and this weekend's action once again confirmed that wisdom.
The five teams currently competing for the last two spots in the East all tied this weekend.
The Philadelphia Union finished 2-2 against the New York Red Bulls after converting a 91st-minute penalty, the Columbus Crew and the Houston Dynamo tied each other (with Houston giving up a 2-0 halftime lead at home), and Toronto FC tied the Chicago Fire with an 89th-minute equalizer.
The only team in the East that seems to have now separated itself from the pack is the New England Revolution, who somehow managed to survive a stretch in which they lost nine games in 10 matches.
Sporting KC Ends a 4-Game Skid
Any team looking to end a losing streak is thankful when it sees Chivas USA on its schedule, and Sporting Kansas City was no different this weekend as they ended a four-game losing streak by thrashing the struggling side.
In the match, Sporting striker Dom Dwyer set the team's all-time single-season goal-scoring record, finishing off a beautiful cross from teammate Graham Zusi to set the record.
The game finished 4-0 in Sporting's favor.
Speaking of Chivas USA
Perhaps the biggest news coming out of MLS this week was a story from Sports Illustrated's Brian Straus, who reported that Chivas USA will likely sit out the 2015 MLS season as the club is sold and rebranded.
Straus quoted league sources who said the hiatus is a "99 percent certainty" and stated the league's conferences could be redrawn as a result with the Houston Dynamo and Sporting KC moving to the West.
As far as Chivas USA's current players, Straus reported they could be loaned out for 2015 or dispersed via a draft to help stock new expansion clubs Orlando City SC and New York City FC.
Lee Nguyen for the USMNT?
There's been plenty of talk this year about Lee Nguyen, the New England Revolution's center midfielder, as he's enjoyed a career season. So far in 2014, Nguyen has 13 goals and four assists, including a number of highlight-reel quality strikes.
This weekend, Nguyen scored another great goal, getting behind the Montreal Impact back line before coolly chipping the ball in.
Such a season has some fans talking about a United States men's national team call-up for the 27-year-old, who was capped by the senior team back in 2007 as a youngster.
Whether or not to cap Nguyen again is a source of debate among American fans, as they have seen some late bloomers succeed in the past but have also seen MLS standouts like Chris Wondolowski and Brad Davis fail to make a significant impact at the international level.
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