Week 24 saw a goal scoring romp in Seattle, a stoppage time comeback in Kansas City and a 10-man Salt Lake team prove their resilience. Here's your weekly recap.
Seattle Sounders 6, Columbus Crew 2
The Seattle and Columbus match up was supposed to be a battle between the Eastern Conference leading Crew and the Western Conference Supporter Shield contending Sounders. However, The game quickly became another example of how much more superior the West currently is over the East. Seattle put on an offense clinic for the Crew and ended the night with 6 goals. The 1st came from local boy, Lamar Neagle, in the 4' when his shot from the left side of the box bounced through Will Hesmer's hand and rolled into the net. Seattle's Mauro Rosales then added another for Seattle in the 15' from the penalty spot after the Crew's Rich Balchan played the ball with his hand in the box. Neagle added his second in the 20' with a side footed volley from a James Riley cross. Mike Fucito joined in the goal scoring fun in the 39' when he beat both the Crew Will Hesmer and Chad Marshall to a dangerous pass at the edge of the 6 yard box and was able to touch it around the keeper and poke it home. The only bright spot of the night for the Crew came in the 58' when Jeff Cunningham broke Jamie Moreno's All-Time goal scoring record of 133 with a penalty kick. Lamar Neagle completed his first career MLS Hat Trick in the 69' when he struck a blistering shot from the top of the box and it bounced off the underside of the crossbar and sneaked past the goal-line. The Crew's Josh Gardner two added goals in the 73', however one was an own goal while the other was a rocket of a free kick from just outside the box. The sold out crowd of 36,364 at Century Link witnessed an entertaining goal-scoring fest by their Sounders.
Toronto FC 1, San Jose Earthquakes 1
Toronto and San Jose may both be near the bottom of their respective conferences, however, they seem to be heading in different directions. Thanks to the mediocrity of the Eastern Conference, Torornto is still alive in the Play-off race and they were looking to get some much needed points at home. San Jose nearly got an early lead in the 4' and 12' but both attempts just missed the net and the game remained tied at 0. Toronto finally broke through in the when former FC Dallas member, Eric Avilla, collected a ball near the top of the box after the ball was tackled away from a teammate. He took a couple of touches into the area and slid it past Toronto's keeper Kocic and into the far corner of the net. Toronto nearly doubled their lead in the 75' when former San Jose Earthquake, Ryan Johnson, slid a nice pass behind the Earthquake defense into the run of Joao Plata who took a touch around Jon Busch and put it home. However, the goal did not stand as Plata was called offside on a close call. San Jose finally got the equalizer in the 86' following a long throw-in from Bobby Burling that was flicked on in the box by Ramiro Corrales and which fell to the feet of Chris Wondolowski near the back post, who poked it in. 21,117 fans attended the match at BMO Field.
Vancouver Whitecaps 1, Houston Dynamo 0
The Whitecaps hosted the Houston Dynamo who had been making a steady climb recently in the Eastern Conference and were hoping to continue that trend. The Whitecaps who had been struggling all season were looking to begin to turn their luck around and give their hometown fans something to cheer about. The Whitecaps were almost to give some excitement to their crowd early in the match when David Chumiento took a dangerous free kick that Tally Hall was able to keep out of the net but let fall the rebound fall right in front of his net but was able to corral it in after a small scramble. The remainder of the first half saw some fantastic saves by both keepers and some bad luck as Houston's Adam Moffat's long range blast went off the woodwork. Vancouver's luck turned in the 85' when Shea Salinas scored his first goal for the Whitecaps. Vancouver's Long Tan played Salinas into space on the left side of the field. He carried the ball into the box and just sneeked a shot past the Dynamo's Tally Hall and into the far side netting. The 20,226 fans at Empire Field were treated to a much needed victory for the Whitecaps.
Chicago Fire 2, Colorado 0
After breaking the MLS All-Time record for most Draws in a season, the Chicago Fire were looking to add a victory to their Win column against the traveling Colorado Rapids. The Fire got off to a red hot start as Domic Oduro used his blistering pace to run onto a pass behind the Rapids defense and knock home a shot from a tough angle on the right side of the box. The Rapids were not able to mount much of an offense threat most of the first half but came close a couple of times with a Drew Moor header and a Sanna Nyassi shot. But both attempts did not result in any goals. The Chicago Fire, however, were able to produce another goal in the 35' when the Fire's Grazzini was able to chase down a ball played in the box and barely keep it in with a great cross that found the head of veteran defender Corey Gibbs to give the Fire a 2 goal lead. Neither team did much in the way of offense in the second half and the game finished 2-0 in favor of the fire, who surprisingly keep their play-off hope alive in the East. The 15,211 fans at Toyota Park were happy to see their team pull off a win at home.
Sporting Kansas City 2, FC Dallas 3
Eastern Conference contenders, Sporting KC hosted Western Conference contenders FC Dallas in front of 20,018 fans at LiveStrong Park. Kansas City had been steadily climbing the Eastern Conference table following a tough start to the season and were hoping to earn another 3 points at home to put themselves just a point behind the Crew atop the table. KC started the game exactly how they had hope with an early goal by Kei Kamara in the 22'. Kamara took advantage of some sloppy defending by Dallas in the back and finished with a great low hard shot from the right side of the box that beat Dallas' Kevin Hartman and found the back post side netting. Kansas City continued to dominate in the second half and threatened often and eventually found another goal in the 68' by Omar Bravo. Teal Bunburry assisted with the goal as he attempted to side volley a shot a few yards from Kevin Hartman that passed across the entire face of the goal but fortunately bounced off Omar Bravo and into the net for a 2-0 KC lead. FC Dallas' Daniel Hernandez was able to pull one back in the 70' off a very dangerous free kick that went through multiple bodies in front of net and got by Jimmy Nielsen to make it 2-1 in favor of KC. The game took a dramatic change in the 76' when Teal Bunburry saw his second yellow then red. Dallas' Brek Shea would serve to pin-point crosses late in the game minutes to give Dallas the win. The first came in the 88' when Maicon Santos rose above his defender on the back post and sent a low header back across the goal for the equalizer. Then late in stoppage time Shea sent another cross into the box, but this time it found the head of Rookie Bobby Warshaw for his first MLS career goal, to cap of a remarkable comeback.
Chivas USA 0, Real Salt Lake 1
Real Salt Lake traveled to the Home Depot Center looking to put a recent stretch of poor performances behind them against a Chivas team that was looking to stay alive in the Play-off race. Real Salt Lake scored a quick goal in the 10' when Alvaro Saborio took advantage of a poor back-pass by the Chivas defense. Saborio won the race for the ball at the top of the penalty box, took a nice touch around Chivas Keeper, Dan Kennedy and put away his 7th goal of the season for the 1-0 RSL lead. Chivas tried to find the equalizer with a couple of decent efforts in the first half. Jorge Flores found some space in the box after a deft touch and blasted a low hard shot at Nick Rimando who was able to get down quickly and keep the ball out of the net. A few minutes later Juan Pablo Angel hit the crossbar with a side volley shot from just outside the box. Even after RSL went down to 10 men following a Red Card to Nate Borches for denying a goal-scoring opportunity in the 23' RSL's defense was able to hold strong and preserve the 1 goal lead for the remainder of the game. The 14,127 fans at the Home Depot Center saw their Goats drop some very important points at home.
Recaps are written by The MLS Super Sub, Pedro Gomes. Follow him on Twitter @MLSSuperSub