Major League Soccer 2012, Week 22: What We Learned

Aug 19, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; DC United goalkeeper Bill Hamid (28) argues with Philadelphia Union defender Sheanon WIlliams (25) during the second half at RFK Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Frederiksen-US PRESSWIRE

Week 22 was another weekend of wild finishes, red cards and plenty of drama in Major League Soccer.

The pressure of a playoff run is starting to show around Major League Soccer. Tempers flared up in a heated Week 22 as red cards were issued in a couple games, while some wild finishes to other games highlighted a busy week.

The playoff race is heating up in both conferences - enough to the point that seven teams are in the mix of things in the Eastern Conference while another six or possibly seven are making their case out in the Western Conference.

Five crazy minutes at RFK

In the final minutes of a 1-1 draw between the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United on Sunday afternoon, we saw a wild few minutes that many are still trying to figure out.

Let's recap it real quick. Once the game went into stoppage-time, we saw a penalty kick taken twice (encroachment on Dwayne De Rosario's first kick), two red cards, a slight flare up between the two rivals and then two United players exchanging some heated words.

Yup all in a matter of moments a 1-1 draw turned into mayhem - similar to an Allstate commercial.

Referee Mark Geiger issued nine cards and three ejections in this game, elevating this rivalry to a whole new level on Sunday.

The draw did one thing for United however, it got them back into fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Montreal had passed them up earlier in the weekend.

Ferreira, Dallas inch towards playoffs

No more than a month ago, the season looked dead for FC Dallas. Injuries, suspensions and random tantrums from Brek Shea were all the cause to the lack of success that this franchise was experiencing this season. But over the course of a few weeks some key players returned from injury like David Ferreira - who have helped ignite the Dallas attack.

In one week Dallas went from 11 points back of a playoff spot to just five points. Nine points in eight days gave Dallas the swing they needed to get their season back on track and potentially their playoff hopes. Dallas has won three straight including two road games - winning in tough venues like BC Place in Vancouver and Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake.

The most improbable win in that nine points came on Saturday in Salt Lake. A 2-1 finish thanks to a stoppage-time winner by Ferreira - who looked absolutely gassed at about the 70th minute. An injury to rookie Matt Hedges forced Schellas Hyndman to make a sub that he didn't want to make, leaving Ferreira out on the pitch for the final minutes of the game. In the end, it worked out for Dallas.

Ferreira has six assist and one goal to his name since returning from injury. His return has sparked Fabian Castillo to score in each of the last three matches with assists all coming from Ferreira.

Dallas may have momentum on their side at the moment but reaching the post season will still be a monumental feat as they need either the LA Galaxy or Vancouver Whitecaps to continue to drop points and hope that Chivas USA doesn't catch up as they have five games-in-hand over Dallas. Crazier things have happened in this league though.

Kings of Cascadia

Their fans made a banner in honor of their 2011 win in the Cascadia Cup and on Saturday the Seattle Sounders FC reminded the league as to who was the top dog in the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle down rivals Vancouver 2-0 thanks to goals from Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero. The win put Seattle three points clear of Vancouver in the standings and Sigi Schmid's bunch have two games-in-hand over the Caps as well that they can use to push even further up the standings.

The Sounders are now 4-1-3 in their past eight league games, while the Whitecaps have a 2-5-2 record over their last nine.

Seattle is proving that the Western Conference race is far from over with a result like this one. They have five points on the Caps and the LA Galaxy at the moment and are just two points behind a reeling Real Salt Lake squad. In a league where home field advantage is a big thing, the Sounders are making a case to move up the ladder just a bit.

Lastly, want an impressive stat to go along with this result? The 55,718 fans at CenturyLink Field would have placed second among opening-weekend attendances of the English Premier League, behind only Arsenal-Sunderland. Not bad Seattle, not bad at all.

Montreal surprises San Jose

While the crazy finishes in Salt Lake, D.C., New York were all the range this weekend, there was no bigger shock to the league than the Montreal Impact downing the league's best club the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 on Saturday.

Chris Wondolowski may have scored his league-leading 18th goal on the season but it wasn't nearly enough on the night as the Impact used their home crowd and a healthy dose of Marco Di Viao to lead them to the impressive result.

This was another game on the weekend that was surrounded by controversy as Steven Lenhart and Hassoun Camara were sent off in the 21st minute. The extra space on the field opened up the game for the Impact. The game was iced late for the Impact as Di Vaio was brought down in the penalty box by Jason Hernadnez - who was issued the game's third red card. Patrice Bernier finished off the penalty to give him a goal and an assist on the night.

The loss was San Jose's third since the beginning of July and just their sixth overall this season.

Chicago continues solid form

While there were no crazy red cards or late-game heroics in the Windy City on Saturday, the Chicago Fire did just enough to best their old rivals, the New England Revolution 2-1. The biggest talking point on the night came when striker Chris Rolfe was brought down in the penalty box by A.J Soares. The PK seemed like a decent call but on a second look, it was Rolfe who actually made the most of the situation and really got away with a big dive.

Rolfe put the Fire up at that point only to see the Revs respond just moments later. Chicago found their way back on top with newcomer Sherjill MacDonald connecting on his first MLS goal. The DP striker helped send the Fire to their latest win as they've gone 4-2-2 since the start of July.

New England ended the night on their seventh straight winless game.

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