2012 Major League Soccer Week 30: What We Learned

John Medina

All the playoff spots have been clinched after a busy Week 30. San Jose also claimed their second Supporters' Shield, their first since 2005.

Going into the weekend there were four playoff spots up for grabs, three in the Eastern Conference and one in the Western Conference. After Sunday evening, all four have been accounted for as Major League Soccer pushes into its final week of the season where it will be all about playoff positioning for those 10 clubs involved.

The week was filled with big games, big goals and even bigger performances. One player inched closer to history while one team made history up in Canada, though not in the way they probably wanted it to happen.

Quakes claim Shield, Wondo inches closer to record

Sunday was a historic day in the Bay Area. The San Jose Earthquakes clinched their second ever Supporters' Shield trophy after Saturday's result for Sporting Kansas City in New York (a 0-0 draw). The Quakes celebrated with a world-record ground breaking ceremony on their new stadium that is set to open in 2014.

The stadium is finally going to get built for the Quakes, something that they had been promising to do ever since they re-entered the league in 2008.

San Jose went out in Sunday's game with their main rivals, the LA Galaxy and came away with a 2-2 draw. The point was was nice, tut it also did one thing else: It showed the other four Western Conference playoff teams that this San Jose team can be beaten if you push them enough.

LA did a great job at frustrating the Quakes and had it not been for their sloppy defense, LA could came spoiled the big day.

But naturally it was a late-game heroics to get the point for San Jose. We've seen this time and time again this season out of this club. This time it was Chris Wondolowski scoring the game-tying goal. Wondo's goal was his 26th of the season, putting him just one behind the league's all-time record held by Roy Lassiter (who did it back in the league's inaugural season in 1996).

With one game to go, San Jose can claim three more points to get them to 68 points on the season and Wondo has a shot to at least tie Lassiter's record, if not break it. Standing in his way, a trip to Portland.

Cascadia glory in the Rose City

To say it has been a long season in Portland is an understatement. The Portland Timbers have seen plenty of ups and downs along the way. From having a Designated Player get hurt before the season (Jose Adolfo Valencia), to firing John Spencer in the middle of the season, all the way to the present where they claim their first MLS-version of the Cascadia Cup.

Portland did the almost unthinkable on Sunday evening in Vancouver, by beating the Whitecaps 1-0 to secure the trophy and their first road win of the season. Yes, they waited until their final road game to pick up their first win away from JELD-WEN Field.

Jack Jewsbury scored a wonderful goal in the first half and the Timbers held on for dear life after that.

While the Timbers won't move on into the playoffs like their two rivals Vancouver and Seattle, they will have some good in this long and brutal season.

What to make of the East

Saturday was a fun and quick day in MLS that saw three Eastern Conference teams all clinch playoff spots in one quick result. Thanks to D.C. United's quick comeback at home against the Columbus Crew, United punched the ticket for themselves and for the New York Red Bulls and the Houston Dynamo.

New York had wait to see if they'd need another weekend to claim their post season ticket after their 0-0 draw with Sporting KC. Houston, on the other hand, dismantled the Philadelphia Union 3-1 to complete an undefeated home schedule and go 11-0-6 at BBVA Compass Stadium.

So now we know the final five squads in the Eastern Conference. Sporting Kansas City, the Chicago Fire, the Dynamo, United and the Red Bulls. All good teams that bring something different to the table.

This final week will determine where they all go, however. United can still catch Sporting KC on points for first place - D.C. would be able to over take Sporting KC for the first place crowd based on the goals-scored tiebreaker. Kansas City can put that chance to bed on Wednesday night when they host the Union. A win or draw there gives them the first place crown in the East.

After that it is nearly anyone's guess. Between the other four clubs, almost any one of them could finish second or fifth - only the Dynamo can finish as high as third.

It will be a wacky final week in MLS, that is for sure.

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