Major League Soccer 2012, Week 20: What We Learned

Mar 31, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Columbus Crew midfielder Kirk Urso (15) plays the ball against the Toronto FC at BMO Field. The Crew beat the FC 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Seattle dominated at home, Houston continued their climb to the top of the Eastern Conference but the news of the weekend centered around the passing of a promising young rookie.

The usual Major League Soccer weekend schedule seemed just like any others. Eight games that were stretched out over three days. A couple big headlining games like New York at Houston, LA at Seattle and even a rivalry game in Colorado.

But all of that seemed to go to the back burner as the news passed on Sunday morning that Columbus Crew rookie midfielder Kirk Urso passed away.

Both of Sunday's games took a moment of silence to honor Urso while the rest of the soccer world took a chance to react to the sad news.

Gone too soon

The 1-0 loss for the Crew at D.C. United seemed like a total afterthought. The 22-year old Urso passed late Saturday evening and while no word on what caused the death of the promising midfielder, the shock of the news certainly was felt throughout the league.

An autopsy was scheduled for Monday morning - maybe after that we'll all have a little more details to talk about with this story.

Urso only played in a few games earlier this season for the Crew before having to deal with an adductor strain that required surgery.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Crew and Urso's family during this time. The death of a family member is never easy and with Urso being so young, so many questions will have to be answered.

Sounders dominate at home

At some point you knew all the traveling for David Beckham would catch up to him. The same can probably be said about the amount of friendlies the Galaxy have been playing this summer as well. Both seemed to play an effect on them yesterday evening. The 4-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders FC was a surprising one in some regards.

The big win for the Sounders was certainly a statement of some sorts. For one it showed their offense could come from all over the place as Eddie Johnson continued his impressive form but so did the supporting cast of characters. Second of all, the defense showed up for Sigi Schmid. A shutout win at home against one of the hottest teams in the league is never an easy thing to come by and the Sounders managed just that.

Naturally the LA Galaxy went into their usual post-loss blaming game on Sunday. Citing it was bad luck, the officials, and whatever else they could come up with in the post-game interviews. What it came down to for Bruce Arena and the Galaxy was that they just didn't play a good 90 minutes of soccer - simple as that.

Dynamo stellar at home

Impressive. That continues to be the word I associate when I think of the Houston Dynamo at the moment. Impressive in the fact that they've gone five straight without defeat. Impressive that their supporting cast continues to step up and shine. Impressive that this could just be the start of something with the news that Ricardo Clark has returned to the Orange.

Either way you look at it their 2-0 win on Friday over the New York Red Bulls lifted the Dynamo into a first place tie with Sporting Kansas City, who got a win over the weekend against the New England Revolution.

Houston got goals from Jermaine Taylor and the red-hot Calen Carr to best the Red Bulls. Tim Cahill made his MLS debut for New York but the night belonged to the Houston offense lead by Carr, Brad Davis and Mac Kandji.

The Dynamo defense also came to play as they had to deal with the likes of Kenny Cooper, Sebastien Le Toux, Thierry Henry and Cahill. Tally Hall had yet another shutout on the season - his 10th overall - thanks to the solid performance out of his defense.

These two will meet again this Friday in New York. I do expect a different game out of the Red Bulls as midfielder Dax McCarty will be back after a suspension. His play typically dictates more about how the Red Bulls go defensive.

Eight is enough for Colorado

While the Colorado Rapids won't take home the Rocky Mountain Cup this season from Real Salt Lake, they at least were able to hang their hats on a win in the season series. Colorado had entered the game winless in their last eight and losers of six straight. But that all came to an end Saturday night in Commerce City as the Rapids surprised one of the top clubs in MLS by downing RSL 1-0.

Colorado finally got some decent play out of their offense for the first time in a couple months. Joseph Nane scored the lone goal on the night but it was the play of Omar Cummings that really sole the show. The Jamaican striker didn't make the scoresheet with a goal but his relentless play forced Salt Lake on their heels more. Between Cummings and Jaime Castrillon, the Rapids put an emphatic end to their losing streak.

The loss for Salt Lake capped off a disappointing week. In the midweek they had lost their opening CONCACAF Champions League game 1-0 in Costa Rica. A win Saturday would have also put them back on top of the overall league table as well.

Impact continue improvement

Boy, talk about a game with plenty of story lines to discuss. On paper the 2-0 win for the Montreal Impact over the Philadelphia Union helped their slim playoff chances by a boat load. The Impact moved within five points of the fifth and final spot in the Eastern Conference but it didn't come without some controversy.

Tempers flared up on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. The game got down right nasty in the 68th minute as Montreal defender Nelson Rivas and Union midfielder Antoine Hoppenot got tangled up with one another. Rivas sent an ugly head butt to the Union's rookie - something that will likely keep Rivas on the sideline for a couple more games.

Union striker Jack McInereny also drew a red for getting involved and shoving Rivas after the head butt.

These two clubs continue to fight and claw their way into the playoffs, at this point they are taking the fighting portion literally.

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