Nobody could accuse MLS of being boring in Week 24. They matched the week number in goals, with 24, they did not have a scoreless draw and two matches ended 10v9. Oh, and the playoff race is as tight as ever.
Some guy named Clint Dempsey made his Sounders debut in Toronto, not that it mattered. By the time the American captain came off the bench, Mauro Rosales had already put the visitors in front and not long after, Doneil Henry put the ball in his own net to put Seattle squarely in front. Jonathan Osorio tried to spoil Dempsey's first match in green with a goal to cut the Sounders' lead in half, but it wasn't enough for lowly TFC.
Just when you think the Red Bulls might be getting the hang of this "good" thing, they remind you they are the Red Bulls. Federico Higuain helped with that, scoring an absurd 20-yard chip to go along with another goal, but the Red Bulls weren't undone by a wonder strike or anything of the sort. The Crew simply outplayed them, with Higuain and Dominic Oduro causing New York fits all match and if it wasn't for Luis Robles, the Red Bulls would have lost by five or six.
It took a while for either team to get going as they essentially slept through the first half, but things livened up after the break. Camilo Sanvezzo moved into a tie for the league lead in goals and Kenny Miller did his bit to put the match out of reach with a 74th minute goal, but Nigel Reo-Coker and Dave Ousted played an even bigger role in the Caps' win. The former bossed the midfield and assisted on both goals, while the latter made a handful of great saves to keep the Quakes off the scoreboard.
Philadelphia Union 2-0 D.C. United
They're D.C. United. There's not much to say.
Kei Kamara's side and pace make him a tough mark for anyone, so asking Kevin Alston, who is still working his way back into form after a long absence as he fought leukemia, to mark him is just cruel. Unsurprisingly, Kamara had his way with Alston, scoring twice. The only person who could slow him down was Andy Dorman, whose dirty tackle earned him a red card and sent Kamara to the trainer's table. Dorman was the second Revolution player to see red, with Dimitry Imbongo being shown the door earlier, in a disastrous match for the Revs. All the while Sporting proved that they could handle the Champions League fixture congestion just fine.
With the Champions League underway, the Impact have to rotate their squad a little more and that meant resting Felipe and Marco Di Vaio. Unfortunately for them, that also meant falling behind 2-0 and while the duo did come off the bench to change the match, it wasn't enough. Sean Johnson came up huge in goal and Chris Rolfe's clearance saved the Fire, who got a win to ease the heartbreak of Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup semifinal loss.
It's been a long time since RSL has been characterized as "dynamic," but they are efficient. And they are in the pole position for the Supporters' Shield. Coincidence?
Saturday's win over the Dynamo was more of the same for RSL, who were organized and consistent from the first minute to the last. Ned Grabavoy put in a great shift as the home side controlled the midfield. It took some fortune for them to score, with Adam Moffat's silly challenge gifting them a penalty kick that Alvaro Saborio converted, but the Salt Lake formula is to make fewer mistakes than their opponents; in MLS, that will win you a lot of games and put you atop the table, which is right where RSL are.
Landon Donovan did his part to make it a shootout, scoring three goals, and the Galaxy defense did their part, falling apart repeatedly, but it also took the work of the referee to bring about Sunday's six-goal circus. Twice the same assistant referee kept his flag down when FCD were offside on free kicks and both times they led to goals, gifting Dallas a point.
But the Galaxy always have some reason they dropped points on the road. This is just the latest.
Three red cards, a saved penalty and a late equalized made for quite the show at the Stub Hub Center, even if only a handful of people were on hand to see it. Gabe Farfan was shown the door for stepping on Shane O'Neill, Tony Cascio was flashed yellow twice and Tristan Bowen was ejected for spitting at Chris Klute -- he said after the game that his gum had accidentally come out of mouth -- so by the time Martin Rivero rose to head home an equalizer in the 80th minute, there were only 19 players on the pitch. And so ended a wild weekend in MLS.