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Major League Soccer 2012, Week 11: What We Learned

Draws and late goals filled a busy Week 11 in Major League Soccer. New York continues to win while the LA Galaxy now see themselves at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.


Drama and draws highlighted a busy Week 11 in Major League Soccer. Of the 11 games, six of them ended in a draw.

While the trades headlined the days leading up to the weekend, once the dust settled it was seeing a team like the LA Galaxy at the bottom of the Western table that shows just how crazy this season has really been.

A quick glance at the standings sees three clubs in each conference sitting north of 20 points while a slew of clubs are hot on their heels. After a status quo week with six draws, things just continue to get tighter in MLS.

New look Chivas makes noise

Chivas USA made plenty of headlines during the week as they struck two big deals with the Philadelphia Union and the New York Red Bulls. But they may have cashed in a bigger headline as they downed the LA Galaxy for their first home win of the season - beating their Home Depot Center rivals for the first time in five years.

The Galaxy are now winless in their last five and sit squarely at the bottom of the Western Conference table.

Chivas rode their newcomers first games as Juan Agudelo was a big part of landing the penalty kick while Danny Califf led a re-focused back line in the 1-0 win over the Galaxy. Agudelo challenged Galaxy keeper Brian Perk for a ball in the penalty box, which found Jose Correa whose volley hit off former Chivas defender David Junior Lopes' arm (Lopes saw a red card for the handball). On the ensuing penalty, Correa hammered home the game's only goal.

Say what you will about Chivas this season, these two moves made last week certainly shook up their lineup and in the process may have shaken up the Western Conference race. Agudelo will be out for a couple weeks with the US National Team but you have to bet that once everyone is on the same page, this Chivas squad could be very dangerous going forward.

New York makes it five straight

Another team that made a splash last week was the Red Bulls. Hans Backe pulled the trigger on the Agudelo deal as they landed defender Heath Pearce in return. Pearce and the Red Bulls visited the Montreal Impact this weekend and walked away with yet another three points - their fifth in a row.

New York pulled off the most impressive win, downing Montreal 2-1 at Olympic Stadium despite losing midfielder Victor Palsson to a second yellow in the 58th minute.

The loss was Montreal's first at home this season. Kenny Cooper bagged yet another goal (his 10th of the year) while Dane Richards put away the game-winner.

D.C. adds to Toronto's misery

Hard to believe that a team like Toronto FC could be this bad. At 0-9-0 they aren't just historically bad in MLS, they are becoming epically bad. Designated Player and striker Danny Koevermans even said this weekend that Toronto may be the worst club in the world at the moment.

Danny I'm sure there are far worse clubs out there but right now Toronto sure is making a run.

D.C. United's Dwayne De Rosario scored just 57 seconds into their match on Saturday night, setting the tone for a 3-1 loss for Toronto.

It was the second win of the week for D.C. United, who had beaten Colorado earlier in the week 2-0 thanks to De Rosario and DP striker Hamdi Salihi. United sit one point out of first place in the East and three points from leading the league (though it should be noted that Ben Olsen's club has played the most games thus far at 14).

Toronto once again has to go back to the drawing board. Nine straight losses to open a season is just not cutting it for a team that had so much potential. They do have a glimmer of hope though as the Canadian Championships are wrapping up this week at BMO Field. Currently they are tied with the Vancouver Whitecaps in the series. A win there may be enough to lift this club back into form in league play.

Cascadia off to a hot start in 2012

We saw the fun in 2011 between the Portland Timbers, the Seattle Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Their Cascadia Cup rivalry was fun then but 2012 may be the start of something even better. Yes, with more games this rivalry may go to the next level.

The 2012 edition got off to a fiery start on Saturday. Vancouver hosted the Sounders in a thrilling 2-2 draw. Seattle fielded their potent quartet of Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero, Alvaro Fernandez and Mauro Rosales for the first time this season - giving everyone in the league a taste of what could be to come out of this club.

But it wasn't enough as Vancouver's vaunted attack lead by 18-year-old Omar Salgado stole the show. Salgado got the rivalry going in the 21st minute of the match as he gave a nifty pass to Alan Rochat to put the Caps up to an early 1-0 lead. Seattle found their way back with the usual suspects of Montero and Rosales who played a nice one-two with one another to open up Johnson for his third of the year.

Montero added to his tally to tie the game late once again after Vancouver had gone up with a goal from Camilo.

The back and forth nature of this game proved one thing - this will be an exciting year in this rivalry. Just wait until Portland gets involved here too, the Timbers have looked much improved over the last couple of weeks and will certainly add a special kick to this series.

San Jose grinds out draw

Once again the San Jose Earthquakes continue to find ways to get points. It may not be pretty in how they arrive at the points they are picking up but after 12 games their 24 points is good enough for second in the West behind Real Salt Lake.

Saturday was another gritty game for Frank Yallop's club. The Quakes dominated the Columbus Crew in the opening half only to see Justin Meram volley in a goal just after halftime.

Crew keeper Andy Gruenebaum came up huge on several Quakes shots. He ended the game with a career-high seven saves including a penalty kick save on Chris Wondowloski in the first half.

But in the end it was an Alan Gordon goal that sealed the draw for the Quakes. Gordon's side volley in the final seconds of the game was too much for Gruenebaum to handle.