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Major League Soccer 2012, Week 9: What We Learned

Crazy goals, wild games and even more controversy headlined Week 9 in Major League Soccer.

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Week 9 in Major League Soccer was fun from start to finish as it offered up plenty of games, goals, controversy and wild finishes.

We also saw some unfortunate history made in Toronto while the league's Discipline Committee will have a few new cases that will keep them busy this week.

Top of the West gets closer

Taking Wednesday's crazy finishes and combining them with Saturday's results, the Western Conference just got even tougher to figure out. The San Jose Earthquakes scored a crazy victory Wednesday night at home over D.C. United in a 5-3 thriller only to then go on the road against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday and lose a 2-1 thriller.

The Whitecaps got an Eric Hassli goal in extra time pushing them into fourth place with 17 points, just five behind the co-leaders San Jose and Real Salt Lake.

The Seattle Sounders FC added two wins to the mix this week thanks to two shutout victories over the LA Galaxy and the Philadelphia Union. Seattle's 19 points put them in third place but no club is hotter than Sigi Schmid's team at the moment as they have won four straight.

Real Salt Lake added even more fun to the mix on Saturday night with their 2-1 win over New England.

Historically bad

There are good results and then there are bad ones. For Toronto FC, this season has been chalk full of just bad ones, terrible ones and down right disappointing ones.

D.C. United's Chris Pontius and Designated Player Hamdi Salihi found the back of the net in the second half to give United another win and pushing Toronto to a new MLS record of futility at 0-8-0.

Where has this club gone wrong? And how much longer can Aron Winter survive this? Those are two big questions going into this week that will certainly be discussed over and over again. In my eyes, Winter's rope is a tiny one and another loss in league play or in the Canadian Championships will likely spell the end of his coaching tenure in Toronto.

As for what is going wrong - let's just say nearly everything has gone bad at some point this season for the Reds. If you can find positives in this club, then you may be one of the most optimistic people out there.

Impact on the rise

Over the last five games, there is no hotter club in the Eastern Conference than the Montreal Impact. I kid you not folks, go look at the standings. The Impact are 3-1-1 in their last five, good enough to help push them into the top five in the East with 11 points. (It should be noted that they'd only be in 7th place in the West with that number of points)

The Impact made their biggest jump this weekend by knocking off one of the league's best clubs in Sporting Kansas City, at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. A decisive 2-0 victory on the road is never easy to come by, but knocking off a top club on the road like that is even tougher to do.

The Impact got a great goal from Brazilian Felipe along with a penalty kick from Patrice Bernier. The result sealed the Impact's first road win of the year while giving Sporting their second straight loss after opening the season 7-0-0.

LA's woeful week

It hasn't been an easy season thus far for Bruce Arena and Week 9 may have been the worst yet. Two big games against high-profile clubs in Seattle and New York and two big losses. What is worse, no goals scored in either game as the Galaxy were shut out 2-0 on Wednesday in Seattle and 1-0 by New York at home on Saturday.

Consider this too, the Red Bulls lineup included rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara, and defenders Tyler Ruthven, Connor Lade, and Brandon Barklage -- who have fewer than 20 league appearances, combined -- blanked the Galaxy attack led by Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, and David Beckham. Four huge names in MLS blanked by a group of players that not even diehard Red Bulls fans would be able to pick out on the street.

Something has to give right? All that talent in the midfield and in the attack. Injuries to their defense has really done a number to the Galaxy this season. But considering their lack of intensity this past week in the attack, it is hard to imagine them going too far north from here. Their play so far this season hasn't been anything great to really get behind. They stumble out of the gate, regroup and find themselves only to stumble even worse this past week.

Naturally this club will point fingers everywhere but at themselves. It's the schedule, the turf, the weather, whatever. At the end of the day, this club just isn't what we thought they would be this season. I know it still feels early to say this but the Galaxy haven't found a way to prove that they have what it takes this season to repeat as MLS Cup Champions.

Seeing red in Frisco

Rarely do you get a game that has a team going down two men, but what is even rarer is finding a club that goes down two men for more than 55 minutes in a match. That sort of thing happened to FC Dallas last night against the Colorado Rapids. Both Daniel Hernandez and Blas Perez were shown the early bath within two minutes of one another. Yes, two minutes.

The game turned on a dime when the first red was issues but it took a drastic step when the second one was given.

Now I'll say Hernandez's cards were justified. His first yellow was for dissent. He basically was arguing with the referee to call it both ways, according to Schellas Hyndman last night. Obviously the center official heard it differently. But his second was an easy decision, a late tackle in the open field right in front of the ref. Definitely bookable and definitely one that put his club behind the eight ball.

As for Perez's card, I can see it both ways. There was definitely contact between him and Drew Moor (heck, Moor showed off a nice little cut on his inner thigh from the challenge), but both players were going for the ball in a 50-50 challenge. At worse that's a yellow but I do get where the red came from, as the center official probably viewed it as reckless and saw some intention on Perez's part to get more of the player than the ball. Again, I get it both ways.

Still, both calls within a short period of time put Dallas behind the eight ball in the worst possible way. Colorado finally found a break through midway through the second half and really never looked back from there on. Consider the fact that the Rapids were already outshooting Dallas at the time of the foul, they ended the game with an impressive 23-1 edge in shots. Yeah just one for Dallas.