MLS Week 24 Recap: What We Learned

MLS logoOnly nine weeks remain in Major League Soccer’s 2017 regular season. As teams continue to jostle for playoff position and berths, a clash at the top of the Eastern Conference standings sent an emphatic message to the rest of the league.

Toronto Impresses

Toronto FC (14-3-8, 50 points) handed Chicago (12-8-5, 41) its first home loss, 3-1, on Saturday night. Marky Delgado put Toronto in front early, after a shot was fumbled by Matt Lampson. The Fire did come back to equalize, only to have TFC pull away with goals from Nicholas Hasler and Sebastian Giovinco. The Fire had won their previous nine home games, allowing just three goals in that span. Toronto’s win makes it the first team to reach 50 points. Could Toronto be one of the best teams in league history? Let’s talk come December. 

Meanwhile, Up the Road in Montreal …

Montreal (10-8-6, 36) has won four in a row, with its latest win coming against Salt Lake (8-13-5, 29) on Saturday. Ignacio Piatti’s future with the Impact may be uncertain, but he had two goals in the opening half hour against RSL. The Argentine has six goals and an assist during the current win streak, which has lifted Montreal into sixth in the Eastern Conference, and into the playoff picture.

Dallas’ Woes Continue in Kansas City

For the fourth time this year, Kansas City (10-5-10, 40) and Dallas (9-6-8, 35) played a hard-fought game. This time, SKC came out on top, 2-0. Both goals were impressive, coming at the end of each half. Diego Rubio hit a powerful volley to give Sporting the lead. Dallas has just one goal in their last four games, and wasn’t particularly threatening. But it was still a one-goal game when Gerso Fernandes scored in stoppage time. Dallas is winless in its last four and has fallen to fifth place in the Western Conference.

Portland Takes a Step Forward

Portland (10-9-7, 37 points) grabbed a much needed win on Friday night, defeating the Red Bulls (12-10-2). A choppy first half gave way to a more open second, and Diego Valeri found a bit of space in the box to score the game’s opening goal. The Red Bulls had a great chance at in stoppage time, but Jeff Attinella denied Gonzalo Verón’s header from point-blank range. With Luis Robles up for a late free kick, the Timbers countered and Darren Mattocks sealed the win. The Timbers have been inconsistent, will this spark more success?

Vancouver Claims a Big Win

Vancouver (10-9-4, 34) shook up the Western Conference again with a win over Houston (10-8-7, 37). It was a big game for the Whitecaps, and they came out playing like it, taking a 2-0 lead in the first half. Fredy Montero scored from the penalty spot, and Yordy Reyna followed with a beautiful curling goal from outside the box to send the hosts on their way. The Whitecaps leapfrogged San Jose (9-10-6, 33) for the final playoff spot with the win and the Earthquakes’ draw.

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