Football Americana Week 29: Wizards bow out of contention



Most teams in Major League Soccer have just one game left, and the only remaining business to be done in the regular season is some jostling for position in the playoff spots and the fight for Supporters Shield. All eight post-season teams have been settled with play to spare.

Kansas City Wizards kept their playoff hopes alive in midweek with a 2-0 win over Chicago Fire. Only maximum points for the rest of the season would give them any chance of success, and they started the week well at Toyota Park. Davy Arnaud finished confidently to give KC the lead on the stroke of half time and Teal Bunbury's 80th minute goal made it 2-0.

But the Wizards came unstuck at Gillette Stadium, where they were beaten by New England Revolution. Shalrie Joseph hit the post in the third minute, but the Revs skipper later scored the goal that eliminated Kansas City. Joseph pounced on a slight mix-up at the back to score the only goal of the game with half an hour gone. Bunbury hit the post in the second half but the playoffs were disappearing from view and the eight qualifiers are now confirmed.

As a result of the Wizards' defeat, Colorado Rapids had no pressure on them as they travelled to Carson to face LA Galaxy. Edson Buddle (pictured) found the roof of the net to give LA the lead, but the Rapids ran out 3-1 winners thanks to a free-flowing comeback. Juninho's own goal got the ball rolling and Conor Casey prodded in their second on the half hour. Omar Cummings set up Casey's goal, and got one of his own in the second half to seal Colorado's victory. The visitors had struck the woodwork twice by the time they put the game beyond LA.

LA's defeat left just a one-point lead over Real Salt Lake, who'd beaten FC Dallas to keep their unbeaten home run alive and end FCD's long undefeated streak. RSL blew the Supporters Shield race open with a 2-0 win thanks to goals in the second half by Ned Grabavoy and Javier Morales. Grabavoy rose highest to head in the first, and Morales' accomplished finish killed the game in the final minute.

The good form of Seattle Sounders kept momentum with Steve Zakuani's early goal against Chivas USA. Osvaldo Alonso made it 2-0 in the 26th minute as the Sounders played with a good degree of freedom. Chivas had one disallowed for offside and eventually got their consolation goal through Jesus Padilla in stoppage time.

Chicago's second match of the week was a home clash with DC United. It was Brian McBride's final home match and the two sides celebrated the career of a great striker by scoring exactly zero goals between them. McBride's moment almost came in the 15th minute, but he'd been whistled for offside before firing home against a defence that had played to the whistle. DC came closest, with what would have been a second half own goal had Andrew Dykstra not been sharp in the Fire goal. McBride's substitution late on was a great moment befitting of a great player.

There were incredible scenes at Toronto FC, where Columbus Crew got the rewards for a much-used but rarely successful last roll of the dice. Chad Marshall put the Crew ahead thanks to a fortunate ricochet off the goalkeeper but Maicon Santos' brilliant strike equalised for TFC. Jacob Peterson tapped home to put them in front with his first MLS goal. Halfway through the second half, Toronto goalkeeper Jon Conway and Crew striker Steven Lenhart clashed under a high ball and both were sent off. Conway's dismissal was inevitable after he took umbrage and Lenhart's challenge and angrily pushed him over.

But it was the other goalkeeper, William Hesmer, who stole the headlines with a goal in stoppage time. He went up for a corner, controlled it superbly and took the chance like a composed striker.

Like LA, New York Red Bulls were also beaten this weekend. Philadelphia Union were 2-1 winners against the Red Bulls at PPL Park. Fred got the scoring underway inside ten minutes, poking it in from close range after a corner. Michael Orozco's goal made it 2-0 before the 30 minute mark, and New York could only muster a single goal, Danleigh Borman's finish making the second half interesting but proving to be nothing more than a consolation.

Houston Dynamo's annual return to an old stomping ground was a successful one, with Dom Kinnear's side beating San Jose Earthquakes by the odd goal in...erm...one. The sides were separated only by Andrew Hainault's diving header, but it won't change the fact that the Quakes are in the playoffs and the Dynamo are not even close.

With the dust beginning to settle on the season, the eight playoff teams are LA, Salt Lake, New York, Columbus, Dallas, Seattle, Colorado and San Jose. As it stands, LA play Seattle, Salt Lake play Dallas, New York play San Jose and Columbus play Colorado. However, there is still significant room for movement. You can see all the action here, and the playoff standings here.

Get in touch with us

Name

Email *

Message *

Never miss a podcast

Don't forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter - The Weekend Boxset - which tells you all about the seven must watch games on your TV over the weekend.