deVos: An exciting weekend for Canadian MLS teams
10/7/2013 3:19:40 PM
Another disappointing loss on the road for Montreal, a last-minute heartbreaker in Philadelphia for Toronto, and an edge-of-your-seat thriller for Vancouver highlighted week 32 of Major League Soccer action for Canada's three teams.
There was a time not long ago where the Montreal Impact looked like Supporter's Shield contenders - they were leading the Eastern Conference with games in hand and looked to be coasting towards the MLS playoffs. Now, with just four regular season games to play, the wheels have come off for the Impact. They have been overtaken in the Eastern Conference standings and currently sit in fourth place - just three points above the Chicago Fire and one point above the Philadelphia Union.
Granted, the Impact have a game in hand on both of those teams, but that game is a midweek fixture in Los Angeles against the two-time defending champion Galaxy, so it is hardly an easy three points.
If the Impact are going to make the playoffs in just their second season in MLS, they'll need to do it on home soil.
Aside from the trip to LA on October 16, the Impact's remaining games include two at home - next weekend against the New England Revolution and October 19 against the Philadelphia Union - followed by their final league game of the regular season, away to Toronto FC on October 26. They do not want to be in a situation where they need points from the final game of the season in order to make the playoffs, because there is nothing that Toronto would like better than to play spoiler against the Impact.
Toronto's season has been one filled with disappointment: More upheaval in the front office, more turnover on the roster, more losses piling up and, for the seventh consecutive season, no playoffs for the supporters.
Saturday's loss in Philadelphia perfectly summed up TFC's woeful season.
They played very well for large stretches of the game with Bright Dike proving to be a real handful up front, the midfield snapping at Philadelphia's heels and the back four looking very composed. Although the game was deadlocked at 0-0, when Fabinho was sent off for Philadelphia in the second half, the advantage swung in Toronto's favour.
They had numerous opportunities to put the game out of reach, but a combination of poor decision-making and poor finishing saw TFC fail to find the back of the net, which set the game up for a dramatic finish.
And what a finish it was.
Kleberson curled a delicious free kick into the top corner of Joe Bendik's goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time to send the fans at PPL Park in Chester, PA delirious. The Union desperately needed the three points to keep the pressure on Montreal and the goal from Kleberson was a thing of beauty.
For Toronto FC fans, all they have left to look forward to is the end of the season comings and goings. While the management team is promising to make a splash by signing two high-priced designated players, TFC fans will know better than to hold their breath.
In Vancouver, the Whitecaps' playoff hopes are hanging by the thinnest of threads after a 2-2 draw at BC Place with the Portland Timbers.
Camilo scored both goals for Vancouver - the second has to be a leading contender for goal of the year in MLS, a stunning side scissor-kick to draw Vancouver level - but the Whitecaps must feel like they've missed their last chance to drag themselves into the playoff picture.
Vancouver sits six points adrift of fifth-place Colorado and their remaining fixture list doesn't make for pretty reading. The Whitecaps travel to Seattle to take on the Sounders on Wednesday (TSN2 10pm et/7pm pt), followed by away and home games with Colorado to end the season. Failure to pick up maximum points from all three games will likely mean the end of Vancouver's season.