FOX Soccer Exclusive
Sounders, Timbers crowd impressive
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER RESULTS
|Saturday, October 6|
|Toronto FC||0-1||DC United|
|Los Angeles||1-2||Salt Lake|
|Sunday, October 7|
|Chivas USA||1-1||FC Dallas|
|More: Scores | Stats | MLS|
Rabid soccer supporters in the United States field one vaguely insulting question more often than any other query: When will soccer – and MLS, in particular – make it in America?
The two-part answer, especially in the wake of last night's stunning display in Seattle, is fairly straightforward. It already has. Haven't you noticed?
It is difficult to miss the type of event that unfolded Sunday night at CenturyLink Field. A bumper crowd of more than 66,000 fans packed the venue to watch a derby match between a good Seattle team fighting for the playoffs and a poor Portland group waiting for the overhaul forthcoming during the winter. The home fans stood, as usual, sang their hearts out and unfurled yet another stunning “tifo” across the stands. A contingent of 1,500 Timbers fans – and it would have been larger if permitted – played their part as well.
As if those facts weren't enough to satiate the skeptics, these scenes played out on a night filled major games in other American sports. Every single one of those patrons could have chosen to catch the MLB playoffs or watch the Sunday night NFL game. They could have even spent the night reviewing highlights from a Premier League game or the enticing Barcelona-Real Madrid encounter played earlier in the day. Instead, they opted to attend Seattle's 3-0 victory.
One game doesn't address the concerns around the league, cure its foibles or raise the overall standard of play in the league, which does lag behind the major European leagues. But it does supply yet another example of why that annoying line of inquisition holds no merit in a country increasingly attuned to domestic and international soccer.
Seattle kept its place in the top five of this week's FOX Soccer MLS Power Rankings, but another rampant side retained its perch at the top for yet another week.
19. TORONTO FC: Need a sign that the Reds have gone off the rails? Paul Mariner's sideline attire merited discussion around BMO Field this weekend.
18. CHIVAS USA: A goal! A point! Yes, these everyday occurrences are worthy of an exclamation mark for the Red-and-White these days.
17. PORTLAND TIMBERS: The silver lining to the Seattle smackdown: the Timbers can still clinch the Cascadia Cup and wound Vancouver's playoff hopes with a victory at B.C. Place on Oct. 21.
16. COLORADO RAPIDS: Staking league-leading San Jose to a two-goal lead inside the first 11 minutes neatly sums up why the Rapids aren't in the playoff hunt this season.
15. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION: What are the odds that Jerry Bengtson would polished off his open net opportunity in Saturday night's 1-0 defeat at Philadelphia if he had been wearing his Honduras kit instead?
14. PHILADELPHIA UNION: Perhaps the most significant question in Chester this offseason: how can John Hackworth integrate a proven striker into the squad without impairing Jack McInerney's development?
13. MONTREAL IMPACT: It must have felt nice to take a point away from BBVA Compass Stadium after the trials and tribulations between the two sides during the Brian Ching imbroglio last winter.
12. FC DALLAS: There are simply no excuses for failing to secure three points at Chivas USA on Sunday night.
11. COLUMBUS CREW: Eddie Gaven rescued a potentially critical point in second-half stoppage time in the 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Sunday afternoon. Now the task is just about clear for the Crew: win the next two matches at D.C. United and against Toronto FC and they are likely claim a postseason berth.
10. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS: FCD's slipup on Sunday night gave the Whitecaps a four-point cushion for the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot with two matches to play. Martin Rennie will want his players to take care of business against Portland in a couple of weeks to avoid a nervy final day showdown at Rio Tinto Stadium.
9. HOUSTON DYNAMO: Dominic Kinnear's side could pose a problem or two in the playoffs with its advantage at BBVA Compass Stadium and its style of play. But it has to get there first.
8. D.C. UNITED: One measly point separates United from its first playoff berth since 2007.
7. NEW YORK RED BULLS: Hans Backe's side played like an outfit that watched another episode of front-office upheaval sweep through Harrison this week.
6. LOS ANGELES GALAXY: No team had notched two away victories over the Galaxy in one season until Real Salt Lake accomplished the feat with its 2-1 win at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
5. CHICAGO FIRE: Not a soul is chuckling about Sherjill MacDonald's Designated Player deal after the Dutch forward bagged both goals in the Fire's 2-0 victory at New York on Saturday afternoon.
4. SEATTLE SOUNDERS: A mooted return to the US national team setup should give Eddie Johnson a nice boost before the Sounders kick off the postseason.
3. REAL SALT LAKE: RSL needed a statement game to burnish its credentials and sustain its recent uptick in form. Saturday night in Carson? Yup, that triumph will do nicely.
2. SPORTING KANSAS CITY: Not sure Sporting will meet its goals as a team without Aurélien Collin in the back four.
1. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: Watch out, Roy Lassiter. Chris Wondolowski now sits two shy of your MLS record of 27 goals in a season with two matches still to play after collecting a hat-trick in Commerce City on Saturday night.
Kyle McCarthy writes about the beautiful game for FOX Soccer, the Boston Herald and several other publications. Follow him on Twitter @kylejmccarthy.