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San Jose causing big rumbles in MLS
|Friday, August 31|
|Saturday, September 1|
|Sporting KC||2-1||Toronto FC||Recap|
|R. Salt Lake||1-0||DC United||Recap|
|Sunday, September 2|
|San Jose||4-0||Chivas USA||Recap|
|Friday, September 7|
|Houston||1-0||R. Salt Lake||Recap|
|Saturday, September 8|
|More: MLS | Standings | Stats|
Truth be told, the Earthquakes didn't need the Sounders to defeat Chivas USA on Saturday afternoon. They were going to qualify for the playoffs sooner or later. Heck, maybe even next weekend.
But there's no reason to delay the inevitable. Not after missing out on the postseason last year. Not with a chance to join DC United (2006) and Los Angeles (2011) as the only teams to qualify for the playoffs with seven weeks left in the season.
If it means pulling for Seattle to win 2-1 at home over a team it will beat seven or eight times out of ten at CenturyLink Field, then so be it. It is a small emotional sacrifice to make along a path that may lead to greater rewards in a couple of months.
After clinching the first of ten available playoff berths with Seattle's win on Saturday, the Earthquakes take top spot in this week's edition of FOX Soccer's MLS Power Rankings:
19. TORONTO FC: Paul Mariner has done well to improve the Reds' results since taking over in June. The major problem for TFC at this point: a decent defensive shape, a direct approach and an obvious inability to retain any semblance of possession actually constitutes progress.
18. CHIVAS USA: At the start of the season, the Red-and-White couldn't score. Now, they can't stop other teams from scoring.
17. PORTLAND TIMBERS: History beckons for the Timbers. As one might expect in this poor season, it comes from a place of pain. Unless interim boss Gavin Wilkinson can lead his side to an unexpected victory away from JELD-WEN Field before the end of the season, Portland will become the fifth side in MLS history to finish a season without a road win.
16. COLORADO RAPIDS: How peculiar are things in Commerce City these days? Reserve midfielder Wells Thompson asked for a trade in a bid to land with a team willing to offer him more playing time, according to a statement issued by the club on Sunday.
15. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION: One win in 11 attempts sounds so much better than zero victories in 10 games.
14. PHILADELPHIA UNION: The highlight of this tumultuous season to date: Carlos Valdés' 90-minute display in the heart of defense in Colombia's 4-0 home victory over Uruguay on Friday.
13. FC DALLAS: Is it fair to wonder how much FCD would have fared with David Ferreira and Blas Pérez on the field for much of the season? Or is the real question whether FCD should have relied so heavily on players with such spotty track records of staying on the field?
12. MONTREAL IMPACT: This campaign followed the expansion example set by Portland last year: heartening moments and promising strides without a postseason reward at the end of it.
11. DC UNITED: The wheels on the playoff bandwagon are a little wobbly right now.
10. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS: Martin Rennie has proven one thing this summer with all of his chopping and changing: the Scottish national team might struggle to finish in midtable.
9. COLUMBUS CREW: Other teams splash the cash to bring in Designated Players. Columbus just dispatches a delegation to Argentina to sign a reasonably priced DP option, encounters any number of hurdles along the way, persists in the exercise and signs the hugely influential Federico Higuaín. Advantage, Columbus Crew.
8. CHICAGO FIRE: Chris Rolfe's return made the Fire a more dynamic and potent outfit. Austin Berry and Arne Friedrich will play a larger role in determining how far Frank Klopas' side goes in the postseason.
7. HOUSTON DYNAMO: Forget about the recent stumbles after a torrid run of form earlier in the summer. BBVA Compass Stadium ensures the Dynamo will present a tough out in the postseason.
6. REAL SALT LAKE: The window of opportunity is closing. RSL must locate the consistency and muster the quality required to jump through it.
5. LOS ANGELES GALAXY: Seven wins in the past ten games suggests all is well now that Omar Gonzalez is back in the fold.
4. NEW YORK RED BULLS: Los Angeles acquired Christian Wilhelmsson as a non-DP addition. Seattle evaluated Gudjohnsen. And the Red Bulls signed ex-Leeds winger Lloyd Sam? Not exactly keeping up with the Joneses, are we?
3. SEATTLE SOUNDERS: Former Barcelona and Chelsea star Eidur Gudjohnsen featured in a reserve match on Sunday as part of his trial spell with the club. After Gudjohnsen played the first half and scored in the 4-2 victory over Chivas USA, Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer admitted to local reporters that the club would struggle to figure out a way to sign Gudjohnsen before the roster freeze date on Saturday. In response to the news, every coach and technical director in the league breathed an audible sigh of relief and stopped wondering how Seattle would squeeze such a prominent signing into its salary budget.
2. SPORTING KANSAS CITY: Peter Vermes may have to find his shooting boots and lead the line if C.J. Sapong picks up a knock over the next few weeks.
1. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: Write this one down in ink: the Earthquakes will claim the top seed in the Western Conference. No chance this team squanders a six-point lead with such a soft schedule.
Kyle McCarthy writes about the beautiful game for FOX Soccer, the Boston Herald and several other publications. Follow him on Twitter @kylejmccarthy.
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