The 24th week of the 2013 Major League Soccer season was a busy one. The U.S. Open Cup was back on the calendar (we’ve got two finalists!), the CONCACAF Champions League kicked off its 2013-14 slate, and, oh yeah, there were nine MLS regular-season matches.
Real Salt Lake gets our vote for Team of the Week for MLS Week 24. Not only did the club earn its first spot in a U.S. Open Cup Final with a 2-1 win over Portland, but RSL also picked up an important home win over the defending Eastern Conference champions to take sole possession of the top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race. Sporting KC was a close second, also picking up two wins in two competitions on the week.
With that in mind, let’s go through the results, interesting stats, and attendance figures of the week that was in MLS.
RESULTS AND STATISTICS
CONCACAF Champions League (Home Clubs on Left)
(Camara 16’) Montreal Impact 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes
In Montreal’s first CONCACAF Champions League match, the Impact held serve against a fellow MLS club to take the top spot in Group 5. Argentina native and second designated player in club history Hernán Bernardello made his presence known right away, recording an assist just 16 minutes into his debut with the club.
Real Esteli 0-2 Sporting Kansas City (Opara 31’, Dwyer 76’)
It may be hard to believe, but this was Sporting KC’s first international victory in a decade! Following Ike Opara’s opening goal in the 31st minute, former Orlando City SC loanee Dom Dwyer scored his second goal in as many matches to put this contest out of reach. In nine CCL matches, SKC has posted a 4W-2D-3L record and has both scored and conceded 11 goals.
U.S. Open Cup (Home Clubs on Left)
Chicago Fire 0-2 D.C. United (De Rosario 44’, DeLeon 48’)
When you think about the season D.C. United is currently experiencing, it’s hard to imagine that this club would be competing for any championship. Yet that is the beauty of the multi-competition structure of soccer. Thanks to continued stellar play in U.S. Open Cup elimination matches, DCU is one match away from picking up its third trophy in the competition and its league-leading 13th overall. On October 1, D.C. will travel to Rio Tinto Stadium to take on Real Salt Lake in the championship match. Fittingly, this contest will be DCU’s 50th in Open Cup play, making it the only club to reach this mark in league history.
(Saborio 7’, Plata 78’) Real Salt Lake 2-1 Portland Timbers (Valeri 90 + 1’)
With a win over the Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake is set to host and appear in the U.S. Open Cup Final for the first time in club history. This will give the Claret and Cobalt a chance to claim its second piece of hardware (2009 MLS Cup). The win was RSL’s eighth in USOC play, giving the club a mark of 8W-1D-8L in 17 matches.
Major League Soccer (Home Clubs on Left)
(Osorio 46’) Toronto FC 1-2 Seattle Sounders (Rosales 16’, Henry OG 40’)
Clint Dempsey made his Seattle debut in what was the third straight win for the Sounders, catapulting the club at least temporarily into fifth place and a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The United States Men’s National Team captain appeared as a substitute in the match, playing 56 minutes and recording five total shots (one on target). The loss for TFC ended an encouraging three-match unbeaten streak and was the Reds’ 99th loss in MLS regular-season play (211 matches).
(Higuain 62’, 76’) Columbus Crew 2-0 New York Red Bulls
The Columbus Crew picked up its first win of the Anthony Precourt Era on Saturday night, defeating the high-flying (yet slightly watered-down with no Petke and Henry) New York Red Bulls. The victory was a big one for the Crew, breaking a three-match losing streak and a spell of play during which the club had lost six of its last eight contests. Columbus is still seven points out of the playoff picture following this one, but it no doubt provides a temporary good feeling for the club and its supporters. New York, meanwhile, dipped to second in the Eastern Conference after this loss and Sporting Kansas City’s win over New England.
(Camilo 60’, Miller 74’) Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes
Camilo’s at it again! The Brazilian netted the game-winner in this match, a tally which was his 14th goal of the season and ties him atop the Golden Boot race with Chicago’s Mike Magee. Vancouver’s win snapped a three-match winning streak for the Earthquakes and also thrust the Whitecaps into at least a temporary hold on the second spot in the Western Conference. This is fast becoming a series which is tilting in Vancouver’s favor, as the Whitecaps have won three and drawn three of the seven meetings.
(Casey 35’, 75’) Philadelphia Union 2-0 D.C. United
A Conor Casey (or “Casey Conor” if you remember watching the 2010 MLS Cup Final MVP presentation) brace separated these two East Coast clubs on Saturday night in a match which saw D.C. United field its youngest lineup in club history. The win lifted Philadelphia to third place in the Eastern Conference standings while the loss…well it kept United in the basement of the conference. Hey, they’ve still got the Open Cup Final in October! This win by Philadelphia broke a deadlock in the series to give the Union a narrow 4W-2D-3L edge in nine meetings. The match was played in front of a PPL Park sellout crowd of 18,652 fans, marking the fourth sellout of the season for “The U” to rank second in the East (Sporting KC: 13).
(Kamara 27’, 50’, Feilhaber 90 + 2’) Sporting Kansas City 3-0 New England Revolution
You could say that Kei Kamara really used his head in this one! (Groan.) The Sporting KC forward scored a brace to pace his club to victory, with both goals coming via header. The match served as Kevin Alston’s return to the Revolution starting lineup for the first time since he was diagnosed with Leukemia earlier in 2013. SKC leapfrogged New York with this win and is now atop the East and has won four of its last six matches. Kamara’s second goal of the match was the 900th in club’s history across all competitions (635 matches). A crowd of 19,988 packed Sporting Park for this match to record the 13th straight SKC sellout in 2013.
(Lindpere 6’, Duka 23’) Chicago Fire 2-1 Montreal Impact (Martins 57’)
Time for a heat check on the Fire. First 10 MLS matches: two wins, seven losses. Next 12 MLS matches: seven wins, two losses. A mirror image. Montreal has really cooled off as of late, having only won one of its last eight matches. The Impact still sits comfortably in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings, though, a full four points ahead of the Fire even following the defeat.
(Saborio 37’) Real Salt Lake 1-0 Houston Dynamo
Two streaks were broken in this match: Real Salt Lake ended a three-match winless run while Houston’s four-match unbeaten run also came to an end. This win put RSL back on top of the Supporters’ Shield standings with 41 points through 24 matches. The victory was just RSL’s fourth in 18 all-time meetings with the reigning Eastern Conference champion Dynamo.
(Hedges 15’, Perez 48’, 86’) FC Dallas 3-3 Los Angeles Galaxy (Donovan 45 + 1’, 73’, 82’)
It’s become quite clear that Landon Donovan’s time away from the game was a good thing. The man is on fire! Following a tremendous Gold Cup run, he put in a huge performance with a hat trick against FC Dallas in a match with important playoff implications. FC Dallas continues to hover around the playoff bubble despite not having won a league match in its last 10 attempts.
(Alvarez 5’) Chivas USA 1-1 Colorado Rapids (Rivero 80’)
It’s not very often when a match features more ejections (3) than goals (2). An early lead by Chivas USA was nullified by Martin Rivero’s 80th-minute header to give the Rapids an important road point in the ever-tightening playoff race. With the draw, Colorado extended its unbeaten streak to a season-long eight games.
Total goals scored (Week 24): 24
Average goals per match (Week 24): 2.67
Total goals scored (Season): 536
Average goals per match (Season): 2.45
(All attendance figures gathered here are found in MLSSoccer.com’s match recaps.)
The 24th week of the 2013 MLS season was the 12th best in terms of average attendance figures. A total of 159,718 tickets were sold to the nine matches of the week, generating an average attendance figure of 17,746 per contest.
Two sellouts were achieved during the week (Philadelphia and Sporting Kansas City) while six markets (Toronto, Columbus, Vancouver, Chicago, Salt Lake, and Dallas) filled their stadiums to 86 percent capacity or higher. These two sellouts brought the league’s season total to 68.
This is Brett Compton’s 304th post on WeFollowFutbol. Read more about him here.