After watching Darlington Nagbe and the Portland Timbers show how high the quality of play in the MLS can be, some of the other matches this weekend served as reminders of how lousy the play sometimes is.
The weekend featured more than its fair share of uninspired play, cynical dives in the penalty area, off-target shots that should have been no-doubters, and one keeper who decided to throw up his hands instead of attempt a save.
And I'll tell you what, if the Timbers end up missing the playoffs despite having more points than an Eastern Conference team that gets a bye into the second round... let's hope it doesn't come to that.
The weekend's action, after the jump.Dallas 0:1 NYRBs
FC Dallas threw 19 shots at the New York Red Bulls but the nyrbs still sailed to a 1-0 victory.
Maicon Santos and company squandered the myriad chances they had, troubling NY keeper Frank Rost only three times. On the other end, all it took was one breakaway for New York to put the only shot on target they needed to win. Juan Agudelo combined with Luke Rodgers, playing in place of some other striker, for the match's only goal.
C'mon, Stephen Keel -- is it really so much for an old friend to ask for another own goal? New York stay level with Portland in the wild card race, while Dallas lose their position in the Western top three.
Seattle 3:0 DC United
The Seattle Sounders dominated from beginning to end and kept DC United pinned 2 points behind Portland in the wild card race.
Michael Fucito opened the scoring, and Alvaro Fernandez added two more. Seattle beat the DC back line on two runs from the midfield to score the first goals. The third came later in the 60th minute, as DC's defense were unable to mark a terrific cross from Mauro Rosales. But the match did not end well for Seattle -- Rosales twisted his knee on what has been described as either a vicious assault or an awkward misstep by Daniel Woolard.
Seattle gained no ground on LA Galaxy with the Galaxy also winning, and with luck Timbers fans will never again have to suffer the indignity of hoping for a Sounders win.
Dynamo 2:1 Quakes
Both sides had its fair share of chances, but the Houston Dynamo ended up the victors over the San Jose Earthquakes, in an epic struggle between Rubber Helmet Guy (Calen Carr) and Nose Mask Man (Jon Busch).
Khari Stephenson scored for San Jose but was twice 1v1 on the keeper with nothing to show for those chances. Meanwhile, Brad Davis took two rather dubious looking falls in the penalty area, earning a caution for simulation for his first attempt but a PK for his second. Will Bruin put the stamp on the Dynamo victory with a 79th minute goal.
Houston stay three points ahead of Portland and are knocking on the door of the Eastern top three, while San Jose fall seven points behind the playoff cut.
Chicago 3:2 Chivas
The Chicago Fire handed Chivas USA their fourth straight loss with an unlikely 3-2 victory.
Cory Gibbs struck early in the 2nd minute and Juan Pablo Angel added an own goal in the 26th minute to put Chicago up 2-0 in the first half. But Gibbs was given a straight red for a reckless tackle in the 37th minute, and Chivas took advantage in the second half. Angel found redemption in the 61st, Nick LaBrocca equalized two minutes later, and Angel nearly found a third in the 72nd minute. Chicago went ahead in the 85th minute when Dan Kennedy gave up on a Dominic Oduro shot, expecting an offside call. Not offside.
Chivas are very close to losing their position on the possible playoff contender list, as their subpar play continues. Meanwhile, Chicago are slowly climbing out of the cellar, but they're not yet a threat.
Philadelphia 1:0 Columbus
I think mao said it best, tweeting after the Philadelphia Union's 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew: "The Eastern Conference is awful. In fact, conferences are awful."
Columbus increased the likelihood that at least one of the Eastern Conference's top three will have a record worse than a Western Conference team that misses the playoffs, with an uninspiring performance against Philly. Philly was only slightly less pathetic, with Sebastien Le Toux getting the goal and 16-year-old Zach Pfeffer putting Philly's only other shot on the frame.
Columbus remain in first place in the East despite their -2 goal differential and the fact that they have not won in their last four matches. Philly are now only two points behind.
Toronto 2:1 Colorado
Speaking of precipitous declines, the Colorado Rapids lost their third straight, this one against a resurgent Toronto FC that have managed two consecutive wins against two teams, Columbus being the other, that had been considered locks for the playoffs.
A scoreless and uneventful first half gave way to an exciting second, with Toronto's Danny Koevermans scoring two in the first 15 minutes. Sanna Nyassi, whom you might remember from this little incident, got one back for the Rapids in the 69th minute. But stingy defense, culminating in a goal line stop by Richard Eckersley, helped keep the ball out of Toronto's net for the last twenty minutes.
With Colorado now only five points ahead of Portland they are now conceivably within striking distance. Toronto remain six points behind the playoff cut.
Salt Lake 1:0 Kansas City
Kansas City looked like the slightly superior side but failed to score, while Salt Lake took advantage of their limited opportunities to steal a victory. Kyle Beckerman had his pick of three teammates in offside positions on a 54th minute set piece, and Nat Borchers ended up with his head putting the goal in.
RSL overtake Dallas for the third spot in the West with their win, and Sporting remain a point behind Columbus but only a point ahead of Philly in the East.
The best team in MLS played the worst team, at home. Guess what happened.