I don't know if it's the hot weather or the long slog of the season finally catching up to the league's defenders. Or maybe it was the fact that Chivas didn't play this weekend. But for whatever reason, this past week was all about goals.
Eight of them at Jeld-Wen Field, five at Buck Shaw, another five in Toronto, and four in New York.
To put it in perspective, last week, the average number of goals scored per team across MLS was 0.91. The season average so far is 1.32. This past week's average was 1.8 goals per side.
I'm all for it. To paraphrase one of my favorite former Portland Timbers coaches, I was getting sick of this nil-nil horse----.
The MLS Western Conference Weekly, in reverse order this week, after the jump.
Last week: 2-1 win at Colorado
The last time Dallas had won a game was April 14. Exactly three months before their next win. In the interim they dealt with 13 losses and draws, numerous ejections and suspensions, and the heat, my god the heat. The streak coincided exactly with the absence of playmaker and diver extraordinaire Ricardo Villar from the starting lineup.
Still in last place in the Western Conference by ppm, Dallas still has a long way to climb, but they could well do it if they keep their heads and stay on their feet.
Week 18 projection: 3-1 loss at San Jose; a match against the Timbers
Last week: 2-1 loss vs Dallas
Ok, how exactly does this make sense: for the first time all season 90% of the team's starters are finally healthy and playing together on a daily basis, but they've lost five of six since the international break and have now fallen below Chivas by ppm. In short, this team was getting better results from its second string.
The bizarre part is that, since his starters have returned, Oscar Pareja has not used the 4-3-3 formation he had promised at the start of the season. The fans are getting impatient; might it not be time to take that risk, maybe against Toronto?
Week 18 projection: 2-1 win at Toronto; 1-1 draw at Salt Lake
Last week: bye (and a 4-1 loss to Seattle in the USOC)
Chivas will be well rested and ready for this match on Wednesday afternoon, not having played an MLS match for quite a while. We'll have more on them tomorrow.
Week 18 projection: a match against the Timbers; 1-1 draw at Los Angeles
Last week: 5-3 win at Portland
A warning for the Whitecaps, LA's next opponents: They're coming. Los Angeles are coming for you, but listen -- your life could depend on this -- don't blink. Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast, faster than you could believe. Don't turn your back, don't look away, and don't blink. Good luck.
My apologies to The Doctor.
Week 18 projection: 2-1 win at Vancouver; 1-1 draw vs Chivas
Last week: 3-2 loss at Toronto; 1-0 loss at Chicago
Five game road trips are tough, and Vancouver is feeling the pain right now. They managed to take only four points from their hosts, capping the trip off with two losses, including (another) one to the 2012 Canadian Champions. And now having lost Davide Chiumiento and traded Le Toux to New York to join his doppelgänger, they'll have to get used to some new attacking pieces.
Still, apparently Darren Mattocks can fly. So that's something.
Week 18 projection: 2-1 loss vs Los Angeles; 3-1 loss vs San Jose
Last week: 2-2 draw at New York
The Sounders squeaked out a draw in New York in spite of relatively weak performance and a blatant handball in the box by Osvaldo Alonso (fittingly, right in front of Thierry Henry's face). I would assume Alonso will get another suspension as a result. Before that suspension takes effect, though, he'll play in the All Star game.
Week 18: bye
Real Salt Lake
Last week: 5-0 drubbing at San Jose
Wow. Just wow. And I'm not even talking about the 5-0 scoreline. I'm talking about Kyle Beckerman completely losing his shit. Oh, and I'm also talking about the whole team, particularly Jamison Olave, apparently just giving up. RSL is one of two Mountain Time Zone teams whose only win in their last six matches came against the Portland Timbers, but they're the only team completely self-destructing.
Maybe Jason Kreis ought to worry less about John Spencer's job and worry more about doing his own job.
Week 18 projection: 1-1 draw vs Colorado
San Jose Earthquakes
Last week: 5-0 win vs Salt Lake
Nice hat-trick, Wondo. He now has 17 goals on the season and his pace is showing no signs of slowing. This is a good team. In fact, their only loss in their last six was against the Timbers. Weird.
Portland has never been known for going with the flow.
Week 18 projection: 3-1 vs Dallas; 3-1 win at Vancouver