Here are the ten things we learned from Week 24 of the 2017 MLS season.
1. Toronto Takes Control
The game of the weekend took place in Bridgeview, where those in the Chicago soccer community were calling the Fire’s clash with Toronto FC the biggest game at Toyota Park in five years.
In front of a sellout crowd, with all their big names in the lineup, it should have been an evening to remember for Chicago. Instead, the home team was handily beaten.
Michael Bradley said that Toronto came into this game wanting to “send a message,” and send a message they did. The Reds led for over an hour in total, scoring early, scoring late, and putting in just about as good a road performance against quality opposition as we’ve seen from any team this season.
In the last three weeks, TFC has demolished one Shield rival 4-0 at home and beaten the other 3-1 on the road. They’re averaging two points per game, and have an outside chance to finish with the best goal differential in MLS history.
MLSSoccer.com’s Matt Doyle broke down what Toronto needs to do the rest of the way to be considered the league’s best-ever team on Saturday. The short version? They have a shot.
2. San Jose In Deep Trouble
The Western Conference playoff race cleared up in a hurry this weekend, as the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps both won at home while the San Jose Earthquakes – facing the lowly Philadelphia Union – failed to do so.
San Jose is now firmly on the outside looking in at the playoffs. They’re seventh in the West on both points and points-per-game, and are about to hit the road for three straight and four of their next five.
Of that trio of teams, San Jose has – by far – the worst goal difference, the worst offense, and the least talent. They’ve also got a man at the helm in Chris Leitch who has a total of ten games of MLS coaching experience.
The ‘Quakes aren’t out of the race yet – they play both Portland and Vancouver in back-to-back weeks in October – but they’re on their last legs. A fifth straight season without postseason soccer is the overwhelming likelihood in the Bay.
3. Rapids Facing Steep Rebuild