Here are the ten things we learned from Week 29 of the 2017 MLS season.
1. Dallas’ Nosedive Continues
FC Dallas entered this weekend without a win in their last nine games dating back to July 22 – having fallen from first place in the Western Conference to below the playoff red line.
In Minneapolis on Saturday night, the tailspin continued. Dallas had an early goal ruled out for offsides, missed a penalty, had a player sent off, and was walloped 4-1 by Minnesota United. It was a sight to see.
Dallas has a litany of problems. The team doesn’t look bought in. The body language on Saturday was poor, and the defending – especially from Maynor Figeuroa – was shocking.
But talent is a major issue as well. With Matt Hedges and Kellyn Acosta out injured, and Mauro Diaz starting again on the bench, Dallas didn’t even field as much quality as the expansion Loons did on Saturday night.
Dallas has always overachieved under Oscar Pareja. But right now, they’re certainly no more than the sum of their parts.
2. Another Road Collapse For San Jose
San Jose, in prime position to capitalize on the points dropped by Dallas and Houston, went to moribund DC United on Saturday night and let Patrick Mullins score four goals in less time than any other player in MLS history in a 4-0 loss.
If you’re scoring at home, the ‘Quakes are now 1-7-0 on the road under Chris Leitch’s management, having been outscored 27-6 in those games.
Leitch has done some good things in his half-season in charge of San Jose, but there’s no question that the ‘Quakes are more competitive right now on the road if Dom Kinnear is still in charge.
At this rate, even if San Jose does sneak into the playoffs, they’re going to get pummeled in a road Wild Card game. For the league’s sake, it might be best if they miss out.
3. RSL Moves Into Position
Of the four clubs battling for the West’s final two playoff spots, only one is playing postseason-worthy soccer: Mike Petke’s Real Salt Lake.
RSL knocked off the Seattle Sounders 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night, winning their fourth-straight at home, and jumping into fifth place in the conference. Now, for the first time all year, FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index has the Claret and Cobalt as a slight favorite to reach the postseason.