For the Chicago Fire, the season is deeply in declining-action territory. In an effort to stave off that now-familiar feeling of anti-climax, we at Hot Time are trying out a new weekly feature: An all-in-one wrap-up of the weekend's action.
Will it include Europe? How about the American second and third division? Who knows? We're making this up as we go along - but unlike some other organizations (which shall remain nameless), we're not afraid to cop to it.
Major League Soccer
San Jose 1, Galaxy 1: Hey, look, the Fire aren't the only team having trouble converting penalty kicks. Robbie Keane, maybe the most consistently-dangerous guy in the league, bounced one off the upright (he's 1-for-4 this season!), and the Gals' charge for the Supporters Shield took a serious hit in the 'CaliClassico'.
Houston 2, Columbus 2: It's a bucket of crabs in the Eastern Conference playoff race! Houston threatened to crawl upward in the first half, taking a two-goal lead, only to see the Crew dominate the early stages of the second to split the points and stay just above the red line.
Dallas 2, Vancouver 1: Blas Perez returns from the Copa Centroamerica with a vengeance, looping an impossible curler in from near the corner flag (holy Zlatan, Blas!) for his first of a brace to keep Dallas firmly ahold of the fourth spot in the west.
New England 2, Montreal 1: Montreal's spoiler bid was undone by yet more brilliance from Revs MVP candidate Lee Nguyen. Jermaine Jones was injured by a reckless challenge from Callum Mallace, and unsurprisingly had things to say about it afterward. New England is playing some of the best football in the USA right now.
Philadelphia 2, New York 2: In the absence of most of the Union's attacking impetus - rested to prepare for Tuesday night's US Open Cup final - Andrew Wenger turned in a fantastic performace as the Union came back from two goals down to claw out a draw. Seba LeToux's stoppage-time penalty split the points; he's never missed a PK in MLS play.
Chivas USA 0, Kansas City 4: Nothing breaks a downward cycle like matching up against a team that's about to be contracted put on hiatus, apparently. After news that the AmeriGoats, like, totally need a break from this league-play thing, they were put to the sword by a typically bustling Sporting effort. Dom Dwyer set a new KC record with his 19th goal of the season.
Seattle 3, Salt Lake 2: Danny Rose's stoppage-time header gave the Sounders the win, which reasserted the Rave Green's control over the Supporters Shield race and made them the first club to clinch a 2014 playoff spot. The game itself was pulsating and hard-fought, with each team taking and surrendering one-goal leads before the final-moments denouement.
|2||Sporting Kansas City||45||29||1.55||13||10||6||43||34||9||21||5||22||4|
|3||New England Revolution||42||28||1.5||13||12||3||41||39||2||25||12||16||-10|
|4||New York Red Bulls||38||28||1.36||9||8||11||44||41||3||29||11||15||-8|
|1||x - Seattle Sounders FC||54||27||2||17||7||3||51||37||14||25||12||26||2|
|3||Real Salt Lake||46||28||1.64||12||6||10||44||35||9||24||11||20||-2|
|8||San Jose Earthquakes||28||27||1.04||6||11||10||33||39||-6||20||1||13||-7|
NASL (Well, Indy and Minnesota)
Indianapolis 1, Edmonton 1: Chicago Fire homegrown player Victor Pineda scored his first professional goal as the Eleven failed to win - again - at home in front of a sellout crowd. The start was the 10th for Pineda since joining Indianapolis on loan around the start of the World Cup. Another Fire loanee, right wingback Marco Franco, did not feature after arriving in Indianapolis barely 24 hours before kickoff.
Minnesota 2, Ft. Lauderdale 1: United got goals from Christian Ramirez and Miguel Ibarra to run its unbeaten home streak to 11 and come within a point of leaders San Antonio in the fall-league (i.e., Clausura) standings. The Loons (they're not really the Loons, are they? If not, they should be) travel to Texas to take on the Scorpions Saturday in a titanic second-division death-match.
USL Pro Playoffs
Orlando City 0, Harrisburg 1: Orlando will not roll into MLS on the back of consecutive USL Pro titles. Antoine Hoppenot's goal and a gritty defensive performance sent the City Islanders to the semifinals, and officially started the clock on Orlando's first MLS offseason. Hey, Disney City, we're right there with you!
Richmond 2, Charleston 1, AET: Matthew Delicate's goal in extra time sent the Kickers to a semifinal matchup with upset-winners Harrisburg.
Sacramento 4, Wilmington 1: The Republic, USL Pro's rousing success story of 2014, posted three goals in the final 25 minutes to roar past the Hammerheads in front of a sellout crowd of 8,000.
LA Galaxy II 2, Rochester 1: The Galaxy's farm team fell behind a goal, and finished down a man, but goals from Chandler Hoffman and Charlie Rugg still let them book a semifinals date with California rival Sacramento.
Manchester United 4, Queens Park Rangers 0: This ... just in: Good players are good. Angel di Maria is good. Ander Herrera, also good. Also just in: DO NOT ask Harry Redknapp to spend your massive transfer budget.
Real Madrid 1, Atletico Madrid 2: The white side of Madrid has gone into premature mourning for their hopes of a league title, as they lost for the second time in three outings. Six points adrift of Barca! Time to restructure the entire Spanish economy to allow Real another boondoggle transfer kitty.
(More like this? Less like this? Cat .gifs? Magic: the Gathering jokes? NFL crime-ticker update? WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE WANT, ANYWAY? Suggest it, and maybe you'll get it, eh?)