Let’s start with a look back at five things from Week 23:
1. The defending champions Real Salt Lake continue on their merry way at home. A 1-0 win vs the New York Red Bulls extends RSL’s unbeaten streak at home to 22. At one point, RSL trailed the Western Conference leaders LA by double digit points. Thanks to their strong play and LA’s slump, Real Salt Lake are now just one point behind the Galaxy.
2. FC Dallas are now unbeaten in 13 matches, but they are under the radar in Big D. Their 1-0 win over Toronto was witnessed by an announced crowd of just over 10,000 fans. What gives in Dallas? You have a winning team and a beautiful stadium, but attendance numbers are low.
Congrats to Jeff Cunningham who scored career goal number 129 on Saturday, leaving him three behind Jaime Moreno’s MLS record of 132. It’s only a matter of time before Cunningham is number one.
3. San Jose’s Designated Player Geovanni is already earning his money. Sunday, in his first start, he assisted on the Quakes' go-ahead goal, then later claimed the game-winner against Pat Onstad and the Houston Dynamo on the road. As big a win as it was for San Jose, it’s a huge loss for a Houston Dynamo team who might miss the playoffs for the first time.
4. Sebastien Le Toux is back on the goal scoring sheet after a drought of five games. Goals have been tougher to come by for Le Toux in recent weeks as he has faced some much tougher opposition. He is the player that opposing coaches now talk about. Good to see him combine again with rookie Danny Mwanga on Saturday. Le Toux now has 10 goals and 10 assists in 2010. No one in this league works harder than Le Toux over the full 90 minutes.
5. What’s up with the Galaxy? Granted they came back on Saturday for a 1-1 draw vs Chicago, but that’s the only goal they have scored in a three game winless streak. This does not look like the same team we watched earlier this season. I do think, though, that help is coming ... soon.
Here are five things to look forward to this week:
1. On Wednesday the Chicago Fire host Toronto FC. Neither team can afford to lose, especially since San Jose beat Houston on Sunday. If either of these two teams hope to make the playoffs, it look like that 8th spot is all they have a realistic shot at.
2. On Thursday we should have a marquee matchup as Real Salt Lake travel to Seattle to face the Sounders. ESPN2 will televise the match, which will feature high scoring Fredy Montero and over 30,000 soccer fans, mostly dressed in Sounders green. RSL could take over first place outright in the Western Conference with a win.
3. Who will play in goal this week for the Philadelphia Union when they host the Fire on Saturday? Manager Peter Nowak was very critical of the goal that Chris Seitz gave up against Kansas City this past Saturday, making note of it during his post-match remarks.
Will Peter make a change, or stay with his number one keeper?
4. Chicago and Toronto face big weeks, besides their matchup on Wednesday. On the weekend Toronto will host DC United while Chicago visits Philadelphia. The key for these two teams is to get the full six points out of their two games. Coming up empty will most likely dash any playoff hopes.
5. Here’s the one I am looking forward to the most: the expected return of David Beckham following his recovery from the awful Achilles injury. Beckham has apparently beaten everyone’s timetable in terms of his return, saying that he hopes to play this weekend vs Columbus, at least off the bench. For a team that has been floundering lately, the addition of Beckham could be just the boost the Galaxy need as they head down the final stretch of the regular season. Philadelphia fans, mark the calendar. Beckham and the Galaxy have an October 7th game vs Philly at PPL Park.