The MLS Season is drawing to a close and that means teams are in a tough race to earn a vital playoff spot. With just over one month remaining on the schedule, only three teams have clinched a spot, and most of the league will have to be at their best in order to progress in the last few matches of the season.
2012 has been dominated by the San Jose Earthquakes and their star striker, Chris Wondolowski, who has scored a league-best 22 goals. The team currently has 60 points and has already clinched a playoff spot. Right behind them is the Los Angeles Galaxy, the 2011 MLS Champions. Surviving a poor start to the season, the Galaxy is now the hottest team in the league. Having not lost in their last 9 matches, Landon Donovan and David Beckham look to be ever so hungry to repeat in the MLS and also are already locked in to the playoffs. The only other Western Conference team to qualify already is Real Salt Lake, who is led by their fantastic goalie, Nick Rimando. His latest save earned him his 6th MLS Save of the Week this season.
No other team has cemented a playoff spot and the race will be very tight in the Eastern Conference. The New York Red Bulls had a hot start to the season, but have cooled off considerably and now sit just 3rd in the Eastern Conference. Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper still have high goal scoring marks on the season and lead a potent attack, but they need to pick up some points in the last month to really make a mark. Sporting Kansas City now leads the group and hasn’t lost a game since July. Forward Kei Kamara is leading the team in goals and has provided an excellent season. Too many draws have hurt the Houston Dynamo’s year. They had been atop the division in the summer, but are now barely afloat with 46 points and could miss out on the postseason if they fail to produce. One of the better MLS teams in recent years, the team will be mortified if they end without a playoff game. The Columbus Crew will want to lead a late season charge and have enjoyed the goal-scoring exploits of new signing Federico Higuain, the brother of Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid. The MLS Higuain has netted 3 goals and 6 assists in only 9 games since his arrival and is sure to provide a late boost to their season.
This is the most exciting time to watch the MLS and will surely have some late season drama as other teams like D.C. United, Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, and FC Dallas all vy for the ten golden sports in the 2012 MLS Playoffs.