Friday MLS Forecast: Week 25 - Lamenting the occasional missteps

The Forecast assesses the setbacks incurred by Real Salt Lake and Columbus and previews the lone match of the weekend.
1. One mistake undermines a man-of-the-match performance from Nick Rimando: The veteran Real Salt Lake goalkeeper nearly backstopped his side to a rare point in Texas. His fine stop on a Brad Davis penalty kick (Rimando's 17th save in 56 penalties faced, the best mark in MLS history) in the 76th minute should have proved enough preserve a point. And then he recklessly rushed off his line and stormed straight through Mac Kandji in the final seconds in the game to concede a second penalty kick. Colin Clark smashed the ensuing effort down the middle to leave Rimando to hold his hands up for his last-minute mistake.

"It's one of those [situations] where you do what you think is right," Rimando told reporters after the match. "I don’t know if you call it a mistake. The ball is in the air, I'm coming in the air and [I'm] not intending to hit [Macoumba] Kandji, but it happens. He made a great run. We didn’t have any pressure on the ball and I committed. Once I committed, I had to go out. I didn't want to get stuck in no man's land. At the end of the day, it's a play I want to take back for sure and get these guys in the locker room a point back."

2. Hectic stretch finally takes its toll on Columbus: A few Crew players may express similar sentiments after concluding their six-match unbeaten run in a 2-0 defeat at New England on Wednesday. Robert Warzycha's side lacked its usual industry and spark as it completed a stretch of seven games in 21 days. Credit New England for imposing its will on the match and ratcheting up the pressure to end its club record 10-match winless streak, but Columbus may look back at this affair in two months and wonder how a point or three would have impacted its postseason ambitions.

3. Youth served in Colorado victory: This year hasn't unfolded as expected in Commerce City, but the 3-0 victory over Portland on Wednesday night at least provided a silver lining directly related to the club's future. Rookie midfielder Tony Cascio notched a goal and an assist, third-year striker Andre Akpan opened the scoring with his first goal of the season and homegrown forward Shane O'Neill took the field for the first time as a Rapid in the victory. Those developments won't push Oscar Pareja's side into the playoff picture, but they could aid matters as Pareja assembles his plans for next season.

4. Rooting for a potential adversary: San Jose can clinch its inevitable return to the postseason and snatch the first of 10 available playoff spots this weekend. The catch? The scenario only works if Seattle defeats Chivas USA on Saturday afternoon. It might sting a little, but the Earthquakes may just pull for Sounders FC on this one occasion.

5. Taking a few moments to breathe: Forty-nine players will spend their weekends turning out for their national sides in far flung points across the globe, but the rank and file will likely appreciate this modest respite from the typically hectic schedule during the late summer months.

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Last week: 9/9 (100%)
This season: 94/209 (45%)


Chivas USA @ Seattle (4:00p.m.) match preview
Overview: One particular facet of Sigi Schmid's squad will help immensely heading into this game: most of the key figures aren't impacted by international obligations. Schmid can find a temporary replacement for Adam Johansson (away with Sweden) at right back and prefer someone else on the left flank as usual with Mario Martínez (away with Honduras) unavailable, but he doesn't have to make wholesale changes. That consistency within the squad is important – take the affair between Real Salt Lake and Houston as the latest example in the trend of poor games played during international windows – even if Osvaldo Alonso (gash on his head) and Mauro Rosales (quadriceps) are rested. Then again, those concerns likely won't matter much in this home affair against a Red-and-White side that can't stop conceding goals and won't have Oswaldo Minda (away with Ecuador) available to bolster its efforts to rectify the situation.
Prediction: Seattle win.

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