Four teams could have been into the playoffs with a victory; four came up short. It's too easy to cite a team's failures on the final weekend of the regular season as primary reasons it missed out on playoff action. So instead, here's a look on what transpired on the previous 31 weeks to create those no-tomorrow scenarios:
Late-game collapses, i.e. goals conceded, cost TFC 16 points during the regular season. But instead, its defensive frailties surfaced in the second minute Saturday at Giants Stadium and repeatedly thereafter in a 5-0 embarrassment against the lowly Red Bulls.
Those late-game "collapses" wouldn't have been so costly had TFC found a way to punch home goals at crucial moments during the season; in that regard,
The meltdown at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in a 2-2 draw with Kansas City didn't surprise D.C.'s followers, who have been watching stirring moments of bravery ruined by catastrophic moments of ineptitude and the odd bad bounce all season.
Trailing 1-0 in Kansas City, United got a gift equalizer on a phantom penalty that
United gave away a penalty kick in stoppage time when
Like D.C., the Rapids finished with the same amount of points (40) as a team that
For the second straight year, the team's fate came down to the final day of the season and in the same venue, it failed to get the result it needed.
A remarkable four-game win streak fashioned on speed and pressure had propelled the Stripes into playoff contention, but as Seattle proved while slicing up FCD in a 2-1 win Saturday at Qwest Field, its defending and transition from offense to defense isn't good enough.
Of the teams eliminated before the final weekend, Kansas City has to question its breakdowns and poor results at home (4-6-5); San Jose dropped from eight wins in its expansion season to just seven this year and posted a minus-14 goal difference while going through another midseason renovation; and New York has a gleaming new stadium nearly ready to house a pathetic team.