Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller in his last regular season MLS home game made a save on Bobby Burling’s header to ensure the 2-1 victory over San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday night.
In front of a crowd of 64, 140, the third largest crowd in the 16-year history of the MLS history and in the 90th minute, the last tick on the game clock and after 20 years as a professional, Keller was still at the top of his game.
Seattle finished second to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the West Conference and ensured that Keller will be in the play-offs in his last season. Trailing 1-0 after Chris Wondolowski put San Jose ahead in the 24th minute, Seattle battled all game to give their veteran leader a victorious send-off.
It took up until the 82nd minute, when Sammy Ochoa scored from a pass from Mauro Rosales to tie the contest. Fredy Montero then scored his 12th goal of the season in the 87th minute off a pass from Lamar Neagle to render Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch helpless and ensure the victory.
Keller was the first American to play in England and went on to suit up for teams in Spain and Germany. The veteran U. S. goalkeeper was given a pair of bronzed goalkeeper gloves, a motorcycle and an all-terrain vehicle. Reportedly, Keller played one of his best games for the Sounders Saturday night; Seattle will take on Real Salt Lake in the MLS play-offs starting in just under two weeks.
In other MLS games last weekend, Philadelphia (11-7-15, 48 pts.) was assured of its first playoff appearance with a 1-1 tie versus Toronto FC. Sebastien Le Toux scored his 11th goal in the 43rd minute off a pass from Justin Mapp; Philadelphia is atop the Eastern Conference. Ryan Johnson scored for Toronto FC (6-13-14) in the 57th minute. Sporting Kansas City beat New York Red Bulls, 2-0; Philadelphia and Toronto F C played to a 1-1 draw; Chicago topped DC United, 2-1; Columbus knocked off New England, 3-0; and FC Dallas over Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-1;
Houston Dynamo (9-13, 46 pts.) defeated the Portland Timbers, 2-0, to pretty much ensure itself an MLS Wild Card playoff spot; Andre Hainault and Danny Cruz scored for the winners, who is now in second place in the Eastern Conference, ahead of third-place Sporting Kansas City (45), fourth-place Columbus (44 pts.) and fifth-place New York (43 pts.).
The second round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for Brazil 2014 is almost completed as each team has only two games left; the picture is pretty clear as to which teams will advance to the third and semifinal round next summer. In games played throughout the Caribbean and Central America last Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in Group A, El Salvador held on to the top spot after a 4-0 defeat of Cayman Islands and an earlier 2-1 win in the Dominican Republic. Suriname is in second place despite a 3-1 loss to Dominican Republic; it got a previous 1-0 win over Cayman Islands which helped it maintain its second place. Earlier losses for the Dominican Republic and Cayman Islands put them out of the running. The last home-and -away series in the second round will be played Nov. 11 and 15, 2011.
In Group B, Guyana is in the lead despite a 1-1 draw versus Bermuda; it has three wins and the draw. Trinidad and Tobago in second place after a 4-0 thrashing of winless Barbados. The showdown for the team that will advance is in the November home and away series between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. Panama won Group C and qualified for the third and semifinal round. It beat Dominica, 5-0, and previously topped Nicaragua, which beat Dominica earlier. The Bahamas dropped out of the qualifying, which left this group with only three teams.
Canada maintained its hold on the top spot in Group D and likely will advance with a 7-0 win over winless St. Lucia as Simeon Jackson scored a hat trick for Canada; it was its second win over St. Lucia. The Canadians also beat and tied Puerto Rico in previous matches. St. Kitts and Nevis, who drew 1-1 away against third-place Puerto Rico and also recently tied St. Lucia.
In Group E, with the 1-1 tie between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and hosts Grenada last Saturday, Guatemala will advance to the semifinal round next summer. The Guatemalans beat St. Vincent and Belize each twice and only has two games versus Grenada to formalize its place.
In Group F, Antigua and Barbuda and Haiti will battle in their final series in November for a berth in the second round. Haiti drew against Curacao, 2-2, while Antigua and Barbuda defeated U.S. Virgin Islands, 10-0.