Goals were not at a premium this weekend as a total of 24 goals were scored in the eight matches, including some high scoring affairs. Only two teams (Dallas and Philly) failed to notch a goal and Sporting KC and Vancouver combined for a shoot out in their match. Balancing some of the higher scores were a few well played 1-1 matches and, three matches into the season, the story lines are beginning to take shape. Here is a breakdown of the games over the weekend, including one special addition that many of us may have missed:
U.S. U-20 men 2, Panama U-20 men 0: Don’t look now but the U-20 team is developing into something special. Rongen’s men advance to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship and finish first in their group. The team is loaded with up and coming talent and Rongen has them playing a Barca-style 4-3-3. You can see their next match on Wednesday on ESPN3 against Guatemala.
Columbus Crew 2, FC Dallas 0: This match was altered by Dallas going down to ten men for the second time in three games this season, with Jackson Goncalves being sent off with a second yellow in the 33rd minute. The second yellow was a bit harsh but he had been given a yellow a minute earlier and should have been more cautious. This was a big win for the Crew, but they still looked a bit shaky. Mendoza played poorly again despite taking the penalty. For Dallas, they are in a tough spot: their next match is hosting Colorado before facing the two expansion teams.
Toronto FC 1, Chivas USA 1: Just a day after the blockbuster De Rosario trade, Aron Winter trotted out a few new players into the starting XI and the lineup looked exactly that, as Chivas scored in the third minute of the match on a Alejandro Moreno put-back. But it was former Chivas player Alan Gordon who equalized before halftime as Toronto took control late in the first half. The match saw the introduction of not only the two new Red Bulls players acquired hours before, but Serie B loanee Alen Stevanovic and the late substitution of Julian de Guzman.
Vancouver Whitecaps 3, Sporting Kansas City 3: How you approach this match reflects your opinion of either of these teams. If you are a partisan of either club, you will admire their gutsy performance and their desire to win. From an outsider’s perspective, this match showed how vulnerable both teams are on defense, something that is increasingly confirmed every week. Sporting KC took a 3-0 lead which included two first-half goals by Teal Bunbury, but the home team came storming back and scored two goals in stoppage time to grab a point from the match. One additional note: Teal Bunbury received some boos when he was on the pitch due to his choice of playing for the U.S. national team.
New York Red Bulls 1, Houston Dynamo 1: Daniel covers this match in a post from this morning, so I will just add a few outsider’s thoughts. I have a feeling I will be eating my words in a few weeks, but I am so far not as impressed as I thought I would be with New York. Definitely talented, yes, and still adding players into the starting XI, but we’ve seen three games from them and only 5 points. Granted, one was with a skeleton crew, but I am skeptical the new De Rosario trade will make them THE favorite to win the MLS Cup. He made an immediate contribution on Saturday though. For Houston, this is a great result. No word on Brian Ching’s health (if you have anything share in the comments) but you have to give them credit for getting a tough point on the road. Tally Hall is turning out to be this year’s Kevin Hartman.
New England Revolution 1, Portland Timbers 1: Congrats to the Timbers for earning their first MLS point. I was unable to watch this match but the analysis I read and highlights I saw pointed to an even and conservatively played match. Don’t look now but New England is undefeated so far this season. It won’t last, and this team is still lacking in areas it needs to compete in the East, but a good start to the season and maybe they do have enough to grab a playoff spot in the East.
San Jose Earthquakes 2, Seattle Sounders 2: What to make of Seattle (Charles, weigh in!)? No Freddy Montero and they score twice, but they cannot get their first win of the season and scratch out a draw with San Jose. Welcome to MLS Simon Dawkins, who scored in his first game on loan from Tottenham of the EPL. Chris Wondolowski had his regular season goals scored streak snapped at 12 when he failed to score in the match. Credit to Ike Opara who made up for a miscue late in the match and blocked Nate Jaqua’s shot from ten yards out that could have been the difference in the match.
Los Angeles Galaxy 1, Philadelphia Union 0: Earl has a good breakdown of this match and the suspect officiating up on the site, so again I will weigh in with some general comments. The Galaxy look like maybe the third best team in the Western Conference right now, but they can still grab points when they are supposed to. Except for the RSL blow out, they have found ways to win or draw in odd or hostile conditions. That’s the upside of a veteran team. For the Union, certainly a tough loss but they have a perilous road ahead this week: the have DC United in the Open Cup qualifier then host the Red Bulls on Saturday.
Colorado Rapids 4, DC United 1: One of the concerns for DCU coming into the season was its depth, and that was a major culprit for a somewhat misleading scoreline. Playing with at least three backup defenders, the Black-and-Red wore down late in the Colorado altitude and the Rapids took advantage. Credit to Colorado for playing very well and looking like a contender for the Supporters Shield if RSL trips up. Pat Onstad for DC United looked his age, and I wonder when Bill Hamid will be ready to take over as starter; it may be an important factor in the season.