In a Major League Soccer season that has seen a lot, this weekend saw some of it all over again. Lightning threatening to cancel a game? Check. Scoreless draws? Check. Impressive scoreless streaks? Check. One way to look at this past weekend is to just say “been there, done that”.
But that would be taking a simplistic view of some quality games Saturday and Sunday. You can instead focus on Philadelphia scoring two goals for the first time this season! You can talk about Portland, expansion Portland, tied on points for an automatic playoff birth in the impossible Western Conference. You can discuss a draw in Houston that arguably was as good as the LA-NY draw a few weekends ago.
Are you a glass half-full or half-empty person? Regardless, this weekend was for you.
Philadelphia Union 2, Chicago Fire 1: Carlos Ruiz. That man can score goals. His looping shot from about 40 yards out seemed to be going over the net, but instead avoided keeper Jon Conway’s hand, hit the bar, and spiked straight down over the line. And with that the Union exceeded their previous season high of one goal and inched past New York atop the conference standings. Michael Farfan got the first Union goal in the 64th minute but Dominic Oduro quickly equalized eight minutes later.
Houston Dynamo 2, New York Red Bulls 2: Maybe I exaggerated in comparing this one to the Galaxy-Red Bulls game, but it was a good one. Dane Richards broke the game open 39 seconds into the match but star-in-the-making Brad Davis converted a penalty in the 12th minute to tie the game. Both teams settled for fouling throughout most of the rest of the match (though De Rosario almost made things interesting with a near own-goal) until Koke made his mark with an 81st minute header off a corner. It was his first goal with the Dynamo, and seemed to be the match winner until Mehdi Ballouchy headed in a corner past Tally Hall in the 91st minute. Another item to note – 25,000+ showed up to watch this one, a great crowd for Houston.
Los Angeles Galaxy 1, Chivas USA 0: ESPN’s match of the week saw rising Chivas thwarted by their rivals in this City of Angels derby (aka SuperClasico). The loss extends the Goats winless streak against the Galaxy, who they have not beaten since September 2007. It was a Beckham free kick that found Chad Barrett for his third goal (and Beck’s sixth assist) for a lead in the 26th minute. The second half saw the Galaxy play keep away and play stout defense.
Seattle Sounders 1, Sporting Kansas City 0: The agony almost ended for Kansas City, but their long brutal road march continued when scoring force Jeff Parke… wait, Jeff Parke? Yes, Jeff Parke scored in second half stoppage time to give Seattle three points. It was his first goal in seven years and was a repeat of the last match between these two in Seattle, when Mike Fucito scored a late goal to give Seattle a win. Sporting KC has now lost five in a row and is winless in seven. A warm fuzzy to note: Steve Zakuani watched the game from the stands and returned to Qwest Field for the first time since his injury.
San Jose Earthquakes 2, New England Revolution 1: This up-and-down match saw an oddity for both teams: they basically used the same lineups from the previous week, something New England had not done all season and something the ‘Quakes have rarely done. All of the actual scoring was late, but both teams had chances throughout the game. Share in the comments section whether you think Chris Leitch should have been called for a penalty on Chris Teirney. The goals by Ellis McLoughlin and Bobby Convey were their first on the season, and Chris Teirney got one late to pull the Revs close prior to the final whistle.
Portland Timbers 1, Columbus Crew 0: Oh the irony – it was Columbus native Eric Brunner who scored a second-half goal to preserve the Timbers’ unbeaten home record and move the team up in the standings into a third place tie on points. He headed a pass from Kalif Alhassan in the 46th minute to score the match’s only goal. Columbus has now been outscored 8-2 on the road and sports an 0-3-2 away record, which may stop a playoff run even in the weaker Eastern Conference.
FC Dallas 0, Real Salt Lake 0: RSL earned its first points ever at Dallas in a scoreless draw that, for the second time in three weeks, was interrupted by intense lightning. In fact, the match was even paused in the same minute (83rd). FC Dallas extended their unbeaten streak to six matches and also extended their no-goal-allowed streak to 399 minutes. Both teams looked a bit lost without their play makers.
Colorado Rapids 0, Toronto FC 0: I mentioned Colorado’s needed home-stand in my article about their injury troubles and how it could help them get on a hot streak, especially once players start returning. No such luck yesterday, as they fought TFC to a 0-0 draw. Conor Casey did not have a shot on goal and was subbed out in the 61st minute.