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Everything You Knew About MLS Changed this Weekend

During a weekend known as the Super Bowl of soccer, it was MLS and not the Champions League final that provided a bit of drama and the interesting story lines.  Some of the more interesting stats from this weekend include:

  • Saturday saw the most total MLS goals scored in one day.
  • Only one team (New England) failed to score once, and four teams scored more than two goals in their matches, including a 3-3 draw between Chivas and Columbus.
  • Two teams played away on the opposite coast and won, the first time in 16 tries this season.
  • Real Salt Lake had their MLS home unbeaten streak snapped.
  • Portland also had their home unbeaten streak end and gave up the first goal at home for this first time this season.
  • Philadelphia allowed two goals….. and won comfortably.

For those MLS fans who spent the weekend at barbecues or on the road, here is a recap of this weekend’s action.

Philadelphia Union 6, Toronto FC 2: This was an amazing match; consider the following sequence of events: the Union score within the first two minutes of the match, carry a 3-0 lead into halftime, hold off a Reds comeback at 3-2 before scoring three more goals to win comfortably.  The “other” Farfan (Gabriel) scored his first MLS goal while Justin Mapp and Danny Mwanga each scored twice.  The Union sit atop the Eastern Conference and, with New York losing players to international play, they have a chance to build some impressive momentum.

Vancouver Whitecaps 1, New York Red Bulls 1:  One expansion team got a point at home, and it wasn’t the expected one.  However, the story for these two teams was that their winless streaks continue.  New York has now gone five matches without a win while for Vancouver it is 11 games – they haven’t won since their home opener in March.  The goals came from Eric Hassli on a penalty in the 24th minute and Luke Rodgers ten minutes later.  The Red Bulls were without the two designated players which undoubtedly hurt their play.

Chivas USA 3, Columbus Crew 3:  Undoubtedly the most surprising result of the weekend, these two teams scored three goals within fifteen minutes to settle the final score at 3.  In the first half Nick LaBrocca and Andrew Boyens had scored for the Goats while Mendoza scored for the Crew.  Beginning in the 52nd minute, Mendoza added a second goal which was answered two minutes later by Jorge Flores.  Emmanuel Ekpo scored the final goal in the 64th minute on a good play where he shielded his defender on a high ball, collected it and scored.  The Crew actually had a good chance to win by playing with a man advantage for the last twenty-plus minutes of the match (Flores received two yellow cards) but settled for the draw.

Los Angeles Galaxy 1, New England Revolution 0:  For the Galaxy, it’s rinse and repeat.  Again, it was David Beckham providing the pass to Miguel Lopez this time in the 69th minute for the game’s only goal.  Again, it was good defending late in the game to preserve the close win, but in this case it was two stoppage time clearances by AJ DeLaGarza and Landon Donovan to keep it 1-0.  The big news was Benny Feilhaber suffering a twisted ankle in the second half, which prompted his replacement on the U.S. national team with Alejandro Bedoya.

Chicago Fire 2, San Jose Earthquakes 2:  For these two teams, it’s also rinse and repeat.  They faced off in a U.S. Open Cup match earlier last week with Chicago beating San Jose on penalty kicks.  This time, it took a half before both teams could find some goals.  For the ‘Quakes it was Ramiro Corrales and Wondolowski, for the Fire it was Oduro and Cory Gibbs, who scored on an impressive header.  With the draw the Fire’s winless streak is now at nine, although they are still four points ahead of Kansas City at the bottom of the conference standings.

Hosuton Dynamo 2, FC Dallas 2:  This Texas derby had received some spice recently with the Houston billboards and YouTube videos trying to stir up the rivalry, and the result was worthy of the hype.  The Dynamo scored the equalizer in the 87th minute despite being a man down since the 73rd minute.  Brad Davis assisted on both Houston goals to move past David Beckham for the assist lead with eight.  The first half was tied at one with goals from Andrew Jacobson and Cam Weaver, and it looked like Ugo Ihemelu’s goal in the 70th minute would be enough, especially with Kofi Sarkodie sent off with two yellows only two minutes later.  But Colin Clarke saved the point for Houston that leaves them third in the Eastern Conference.

Colorado Rapids 1, Sporting Kansas City 1:  Same number of goals, vastly different reactions.  Colorado notched its fifth straight draw on Conor Casey’s first goal of the year.  The point gives them 18 on the year and keeps them in fourth in the West, but the Rapids desperately need a win to break out of their funk.  In good news/bad news, the Rapids got Caleb Folan back as a sub in this match but Joseph Nane and Marvell Wynne both suffered injuries.  For Kansas City, a point is a wonderful thing.  Ryan Smith scored his first goal of the season which snapped the KC losing streak at five.  They play one more road game before their home opener on June 9. 

Seattle Sounder 2, Real Salt Lake 1:  The RSL slide continues.  Jamison Olave brought down Mike Fucito in the 58th minute from behind and earned himself a red card for a last man foul.  Seattle took advantage with Patrick Ianni and Lamar Neagle scoring their first goals on the year to earn the first three points for a visitor in MLS play at Rio Tinto in 30 attempts.  Nelson Gonzalez got his first goal of the season in the 88th minute on an assist from teenager Lucas Gil.  Real Salt Lake now sits in fifth in the Western Conference (albeit with a few games in hand) while Seattle moves into third.

DC United 3, Portland Timbers 2:  What a great game.  The story of course was the penalty kick taken three times in the second half, when Bill Hamid was twice correctly called off his line early.  Kenny Cooper, despite getting away with a stop and go penalty kick twice, was unable to convert the penalty, was pulled from penalty duty for Jack Jewsbury, and was subbed minutes later.  Timbers fans may want to keep an eye on that situation.  DC was without a number of regular players, so the fact they got a result was impressive.  The fact they got three (the first time anyone has in Portland this season) was even more impressive.  Portland was unable to score off set pieces, the thing that drives their offense.  On another note, nice touch by Timbers fans, who made a lot of friends in DC with their supportive banner.


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