Aggressiveness Makes for a Great MLS Weekend
When I was thinking about a term or phrase that could categorize the MLS weekend, the word that came to mind was aggressiveness. The Eric Hassli goal was an aggressive one, and it helped the Whitecaps get a draw in Seattle. The Red Bull came out aggressively against New England and won three valuable points. Steven Lenhart made some aggressive shots on his way to a hat trick (but Josh Wolff also in that match made an aggressive pass on the Najar goal). Teams were rewarded for their aggressive play all weekend, and the results were surprising scorelines and some great soccer.
As a note, we are fortunate to have some great writers on this site and there are some very good post-game analyses on the site currently. I will link to them in this post if you want more details, and will be doing a 10,000 feet analysis for each match this weekend.
New York Red Bull 2, New England Revolution 1: This was an incredible entertaining match for all involved. Luke Rodgers and New York had the early momentum until New England was awarded a penalty in the 35th minute. When Greg Sutton saved the Shalrie Joseph PK, New York grabbed the momentum and rode it to a win. Daniel breaks down the match, but New York even missing so many players, may be ready to play some of their best soccer of the year.
Philadelphia Union 1, Real Salt Lake 1: This was an intense match – afterwards the two coaches didn’t shake hands due to anger over controversial no-calls. Keon Daniels got the first goal of the match in the 24th minute but Fabian Espindola got the equalizer on a quick counter early in the second half. The controversy was Jack McInerney being tripped in the box but no penalty being given. The draw moved Philadelphia into a first-place tie with New York in the Eastern Conference and continues their good momentum. But RSL got a great result considering who it was missing and the distance traveled; they are now tied for third on points in the West.
San Jose Earthquakes 4, DC United 2: Steven Lenhart notched a hat trick for the visiting ‘Quakes who abused the young DC backline on their way to a convincing win. This game was back-and-forth in the first half that ended 2-2 but could easily have been more. The second half saw Simon Dawkins score the go-ahead in the 49th minutes before Lenhart put the game away in the 60th on a pass misplayed by Bill Hamid. San Jose is continuing to play well despite missing Chris Wondolowski, which is the opposite of how they were playing earlier in the season. For DC this match was part of the maturation process: their young backline and keeper will have nights like this as they gain experience.
Houston Dynamo 2, Chivas USA 1: Like many of the matches this weekend, this was an interesting game for a variety of reasons. The game winning goal was an own-goal scored by Heath Pearce off a Brad Davis corner in the 55th minute. Sadly for Chivas, they looked like the team that would take three points at multiple times during the match but could not grab the equalizer late or additional goals early. Marcos Mondaini had a right plce/right time goal in the 7th minute when he intercepted a Hunter Freeman back pass and beat Tally Hall. Geoff Cameron scored the Dynamo’s first goal on an assist by Brad Davis, his league-leading ninth.
Colorado Rapids 1, Portland Timbers 0: Colorado finally grabbed a win after being seconds away from becoming the first MLS team to record seven straight draws. Drew Moor collected a loose ball in the box and scored the only goal of the match. The Rapids desperately needed three points from this match: even with players returning from injury and the team playing a few games at home they still could not get a win. The result for Portland is a gut-punch; they’ve now lost two at home after winning five straight and have New York coming to town next week.
Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Toronto FC 2: Every time Los Angeles rang the bell, Toronto answered. After praising the Galaxy defense the past two weekends, the result of this one had to sting. Again the Galaxy struck early with a Chris Birchall goal two minutes into the game, but Alan Gordon equalized in the 68th minute. Juan Pablo Angel had what looked to be the game-winner in the 91st minute, but Gordon struck again in the 94th to give Toronto the point. Talk about luck for the Reds: Gordon came off the bench late in the first half due to an injury to Jacob Peterson.
Seattle Sounders 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 2: This match will be known as the Eric Hassli game, but there were of course other good moments throughout. That was the second goal from Hassli, he actually scored on a penalty in the 29th minute. Seattle had a late flurry of goals that gave them a late and brief lead before the wonder goal. This match has a lot of history: anyone who watched the match knew that it was the 123rd meeting between the two clubs in a rivalry that has spanned decades.
Chicago Fire 1, Columbus Crew 0: Columbus will want a re-do of this one at the end of the year, especially if they miss the playoffs by mere points. Sub Christian Nazrit scored the Fire’s only goal (and first in three games) in second half stoppage time to again give a visiting team points. This result continued the odd season of the Crew. They did not give up an early goal in this one and were actually very aggressive early on, but the Fire ended up with more shots than the home team and had many of the late chances.
Sporting Kansas City 4, FC Dallas 1: Maybe KC should have played in Pizza Hut Park this year. The visitors were led by Graham Zusi who had two goals and an assist. After Brek Shea scored his fifth goal in the 32nd minute to equalize, it was all Sporting KC. The loss ends Dallas’ nine game unbeaten streak and gives Kansas City their second win of the year.