If You Like Goal Celebrations, You’ll Love MLS This Week
Last weekend, the discussion in MLS centered around dives, specifically Charlie Davies’ dive against Real Salt Lake to grab a point for DC. This weekend, “dives” were again the discussion but for a different reason: take a look at the Roger Levesque celebration from Thursday if you have not already seen it and enjoy its genius (although come on John Harkes, a little more excitement or creativity in describing it?). On Saturday night, Charlies Davies scored and, in honor of his 25th birthday, one of the league’s best dancers broke out the Honduras Bicycle Dance for the fans. All around excellent goal celebrations this weekend.
In case you missed some missed some of the MLS action this weekend due to the Gold Cup final or travel, here is a recap of a full slate of matches:
DC United 2, Houston Dynamo 2: Your bias on this match will color your perception. For the pro-Houston crowd, this was an excellent example of the resilience of this team to come from behind twice (including the Brian Ching goal in the 89th minute) and grab a critical point on the road. For the pro-DC crowd, this was a match they should have won and allowed the Dynamo to escape with a draw due to poor defending. While the scoreline is an improvement from the 4-1 Dynamo beat down a month ago, Black-and-Red fans have to be a little depressed they could not secure the full three points and move closer to an automatic playoff spot.
San Jose Earthquakes 0, Los Angeles Galaxy 0: This match wins the award for most bizarre storyline of the weekend. In the 24th minute, starting keeper Donovan Ricketts left the match with an arm injury that could force him to miss multiple games. Sub Josh Saunders received a straight red card in the 43rd minute after an elbow to the head of Steven Lenhart, who had just tried to head a ball out of Saunders’ arms. So the keeper’s shirt went to… Mike Magee. “I think I blacked out,” he said after the match. “I looked around after Josh Saunders got the red card, and I nominated myself. I did alright I guess.” It also helped that San Jose posed few offensive threats to the ten-man Galaxy most of the second half.
Philadelphia Union 3, Chivas USA 2: The Union’s month-long winless streak is over and the team claims first place in the Eastern Conference with their convincing win. Our on-site reporter Earl Reed wrote an excellent analysis of the match from PPL Park, but here’s an additional thought. The team’s leading scorer is Danny Mwanga with five goals, but Sebastian leToux has five assists on the season. Could we be seeing a transition of his role with the emergence of Mwanga and excellent play of Ruiz such that Seba is more of a creator in midfield than a scorer?
FC Dallas 4, Portland Timbers 0: In the first matchup of these two teams earlier this season, Portland edged Dallas 3-2. This one was about that close at kickoff but not too much longer. Dallas got two first-half goals from Zach Lloyd and George John with Brek Shea and Ruben Luna adding goals in the second half. Shea now leads the team with 7 goals and, to be honest, merits another look at the US national team with his play. Dallas now sits second in the Western Conference but have two games in hand on conference leader LA.
Sporting Kansas City 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 1: Don’t look now, but KC is rolling. A beautiful new stadium has reinvigorated this team and the win Saturday means Sporting has escaped the Eastern Conference cellar for the first time in a loooooong time. The Canadians actually took an early lead when Camilo scored in the fifteenth minute. From there it was all KC as Omar Bravo converted a PK in the 32nd minute and Julio Cesar got his first goal of the season eight minutes later.
Real Salt Lake 3, Toronto FC 1: Man, did Jason Kreis’ men need this one. The man I picked to win the Golden Boot in the preseason (Alvaro Saborio) scored his first two goals of the season and Nat Borchers scored in the 39th minute to lead RSL to an easy win over the visiting Reds. Maicon Santos prevented the shutout with a goal in the 66th minute for Toronto, who are now tied with New England for last in the Western Conference and are winless in 11 matches. Ouch.
Chicago Fire 1, New York Red Bulls 1: This match lacks an easy story line coming out of it. Chicago should be happy at holding one of the best teams in the league to (a) one goal and (b) a draw, but they’ve won once since April 1 and set an MLS record with six straight draws. For New York, this was the kind of match to exorcise the Seattle demons but the way the match played out it raises more questions than answers. See Daniel’s analysis here.
Seattle Sounders 2, New England Revolution 1: Besides Dallas and Los Angeles, Seattle looks like a top contender in the West right now. Sainey Nyassi got a third minute goal for the Revs but it was seemingly an incident at midfield that woke up the Sounders. Pat Phelan was given a yellow for a hard tackle on Servando Carresco in the 23rd minute, and nine minutes later Tyson Wahl equalized on a free kick. The go ahead goal was scored by Alvaro Fernandez minutes later.
Columbus Crew 4, Colorado Rapids 1: Colorado undid themselves in this match, as poor turnovers in their own half led to a flurry of Columbus goals. Conor Casey not surprisingly opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a header off a free kick, but his sending off in the 29th minute did the Rapids in. With the CONCACAF Champions League to worry about in a few months, this team is in quite a jam. For the Crew, Andres Mendoza has come alive scoring six of his seven goals in the last six games.