MLS fans were treated to four games last night instead of the usual one or two, as the schedule makers begin to crowd in a few more league games in anticipation of international friendlies and late-season CONCACAF Champions League matches. In a cool twist, all four had some playoff implications as the results had a definite impact on positioning for the playoffs and may prove critical down the stretch (although with ten teams making the playoffs that is an easy statement to make).
For those watching So You Think You Can Dance or enjoying an evening free of television, here is a recap of the action from last night.
Vancouver Whitecaps 0, Columbus Crew 1: The ‘Caps continued their miserable inaugural season with a case of what could have been, while Columbus continues to solidify a top three spot based on Jeff Cunningham’s milestone goal. The striker scored his 133rd MLS goal in the 90th minute to not only give his team the victory, but to tie him with Jamie Moreno for the all-time lead in MLS goals. The home team had plenty of chances in the first half, dominating possession but failing to convert, and had a great chance in the second half when Alain Rochat was dragged down in the box in the 72nd minute. However, Terry Dunfield’s penalty was easily saved and, when Shea Salinas was sent off with a red five minutes later, it was a matter of time before the Crew would score the game winner.
New York Red Bulls 5, Toronto FC 0: On their most recent road trip, New York had a record of 0 wins, 1 loss, and 3 draws. They took out their frustration at home against a hapless Toronto side. Thierry Henry scored his ninth goal of the season in the 33rd minute and it was all New York from that point forward. More coming soon from Daniel on this one.
Chivas USA 2, San Jose Earthquakes 0: This match could come back to haunt San Jose as the two teams will be battling for a wild card slot at the end of the season. It was Robin Fraser’s decision to insert Ben Zemanski in the 58th minute that turned the tide and gave the Rojiblancos an energy boost in midfield. His goal (seen above) in the 64th minute broke a scoreless tie and Nick LaBrocca’s strike in the 84th minute put this one out of reach for San Jose. Speaking of the ‘Quakes, they will have to face Philadelphia this weekend without Steven Lenhart, who will miss the game due to yellow card accumulation.
Sporting Kansas City 1, Colorado Rapids 1: Colorado is quickly approaching the Chicago Fire’s tie record and Kansas City extended their unbeaten streak to 9 as these two teams battled to a draw at Livestrong Park. Conor Casey did what he does best in scoring his goal in the 32nd minute: he used his strength to corral a long free kick and placed a shot just out of Jimmy Nielsen’s reach. Again, it was a good substitution by a manager that made the difference, as Peter Vermes brought on C.J. Sapong in the second half for Teal Bunbury and it was the rookie Sapong who scored the equalizer.