Looking back at this weekend’s MLS action the one thing I noticed with many of the results was guts. Or fortitude. Or cojones. Or other less family-friendly terms. What I mean by all this is that so many of the results and so many of the players involved in them showed some real intestinal fortitude under conditions that would normally cause teams to wilt. Consider:
- FC Dallas coming off a long CONCACAF Champions League trip to play in 100+ degree heat and get an important win.
- Colorado, still playing injured and written off by so many people, punching the Union in the face at home and walking out with three points.
- Sporting KC, who should change their name to EKG because they extended their winning unbeaten streak with another late goal.
- Columbus, who realized they can win the conference and got three points in maybe the toughest away stadium in the league.
So for those who missed this weekend’s action or were too enamored with the numerous friendlies happening around the world, here was this weekend’s action in MLS:
Colorado Rapids 2, Philadelphia Union 1: The Rapids handed the Union their first home loss with Mastroeni and Nyassi scoring in the first half. The goal was Nyassi’s fourth in the last three games. The Union had to climb back with ten men after Sheanon William’s red card in the 64th minute but a late goal by Roger Torres and an almost (later) goal by Carlos Valdes saved face for the home team. The rumors of Colorado’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Los Angeles Galaxy 4, Vancouver Whitecaps 0: Despite the scoreline, this one was close for a half. Vancouver had some good chances early in this match, including an early miss by designated player Mustopha Jarju. The second half saw the Galaxy take control on a Landon Donovan goal in the 61st minute that was quintessential Donovan. He received a ball over the top from Sean Franklin, beat his defender, and sent the goal top shelf. Number ten took a penalty in the 75th minute to extend the lead to 2-0, and the rest of the game was a bit of a farce. Franklin (80′) and Adam Cristman (90′) added to the final score.
Sporting Kansas City 1, New England Revolution 1: A Rajko Lekic goal in the 38th minute looked to be the winner for most of this game; Lekic beat MLS All Star Matt Besler and slid a shot past Jimmy Nielsen to make the score 1-0. But it was second half sub Teal Bunbury on his bobblehead night to grab a point for KC in the 89th minute and run their unbeaten streak to thirteen games. Neither team played particularly well but the entertainment value cannot be denied.
Columbus Crew 2, Real Salt Lake 0: The depth of RSL was one of the reasons they were the trendy pick to win the MLS Cup but Saturday’s result showed that sometimes an injury to a key player can be hard to overcome regardless of depth. No Jamison Olave meant a much more mortal backline, which the Crew exploited very early in this game to move atop the Eastern Conference. Robbie Rogers assisted the two goals by Eddie Gaven (5′) and Tommy Heinemann (10′).
Houston Dynamo 3, Seattle Sounders 1: Houston reaffirmed that it is a playoff contender with a convincing win against a suddenly struggling Seattle team. Colin Clarke got an early goal but it was Brian Ching’s turn to play the hero in this one by scoring a brace for the margin of victory. Seattle’s lone goal came from Alvaro Fernandez, who converted a penalty after Freddy Montero beat Corey Ashe to a loose ball and was taken down. Seattle has a tricky next two games, trying to make-up their deficit Wednesday in their Champions League second leg while the prospect of facing KC at LIVESTRONG Park on Saturday looms.
DC United 2, San Jose Earthquakes 0: Really good game from Dwayne De Rosario and the DC backline. The visitors took advantage of DC-killer Steven Lenhart’s absence and didn’t give the Quakes many chances to score. DeRo improved to 2-0 against his former teams with two clinical second-half strikes to provide the difference. DC caught a break with Andy Najar receiving a red card late in this game for a last-man tackle, but will miss only the game at home against Toronto Saturday, when DC should get Charlie Davies back.
Portland Timbers 2, Toronto FC 2: Portland, after a great beginning of the season at home, is now struggling to win at JELD-WIN Field. This Saturday they gave up a two goal lead in the last twenty minutes of the game to one of the worst teams in MLS. Both teams had new players on the pitch (although for the Timbers it was only two) and two new Reds’ strikers Peri Marosevic and Danny Koevermans equalized the score. The goal scorers for the Timbers were Eddie Johnson in the 23rd minute and Jack Jewsbury, who converted a penalty on new Red Andy Iro in the 57th minute.
FC Dallas 1, Chivas USA 0: As I mentioned above, FC Dallas is as hot as their game-time temperatures and grabbed three points to keep up with the Galaxy yesterday. Marvin Chavez is stepping up at the right time and his third goal in two games (this one a deflection off Heath Pierce in the 26th minute) was all the home team needed for the win. The shutout was also Kevin Hartman’s twelfth of the season.