Hurricane Irene could delay some MLS games this weekend but could not stop the teams playing from putting out some excellent performances. In fact, there were two sets of winners from yesterday’s matches: the Western Conference and the teams that did not play. While the West didn’t get a clean sweep due to Chicago’s home win over Colorado, the impressive wins by Dallas, Real Salt Lake, and Seattle show that their conference is still the class of the league. The others winners from yesterday were the teams that didn’t play: the Columbus and Kansas City losses help Philadelphia keep pace while the Houston loss helps New York and DC in the East and Portland in the wild card. But the biggest winner of all is Jeff Cunningham, who moves past Jaime Moreno into first place with the most career MLS goals scored. His penalty kick gave him 134 goals for his long career.
For those who lost power in the East Coast or who missed the games this weekend, here is your weekend roundup:
Seattle Sounders 6, Columbus Crew 2: Seattle put this one away quickly and early, setting a club record for most goals in a match and most goals in a half. Lamar Neagle got the scoring started with a low shot in the 2nd minute which Will Hesmer couldn’t keep out of net. He added another goal in the 21st minute (which ended up being the team’s third) and when the halftime whistle blew, Seattle had a commanding 4-0 lead. Rich Balchan, who was coming back from injury and filling in for Julius James in the back, had an absolutely miserable first half. The Cunningham goal came off a foul on Emilio Renteria, and it briefly cut into the Seattle lead before Lamar Neagle completed his hat trick in the 70th minute.
Vancouver Whitecaps 1, Houston Dynamo 0: While Houston at times looked like they could take points from this match, they had some early scary moments. Tally Hall misplayed a Davide Chiumiento free kick and the ball sat in front of the goal, but the ‘Caps were unable to convert. Minutes later a Hall clearance almost was deflected by Gershon Koffie into the net. In the 88th minute, substitute Long Tan found Shea Salinas with a through ball for the match’s only goal. Again, Houston had their chances against a weaker side but could not find a way to escape with a result, and as such see their five game unbeaten streak end.
Toronto FC 1, San Jose Earthquakes 1: So what to make of this result? San Jose gets a point on the road and Chris Wondowlowski gets a critical goal, but Toronto rebounded from their disappointing loss during the week to FC Dallas in the CONCACAF Champions League. New Red Eric Avila recovered a loose ball and made a great move in the 32nd minute to slot a ball past John Busch for a 1-0 lead. The ‘Quakes would threaten but it took a late goal by Wondo to finally equalize. After getting denied a goal in the 85th minute by the keeper Kocic, Wondolowski scored after a throw-in in the 88th minute. Toronto arguably should have walked away with the three points when a second-half Joao Plata goal was called offside; replays disagreed.
FC Dallas 3, Sporting Kansas City 2: Sporting KC was rolling last week and looked to continue their hot streak when they went up 2-0 on visiting Dallas. Kei Kamara scored in the 22nd minute and when Omar Bravo scored in 68th minute the game looked over. But Daniel Hernandez’s free kick somehow found the net in the 70th minute to give Dallas life and Teal Bunbury helped with the comeback by collecting a second yellow card, putting KC a man down. Brek Shea set up new acquisition Maicon Santos in the 89th minute for a second goal, and it looked like they would salvage a point after a solid comeback. But Shea again in stoppage time found sub Bobby Warshaw for a header that gave Dallas all three points and snapped a three-game winless streak.
Chicago Fire 2, Colorado Rapids 0: After missing what seemed like 17 missed goals last week, Dominic Oduru scored in the 17th minute to stake Chicago to an early lead. The Fire’s great acquisition Sebastian Grazzini sent in a cross to Kieran Gibbs in the 35th minute to score the final goal of the game. Chicago took advantage of a listless Colorado team that was unbeaten in nine games but had come off a CCL match midweek. For Chicago, they are now unbeaten in their last four and have the schedule set up to make a late playoff run – after playing Richmond in the U.S. Open Cup, they play at San Jose and host Chivas and the Revolution.
Real Salt Lake 1, Chivas USA 0: Here’s the difference between a playoff team and a team that can only hope to sneak in. A poor back-pass by Ante Jazic in the 10th minute found Alvaro Saborio who scored the only goal of this match. The other major moment of the game was Nat Borchers taking down Nick LaBrocca outside the RSL box in the 24th minute, which forced RSL to play down a man the rest of the game. Despite the man advantage, however, Chivas looked poor in the attack and could not consistently threaten for a point. As a result, their September 10 game against DC United is massive for both teams as they are currently level on points.