Friday, July 22, 2011

MLS Mid-Week 19 Recap

Amidst all the activity behind the World Football Challenge and MLS taking on teams from the English and Spanish leagues, some MLS teams were left to battle each other. Here's your Mid-Week Recap:

DC United 0, New England Revolution 1

New England were finally able to put an end to their 9 game winless streak against DC United in front of a lively crowd of 15,597 at RFK.  United, on the other hand, were looking to continue to gel as a unit and earn points in the Eastern Conference in hopes of making a playoff run in the second half of the season.United looked dangerous with both Dwayne DeRosario and Charlie Davies getting quality scoring chanes but Matt Reis played the typical role of hero for New England and kept United off the scoreboard. Especially surprising was the Charlie Davies' penalty kick opportunity that he sent over the net right before half after Pat Phelan was called for a handball in the box.After the break the game appeared to slow down a bit as both teams were battling the high temperatures and humidity. But New England's Stephen McCarthy put the Revolution ahead in the 74' with a well placed header across the face of goal and past United's Bill Hamid. Dwayne DeRosario nearly leveled the socre in the 82'when Andy Najar found him with a clever chipped through ball over the Revoltuion's central defense. DeRosario took one touch to control the ball and got off a quick low shot that Matt Reis was able to kick away with a great reflexsive save. The Revolution nearly made it 2-0 a couple of minutes later when Sainey Nyassi cut through the heart of the United defense but Bill Hamid was quick off his line and got in front of Nyassi just enough to change his trajectory on goal and force a awkward shot that he gobbled up.
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Toronto FC 0, FC Dallas 1

Toronto FC took to BMO Field in a highly anticiapted debut for Toronto fans of 5 newly signed players to include 2 veteran Designated Players. The 21,087 fans did see a much better defensive effort from Toronto version 2.0 but the 5 new acquisitions will require more time to gel on the offensive side. The new signings almost paid immediate dividends when Torsten Frings sent a low hard grass cutting free kick from about 30 yards out giving Dallas' Kevin Hartman no other option than pushing the shot out of bounds for a corner.Danny Koevermans, Toronto's other newly signed DP, also had a dangerous strike at goal from distance in the 40' but Hartman parried it away from the upper corner of his net. Then in the 48' MVP candidate Break Shea played hero once again for Dallas with an amazing individual effort. Tracking back from midfield Shea caught up to Toronto's Mikael Yourassowsky and poked the ball away to Daneil Hernandez who gave it right back to Shea. He got around Torsten Frings and had acres of space in front of him that he ran into. No one stepped up to challenge him and he unleashed a left footed rocket from about 25 yards out that zipped into the upper corner of the net, leaving Stefan Frei with little chance. Toronto thought they had tied the game in the 52' minute when Joao Plata put in a Yourassowsky centering pass  on a quick Toronto counter attack, but Plata was called offisde and the goal was disallowed. Shea almost had his second goal of the night in the 60' when Marvin Chavez slid a perfect through ball to him but Stefan Frei was able to get a wonderful kick save that would have made any NHL goalie proud. The rebound was headed back on goal by Chavez but new acquisition, Andy Iro was able to save it off the line. Both teams had a couple of other chances at net but neither was able to put them away with both goalkeepers showing again why they are considered some of the top in the league.
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Colorado Rapids 4, New York Red Bulls 1   

This was a game that every New York Red Bull fan and player will want to forget and one that Colorado's Sanna Nyassi will probably never want to forget. Nyassi scored his first ever Hat Trick in front of 15,227 fans at Dick's Sporting Goods Park with some incredible individual skill and speed and an utter collapse of the Red Bull defense. Not even their fresh new goalkeeping DP, Frank Rost, could do much to save the team that looked disjointed, disinterested, distasteful, disastrous and any other word that starts with dis that you can think of. Coming into the game for Colorado questions were circling around who would step up to the offensive plate after they saw Conor Casey go down with a torn achilles the game prior. Starting up front
for Colorado in place of Casey for the first time, Nyassi answered that question within the opening seconds of the game. He cut through the Red Bull defense with a beautiful give and go from Omar Cummings and put a shot past Rost, off the right post and in. New York looked to answer quickly a few minutes later when former Rapids midfielder, Medhi Ballouchy, stole the ball in the Rapids' defensive end and found an open Juan Agudelo at the top of the box. Agudelo chose to lay the ball off to his right instead of shoot
and an on-rushing Dane Richards sent his open shot over the net. They had another decent chance to tie up the game in the 23' when Henry took a Joel Lindpere pass down the left side of the box and got a good shot on goal. Pickens spilled the rebound but no Red Bull could get on it to equalize.Then in the 27' Nyassi found himself with loads of space after a searching long ball was put back into the middle of the field from NY's Carlos Mendes, he took a long range effort that beat Frank Rost but hit the left post and rebounded to an
unmarked Wells Thompson who scored his second goal in as many games. Nyassi found the back of the net again in the 31' when he brought out his best Messi impersonation and blew by the central defense of the Red Bulls with a great individual effort. Nyassi completed his Hat Trick in the 61', once again leaving the Red Bulls defense in the dust and slotting home a wonderful finish. The only bright spot on the night for the Red Bulls came in the 67' when Juan Agudelo laid a great ball off to Thierry Henry at the top of the box and
the Frenchman put away his league leading 9th goal of the season.
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San Jose Earthquakes 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 2

The San Jose Earthquakes and the Vancouver Whitecaps played an entertaining game for the 8,122 fans at Buck Shaw Stadium. Chris Wondolowski was looking to get back into his goal scoring ways and it only took him 3 minutes to do so. He found himself open behind the Whitecap defense when Simon Dawkins sent a little chip pass into the box. Wondolowski took one touch to settle the ball and the second touch to put it past goalkeepr Joe Cannon. Vancouver Whitecap goal-machine Eric Hassli put the Whitecaps on the board just before halftime with an impressive strike from the left side of the box that keeper Jon Busch got a fingertip to but the shot still slammed into the opposite side-netting for the equalizer. 2010 Golden Boot winner, Chris Wondowlowski answered back in the 54' with a header past Cannon that was served up for him from a Jacob Peterson free-kick. Shea Salinas played the role of set-up artist again for Eric Hassli in the 61'. Salinas dribbled the ball around a sliding Chris Leitch in the San Jose box and laid a perfect pass to the center of goal for a wide-open Hassli to put in. Wondolowski nearly had a Hat-Trick just 2 minutes later when he sent another free-kick header off the crossbar. Jon Busch kept it level in the 74' when a Camillo free-kick bounced near the 6 yard box and through a Whitecap player's legs but not past Busch who was able to parry the shot away. Stephen Lenhart had a golden opportunity to put San Jose ahead in the 84' when he found himself alone on goal. However, he sliced his shot to the right and missed the net. Vancouver had another attempt go off the crossbar but the game finished level in the end.
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Los Angelas Galaxy 1, Columbus Crew 0
The LA Galaxy continued their dominace in the Western Conference and the MLS with a victory at home in front of 24,709 fans at the Home Depot Center. The hometown fans who witnessed the most unlikely of players give their team a victory. Defender Sean Franklin scored his first career MLS goal in the 70' after David Beckham's free-kick ricocheted off the wall and rolled to Franklin about 25 yards out at the top of the box. Franklin lowered his head and the boom with a low hard driven shot that took a slight deflection off a Columbus player and bounced past Will Hesmer and into the back of the net. The Galaxy Forward tandem, of Juan Pablo Angel and Miguel Lopez, had a few decent scoring opportunities in the first half but were unable to put them away. However, Columbus was unable to produce any offensive rhythm on the night and failed to also produce and quality scoring chances. The Galaxy were able to hold onto their lone goal of the night and secure another 3 points giving them an MLS leading 42 points.
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MLS Recap is brought to you by Pedro Gomes. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter at @burger911

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