Monday, July 25, 2011

MLS Recap Week 19

Some seriously high scoring games this weekend. In between all the excitement of the World Football Challenge, here's what went on in MLS action in week 19.

New York Red Bulls 2, FC Dallas 2
This was a game of statements. The Red Bulls looked to recover from their 4-1 dismantling by Colorado in mid-week and remind people they are still a top class team, FC Dallas looked to continue their winning ways and push for the MLS Cup and the NYRB supporters groups staged a 1st half silent protest for the way the New York Red Bulls handled to MLS Cup. New York got off to a great start, enjoying the run of play and scoring in the 38' by a strange sequence of plays that ended with Juan Agudelo getting a deflected goal over Kevin Hartman. However, Dallas came back in the second half and put the pressure on NY. Marvin Chavez got two second half goals off of more sub-par defense by NY's back line to put Dallas up 2-1. New York's Thierry Henry made his own statement late in the game and proved why he is the leading scorer in MLS and why he deserves a look for MVP this season. Henry took a couple of touches around two Dallas defenders near the top left corner of the box and then placed a beautiful left-footed shot into the upper 90 of the net to level the game and save NY at least a point at home. The 17,276 fans were looking for 3 points but had to settle for 1 on the night.
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Columbus Crew 1, Portland Timbers 0
The Columbus Crew are known for the stingy defense and struggling offense and they were both on display on Saturday at Crew Stadium in front of 11,246 of their supporters. The Portland Timbers put the pressure on Columbus early and kept in on them through most of the game. Darlington Nagbe was particularly active and dangerous in the game. His speed and quickness gave the Crew fits and he was able to take some very good shots on Columbus' goalkeeping debutant Andy Gruenebaum. The Crew appeared to finally get a breakthrough goal in the 60' when Char Marshall put a beautiful header on net from a Rusmir corner that Darlington Nagbe was able to save off the line with an acrobatic play. The replay showed that the ball may have crossed the line but regardless it was not allowed and play continued. The Crew finally got the goal they needed in the 79' after a wild sequence of plays in the box saw the ball take a touch off of Mamadou Danso right on the goal line and into the net. Technically ruled an own the by Portland, the Crew were happy with the goal as it was all they needed to secure 3 points at home and become tied for 1st place in the East.
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Sporting Kansas City 4, Toronto FC 2
Goals were the order of the night in Kansas City on Saturday. Sporting KC gave the 16,382 fans at Live Strong Park plenty of entertainment on the night and plenty for them to take home and talk about as they continue to try and grow the fan-base at one of the best stadiums in the league. For Toronto FC it was more of the same. Porous defense led to a large deficit for the team to try and overcome and in the end it proved too much in the sweltering heat. KC jumped to a giant lead in the first half with 3 goals within the span of  9 minutes. Kei Kamara opened the account with a fantastic scissor kick and then followed it up a few minutes later with a brilliant header. Omar Bravo joined in with a one on one break versus Stefan Frei that he put away after he was able to get around the on-rushing keeper. KC's newly signed DP Jefferson was a catalyst for the teams offense on the night and looked like he will have an immediate impact on the team. Toronto's newly signed DP, Danny Koevermans also got on the scoreboard with a header in the 50', but Omar Bravo put away his second goal of the night and the game in the 64'. TFC added another in the 72' from Ryan Johnson, but it wasn't enough. Sporting KC take the 3 points at home and continue to climb in the East.
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Colorado Rapids 2, New England Revolution 2
The Rapids and Revolution split a couple of points at Dicks Sporting Goods Park on Saturday in front of 12,273 fans. Benny Feilhaber opened his scoring account in MLS with a header in the 25' following a long throw in from Kevin Alston that was flicked into the box by Stephen McCarthy. Colorado took 40 minutes to answer with a goal of their own when Wednesday night Hat Trick hero, Sanna Nyassi was taken down in the box by New England's Chris Tierney earning Colorado a penalty and Tierney a Red Card. Then in the 82' Kosuke Kimura got his first goal of the year off of a rare mis-que from NE keeper, Matt Reis. He sent a searching long ball from behind the midfield line to Caleb Folan, that Matt Reis misjudged and let bounce over his head an into the net. New England was able to get one back in the 90' when second half sub, Kenny Mansally was taken down in the box by Colorado's Scott Palguta, earning NE a late game penalty. Shalrie Joseph put it away, earning him his 6th goal of the season and the Revolution 1 point on the road.
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Real Salt Lake 4, San Jose Earthquakes 0
Although the Olympics are still a summer away, diving took center stage at Rio Tinto on Saturday night in front of a strong audience of 19,429. Real Salt Lake got off to a decent start forcing Jon Busch to make a couple of huge saves in the first half, but the game changing event occurred in the 60'. RSL's Saborio was able to slip between the SJ defense and make a run into the box. Bobby Burling tried to cut Saborio off but he missed both the player and the ball. However, Saborio went down and the official whistled for a penalty and showed Burling a Red Card. Replays clearly showed a blatant dive from Saborio, but regardless he was able to convert the penalty and take a 1-0 lead for RSL. Playing in their 3rd game in 8 days and down to 10 men, SJ saw 3 more goals go into their net. Saborio added 1 more , followed by Kyle Beckerman, and even central defender Jamison Olave got into the action with a header in the 83'. It will be curious to see how Jason Kreis handles the blatant dive by Saborio who publicly admonished Charlie Davies for taking a dive a few weeks back against RSL that lead to a late game draw for DC.
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Chivas USA 3, Houston Dynamo 0
Chivas USA's Justin Braun put on a spectacular performance for the 11,013 supporters at the Home Depot Center. Braun scored his second Hat Trick of the Season giving him 7 goals so far for the year. Braun opened the scoring on the night in the 32' when he was able to beat his defender to a dangerous cross with his outstretched foot that he poked past Tally Hall. He followed that up with a wonderful chipped shot over Hall in the 40'. JeVaughn Watson earned his second yellow of the night in the70', which essentially sealed the game for Chivas. Braun added his 3rd goal to complete his Hat Trick in the 86' following a wonderful offense sequence of skillful passing. Houston was never able to get their offense going and they were simply outplayed on the night. 
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MLS Recaps are brought to you by Pedro Gomes. He can be reached at or followed on twitter @burger911.

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