Monday, July 11, 2011

MLS Week 17 Recap

Week 17 of MLS action held some remarkable moments. Amidst the slate of games we saw a Dax McCarty and Dwayne De Rosario showdown in New York. A strange goal from a David Beckham PK gave LA the win and we saw one of the greatest soccer rivalries in North America on national television. All in all, a fun weekend of MLS play. Here's your recap.

DC United 1, New York Red Bulls 0

The Atlantic Cup was not the only thing at stake during this match-up. Dwayne DeRosario and Dax McCarty, traded between the teams just two weeks prior, were given the opportunity to face the teams that traded them and show them who got the better end of the deal. The New York Red Bulls looked out of sync all night and could not produce the quick tempo passing game they typically do at home. Tim Ream produced another goal line right before half after Charlie Davies had slipped behind him and   Greg Sutton in goal to keep the score level. Their best chance of the night came in the 52' when Henry beat DC's Ethan White to a ball that Brandon McDonald let slip past him in a backpass. Henry's shot was bound for the far post corner but Bill Hamid got his fingertips to it with a diving save to his left. However, the highlight of the night was DeRosario's game winning shot in the 61'. Josh Wolf served him a great chipped through ball that he slotted into the far post corner that ricocheted off the post and into the opposite side netting. Although the Red Bulls lost the game at home in front of 22,200 fans, the two teams showed their rivalry to still be alive and well.
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Sporting Kansas City 1, Chivas USA 1

Neither team produced much in the way of exciting play through much of the game early on, until a frantic sequence of plays in front of KC's net. They led to a Nick LaBrocca left footed chip that hit off the upper right corner of the post. KC's keeper, Jimmy Nielsen followed the rebound off the post and was able to steal it off an open Mondaini's head, denying Chivas a chance to go up a goal. LaBrocca did get the goal he was looking for later in the game when Justin Bruan fed him a great through ball at the top of the box and LaBrocca calmly slid it past Jimy Nielsen for a 1 goal lead. Chivas' goalkeeper Dan Kennedy came up with 3 incredible saves to keep his team in the lead. However, late in stoppage time KC's Omar Bravo produced an emphatic header that equalized the game and sent the 18,467 fans at Livestrong Park into a frenzy. Sporting KC was able to maintain their 10 game unbeaten streak in league play and continue to push up the Eastern Conference.
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Houston Dynamo 2, Toronto FC 0

Toronto FC continued their defensive and offensive struggles in Houston after they fall for the second time on the road in the same week. Houston's Danny Cruz was able to exploit the holes in the Toronto defense as he slipped behind for the defense on a quick counterattack in the 50'. Toronto's keeper, Stefan Frei was able to get a heel on the shot but it still managed to get by him and go into the far netting of the goal. Later in the 80', as he has been doing all season for Toronto, Frei came up with two more great saves on Houston's Bruin and Clark keeping Toronto in the game. However, on the ensuing corner kick, Toronto's defense failed to properly clear the ball and it fell to the feet of Geoff Cameron who buries it to seal the game with a two goal advantage. Toronto FC can not wait any quicker for July 15 to come so that they can begin to play their two newly signed DPs and hopefully turn the season around and make a late play-off run.
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Real Salt Lake 2, FC Dallas 0

Lost in the Seattle and Portland hype of this weekend was the match-up between two Western Conference powerhouses, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas. Both teams came into the game looking to make a big statement that they were the top team to beat. The first half was reminiscent of a  heavyweight bout where both teams were traded jabs in order to feel each other out. In the second half FC Dallas' Kevin Hartman, typically a rock in their defense, made a very uncharacteristic error on an Andy Williams free kick  and had it bounce out of his hands and into the net for a RSL 1 goal lead. In the 85',  Dallas had a great opportunity to tie the game when a perfectly placed Avilla cross found Break Shea behind the Salt Lake defense in the box. Shea took a great touch to take it down and passed it to an open Jackson, who took an awkward shot on goal that slowly made its way to the net before it was cleared off the line by Salt Lake's Wingert. Then in the 5th minute of extra time Fabian Espindola continued his late game scoring touch when he took a great through ball from Saborio and tucked away a low left footed shot past Hartman and into the far post side netting. Real Salt Lake was able to make a big statement to the 17,734 fans in attendance and to the greater league that Rio Tinto is still an intimidating fortress for opposing teams and that they are a tough team to beat.

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San Jose Earthquakes 0, Philadelphia Union 0

San Jose continued to struggle offensively in league play as they finished a nil nil draw at home to the Philadelphia Union in front of 9,794 fans in Santa Clara. The Earthquakes never really tested Philadelphia's goalkeeper Madragon during the match. The Union had a number of decent scoring opportunities to take a lead and steal 3 points from San Jose at home, but were unable to finish their chances. The Union were unable to make significant ground on the Red Bulls in the East but with the Red Bulls loss they are now tied for first in the East. 
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Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Chicago Fire 1

Los Angeles look to get their team rolling on the offensive side with a home match-up against the Chicago Fire. The game saw the return of David Beckham to the starting line-up and play the entire 90 minutes. It was good that he did as Beckham was involved in both Galaxy goals. The Galaxy went ahead in the match when Beckham sent a far post corner that saw Landon Donovan rise up over the defense and head the ball back across the goal and into the net for a 1-0 lead. Beckham was once again involved in the Galaxy's second goal as he sent another corner into the 6 yard box that managed to squirt through 3 player's legs, including Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, and into the net. The dangerous in-swinger proved to be the game winner as the Fire quickly answered that goal just minutes later with one of their own. Patrick Nyarko sent in a perfectly placed cross that found the head of Chicago's Nazarit who headed it home to cut the lead in half and keep Chicago alive. However, the Galaxy were able to keep the Fire off the scoreboard again and hold onto the win sending the.
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Portland Timbers 2, Seattle Sounders 3

The much anticipated and hyped derby match-up of the weekend did not fail to entertain. The Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders put on one of the most entertaining displays of soccer in MLS this season to the 18,627 fans at Jeld Wen Field and the number of spectators watching the broadcast around the world. Seattle had a couple of decent chances to go ahead in the first half. A Freddy Montero free kick was saved by Timber's goalkeeper Troy Perkins in the 6' and Alvaro Fernandez found himself behind the defense in the 38' but he too was stopped by Perkins. Kalif AlHassan opened the scoring in the 46' when he put what appeared to be a centering pass right in front of the net and it was deflected into the goal by Seattle's Jeff Parke. Montero answered about 10 minutes later with a free kick that he tucked over the wall and into the bottom corner of the net that tied the game at 1. In the 69' the Timbers got another shot deflection for a goal, when Jorge Perlazza took a shot from the right side of the box. It deflected off Seattle's Tyson Wahl and over Kasey Keller for a 2-1 lead for Portland. Seattle answered 5 minutes later when Maurio Rosales redirected a cross to the center of the box to Freddy Montero who beat his defender to the ball and placed it in the back of the net, tying the game at 2. In the 81' Seattle's Lamar Neagle was brought down in the box for a penalty kick earning Eric Brunner a red card. Seattle's Alonzo stepped to the spot and sent the PK just past the outstretched hand of a diving Troy Perkins for the lead and eventual win for Seattle. The Seattle\Portland rivalry seems to be taking shape as the best rivalry in all of MLS and a sure fire entertaining game to watch.
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Your recap was written by Pedro Gomes. He can be reached at and followed on twitter @burger911. Pedro also hosts his own unique blog at

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