Monday, August 8, 2011

MLS Recap Week 21

Week 21 of MLS action produced something spectacular. A weekend devoid of the 0-0 tie. Fantastic matches with some impressive goals treated fans to some wonderful talking points. Whether it was Dwayne De Rosario's hat trick, LA's destruction of FC Dallas or Eric Hassli's double. Here is your recap and highlights:

Colorado Rapids 2, Columbus Crew 0

The Colorado and Columbus match-up saw two teams coming off of impressive performances. Colorado had just stolen 3 points away from Philadelphia at PPL Park while Columbus had done the same against RSL at Rio Tinto. Both teams were looking to continue their winnings ways in front of 14,503 fans at DSG Park in Colorado. The night got off to a rough start as Eddie Gaven had to leave the game with an injury in the 4'. Colorado looked to capitalize quick as Jeff Larentowicz got off a long range blast in the 15' that Columbus' Will Hesmer was able to to get front of and absorb. Just minutes later Columbus strung  some quality passes together that ended with a Robbie Rogers cross to the center of the box that found a wide-open Mendoza, who missed the ball and a golden opportunity for a go ahead goal. Just after half it looked as though Columbus might have drawn a penalty when Carlos Mendoza was clipped from behind by Colorado' Tyrone Marshall, however no call was made and play on said the referee. Colorado finally jumped ahead in the 54' when Brian Mullan found himself with acres of space and let loose a Goal of the Week candidate blast from from roughly 35 yards out that screamed by Will Hesmer and into the top right corner of the net. Columbus nearly equalized in the 74' when Mendoza took a great through ball near the top of the box but Matt Pickens denied him of the goal. Minutes later Sanna Nyassi and Omar Cummings combined for the second goal of the night. Nyassi hustled near mid-field to win possession and then sent a perfectly weighted through ball to Omar Cummings who coolly slotted it past Hesmer for the 2nd goal of the night and sealing the Crew's fate on the night.

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D.C. United 3, Toronto F.C. 3

DC United and Toronto FC squared off in one of the wackiest and most entertaining matches of the weekend. DC was down to 10 men by the 8' when Bill Hamid took down Toronto's Eric Avilla outside of the box in what appeared to be a breakdown in communication with his defender. Although Toronto was up a man, it was DC who struck first. Dwayne DeRosario, who seems to have a knack for scoring against former teams let loose a 25 yard blast that skipped off the hands of Stefan Frei and into the net for an early United lead. DC kept the pressure on for the remainder of the 1st half but Toronto went into the break only down 1. Then in the 52' back-up DC keeper, Steve Cronin, attempted to punch away a dangerous cross but it bounced off a DC player instead and fell to an open Peri Marosevic in front of net and he easily tapped it home. In the 64' DC again took the lead when Chris Pontius' low cross was terribly misplayed by Toronto's Andy Iro as it went through his feet and onto Dwayne DeRosario's. DeRo collected the ball, danced round Stefan Frei and put away his second of the night giving DC the lead once again. Just 4 minutes later, confusion and surprise ensued. During a substitution Toronto FC played a free kick to Julian DeGuzman who let a long range shot rip that went off of Steve Cronin's fingers and into the net for the equalizer. It was DeGuzman's first ever goal for Toronto. Afterward, Ben Olsen was shown the door for his demonstrations on the pitch for the play being allowed to happen during the substitution. Down 1 man and 1 coach, DC was looking vulnerable. In the 86' Toronto appeared to have stolen the 3 points from United, when a Joao Plata corner fell to the feet of Toronto's Danny Koevermans who redirected it towards the United goal. It bounced off of Steve Cronin and in, giving Toronto the 3-2 lead with less then 4 minutes remaining. But just a minute later, United' DeLuz was taken down in the box by Andy Iro and Dwayne DeRosario completed his Hat Trick on the night from the ensuing penalty. All in all the 11,684 fans at RFK witnessed one of the wildest games at RFK in recent memory.

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New England 2, Chivas USA 3

New England and Chivas produced another entertaining and goal filled match this weekend in MLS action. The Revs looked to jump in front early in the 6' when Shalrie Joseph sent a picture perfect cross to Ryan Cochrane who was open on goal but foiled the golden opportunity by barely getting his head on the ball and letting it go wide of the net. Then in the 31' Chivas' Alejandro Moreno did just the opposite and took full advantage of his golden opportunity in front of net when Nick LaBrocca sent a dangerous cross right in front of the Revs net. A breakdown in communication saw Revs defender Darrius Barnes let the ball go right by him but instead of being handled by keeper Matt Reis, an opportunistic Moreno toe-poked it home for the 1-0 lead. The Revs responded with a couple of half-decent chances but couldn't put either away for the equalizer. Nick LaBrocca makes it 2-0 Chivas in the 59' after he beat the offside trap on the left side of the field and went in on Reis. His first shot was blocked by Barnes but the rebound fell in front him and he sent it past Matt Reis. In the 66' Revs Manager Steve Nicol put in 16 year old Homegrown Player, Diego Fagundez, and the teenager returned the favor minutes later by drawing a penalty in the box. Shalrie Joseph put the PK away to make it 2-1 Chivas. Dan Kennedy, Chivas' Goalkeeper, came up huge with a goal line save on a Joseph header in the  79' to keep the score 2-1 in Chivas' favor. Alejandro Moreno put the game away for Chivas in the 80' with his second goal of the night. The Revs were able to get one late from teenager, Diego Fagundez, which was the first of his career but it wasn't enough as the 11,523 at Gillete Stadium went home empty handed.

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Philadelphia Union 1, Houston Dynamo 1

Philadelphia were looking to get back on top of the East while Houston was looking to get into the play-off picture on Saturday night, however both teams settled on just a point each. Philadelphia got the first goal of the game from Homegrown Player, Jack McInerney, in the15'. The goal was created by a series of two touch passing that ended in a great through ball by Sebastian LeToux to McInerney who slotted it past Tally Hall for his first goal of the season. Philadelphia almost caught the Dynamo on a counterattack just minutes later and McInerney nearly got his second goal of the night but he was called offside and the goal was waived. After some soft defending Corey Ashe nearly tied it in the 35' with a long range effort but it just missed on the outside netting. Sebastian LeToux almost put the Union up two in the 84' when he found himself behind the Dynamo defense and in on Tally Hall. His right footed shot got past Hall but it mercilessly bounced off the far post and out. Just a minute later Geoff Cameron equalized for Houston off of a poorly cleared ball from the Union. The clearance fell to Cameron who took one touch to give himself some space around a Union defender and them sent a low hard shot to the lower left corner of the net. The late goal was enough to earn the Dynamo a draw on the road and robbed the Union and the 18,524 fans at PPL Park of the full 3 points.

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Sporting Kansas City 1, Seattle Sounders 2

Sporting Kansas City looked to extend their home unbeaten streak to 15 against the Seattle Sounders as they faced off in front of 17,493 fans at LSP. Kansas City pressured early and nearly got a goal in the 7'   when Kei Kamara got a quality header on the Sounders goal from a dangerous Seth Sinovic cross but Kasey Keller was able to push it over the crossbar for a corner. However, in the 20' Kamara got his head to a long throw-in from Matt Besler and this time Kasey Keller could not keep it out and KC was ahead 1-0. Seattle's Alvaro Fernandez nearly equalized in the 28' but his header went wide from a good James Riley cross. SKC' C.J. Sapong had a couple of quality scoring chances but both were turned away by Seattle's defense. Then in the 58' the momentum shifted from Sporting KC in favor of Seattle when Omar Bravo was sent off for a reckless foul. 1O minutes later KC Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made two monstrous saves to keep KC ahead. Seattle eventually got the equalizer late in the game from Mauro Rosales after some shabby defending in the box by Sporting KC. Then in stoppage time, Seattle got yet another goal to put Seattle ahead and send the proverbial dagger through Sporting KC's heart. The late game comeback secured the Sounder's 3 points in the match, continued their ascendancy in the Western Conference, and halted the Sporting KC home unbeaten streak at 14 games.

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Real Salt Lake 3, New York Red Bulls 0

The New York Red Bulls were hoping to ride the momentum they gained a week earlier by winning the Emirates Cup in London and Real Salt Lake were looking to end a 2 game losing skid at home on Saturday night. It was hard to believe that Real Salt Lake would lose a 3rd consecutive game and they quickly proved that was not to be the case. Early in the 7' New York's Rafa Marquez appeared to push Fabian Espindola down from behind in the box but the Referee did not award a penalty and play continued. New York nearly went ahead on the ensuing play after a nice give and go in the box led to a Juan Agudelo flick on goal the Nick Rimando was able to push away. In the 13' New York conceded the first goal of the night on the corner kick from that found Nat Borchers head. New York gave up another goal just before half after Rafa Marquez made a poor clearance off of a throw-in that eventually found RSL Homegrown Player, Luis Gill, who unleashed a long distance shot that left NY keep Frank Rost frozen as he saw it sail by him and into the far corner of his net. RSL added the third and final goal of the night from the penalty spot when a Real corner found the arm of NY's Roy Miller. Alvario Saborio slotted the penalty just past a diving Bouna Coundol and killed the game off for RSL. The 19,081 fans at Rio Tinto were relieved to say their team back on track with a victory at home.

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San Jose Earthquakes 1, Portland Timbers 1

Portland entered Saturday's match versus San Jose having just knocked off the LA Galaxy, arguably the best team in league, at home by a resounding 3-0 scoreline and San Jose was desperately looking to earn 3 points at home. Things looked good for Portland early in the game when Kenny Cooper put away a goal, which ended what felt like an eternal drought for him in the 23'. The goal came from a wonderful low cross that found a wide open Kenny Cooper right in front of goal. Portland nearly got another early in the second half when Jorge Perlaza got in behind the San Jose defense from a long searching ball over the top. However, Jon Busch was able to push the effort wide of his net for a corner. Sam Cronin almost leveled the score for San Jose with a curling effort from outside the box that went off the crossbar. Then recently acquired Forward Alan Gordon headed home a beautiful cross from Steven Beitashour in the 67' that sent the 10,525 fans at Buck Shaw Stadium to their feet. The Timbers continued to pressure the San Jose defense for the remainder of the game but were unable to penetrate their defenses and both teams settled on a draw.

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Los Angeles Galaxy 3, F.C. Dallas 1

The battle for Western Conference supremacy between the Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Dallas saw the Galaxy rebound off a rare mid-week loss and Dallas fall short in pursuit of 1st place in the West. Marvin  Chavez got FC Dallas off to a blazing start in the 9' when he sent s scorcher to the upper 90 of the right side of the net. Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders had little chance to stop the blast from just outside the left side of the box. In the 33' LA pulled on back off of a rare miscommunication between FC Dallas Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and his back-line. David Beckham's free kick was sent into the 6 yard box and Hartman attempted to punch it out but instead it fell past him and right to Omar Gonzalez who headed it in from a yard out. Juninho put LA ahead in the 62' following a Beckham free kick from the corner that bounced out to Juninho who put it low and slow past everyone and into the net. The 81' saw David Beckham hit Mike Magee with a perfect corner that he easily headed down and past a diving Hartman for a 3-1 lead for the Galaxy. FC Dallas never really got much in the way of offense going on the night, save the Marvin Chavez blast and the 21,546 fans at the Home Depot Center were happy to see their side earn the 3 points at home.

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Vancouver Whitecaps 4, Chicago Fire  2

The weekend finale saw a “Battle of the Bottoms” between the struggling Vancouver Whitecaps and the Chicago Fire. Although both team's post season dreams have faded someone forgot to mention that to Vancouver's Eric Hassli who put on quite the show. Hassli got on the board in the first 32 seconds of the game with a wonderful strike from the top of the box that beat the Fire's Sean Johnson to the top left corner of the net. However, the Fire's Dominic Oduro showed a great individual effort as he showed some great dribbling and finishing skills in the 23'. Vancouver's Gershon Koffie put the Whitecaps back in the leads only seconds later from a long distance shot that bounced in front of and over a diving Sean Johnson for a 2-1 Vancouver lead. The Whitecaps almost added another just before the half when Camillo was taken down in the box by the Fire' Cuesta. However, Eric Hassli's PK was stopped by Sean Johnson keeping the score at 2-1. Just after the break Vancouver's Camillo displayed some crafty dribbling skills to turn on the Fire defense and get himself an open shot on Sean Johnson from the left side of the 6 yard box that he deftly finished low to the opposite side of the net. The 72' saw Eric Hassli earn his brace on the night following a dangerous free kick by Camillo that forced Sean Johnson into a diving save. Unfortunately for him the rebound fell to a wide open Hassli who tapped it home from a couple yards out. Chicago's Orr Barouch was able to get on back for the Fire but it was enough as the Whitecaps treated their 18,714 fans at Empire Field to a victory.
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The MLS Recap is brought to you by Pedro Gomes. You can email him at or follow him on twitter @MLSSuperSub. Feel free to share your thoughts via twitter or below.

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