Thursday, July 5, 2012

MLS Mid-Week Recap

by Pedro Gomes

Happy belated Fourth of July everyone. Although not every match in the mid-week line-up offered its own dose of fireworks for the MLS faithful there was still plenty of soccer to watch on Tuesday and Wednesday night. And the late game dramatics of the Los Angeles and Philadelphia game capped off a spectacular slate of Holiday activities. So let’s have a little look back at all the action that occurred on the day after our nation’s 236th birthday celebration.

Houston Dynamo 0, Chicago Fire 0

The Houston Dynamo hosted the visiting Chicago Fire at BBVA Stadium in front of a supportive crowd of 22,039. The match started brightly for the Houston Dynamo as recently signed Designated Player, Oscar Boniek Garcia was involved often and displayed his talent and skill on numerous occasions. However, as the game wore on both teams seemed to slow down the tempo of the match and it became a bit sloppy all around. Both teams would end up splitting the points in a match that was less than memorable.

Portland Timbers 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1

The San Jose Earthquakes traveled north to face the Portland Timbers as JELD-WEN Field where 20,438 passionate supporters awaited. The first half of play saw an impressive performance put on by Portland's Franck Songo'o who was extremely active in creating a number of chances for Portland. It was through his skill and effort that Portland's first goal was created. Songo'o began a quick Portland counter-attack up the right side of the field after dispossessing Rafael Baca in his defensive third. Songo'o played the ball to Eric Alexander who gave it back to Songo'o in space who carried up along the right flank. Songo'o sent a near post cross to Danny Mwanga who finished it over David Bingham for the 1-0 lead in the 29'. Portland would add a second in the 59' off a free kick that was sent into the box that Futty Danso went up and challenged for. Danso's challenge knocked the ball out of Bingham's hands and the rebound rolled toward goal and Jack Jewsbury was able to poke the loose ball into the net. San Jose would pull one back in the 74' off the foot of Alan Gordon right in front of goal. The Earthquakes were unable to complete the comeback and the Timbers held on to the 3 points at home.

Montreal Impact 1, Sporting Kansas City 3

The Montreal Impact hosted Sporting Kansas City at brand new Stade Saputo in front of a crowd of 12,085. The Impact came out strong and new signed DP Marco Di Vaio was very involved in the first half and had a number of good opportunities to put one away. However, the Impact couldn't find the back of the net until the 49' when Patrice Bernier put away a centering pass by Felipe that was originally intended for Di Vaio. Regardless of the original intended recipient of the pass Bernier finished the chance nicely and the Impact were ahead 1-0. Sporting KC would then receive to penalty calls to put them ahead by a score of 2-1. The first penalty was called for a hand ball in the box and Kei Kamara stepped to the spot and put away the opportunity. The second call was on Davy Arnaud for taking down Soony Saad during a Sporting KC corner kick. This time it was Graham Zusi who stepped to the spot to convert. Sporting would add a third goal on the night in the 82' off a Jacob Peterson volley that took a deflection off an Impact defender and beat Donovan Ricketts. The Impact would not mount a comeback and wound up with a loss in front of their home crowd.

FC Dallas 1, Toronto FC 1

Toronto FC traveled to Frisco, Texas to square off against FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium in front of a sold out crowd. The home team jumped out to an early lead in the 5' of play when Jackson sent a free kick into the Toronto box that Andrew Jacobson headed to Zach Lloyd for the diving headed finish. The goal put Dallas ahead 1-0 early into the match. However, Toronto would find an equalizer off the foot of red-hot Danny Koevermanns in the 31'. The play began with a poor clearance by FC Dallas that was sent back into the box by Toronto. The ball bounced around until it fell to Eric Avilla on the left side of the box that sent a near post cross to Koevermans who flicked it past Keving Hartman with the top part of his right boot. That was the final goal of the match and it ended in a 1-1 draw and both teams had to settle on one point each.

Colorado Rapids 0, Vancouver Whitecaps 1

The Vancouver Whitecaps traveled to Dicks Sporting Goods Park to face the Colorado Rapids in front of 18,757 passionate supporters. The match was the first for Vancouver’s new acquisition, Barry Robson, who almost made an immediate impact in the 4’ with a long range effort that did not miss by much. However, it was the Rapids who put on a good deal of pressure for the remainder of the first half but could not capitalize on any of their chances. Vancouver did capitalize on their opportunity with a good finish by Darren Mattocks in the 43’. Mattocks was able to take advantage of a miss clearance by Colorado’s Drew Moor. Moor did not make clean contact with the cross that was sent in and the ball trickled in behind him for an open look for Mattocks who was quick to react on the play. The Rapids continued to push for the remainder of the game but all of their chances came just a little bit short and Vancouver walked away with the clean sheet and three points on the road.

Real Salt Lake 0, Seattle Sounders 0

Real Salt Lake hosted the Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium where 20,363 fans were in attendance hoping to see their respective teams break a long streak of poor results. The first half of play so a plethora of crosses sent into both teams boxes followed by poor finishing that result in little clear cut chances to score. Although there were no goals there were plenty of chippy fouls and yellow cards for bad behavior. The second half saw similar attempts to break the scoring deadlock but an Alvaro Saborio goal in the 52’ was called back due to offside. Seattle’s best chance of the night came in the88’ when they broke a quick counter up the left side of the field however, Mauro Rosales’ cross just missed the toes of a Seattle attacker in the box for the late game winner. Both teams settled on a draw in the end.

Philadelphia Union 2, Los Angeles Galaxy 1

The Los Angeles Galaxy opened the doors to the Home Depot Center for the visiting Philadelphia Union and 27,000 fans were on hand to witness the inter-conference matchup. The Union got on the board first in the 46’ off a clever little back heel flick from Jack McInerney past Josh Saunders. Michael Farfan began the play with some good one-on-one moves along the right side of the field. He eventually got by his man near the endline and sent a good near post pass to McInerney who flicked it to the far post. It was interesting to see the lack of celebration between McInerney and Freddy Adu after the goal, as a side not. Los Angeles would equalize in the 73’ off the toe of Chad Barrett. Todd Dunivant sent in a centering pass into traffic that got by Robbie Keane on the near post but not by Chad Barrett in the center of the 6 yard box who poked it into the net for the equalizer. There would be some late game dramatics as Philadelphia found a late game winner in the 95’when Lionard Pajoy sent Michael Farfan in behind the Galaxy defense with a clever back-heel. Farfan had a good look at goal and curled a right-footed shot around Josh Saunders and into the far side of the net.

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