Monday, July 30, 2012

MLS Recap Week 21

Article by Pedro Gomes

The action around MLS this week had just the right amount of mix for perfection. We had an All-Star studded affair in mid-week and capped it on on the weekend with amazing goals, saves and comebacks. Chicago’s Sean Johnson and the Crew’s Jairo Arrieta along with New England’s Saer Sene put their talents on display this weekend. So let us take a quick look back at all the action and you can decide for yourself if it met your liking.

Real Salt Lake 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 1

The Vancouver Whitecaps traveled to Salt Lake City to face Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto where 18,702 fans were in attendance. Real Salt Lake put pressure onto the Vancouver backline and it eventually paid off the 32’ when a cross sent into the box by Fabain Espindola was handled in the air by Vancouver’s Jay DeMerit before it could reach the head of Kyle Beckerman. Alvaro Saborio stepped to the spot moments later and buried the penalty kick for the 1-0 Salt Lake lead. Vancouver would answer in the 52’ when Camillo sent a clever one-timed flick up and over the Salt Lake defense that Mattocks got on the end of and finished past Nick Rimando, who took a bad angle on the ball. Minutes later Vancouver nearly took the lead off a Davidson shot but it clanged off the left post. However, Salt Lake was able to jump out in front in the 58’ off the head of Alvaro Saborio. Javier Morales sent a cross into the box that Saborio beat his man to and headed it low and past Joe Cannon. Cannon would later see Red for handling a ball outside the box and Real Salt Lake eventually went on to victory at home.

Toronto FC 0, Houston Dynamo 2

Toronto FC hosted the Houston Dynamo at BMO Field with 19,652 supporters on hand to take in the match. Toronto evaded an early opportunity by Houston’s Macoumba Kandji with a last second tackle by Richard Eckersley. However, Toronto couldn’t evade another Houston opportunity just seconds before the half as Calen Carr headed in a Brad Davis corner that was flicked onto him at the back post by Bobby Boswell. The Houston Dynamo would put the game away in the 86’ courtesy of Brian Ching. The play began with some nifty play by Oscar Boniek-Garcia who played Brad Davis into the left side of the Toronto box. Davis slipped a pass back toward the center of the box that found Brian Ching who finished it past Milos Kocic. Toronto FC would see the visitors leave BMO field with all 3 points by the final whistle.

Montreal Impact 3, New York Red Bulls 1

The New York Red Bulls traveled north of the border to face the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo where 19,441 supporters where there to greet them. Both teams had a couple of decent opportunities in the first half but neither could put them away to break the deadlock. Montreal would eventually do so in the 48’ when Marco Di Vaio opened his MLS scoring account. Di Vaio received a pass along the left side of the Red Bull penalty box with a good deal of space around him. He picked out the far side of the net and slotted a low ball right to it to give the Impact the 1-0 lead. The Impact would make it 2-0 in the 50’ when Davy Arnaud beat the Red Bull Offside trap right down the center of the field and beat Bill Gaudette one-on-one. The Red Bulls would pull one back in the 57’ when Thierry Henry put away a Lindpere cross that fell to him on the far post. The impact would add a third goal in the 74’ when Sanna Nyassi found himself open on the right side of the Red Bull defense and was able to round the keeper and put away his shot. The Impact would hold on to the 3-1 scoreline and earn all 3 points at home.

FC Dallas 0, Los Angeles Galaxy 1

The Los Angeles Galaxy traveled to Frisco, Texas to face FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium where 22,565 supporters lent their voices for the match. Both sides exchanged some good jabs but neither could score a good shot on the other and the game went scoreless into the second half. The sparring continued into the early part of the second half until Mike Magee broke the deadlock in the 62’ off a bit of nice work from Robbie Keane. Magee elected to take a left-footed curler from the top of the box instead of lay the ball off for Robbie Keane and it paid off for the Galaxy. The galaxy would hold onto the lead for the remainder of the match and leave Frisco with all three points.

Sporting Kansas City 1, Columbus Crew 2

Sporting Kansas City hosted the Columbus Crew at LiveStrong Sporting Park where a 9th consecutive sell-out crowd of 18,938 was on hand to take in the match. Sporting Kansas City got off to a quick start with a goal from Kei Kamara in the 8’. Graham Zusi sent a good cross toward the center of the penalty box that Kamara rose high to meet with his head and direct into the back of the net for the 1-0 KC lead. The Crew were not down for long as Jairo Arrieta equalized the match in the17’. The Crew’s Josh Williams played a ball in between two Sporting defenders that Arrieta was able to touch in behind them and take a well-placed shot low and hard to the far side of the goal. Arrieta would find the back of the net again in the 34’ but this time in much more dramatic fashion. Graham Zusi turned the ball over to Arrieta about 30 or so yards out from goal. The Costa Rican turned and fired an absolute laser toward goal that whizzed past Jimmy Nielsen and into the back of the net. Sporting Kansas City would apply tons of pressure on the Crew defense but simple chances by both Teal Bunbury and Kei Kamara were miss hit in front of goal and missed the goal. The Crew would walk away from LiveStrong Park with the full three points but will be down Cole Grossman as he was shown straight red for a challenge on Graham Zusi late in the game.

Colorado Rapids 1, Seattle Sounders 2

The Colorado Rapids along with 13,816 supporters welcomed the Seattle Sounders to Dicks Sporting Goods Park. Seattle got off to a dream start with a goal from Eddie Johnson in the 2’ of play. Johnson won the aerial challenge with Omar Cummings near the center of the 6 yard box and buried his header from the Mauro Rosales corner kick. Colorado responded with a goal of their own just a minute later with a top shelf finish by Drew Moor. Brian Mullen whipped in a low hard cross from the right side of the field that skipped through the 6 yard box of the Seattle defense and right to an open Moor on the back post. Moor buried it hard and high to equalize for the Rapids. Seattle would find the go ahead goal from Osvaldo Alonso in the 65’. Seattle showed some patience in their attack and played the ball around the final third a few times before Eddie Johnson would send a cross to the far side of the box that Alonso side volleyed past Matt Pickens. The score would hold and Seattle would leave the park with all three points.

San Jose Earthquakes 1, Chicago Fire 1

The Chicago Fire traveled to Buck Shaw Stadium to face the league leading San Jose Earthquakes in front of a crowd of 10,525 supporters. The first half saw both teams with test each other’s keepers who answered each chance with a great save. But as the match went deeper into the first half, Chicago finally got one past Jon Busch against the run of play. Chris Rolfe sent a perfectly place toe-poke to the far corner of the net and just past an out-stretched Busch to give the visitors the lead. The rest of the match saw some more amazing stops by both keepers keeping the score at 1-0. Sean Johnson in particular came with a number of huge saves to keep Chicago ahead. But then in stoppage time San Jose’s Alan Gordon went in hard on a challenge for a loose ball in the Fire box and was shown a second yellow and subsequent red and was sent off. However, San Jose’s other miracle man, Steven Lenhart buried a hard low shot in the 8’ minute of stoppage time that beat everyone and found the far corner of the net to salvage a point at home for the Earthquakes.

Portland Timbers 0, Chivas USA 1

The Portland Timbers hosted Chivas USA at JELD-WEN Field where the usual 20,438 fans were on hand to take in the match. The first half was all Portland as they created a number of good scoring opportunities. No one had a better opportunity than Chris Boyd in the 42’ as a Diego Chara cross from the left side of the box found its way to an open Boyd on the back post who whiffed on the shot and couldn’t convert. The second half saw more of the same from Portland as they created a few more chances but couldn’t convert any of them. However, it only took Chivas USA one chance to find the back of the net and it came off the head of Danny Califf. Chivas’ Ben Zemanski whipped in a cross toward the top of the box that Troy Perkins decided to make a run at. But the ball was too far out in front of him to make a play and Califf beat him to it and headed it past Perkins and into the back of the Portland net. The Timbers tried to find an equalizer but all of their efforts came up just a little short as Chivas USA stole all 3 points on the road.

Philadelphia Union 2, New England Revolution 1

The New England Revolution traveled down to PPL Park to face-off against the there to take it all in. The Revolution took an early lead in the 12’ off an amazing knuckling shot by Saer Sene. Sene received the ball near the right side of the box close to 30 yards out from goal. Sene took a couple of touches and lined up a shot that had a wicked amount of movement on it that fooled Zac MacMath for the 1-0 New England lead. The Philadelphia Union escaped a hand ball call in the box on Carlos Valdez in the 49’ and in the 58’ they received a bit more fortune as Jack McInerney was awarded a penalty for being taken down by Kevin Alston but the replays showed he was just outside the penalty box when the foul occurred. Either way Freddy Adu stepped to the spot and buried the Penalty Kick to level the score at 1. The Union would complete the comeback in the 90’ when Sheanon Williams sent a far post cross in the direction of McInerney who got a bit of separation from his defender and headed it down and throw the legs of Matt Reis.

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