Monday, July 16, 2012

MLS Week 19 Recap

Recaps by Pedro Gomes
Intro by Luke Lohr

As the All-Star Team was selected, league supremacy was battled for. Several goal filled matches littered the weekend including an eight goal thriller on NBC Sports. The San Jose Earthquakes quelled any naysayers and Toronto earned badly needed road points. Philadelphia continue to play better soccer since the departure of Peter Nowak and the Portland Timbers proved that despite having offensive weapons, they need serious help with organization and fundamental defense. Nineteen weeks into the season Major League Soccer is proving to be as exciting a product as ever. Here is how the matches broke down. 

Philadelphia Union 2, Montreal Impact 1

The Philadelphia Union hosted the Montreal Impact at PPL Park and 18,544 supporters were on hand to take in the game. Both teams had a number of good opportunities to open the scoring on the night but both Zac MacMath and Donovan Ricketts came up with Save of the Week efforts to deny each one. However, when the first goal finally was put away by Philadelphia in the 82' they came fast and furious. Philadelphia's Lionard Pajoy got the first goal off a rebound a yard or two in front of the left post after Antoine Hoppenot displayed some great dribbling along the endline and sent the ball to Pajoy at the near post to poke in the loose ball. Montreal would answer in the 89' off an own goal by Philadelphia's Keon Daniel. Daniel tried to clear a corner by Patrice Bernier but ended up getting caught up with MacMath and deflected the ball into his own net. However, Philadelphia would regain the lead in the 91' off a long throw by Sheanon Williams that was slotted by Donovan Ricketts and into the net for the 2-1 Philadelphia lead and eventual victory.

New England Revolution 0, Toronto FC 1

Toronto FC traveled to Gillette Stadium to square off against the New England Revolution and 12,180 fans were on-hand to lend their support. It was the visiting team that came out swinging and got on the board in only the 8' of play. Toronto's Reggie Lambe put on a nice display of dribbling and control in the center of the field before finding Luis Silva near the top of the box who played a nice one-two with Danny Koevermans and Silva finished to the right side of the goal. Toronto put additional pressure on the New England defense for the remainder of the 1st half but couldn't get another to go in. The second half belonged to the Revolution. They had a number of good chances to equalize but Milos Kocic and the Toronto defense held strong. The only goal New England could put in came off the hand of Shalrie Joseph who received a rightful Yellow Card for the play. Toronto left New England with three crucial points.

Columbus Crew 0, Sporting Kansas City 2

The Columbus Crew and 17,588 faithful supporters hosted Sporting Kansas City at Crew Stadium. The visitors came out with a lot of energy and put the Crew under immediate pressure. Jacob Peterson got the first goal of the night in the 6' from a brilliant through ball down the center of the box by Peterson Joseph. Joseph played it with the outside of his boot and it slid through three Crew defenders to the feet of Peterson who made a nice run in behind the defense. The Crew got back into the game for a long stretch of play but all of their efforts at goal either hit the woodwork or were blanked by Jimmy Nielsen. Eventually, Kansas City doubled their lead in the 82' off a Teal Bunbury goal and sealed the Crew fate on the night.

Chicago Fire 1, Vancouver Whitecaps 0

The Chicago Fire welcomed the Vancouver Whitescaps to Toyota Park where a crowd of 16,820 showed up to support. This match up showcased two teams who have recently undergone some key offensive shake ups and it showed. The lone goal of the match came early in the 10' of play off a Pavel Pardo free kick. Pardo took a short two step approach and placed it wonderfully up and over the wall and into the top left corner of the net. Chicago would have to buckle down its defense in the second half as Arne Freidrich was ejected from the game after earning his second yellow of the match on a controversial play. Despite being having a man advantage on the Fire the Whitecaps could not mount much of an attack and never found an equalizer.

Colorado Rapids 1, FC Dallas 2

FC Dallas traveled to Dicks Sporting Goods Park to square off against the Colorado Rapids in front of a crowd of 13,284. Both teams did not produce much attacking soccer in the first half with only one clear scoring chance a piece to speak of and both came up short. However, Colorado eventually found their scoring touch in the 50' when Omar Cummings put one by Kevin Hartman. Cummings received a nice through ball on the right side of the box by Conor Casey and finished with a low hard shot to the near post that beat Hartman. Dallas would find the equalizer in the 60' off the head of Carlos Rodriguez. Fabian Castillo played a dangerous far post cross that Rodriguez was able to beat the Rapid defense to and finish with a quality header. Colorado had a couple of opportunities to pull ahead but couldn't knock one in. However, Dallas was able to do so in the 81'. David Ferreira played Carlos Rodriguez in behind the Rapid defense, however, his shot was blocked near the line but Fabian Castillo was there to knock in the rebound to give Dallas the 2-1 and eventual victory.

San Jose Earthquakes 5, Real Salt Lake 0

The San Jose Earthquakes hosted Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium where 10,744 supporters were on-hand to take in the game. The Earthquakes pulled in front of Real Salt Lake in the 18' as Chris Wondolowski headed in a loose ball following a corner. The game did not have many exciting plays for the remainder of the first half but that changed in the 57' when Kyle Beckerman was given a straight Red Card for a tackle on Sam Cronin. San Jose would take full advantage of the man advantage and add a second goal in the 63' off the thigh of Alan Gordon off a rebound from a Victor Bernardez header. Wondolowski would get his second on the night in the 72'. Shea Salinas found some room along the right side of the field and sent a dangerous near post cross to Wondolowski who was able to poke it into the back of the net. The fourth goal of the night for San Jose came off a Shea Salinas corner that deflected in the box before it fell to Simon Dawkins who buried it from a few yards out. Wondolowski would complete his hat trick in the 80' to complete an all-around great game from him and seal the 3 points for San Jose.

Portland Timbers3, Los Angeles Galaxy 5

The Portland Timbers hosted the traveling Los Angeles Galaxy at JELD-WEN field were a crowd of 20,438 supporters were present to take in the match. And what a wild match it turned out to be. Portland took an early lead in the 3' when Kris Boyd finished a Kalif Alhassan near post cross with a deft little flick. The Galaxy would equalize off the right foot of David Beckham who uncorked a vintage long range blast destined for the top corner of the far post. As if one vintage Beckham goal wasn't enough he added a second in the 24' but this time it was a curling right-footed free kick up and over the Portland wall. Landon Donovan would convert a penalty in the 27' following a foul in the box by Kosuke Kimura on LA's Michael Stephens. Robbie Keane would tap in a third goal for LA just a minute later after Landon Donovan had broken free of the Timber defense along the right side of the field and sent a ball to the feet of Keane a yard out from goal. The Timbers would pull one back in the 34' when Kris Boyd uncorked a rocket of a free kick that got bounced off of Josh Saunders and was put away by Kosuke Kimura. The Galaxy would put away a fifth goal on the night in the 64' from Robbie Keane. The Timbers would get a third consolation goal from Kris Boyd in the 70' but it wouldn't be enough and the Galaxy run away with three points on the road.

New York Red Bulls 2, Seattle Sounders 2

The New York Red Bulls hosted the Seattle Sounders at Red Bull Arena where 19,414 fans were on hand to take in the action. The visitors struck first in the 16' when Seattle's Adam Johansson sent a brilliant far post cross toward Alvaro Fernandex who finished it first time to the far side of the goal. New York would answer in the 24' when Red Bull newcomer, Sebastian LeToux, followed up a Kenny Cooper blast from the top of the box and cleaned up the rebound right in front of goal to level the score. New York would take the lead in the 61' off a left-footed finish by Joel Lindpere that beat Bryan Meredith to his near side. However, second half substitute, Freddy Montero would pull on back for Seattle in the 67' with a near post flick that beat Bill Gaudette. The teams would have to share a point on a very hot and muggy day in Red Bull Arena.

Houston Dynamo 4, DC United 0

The DC United traveled to BBVA Stadium to do battle against the Houston Dynamo and 18,871 fans showed up to take in the match. DC United put themselves in an early hole in the 17’ when Bill Hamid was shown a straight Red Card for taking down Macoumba Kandji in the box after the Dynamo Forward was sent in alone on the young DC Keeper. Brad Davis stepped to the spot and converted the ensuing penalty to give the Dynamo an early 1-0 lead. The Dynamo took full advantage of the extra man and put DC under a persistent barrage for the remainder of the match. Will Bruin gave the Dynamo a two goal lead in the 37’ when Oscar Boniek Garcia beat the DC defense to the end line and sent a nice centering pass back along the face of goal that met Bruin’s foot for the easy tap in. In the 62’ Boniek Garcia would get a goal of his own after Andre Hainault sent a far post cross from the right side of the field that Garcia headed back across the goal and into the far side netting. Houston would cap the victory off with a fourth goal in the 89’. Brian Ching converted the penalty after Calen Carr was taken down in the box by a sliding Danny Cruz.

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