Although it might have been Labor Day Weekend around America, MLS teams were putting in plenty of hard work to secure Playoff Spots heading into the post season. Let’s take a look back and enjoy the action across the league as the post season contenders and post season pretenders are becoming clearer each game.
Portland Timbers 1, Colorado Rapids 0
The Colorado Rapids traveled to JELD-WEN Field to face the Portland Timbers and 20,438 die hards were on hand. The Colorado Rapids had a decent flurry of attacks on the Timber net early in the first half but the Rose City defense held strong. Portland countered with a very good chance on goal by Frank Songo’o just before halftime that took a deflection toward goal off a Colorado defender but Matt Pickens was still able to make an incredible reactionary save with his feet to keep it out. Portland would not be denied a second time just moments later in the 45’. A strong counter-attack by the Timbers saw the ball pushed out wide to Sal Zizzo on the right. Bright Dike made a great run toward the center of the goal, just behind his defender, in which Zizzo rewarded with a well-placed low cross right to his feet for the easy tap-in in front of goal. The Timbers continued to press but couldn’t find another goal but they did manage to earn all three points and home and an important clean sheet.
New England Revolution 0, Philadelphia Union 0
The New England Revolution hosted the Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium in front of a crowd of 11,841 supporters. Neither team put on an impressive display of offense in the first half but Philadelphia did have the better of the chances. The closest they came to scoring in the first half came off a corner where Amobi Okugo rose up to meet the ball but his header clanged off the crossbar. The Union continued to pressure the Revolution defense in the second half but once again they couldn’t convert due to a couple of big saves by Matt Reis. Antoine Hoppenot had a one-on-one break to start the half that he couldn’t get by Reis and later Brian Carrol was stopped by Reis’ right shoulder to keep the game level. And level at 0 is how the game would end and both teams split left Gillete Stadium with a point for the night.
Columbus Crew 2, Montreal Impact 1
The Montreal Impact traveled to Crew Stadium to do battle against the Columbus Crew where 12,522 supporters came out to take in the match. The game got off to a controversial start as Montreal’s Nelson Rivas appeared to have handled the ball in the box after Jairo Arrieta tried to flick it past him. Referee, Chris Penso, did not blow the whistle and the game played on. The Crew probed the Impact net a couple of times in the first half but Troy Perkins came up with some huge saves to keep the game at 0. The Impact jumped out in the front in the 73’. Sanna Nyassi charged up the left side of the field and got through a couple of Crew defenders before laying it off to Felipe at the top of the box. Felipe found DiVaio on the right side of the box and he calmly placed it over Andy Greunebaum for the goal. The Crew answered off a Chad Marshall header in the 80’. Federico Higuain provided yet another quality ball into the box from a free kick and Marshal finished the chance well. Higuain would provide another quality cross into the box late in the 93’ that would be finished by Emilio Renteria into the Impact net to give the Crew the dramatic late game victory and another vital 3 points against another playoff contender.
Sporting Kansas City 2, Toronto FC 1
Sporting Kansas City hosted Toronto FC at LiveStrong Sporting Park where 18,481 of Kansas City’s finest came out to support. Kansas City dominated much of the first half with a few great opportunities to put a goal away but couldn’t find the back of the net. However, it only took Toronto one good look at goal and they were able to convert in the 44’ thanks to a great pass over the top by Denis Eckersley and a nice touch and finish from Ryan Johnson. Sporting Kansas City would find a goal of their own in the 60’ courtesy of Paulo Nagamura and a bit of fortune. Kansas City initially played a free kick into the box that was headed out by Toronto. The ball came out to the top of the box and Nagamura tried to side-volley it into the net but the ball bounced off the field and over the outstretched hand of Freddy Hall in net. Kansas City found the game winner in the 87’ with what some could say yet a little more fortune and an average strike by Oriol Rosell. Rosell collected a ball from the right side of the field and simply side footed it toward goal in a hopeful effort. The ball took a few bounces on its way toward Freddy Hall who let it bounce over his hands and into the net to give SKC the late game winner.
Real Salt Lake 1, DC United 0
DC United made their way to Rio Tinto Stadium to face off against Real Salt Lake in front of a crowd of 20,334 supporters. The match got off to a rough start as the match was suspended for nearly one and a half hours after only 3 minutes of play. When play did resume it was DC united who had the best scoring opportunity of the first half as a long distance strike from Dwayne De Rosario rattled the left post as Nick Rimando got enough of the ball to keep it out. Real Salt Lake eventually got on the board in the 49’. Paullo Jr. sent a cross into the box from the left side of the box. The cross was deflected by a DC United defender and Salt Lake’s, Will Johnson, was able to beat Bill Hamid to the ball and head it past him for the goal. Real Salt Lake did not allow any quality goal-scoring opportunities for DC United and they were able to hold onto the 1-0 victory and all three points at home.
Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 0
The Los Angeles Galaxy hosted the Vancouver Whitecaps at The Home Depot Center where 20,168 fans came out in support. The Galaxy struck first in the 41’ as good patient build-up play eventually led to a 25 yard blast by Juninho the found the top right corner of the net. The Galaxy nearly added a second goal just after the half but their flurry of shots were kept out of the Whitecaps net by some good desperate defending. The Galaxy eventually did find that crucial second goal in the 79’ off a wonderful David Beckham free kick from about 25 yards out. The Whitecaps would not be able to mount a comeback and they suffered their 4th straight defeat in MLS.
Chicago Fire 3, Houston Dynamo 1
The Chicago Fire and 17,007 supporters welcomed the Houston Dynamo into Toyota Park for an Eastern Conference showdown. The Fire got off to a Hot start (see what I did there) as Patrick Nyarko put the Fire up in the 1’ of play. Nyarko intercepted a poor cross field pass by Andre Hainault and took off toward the Dynamo goal. Nyarko finished his one v one chance with a clever finish through Tally Hall’s legs. The Dynamo nearly answered with a goal 13’ but the goal by Mac Kandji was called back due to a handball. The Fire took advantage of another poor pass from the Dynamo in the mid-field to launch a counter. The ball eventually came to Shejill MacDonald on the right side of the box who took a bad shot that luckily found the foot of Daniel Paladini who knocked it in for the 2 goal Fire lead. The Dynamo were able to pull one back in the 90’ courtesy of a Brad Davis corner and a header by Brian Ching. The Fire weren’t done either as they added a late and wonderful goal from Alex in the 93’. Alex uncorked a long shot from just outside the box the bounced off the right post and into the left side netting to seal the victory for the Fire and all three points at home.
FC Dallas 1, Seattle Sounders 1
The Seattle Sounders visited FC Dallas Park to do battle with FC Dallas and 12,811 fans were on hand for the match. Dallas nearly jumped out ahead early but an Andrew Jacobson header in the 8’ was cleared off the line by Patrick Ianni. Seattle got on the board first in the 20’ with a tap-in by Mauro Rosales. The goal was possible thanks to a great bit of skill by Steve Zakuani along the left side of the field who beat his man to the end line and slipped a dangerous pass across the face of goal. It was a nice bit of skill reminiscent of what Zakuani used to grace us with on a regular occasion before his injury. Dallas would find an equalizer in the 32’ following a bit of controversy. Dallas began the attack in the midfield after Julian DeGuzman lost possession of the ball only to tackle Steve Zakuani to regain possession. While Seattle was looking for the foul, Zach Lloyd played a ball into the box that Blas Perez controlled with his chest and then sent a low hard ball toward the front of goal that skipped by the Seattle defenders but not past Jackson who poked it into the net. The rest of the match remained did not see any additional goals and both teams had to settle on a point.
San Jose Earthquakes 4, Chivas USA 0
The San Jose Earthquakes hosted Chivas USA at Buck Shaw Stadium in front of a crowd of 10,525. San Jose jumped out early and never looked back. Victor Bernardez scored on a low hard free kick the curled around the wall and past Dan Kennedy in the 11’ of the match. Simon Dawkins added a second goal in the 39’ for San Jose with a nice finish following a quick attack by San Jose. Ramiro Corrales added a 3rd goal for San Jose following a nice bending Free Kick up and over the wall and into the right side of the net. The 4th San Jose goal came in the 81’ and it came from Corrales once again. Corrales took a quick free kick and it surprised the entire Chivas USA team including Dan Kennedy. San Jose continued their climb up the charts and are getting closer to claiming the Supporter’s Shield for 2012.