Article by Pedro Gomes
MLS got back into the swing of things this weekend as many of the teams returned to action after a long break that included a FIFA date. The action proved to still be entertaining and fiercely contested as one of the greatest spectacles in the league, the Cascadia Cup, took place on the NBC mother ship and Portland and Seattle did not disappoint the national audience. Let’s have a look back at the rest of the action.
Sporting Kansas City 1, Houston Dynamo 1
Sporting Kansas City hosted the visiting Houston Dynamo at LiveStrong Sporting Park where 19,877 supporters came out in force. Kansas City nearly jumped out to an early lead in the first 5 minutes when C.J. Sapong took advantage of a poor play from Houston’s Jermaine Taylor but Tall Hall cut off his angle and Graham Zusi couldn’t put it into the back of the net from the top of the box. Beside one great opportunity just before half for the Dynamo, Kansas City enjoyed the better of the offensive chances in the game. However, it was Houston who would score first in the 58’ off the left foot of Brad Davis from just outside the box. The shot gave Jimmy Nielsen some trouble and just beat him to the far side of the net to give Houston the lead. But Sporting Kansas City would not go down quietly at home. In the 3rd minute of stoppage time, Graham Zusi sent a curling pass to the back post that C.J. Sapong was able to head down and into the goal to give Sporting the late game equalizer. The crowd went into a frenzy and both teams left LiveStrong Park with a point to show for their efforts.
Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Colorado Rapids 0
The Colorado Rapids traveled to The Home Depot Center to face the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of a crowd of 20,204 fans. The Galaxy came out strong and put the Colorado defense under pressure early and often. It eventually paid off in the 15’ when Robbie Keane slotted home a goal following a nice bit of passing and build-up by the Galaxy. The Galaxy continued to press the Rapids for the rest of the first half and into the second before eventually scoring another goal in the 58’. New addition, Christian Wilhelmsson, chased done a long ball over the top from Marcelo Sargas, lost a couple of Rapids defenders near the top of the box and sent a left-footed shot toward Matt Pickens who was caught going the other way and couldn’t keep it out of his net. The match would end in favor of the Galaxy who earned another 3 points at home.
Toronto FC 1, Philadelphia Union 1
Toronto FC host the Philadelphia Union at BMO Field and 15,669 supporters were on hand in hopes of seeing their teams turn their fortunes around. Toronto came out strong and pieced together a number of good scoring opportunities in the first half. However, it wasn’t until the second half where they would see dividends from their efforts. In the 58’ Eric Hassli finally put Toronto on the board with a far post finish following a nice centering ball from Luis Silva. The Union would respond in the 85’ with a goal by Sheanon Williams. The attack started with a set-piece opportunity that was cleared out but not away. The Union worked the ball from left to right before Antoine Hoppenot sent in a dangerous low cross that skirted the front of the Toronto goal before it was finally tapped into the net by Williams. Both teams would settle on a draw for the day.
Portland Timbers 1, Seattle Sounders FC 1
The Cascadia Cup took a trip to Portland, where the Timbers hosted the Seattle Sounders in front of a loud and passionate crowd of 20,438. Both teams put together a good amount of back and forth action in the first half that saw a number of decent goal-scoring chances come their way. However, it wasn’t until the 57’ when Seattle’, Freddy Montero, finally broke the dead-lock with a wonderful bit of skill. Montero chested down a long pass near the top of the box and took a quick shot before anyone could react that floated just over Joe Bendik. Bendik had just stepped onto the field as a substitute for the injured, Donovan Ricketts, before Montero made him fish a ball out of the back of his net with a great bit of skill. The Portland Timbers kept their composure and continued to press forward. It paid off in the 78’ when Rodney Wallace headed in a Jack Jewsbury cross to bring the game level and salvage a draw for the Timbers. The goal also kept the Cascadia Cup out of the hands of the Timbers who could have sealed it with a victory at home. That will have to wait until the final month of the season.
New York Red Bulls 3, Columbus Crew 1
The New York Red Bulls hosted the Columbus Crew at Red Bull Arena and 17,134 supporters filled the Arena to take in the game. They didn’t have to wait long to see the first goal as Milovan Mirosevic put away a goal in just the 3’ of play. Jairo Arrieta beat his defender along the left side of the field and sent in a low centering pass to Mirosevic that got by two New York defenders for the easy put away. New York quickly answered in the 9’ as Rafa Marquez sent a long ball in behind the Crew defense that fell to Thierry Henry who finished his one-on-one chance well. New York continued to attack the Crew defense and it paid off in the 79’ when Dax McCarty rose up to meet a Thierry Henry cross into the box and was able to head it past Andy Gruenebaum for the eventual game-winning goal. Gruenebaum was injured on the play as his head collided with the left post as he dove to keep the ball out of the net. New York would add another goal in stoppage time and it was a beauty, an “Olimpico” actually. Thierry Henry scored off his own corner kick that floated over the goalkeepers head, bounced off the far post and into the net. New York earned all three important points at home.
DC United 2, New England Revolution 1
The New England Revolution traveled to Washington D.C. to face DC United at RFK Stadium and 15,104 fans came out to watch the match. New England would jump in front first in the 29’ courtesy of some nice play between Diego Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe. Fagundez controlled a long ball well and slid a through ball in between two DC defenders for Rowe to run on to. Rowe took one touch an had a hard go at goal that took a fortunate deflection off a sliding DC defender that sent the ball past Bill Hamid and off the under-side of the crossbar and in. DC would answer on a counter-attack in the 32’. Branko Boskovic brought the ball up field before laying it off to an over-lapping, Chris Pontius at the top of the box who uncorked a low hard show that beat Matt Reis to the near post. DC continued to press and eventually found the game-winner in the 63’. Chris Pontius pushed the ball up the left side of the field after the ref called advantage for United on a foul. Pontius made his way into the box before finding Lewis Neal waiting near the top of the box who side footed it to the far post to put DC ahead. United would hold on the lead and earn a crucial three points at home.
Chicago Fire 3, Montreal Impact 1
The Chicago Fire hosted the Montreal Impact at Toyota Park in front of a crowd of 17,691. The Impact would score first in the 20’ from a nice bit of individual skill and hard work from Marco DiVaio. Di Vaido controlled a long pass from Hassoun Camara and then outworked the Fire defense to the ball before putting it to the far side of the net. Chicago leveled the game in the 34’ following a good bit of patient build-up. Jalil Anibaba sent a dangerous cross into the box that Sherjill MacDonald headed to the far post and into the net. The Fire would take advantage of a poor giveaway by the Montreal defense in the 61’ before Alex put away a nice finish in front of net to give them a 1 goal lead. The Fire would add a third goal in the 80’ as Chris Rolfe sent a centering pass behind the Montreal defense that found Alvaro Fernandez who finished the chance near post and solidify the win for Chicago. Montreal went home empty handed as the Fire earned all 3 points.
FC Dallas 1, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0
The Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Dallas met in a critical play-off potential battle at FC Dallas Park and 17,685 supporters were on hand to take in the occasion. FC Dallas nearly took an early lead when Martin Bonjour was called for a foul in the box on Matt Hedges and Dallas was awarded a penalty kick. However, David Ferreira’s ensuing penalty kick was stopped by Brad Knighton and the game remained scoreless. It remained scoreless until the dying moments of the game. Dallas thought they finally found the game winner in the 90’ but Blas Perez was called offside on his goal. But then in the 6th and final minute of stoppage time, Dallas finally found the winner. Julian DeGuzman side walleyed a ball out of mid-air that screamed into the goal just between a diving Brad Knighton and the left post to give Dallas the dramatic victory and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Chivas USA 0, San Jose Earthquakes 2
The league leaders, San Jose Earthquakes, traveled to Los Angeles to face Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center in front of a crowd of 11,317 supporters. Chivas got off to z bizarre start as John Valencia was called for a foul on Alan Gordon in the box, but away from the play. Chris Wondolowski stepped to the spot and converted the penalty kick that was called on the off-the-ball foul. San Jose would add a second goal in the 49’ with a beautiful sequence of passing. Justin Morrow streaked up the left side of the field and sent a ball back across the 18 yard box that Medhi Ballouchy dummied to Chris Wondolowski who laid it off for the one-timed shot by Alan Gordon. San Jose rolled onto victory and added yet another 3 points to their Supporter’s Shield hopes.