Tuesday, October 2, 2012

MLS Recap: Week 30

Article by Pedro Gomes

Week 30 saw more pure moments of brilliance across the league. Thierry Henry put in an MLS Player of the Week performance for New York. San Jose provided more late game heroics, and we saw some fantastic strikes from Ryan Johnson and Marcelo Sargas to name a few. So let us have a look back and remember all the great action.

Sporting Kansas City 2, Chicago Fire

Sporting Kansas City hosted the Chicago Fire at LiveStrong Sporting Park where 21,010 supporters came out in force. Kansas City got off to a quick start with Graham Zusi netting the first goal of the game in the 11’. Kei Kamara got past his man on the right side of the field and made his run in toward goal. Zusi checked his far post run and decided to cut back across the center of the box where he got on the end of a low cross by Kamara and finished it near post. Chicago tried to get back in the game but their offense and rhythm seemed just a little bit off all night and all of their chances came up just a fraction off. Kansas City would add a second goal late in stoppage time courtesy of a right footed curler from Graham Zusi that found the far side netting. Kansas City held off the surging Fire at home and added another valuable 3 points at home.

New York Red Bulls 4, Toronto FC 1

Toronto FC traveled “South of the Border” to face off against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena where 25,017 fans were on hand to take in the match. Toronto became yet another team to get off to a quick start at Red Bull Arena this year as Ryan Johnson put away the first goal in only the 6’ of the game. And what a goal it was. Ryan uncorked a shot from close to 35 yards out that soared right into the upper left corner of the net, giving Luis Robles little chance. New York answered in the 13’ with a headed goal from Marcus Holgersson on a Thierry Henry corner. New York added a second goal in the 27’ from the right foot of Kenny Cooper. Thierry Henry and Lloyd Sam played a nice give-and-go to get Henry in behind the Toronto defense. Henry then cut a pass back across the goal to find an open Cooper waiting near the back post who slotted it home for the 2-1 NY advantage.

Henry created yet another moment of brilliance for New York in the 88’ as he took a couple of great touches in the box to get around a Toronto defender before sliding another pass back across to an open Cooper on the far side for his second goal of the night. Henry would get his own goal for the night in the 93’ as he sent a beautiful chipped ball over the head of Hall and into the far side netting from about 25 yards out to seal the game in fashion. With the victory, New York jumped into 2nd place in the East with Chicago but ahead on goal differential.

Columbus Crew 3, Philadelphia Union 2

The Columbus Crew hosted the Philadelphia Union at Crew Stadium and 14,673 supporters made their way out to the stadium to take in the critical match-up. Much of the first half did not produce any great scoring chances until the 43’ when Jairo Arrieta put away a Sebastian Miranda cross into the box. The cross was floated into the far post side and Arrieta was able to chest it down and slot it past Zac MacMath to give the home team the 1-0 lead. Columbus added a second goal in the 50’ courtesy of Arrieta once again. This time the Costa Rican showed some craft to get on the end of a long goal kick and danced around one defender before slotted it past MacMath, again. Philadelphia pulled one back in the 65’ on a Danny Cruz Penalty Kick, after Andre Hoppenot was taken down in the box by Andy Gruenebaum. The Union would equalize in the 86’ when Jack McInerney flicked home a shot off a deflected cross. The Crew would steal a victory just moments later when a Milovan Mirosevic put away a shot after it appears he was offside following a sliding pass into the box by Josh Williams. Either way the goal stood and the Crew now sit only one point outside the playoff picture.

Houston Dynamo 2, New England Revolution 0

The Houston Dynamo squared off against the New England Revolution at BBVA Compass Stadium in front of a crowd of 22,039. The Dynamo were lucky to escape the first 20 minutes of the match without conceding a goal as New England had a couple of good chances off a Free Kick and the run of play but couldn’t convert either chance. The Dyanamo came back late in the second half to finally put away a chance in the 77’. The Dynamo showed good patience and build-up near the right side of the box before Brad Davis delivered a dangerous near-post ball to Ricardo Clark who directed it toward the far post and in. Following the goal the Dynamo continued to push the game and created a number of good scoring opportunities that were kept out by Bobby Shuttleworth or the post. Their hard work would be rewarded in stoppage time as Oscar Boniek Garcia slammed home a volley off a Warren Creavalle floated cross to the back post. The Dynamo earned a much needed 3 points at home to retain the last spot in the Eastern Conference Playoff picture.

Vancouver Whitecaps 0, Seattle Sounders 0

The Seattle Sounders did battle against the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place in front of a 21,000 strong crowd. Both teams entered with playoff and Cascadia Cup aspirations on the line. Seattle could clinch a playoff berth with a win or a draw and the Whitecaps are still clinging to the final spot in the West. Both teams created a couple of good scoring opportunities in the first half but couldn’t put them away. The second half saw some more of the same where both teams threatened both neither could convert. The match ended in a Draw allowing Seattle to clinch a playoff spot and taking the Cascadia Cup back down to Seattle for a decisive match on October 7th against the Portland Timbers.

Chivas USA 0, Real Salt Lake 4

Chivas USA opened the doors to The Home Depot Center and welcomed Real Salt Lake as well as a crowd of 11,450 supporters. Real Salt Lake wasted little time in feeling at home at the Home Depot Center as Alvaro Saborio tapped in an early goal in the 8’. Fabian Espindola sent a ball into the box that Javier Morales flicked on toward the back post that Saborio got on the end of to tap into the net. Saborio would add a second goal in the 11’ after Espindola intercepted a weak outlet pass from Dan Kennedy to make the score 2-0 in favor of Real Salt Lake. Salt Lake continued to press and just missed putting a few more chances away if it wasn’t for good saves by Dan Kennedy and a goal-line clearance by John Valencia. Saborio would eventually get his Hat Trick in the 65’ off a wonderful turn and chip shot from the top of the box that floated over Dan Kennedy, bounced off the bottom of the crossbar, and into the net. Real Salt Lake added another goal in the 81’ off a top shelf finish by Paulo Jr. Real Salt Lake earned three points on the road and solidified their number two spot in the West.

Portland Timbers 1, DC United 1

D.C. United traveled to JELD-WEN Field to face the Portland Timbers and the usual 20,438 fans were on hand to take in the game. Portland held the better of the chances in the first half but couldn’t find the net with any of the opportunities. D.C. United then got a fortuitous hand-ball penalty called against Portland’s David Horst after he tried to rise up and defend a Perry Kitchen cross. Moments later Chris Pontius stepped to the spot and converted the penalty to give D.C. the 1-0 advantage. Portland would find the equalizer in the 79’ when Bright Dike blasted a shot from close range and a tight angle into the roof of the net. The game ended in a draw and D.C. United earned another valuable point on the road to keep them in the playoff picture in the East.

San Jose Earthquakes 3, FC Dallas 3

FC Dallas traveled to Buck Shaw Stadium to face the red-hot San Jose Earthquakes and 10,744 supporters were there to cheer them on. San Jose struck first in the 24’ as Marvin Chavez sent a bouncing cross into the box that Wondolowski dummied through his legs for Alan Gordon to put away in the center of the box. Dallas equalized in the 37’ as Jackson sent a ball into the box that Blas Perez controlled and finished far post to put the teams even. FC Dallas would score again in the 72’ as David Ferreira curled a cross off the head of Blas Perez right near the edge of the 6 yard box to give Dallas the lead. San Jose’s Steven Lenhart equalized again for San Jose in the 82’ with a left-footed toe poke into the top of the net. Dallas would regain the lead in the 88’ following a Daniel Hernandez volley that dinged off the post and back into play before Matt Hedges finally put it away in front of net. As has been the case all year, San Jose found a bit of late game heroics from Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart to tie the game in the dying moments. The ball pinged around the Dallas box following a corner kick before it was eventually curled in toward the 6 yard box. Alan Gordon flicked the pass back toward Lenhart who headed it in for the equalizer.

Los Angeles Galaxy 1, Colorado Rapids 1

The Colorado Rapids hosted the Los Angeles Galaxy at Dicks Sporting Goods Park where 17,649 supporters lent their voice to the game. Los Angeles came out swinging, with a rocket of a blast off the foot of Marcelo Sargas from just outside the box in the 10’. The ball rolled out toward the top of the box after Robbie Keane got caught up with a few defenders and Sargas blistered a shot to the top far corner. The Rapids responded with a great counter-attack in the 16’ that eventually led to a nice finish from Jamie Castrillon. Both teams could not break the deadlock for the remainder of the match and had to split the points in the end. Los Angeles continued their 13 game unbeaten streak alive.

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