Thursday, April 18, 2013

MLS Weekly: Week 7

Article by Leanne Elston

This weekend wasn’t a high-scoring one, but Dallas, New York, and Portland made important statements with their wins in Week 7 matches. Each conference got a bit rattled by the results as the Galaxy's good form was checked by FC Dallas and the Red Bulls pulled out an away win against rival DC United. Will Johnson helped to lead the Portland Timbers to a staunch win over San Jose. Here's what you need to know after Week 7 of MLS action.

The Games

FC Dallas 1-0 LA Galaxy

Once more leaving it late, Dallas defeated the previously unbeaten LA Galaxy with an 87th minute header that solidified their place as first in the West. The match was scoreless through the first half, but things began to heat up in the 60th minute when Galaxy defender Leonardo was shown a red card for a foul on Blas Pérez in the box. Kenny Cooper took the resulting penalty, but his attempt was saved. LA were given a penalty of their own just minutes later after a foul on Jose Villarreal in the box, but Landon Donovan’s effort was also saved and the match stayed 0-0. Finally, George John broke the deadlock with only minutes left to play as he headed in a rebound and made it 1-0 for Dallas, though his celebration was marred by a gash to the head courtesy of a beer bottle thrown onto the pitch from one of his own fans.

DC United 0-2 New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls put in a comprehensive shift against rivals DC United on Saturday and showed themselves as a team that might finally be clicking. Away at RFK Stadium, New York bagged the game with two first half goals. Thierry Henry hit a low shot that beat keeper Bill Hamid, and soon after Jámison Olave capitalized on a rebound, making it 2-0 for the visitors. DC struggled to create all night and failed to really threaten offensively, highlighting early season problems for the team that finished second in the East last year.

Portland Timbers 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes

Though not the game with the prettiest soccer, this one pushed the Timbers into third place in the conference and marked another stop on the way towards improvement over disappointing past seasons. Will Johnson made the difference in the 77th minute with a beautiful free kick that curled into the inside post and left the Quakes unable to respond after a night of few chances. Things had already gone south for San Jose in the 67th minute when Alan Gordon earned a second yellow for catching Mikaël Silvestre with an elbow to the face, and being down to ten men did the Quakes no favors as Portland continued the offensive pressure they’d been applying throughout the match.

The Stories

A 0-0 draw between the Seattle Sounders and New England Revolution means the Sounders still have yet to win this season, and a 2-1 win for the Houston Dynamo over the Chicago Fire means Houston are now unbeaten at home in an MLS record of 35 games.

San Jose, RSL, and Seattle finished in the top three spots in the Western Conference last season, and currently they’re occupying the bottom three. Dallas, though, are sitting six points clear at the top, and have we mentioned lately that this is the league of parity?

Alan Gordon could be seen using a homophobic slur during the Portland-San Jose match and has earned a three match ban for his trouble (in addition to the one match ban for his red card). Gordon has issued an apology for his language.

The Tables

  1. Montreal Impact (4-1-1)
  2. Houston Dynamo (4-2-0)
  3. Sporting Kansas City (3-1-2)
  4. Columbus Crew (2-1-3)
  5. New York Red Bulls (2-3-2)
  6. Philadelphia Union (2-2-2)
  7. Toronto FC (1-2-3)
  8. New England Revolution (1-2-2)
  9. Chicago Fire (1-4-1)
  10. DC United (1-4-1)

  1. FC Dallas (5-1-1)
  2. Chivas USA (3-2-1)
  3. Portland Timbers (2-1-3)
  4. LA Galaxy (2-1-2)
  5. Vancouver Whitecaps (2-2-2)
  6. Colorado Rapids (2-3-2)
  7. Real Salt Lake (2-3-2)
  8. San Jose Earthquakes (2-3-2)
  9. Seattle Sounders (0-3-2)

The Look Ahead
Houston travel to Toronto, while Seattle head to Colorado in search of that elusive first win. New York and Dallas host New England and Vancouver respectively, and Columbus face Chicago away. RSL host Chivas, LA host Kansas City, and finally on Sunday Philadelphia visit DC and San Jose and Portland meet again, this time at Buck Shaw.

The Player of the Week

Will Johnson. Dude’s on fire. He played a great game in Portland’s midfield and scored a gorgeous goal to get his team the three points.

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