Wednesday, August 21, 2013

MLS Weekly: Week 26

Article by Leanne Elston


As we move closer to September, this MLS season starts to shift more and more to the playoffs. Three teams grabbed three wins this weekend that aided their playoff ambitions and confirmed that they have every intention of being in the running come the end of the season.

The Games

Houston Dynamo 3-1 Seattle Sounders

Two rockets from Giles Barnes propelled the Houston Dynamo to a 3-1 win over the Seattle Sounders, keeping them in the playoff race for now. Barnes got things started in the 17th minute when he caught keeper Michael Gspurning out of position and rifled a shot from inside the 18 into the top corner. Four minutes later, Barnes added another to his tally, this time unleashing a stunning strike from 30 yards that sailed past a leaping Gspurning. Seattle pushed for a goal of their own in the second half and got one on 65 minutes with a header from Shalrie Joseph off a Marc Burch free kick.


However, in the 74th minute, Will Bruin made sure to secure the victory for the Dynamo, finishing things up in the box after a header from Warren Creavalle hit the crossbar. Houston are three points ahead of the sixth placed New England, while the Sounders stay out of the top five in the West, two points behind the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Colorado Rapids 2-0 Vancouver Whitecaps

The Colorado Rapids helped solidify their place in the top teams of the Western Conference with a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Both sides saw chances to take the lead in the first half, but Deshorn Brown opened the scoring for the Rapids in the 36th minute. Off a perfect cross from Vicente Sanchez, Brown sent a powerful header past goalkeeper David Ousted. The home team had the better of the play for the rest of the night, and Clint Irwin turned in a big shift in goal to keep Vancouver from getting on the scoresheet. Finally, in the 79th minute, Edson Buddle’s shot from the right side of the box deflected off defender Johnny Leveron and into the net to seal the win for Colorado. The Rapids hold second place in the West, while the ‘Caps remain in playoff contention in fifth.

LA Galaxy 4-2 Real Salt Lake

A Robbie Keane hat trick saw the LA Galaxy to a 4-2 victory against Real Salt Lake on Saturday after the visitors briefly went down a goal in the second half. It took until the second 45 for the goals to come, and it was RSL’s Joao Plata who opened the scoring. In the 53rd minute, Nat Borchers collected an LA clearance and sent it back towards the box, where Ned Grabavoy touched the ball to Plata, who slotted his shot past Jaime Penedo. But just three minutes later, the Galaxy leveled things with Keane’s first of the night, a shot from the top of the box to the right post. Keane then bagged his second and the game-winner in the 67th minute, volleying home from close range.



Omar Gonzalez made it 3-1 to the Galaxy in the 75th minute with a header off a Landon Donovan free kick before Keane completed his hat trick four minutes from time, running onto a ball over the top and deftly lifting it over Nick Rimando. RSL managed to get a second goal in the final seconds of the game through Robbie Findley, but ultimately LA proved the far better team on the night.

The Stories

Omar Gonzalez has signed a new contract with the LA Galaxy, and this time it’s as a DP. The defender becomes the club’s third DP along with Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.

Meanwhile, Toronto FC have signed 22-year-old Argentine striker Maximiliano Urruti, continuing their rebuilding towards a successful team.

The Tables

East

1. Sporting Kansas City (11-8-6)
2. New York Red Bulls (11-8-6)
3. Montreal Impact (11-7-5)
4. Philadelphia Union (10-7-8)
5. Houston Dynamo (10-7-6)
6. New England Revolution (9-9-6)
7. Chicago Fire (9-10-4)
8. Columbus Crew (8-11-5)
9. Toronto FC (4-12-8)
10. D.C. United (3-17-4)

West

1. Real Salt Lake (12-8-5)
2. Colorado Rapids (10-7-9)
3. Portland Timbers (9-3-11)
4. LA Galaxy (10-9-4)
5. Vancouver Whitecaps (10-8-6)
6. Seattle Sounders (10-8-4)
7. San Jose Earthquakes (9-10-6)
8. FC Dallas (8-7-9)
9. Chivas USA (4-12-6)

The Look Ahead

Midweek action sees Chivas USA hosting Dallas, the Portland Timbers hosting RSL, with the Chicago Fire hosting Sporting KC on Friday. At the weekend, Toronto hit the road for D.C., Houston head to Montreal, and the SJ Earthquakes visit Dallas. The Vancouver Whitecaps welcome the LA Galaxy to town, and RSL vs. Columbus rounds out Saturday. On Sunday, the New York Red Bulls host Chivas, the Philadelphia Union visit the New England Revs, and finally, the Seattle Sounders face off against the Portland Timbers in a big Cascadia match-up.

The Player of the Week

Robbie Keane. A hat trick against a team like RSL? Talk about an easy pick. Keane continues to be everything a DP is supposed to be.

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