Wednesday, March 21, 2012

MLS Rewind: Week 2

It was another exciting week in Major League Soccer, and this time the results were a little more predictable.  The real powerhouse teams got all the right results, and the league's perennial strugglers got what they deserved.

Its also worth mentioning the CONCACAF Champs League games at midweek as well; Toronto beat LA 2-1 on the road to oust the reigning MLS champs from the tournament and Seattle got whalloped 6-1 in Mexico.  That means Toronto FC are the only MLS side left!

But on to the weekend's league games, here's the recap:

Montreal Impact 1-1 Chicago Fire
Davy Arnaud was the Impact's hero as the expansion side earned their first goal and first point of the season.  Over 58,000 filled Montreal's Olympic Stadium and were singing and chanting the full 90 minutes.  It was a big day for the new boys and there seems to be plenty of football pride and culture just north of the border.  The Fire earned their point as well, with Oduro equalizing in the 71st minute.  The draw seemed a fair result.

San Jose Earthquakes 0-1 Houston Dynamo
The Dynamo are lucky to still have Brian Ching.  The MLS vet drew a penalty fifteen minutes on and Davis' conversion was the only goal of the match.  Houston's stubborn defense may just take them somewhere this season.  They're already looking much better than last year.   The Quakes?...well, this was uninspiring stuff from San Jose.

FC Dallas 1-1 Portland Timbers
Dallas brought the attack early on and the pressure payed off.  Scoring in the 22nd minute, Blas Perez cleaned up a nice strike from the academy kid Leyna.  Something tells me we're going to see Perez dancing all over the highlight reels this season.  The Timbers bounced back and launched a series of their own assaults with several near misses and an unlucky bounce off the left post.  Capitalizing on a defensive error just after the break, Nagbe erased the Hoops advantage with an equalizer for the Timbers.  There were several more good cracks by Portland and were it not for Hartman's efforts in goal for Dallas, we'd see a very different scoreline.

Sporting KC 3-0 New England Revolution
In their 2012 home opener, Kansas City eased by a complacent Revs side that played almost the entire match with only ten men.  A rather harsh red card decision left New England a man down only fourteen minutes into the match.  From that point on, it seemed as if GK Matt Reis was the only Revs player who cared about winning...or even playing for that matter.  Poor, poor defense from NE allowed Sporting far too much room and the hosts made good use of the numerical advantage.  Zusi grabbed the first goal with an amazing second effort from the ground, Kamara headed in the second, and two minutes after the restart Sapong netted the third.  Late in the game, Sapong had a great one-on-one opportunity with the keeper, but failed to make the most of the chance.

Real Salt Lake 2-0 New York Red Bulls
Despite being one of the most expensive sides in MLS, New York have very little to show for it.  Kicking off the season at Rio Tinto, RSL overpowered one of the league's "money" teams for the second consecutive week.  The Clarets looked unstoppable on the evening, always threatening to attack.  Espindola might be the most dynamic player in this league, scoring the first goal and sparking the second early after halftime.  New York really need to start Kenny Cooper alongside Henry, and build their strategy around the talent up top.  Good show by RSL; at home or away, they're ensuring any tangle with a Western conference team will not be an easy one.

Estrada ecstatic with his three goal tally
Seattle Sounders 3-1 Toronto FC
A young man by the name of David Estrada set Centurylink Field ablaze Saturday night.  A brilliant bit of tifo by the Emerald City Supporters set the tone for the match and a brilliant game of football followed.  Unfortunately for the Reds, the early loss of Tornsten Frings will prove far more costly than surrendering the three points.  Alvaro Fernandes supplied the in form striker as Estrada celebrated "St. Hat-trick's Day" in style.  Ryan Johnson notched an impressive goal in the sixty-second to make the score 2-1, but it was too little too late as Estrada iced the cake with his third goal less than a minute later.  Despite the surprising midweek blowout, this was a convincing show by the Sounders.

Chivas USA 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
The Caps secured their first ever road win in a soggy affair at the Home Depot Center.  An embarrassingly low attendance was treated to a much sharper performance by the Goats.  Vancouver Captain Jay Demeritt scored the lone goal at sixty-eight minutes with a diving header. It was a big milestone for the Whitecaps whose lagging road form plagued them all last season.  Despite the low scoreline, this was an excellent contest...pity that no one was there to see it.

Philadelphia Union 1-2 Colorado Rapids
The Union suffered an unfortunate loss in their home opener against the Rapids.  Philly controlled play for the majority of the first half and had several great strikes.  Danny Mwanga led the charge with an impressive individual performance.  The second half was full of action as the Union continued to control the game.  However, Colorado snatched a quick strike but was soon reduced to ten men after an absurd challenge by Jeff Larentowicz.  The Rapids then grabbed another goal in defiance of the deficit.  Philly would initiate a comeback recovering one score but they simply ran out of time.  The Union are still coping with some major changes from the offseason and have yet to find balance in their squad.

LA Galaxy 3-1 DC United
Not unlike Seattle, the Galaxy rebounded from midweek defeat and put on a fine show for their fans.  Robbie Keane notched a brace, scoring on either side of the break and Sarvas added another near the end.  DC United made the scoresheet with an incredible strike from distance by rookie Nick De Leon, but it was far short of what was required to top Los Angeles.  DC seem to play as if they are still in preseason camp, while it looks LA have finally gotten the ball rolling in the right direction.

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