Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MLS Rewind: Week 3

"Zip it"
Seattle Sounders 2-0 Houston Dynamo
The boys in rave green are getting the right results.  Another dominant performance in front of another sellout crowd at CenturyLink Field proves that the Sounders are clearly one of the heavyweights in Major League Soccer.  Estrada bagged his fourth of the season, rifling home a wayward clearance.  Scoring from a good distance, the newfound hero was assisted by a deflection from the Dynamo defense.  Brad Evans converted a penalty only minutes later, the result of an awkward foul in the box.  Seattle are looking sharp and had their finishing been a touch more polished, the score would've been four or five nil easily.  Houston's stern backline were not themselves and the offense tested the Sounders GK perhaps only twice (if that).  Confident football from the Sounders.

Toronto FC 0-3 San Jose Earthquakes
TFC got their butts handed to them Saturday afternoon in their home opener at BMO Field.  The Reds lost their lynchpin, Tornsten Frings, to injury last week against Seattle.  And a day before the match, lost their starting keeper to broken leg in a training accident.  It was all wrong from the beginning.  Chris Wondolowski had already scored before ten minutes had elapsed.  With so many alterations, the hosts failed to find the cohesiveness and fluidity that twice punished the Galaxy less than a fortnight ago.  The Quakes were rolling after the early goal had to wait for their second until shortly after the restart.  Before it was over, Wondo completed his brace with a good effort that encapsulated San Jose's evening.  Unfortunately, things are looking pretty grim for Toronto as they await their tangle with deadly Santos in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Columbus Crew 2-0 Montreal Impact
Well, Montreal can't win for losing...or so it would seem.  The start of the game was very promising indeed for the Impact, but after some poor officiating early on, Columbus were practically handed the game in a gift basket.  That's not to say they didn't earn the goals, but had the Crew stumbled here, it would've raised some serious questions about their potential this season.  The Impact had a player sent off early for what seemed to be a 50-50 challenge.  Shortly after, the Crew were awarded a penalty for a less than convincing foul inside the area.  The Crew took the goal and pressed their advantage in numbers.  Ricketts' in-goal heroics kept the visitors in the fight, but Montreal could simply not keep up.  Early in the second half, Vargas netted an incisive header to finish out the scoring.  The Impact nearly scored with three minutes in regulation but it proved too little too late.  Solid result from Columbus, but they had plenty of help from the man in black.

New England Revolution 1-0 Portland Timbers
Saer Sene was the man of the match, earning the title after only twenty-eight seconds.  The Revs' front man utilized the underside of the bar to head in an early early goal and  New England were able to see off the pressure, foiling another Timbers comeback.  It was the perfect start for the Revolution at home as they showed some pluck in snatching the quick goal and tenacity by thwarting a well balanced Portland team.

Chicago Fire 1-0 Philadelphia Union
This one was all Chicago.  The Fire played like a team with something to prove and their attack is starting to come together.  Oduro's headed goal was fantastic, but he and his teammates definitely should've had a few more.  Philly had better snap out it...and quick.  The fans aren't happy, the team isn't happy...Peter Nowak had better figure things out quick before someone else gets the chance.    

Real Salt Lake 0-1 Chivas USA
Surprise! Surprise!!  What happened??  Kudos to the Goats, wins at the Rio Tinto don't come easy.  While RSL controlled much of the match, they squandered most of their scoring opportunities.  And when the Chivas found the net so late in the game, the wheels came off for Real.  Everyone panicked and they were fortunate to end the game only one goal down.

Vancouver Whitecaps 0-0 DC United
In football, there's usually a lot more to the story than simply the score.  Not so here.  In terms of entertainment, competition, or humor, this match earned a zero ranking...two of them, actually.  Maybe it was just an off day for the Caps but DC United always seems to be bursting with hype before the season starts...when it comes to getting results they are desperately lacking.

New York Red Bulls 4-1 Colorado Rapids
Henry + Cooper = Double Brace!
WHAT DID I TELL YOU?!?  The Red Bulls reinvented their lineup, starting Kenny Cooper alongside Thierry Henry.  Adding Marquez in the midfield with some other minor changes and this looked like an entirely different team.  Granted, the Rapids were easy pickin's with three crucial starters absent, New York decimated Colorado, going two goals up in under six minutes.  The game had really just begun when Henry seized upon a poor backpass and exploded the goal moments later.  Next it was Kenny Cooper's turn, with good position and perfect ball placement made fools of the Rapids backline...it was a long afternoon for them anyhow.  In the second half, Omar Cummings had a brilliant strike, chipping the keeper from a long ways out.  The only problem with the goal is that is was bookended by Henry's second shortly after the restart and Cooper's brace and the end of the game.  TH14 almost had a hat trick in stoppage time, but for once the defense actually managed to keep it out.  This is what New York are capable of.  The Red Bulls should be posting these results every week, but then again, consistency has always been their biggest enemy.  Colorado won't take the loss to heart, they'll be themselves again when the missing pieces are back in the lineup.

Sporting Kansas City 2-1 FC Dallas
This match was a prime example of what MLS is all about.  Spirited play by both sides and an even match between the two.  Livestrong Park was silenced in the 25th minute as Villar effortlessly beat the wall on a set piece and put FCD on top.  Set piece revenge helped Sporting level things deep into stoppage time of the first half.  After the break it was a free-for-all.  Kansas City enjoyed more chances on goal.  They also enjoyed wasting most of them.  In the end, Kei Kamara proved the deciding factor, finishing a slick run of passes and sliding in a goal with two minutes to spare.  It was atonement for a failed penalty, saved earlier by Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman.  Hartman had an incredible night, and save after save, he kept his in the match til the 88th minute.

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