Thursday, April 12, 2012

MLS Rewind: Week 5

After another eventful week of MLS action, we're starting to see some trends.  One month into the season, a handful of teams have really set themselves apart...while their opposites have only continued to reload after shooting themselves in the foot countless times.  Sporting KC is starting to pull away from the pack and while they may not be playing the "beautiful" game, it certainly is effective.  At the same time, several sides, like LA and Toronto, had high hopes for 2012 but have instead been consigned to the bottom of the barrel.

As foreseen, foretold, and forewarned, Toronto did in fact get mauled by Santos Laguna in Mexico.  The brutality ended with a 6-2 scoreline.  As TFC was the last MLS side in the hunt, that means another all-Mexican CONCACAF Champs League final.  And as much as I love the competition, I've officially lost interest and don't really care who wins.

Real Salt Lake 1-0 Montreal Impact
The Impact have continued to improve and begun to gain their footing in the league, but it was a simple mistake that undid them last Wednesday at the Rio Tinto.  In the twelfth minute, a handball in the box gave RSL all they'd need to take the match.  Paulo Jr. put the ball in to convert the penalty, but Donovan Ricketts nearly came away with a save.  Montreal's GK had a stellar night, finishing the match with a basketful great stops, including charging down Espindola nearly twenty yards off his line.  But for all the pluck of the Impact attack in the second half, that PK was enough to do them in.

FC Dallas 1-0 New England Revolution
Dallas are back to winning ways, but only just.  The Hoops looked more like themselves after returning home and regaining a few regular players, hosting the Revolution Thursday evening.  It was all Dallas offensively, but Matt Reis and the New England D would prove a tough nut to crack.  After concerted pressure late in the game, the winner came deep into stoppage time from the head of Ugo Ihemelu.  The win snaps FCD's two game losing streak, as well as the Revs two game winning streak.

Montreal Impact 2-1 Toronto FC
Bouncing back from the midweek loss, the Impact earned their first-ever win as an MLS franchise over Canadian rivals TFC.  As part of a much altered Montreal line-up, former Battery forward Lamar Neagle was the architect of the first goal.  The Reds took the pitch with something to prove after their drubbing by Santos at midweek and they looked more dangerous at the outset.  However, after seventeen minutes, it was Ubiparipovic in his first appearance for Montreal who collected Neagle's perfect ball and put the hosts ahead.  An ecstatic Olympic Stadium voiced their approval.  In another glorious charge, Ricketts foiled a TFC equalizer by extinguishing a fiery header by Koevermans.  The Reds were reduced to ten when defender Emory was sent off at sixty-five minutes.  Surprisingly, TFC showed more initiative after the booking and had several good chances.  Before the comeback could develop, Montreal netted again in the eighty-first by means of the No. 1 SuperDraft pick, Wenger.  Koevermans would find a consolation goal late for Toronto, but the result was in all but over with.

Check out Neagle's brilliant steal & assist:

Columbus Crew 1-4 New York Red Bulls
The Red Bulls delivered another first-class beatdown in Columbus Saturday afternoon.  Its got to bring Hans Backe a smile, knowing he's got two golden boot frontrunners on the pitch at the same time.  That same fact seems to have opposing keepers shaking in their mitts.  After only three minutes, Kenny Cooper had blasted one into the net.  Snapping another past Columbus with his head, Cooper had his brace ten minutes later!  Henry got his name on the sheet just before the break, continuing his outrageous scoring run.  To their credit, the Crew fronted a challenge in the second, but NY's Meara was equal to the task.  As soon as it no longer matter, Columbus scored.  Chad Marshall made the most of a corner to pull one back in the eighty-ninth minute.  But before the whistle was blown and with a baker's knack, Henry iced the cake, making a fifteen yard top corner shot look just that.  A piece of cake.

Sporting KC 1-0 LA Galaxy
Kansas City has done it again!  Sporting are on a record breaking run, still undefeated five games into the season.  The hosts muscled out LA in every corner of the pitch and gave the fans at Livestrong Park what they were looking for.  Assisted by Bobby Convey, Kei Kamara headed in the only goal of the match five minutes before the half.  The iconic KC frontman has emerged as an early contender for league MVP and shows no signs of stopping.  Sporting's defense absolutely smothered the Galaxy attack and apart from Mike Magee, it was hardly worth mentioning.  Kansas City are cruising, but it looks like it may take some creativity to lose against such a lackluster Galaxy team.

San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
The Whitecaps achieved an impressive milestone, breaking the record for the longest clean sheet run to open an MLS season.  After a quiet first half, Hassli and Le Toux combined to give the Caps the lead...Enter Chris Wondolowski.  In a ten-minute offensive outburst, Wondo and the Quakes undid Vancouver.  The Wonderboy himself led the charge scoring at sixty eight minutes.  A diving header by substitute Gordon gave San Jose the lead and Wondo's strike at seventy-eight minutes effectively put the game to bed.  San Jose are shaping up to be quite the west coast strongman so far, annihilating with ease.

DC United 0-0 Seattle Sounders
Its about time this season put forth a scoreless draw worth watching.  When all was said and done, the goalpost would easily take 'man of the match' honors from this one.  The play was very back and forth and neither side expressed real dominance in the fixture.  Both teams had brilliant efforts denied by the woodwork while the slightest touch of finishing and poise could've tilted the game dramatically either way.

Real Salt Lake 2-0 Colorado Rapids
RSL swept the first edition of the Rocky Mountain Cup with a convincing win over rivals Colorado.  A defense-minded gameplan has ensured the Clarets steady climb to the top of the table.  Espindola inspired the home side early on and Saborio reaped the reward at twenty minutes.  The Argentine would score himself in the second half despite allegations of handling the ball.  Colorado came to life after the second goal but were helpless to turn back the tide.  RSL head next to Kansas City for a mouthwatering matchup between the league's two best sides!

Portland Timbers 1-2 Chivas USA
Suffering another gut-wrenching loss at home, the Timbers succumbed to a Chivas team that is growing in confidence.  Portland owned the first half and a defensive blunder gifted Timber's DP Chris Boyd a goal just past the quarter-hour.  But the second 45 was a different story altogether.  Three minutes into the half with an incisive cross allowed Moreno to head the Chivas level.  Similarly, in eighty-second, LaBrocca headed home the game winner.

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