In a weekend where most soccer fans were focused on the Champions League final, Major League Soccer pushed ahead with eight Saturday games and one on Sunday. The highlight of the weekend? How about the quickly revamped Chivas USA beating the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 on Saturday night. LA was reduced to 10-men in the 70th minute when Junior Lopes was sent off for a handball in the box. Chivas USA's Jose Correa converted the penalty for the win. Both of Chivas USA's new editions - Danny Califf and Juan Agudelo - started.
“It’s kind of been the same old story," LA midfielder Landon Donovan said. "First half was not great for either side. They had the one chance off the post, but not a lot of chances. I thought we played really well in the beginning of the second half, and had some chances to score and didn’t. And then one kind of weird play and that determined the game and that’s kind of how’s it’s been all year.”
Also on Saturday, Vancouver and Seattle drew 2-2 at BC Place. Alain Rochat scored for the Whitecaps in the 12th minute with Eddie Johnson equalizing for Seattle in the 47th. Vancouver was back in front through Camilo Sanvezzo in the 82nd, with Fredy Montero splitting the points with a stoppage time goal. New York beat Montreal 2-1 in front of 20,373 at Olympic Stadium. Bernardo Corradi opened the scoring for the Impact in the 22nd minute, with the Red Bulls level when Kenny Cooper scored in the 37th. New York went down a man when Victor Palsson was sent off in the 58th minute, but got the short-handed winner when Dane Richards scored in the 67th.
DC started strong against Toronto, beating them 3-1 in front of 14,287 at RFK Stadium. United was up a goal in the first minute courtesy of Dwayne De Rosario, who made it 2-0 in the 43rd minute. Toronto got a goal back through Danny Koevermans in the 71st, but DC's Hamdi Salihi finished off the scoring two minutes later. New England - Houston ended 2-2 with the Dynamo returning to the road after two games at their new stadium. New England's Saer Sene opened the scoring in the 26th minute with Will Bruin equalizing six minutes later. Sene put the Revs back in the lead in the 57th, with Luis Camargo equalizing ten minutes later.
Dallas and Philadelphia continued the trend of the score draw, finishing 1-1 at FC Dallas Stadium. Blas Perez opened the scoring for Dallas in the 7th minute with Gabriel Gomez equalizing for the Union in the 56th. Colorado and Sporting KC finished 2-2 with Teal Bunbury putting Sporting up two goals on the road (2nd and 14th). The Rapids answered back through Tyrone Marshall in the 52nd minute and Kosuke Kimura in the 60th. In Sunday's game, Portland beat Chicago 2-1 with help from an own-goal. Eric Brunner opened the scoring for Portland 20 minutes in with Chicago's Jalil Anibaba equalizing in the 39th. Chicago put the ball in the back of their own net in the 52nd minute.
What Did We Learn?
1. Chivas USA got an immediate return on their trades. Though picking against the Galaxy isn't as risky as expected, they've had Chivas USA's number. Instead, it was Chivas USA getting the call, the penalty, and the right to celebrate at the Home Depot Center.
2. DC can put together wins. That's bad news for the rest of the Eastern Conference, because it makes it much tougher to dismiss DC as at best a .500 team. Picking up points against the Colorado's and Toronto's of the League hasn't been as easy as it should be for teams in the top half of the Conference tables. This week was a statement for DC soccer, plain and simple.
3. Our friend the unbalanced schedule might be a bright spot for Toronto. Yes, they're dropping points and have lost every game they've played. Sure, they're making assistant coaching moves when they should be following Chivas USA's example. No there's not a lot of hope at BMO Field. Still, they've only had the opportunity to lose nine games. DC United has already played 14 games. Then again, there's every indication that a compacted schedule for Toronto will only add to their problems. San Jose - Columbus finished 1-1 with the Quakes' Alan Gordon cancelling out Justin Meram's 47th-minute opener in stoppage time.
1. Salt Lake: No games on the schedule, so they keep the top spot.
2. New York: First in the East takes second in our table. It's not just the three points to one that has them pushing past San Jose. Right now, the Red Bulls seem like they're the team no one should want to play. San Jose feels a little lucky, capable of turning losses into draws but not commanding their games like they were a couple of weeks ago.
3. San Jose: Hey, we didn't say they'd completely lost the plot. The Earthquakes are doing enough not to lose and that keeps them in contention.
4. DC: A six-point week means a return to the Top Five. Hey, just because they spent the week at home playing teams beneath them in the standings doesn't mean this was easy.
5. Kansas City: There's a good argument for Sporting dropping out of the rankings this week, especially since they drew with a team DC beat. The Seattle faithful are probably wondering why their club tying dropped them from third to that magical place that isn't the Top Five. Here's the thing, most teams in MLS is more than likely to string together three losses in a row over the course of the season. Sporting wasn't supposed to be most teams, but there's enough here to return them to full form sooner than later.