First off, yes we checked and it’s officially Week 15 even though only two games have been played since the last time we spoke. Somehow, we’ll deal with this temporal anomaly in a mature and measured fashion. As for the weekend that was in Major League Soccer, there was none of the new coach magic that leads to wins. Maybe that takes a coach coming in from outside of the organization to work. Instead, it was Philadelphia coach John Hackworth losing his first official game in the top job 1-0 to DC United and Toronto’s Paul Mariner also on the wrong side of the shutout in a 2-0 loss to Sporting KC.
Who has the bigger gripe? Well of course that would be our favorite team when it comes to retelling what happened postgame. "If we play that way every week, we’re gonna win a lot of games,” Hackworth said. “So, I’m disappointed but I take a lot of positives out of this game." Remember kids, Philadelphia never loses. They just don’t come away with three points. Chris Pontius and the goal he scored in the 78th minute means DC did.
In the Kansas version of Kansas City, Toronto had no alternative story to tell. CJ Sapong (18th) and Julio Cesar (35th) got the goals and Jimmy Nielsen made three saves for the clean sheet. Was it a fair result?
“Kansas City came out of the blocks really well,” Mariner said. “We tried to weather the storm, but they were coming out in waves. We changed it slightly for the first 15 (minutes) of the second half and went a little bit higher with the guys out wide. After 60 minutes, we completely changed the system. It just wasn’t meant to be tonight.” And you got scored on by a defensive midfielder.
At BC Place, the Whitecaps beat Colorado courtesy of an 80th minute Sebastien Le Toux goal. Vancouver had been playing a man down since the hour mark when Darren Mattocks was sent off. Montreal returned to their refurbished Saputo Stadium and hung four goals on Seattle in a 4-1 win. Patrice Bernier was the story even though he didn’t score, assisting on Montreal’s first three goals. Felipe Martins opened the scoring in the 18th minute and Justin Mapp made it 2-0 in the 51st. Seattle’s Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was shown the door in the 56th minute, with Andrew Wenger scoring two minutes later. Eddie Johnson pulled a goal back for Seattle in the 61st, but Montreal got their fourth in the 87th when Lamar Neagle scored.
New England and Columbus finished scoreless though the revs put six shots on frame to the Crew’s three. Houston beat Dallas 2-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Will Bruin opened the scoring in the third minute with Jackson equalizing for Dallas in the 59th. Dallas went a man down when Jair Benitez was sent off four minutes later. Adam Moffat scored the Dynamo’s winner in the 76th minute. Chivas USA got shutout at home 3-0 by Real Salt Lake. Fabian Espindola scored in the 41st and 54th minutes with Will Johnson making it 3-0 in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
On Sunday, Chicago shocked New York with a 3-1 win in Bridgeview. Patrick Nyarko put the Fire up four minutes in with Dax McCarty equalizing for the Red Bulls in the 55th. Chicago went in front when Gonzalo Segares scored in the 68th minute, with Chris Rolfe finishing off the scoring in the 81st. The Los Angeles Galaxy returned from break with a 1-0 home win over Portland. David Beckham setup Todd Dunivant’s 61st minute goal.
What Did We Learn?
1. Credit Paul Mariner for not pulling a Philadelphia with his postgame comments. His team lost… again. They tried to make some changes but got caught against a better team that would always make things difficult. Fair enough. There are understandable losses in MLS and this is one of them. It doesn’t need an exercise in speculative fiction to make a tired postgame point. After all, that’s the kind of point that will never count in the standings. Nobody’s fooled, Philadelphia.
2. DC is going out and winning the kind of games Philadelphia talks about winning. That’s the continuing story in the East, with United simply refusing to settle in games.
3. Every expansion team gets to light up at least one contender, and Seattle was the victim. Hey, it could’ve been worse. Saputo Stadium only holds 17,112.
1. DC: Low these many weeks later and DC stays #1 with their not at all surprising win over Philadelphia. It’s worth noting that they’ve played an extra game or two over every other team in the East. Still, credit for not dropping points.
2. Salt Lake: The multi-goal shutout of Chivas USA begs the question why we don’t let Real swap places with DC. Though their coach might have already started telling us a different story, Philadelphia isn’t as good as Chivas USA in theory or in practice. Yet RSL is expected to be in contention throughout the season. DC is the surprise package, and they keep winning.
3. Kansas City: Shutting out mighty Toronto normally wouldn’t send a team up the rankings, but they benefit from New York losing to Chicago.
4. San Jose: They have the week off, so they keep their spot.
5. Vancouver: Should New York fall completely out of the top five for losing to the Fire? Apparently, with the West taking three of the five slots courtesy of the Whitecaps in their spiffy uniforms beating Colorado.