We would normally be starting with the the resumption of hostilities between Portland and Seattle on Sunday. After all, we’ve all been sufficiently programmed to believe that this is the greatest rivalry this League. What were we doing all of those seasons marking time for the Sounders and Timbers to arrive and show the rest of us how it’s done? Unfortunately, that will have to wait in favor of a postgame quote of the year candidate. Take it away… John Hackworth?
“First announcement I heard is that if we scored three goals Great Clips is giving free haircuts to everyone at the game tonight. So I guess we all get free haircuts.”
Now that’s how you summarize Philadelphia’s 4-0 shutout of Kansas City. Sort of makes us regret playing down their postgame recasting of last week’s loss. No, no it doesn’t. Points on the scoreboard still count more, and the Union get all the credit they deserve for a big win in reality rather than in theory. Now that we’ve sufficiently ticked off the Philadelphia faithful, here’s who scored. Jack McInerney put the Union up in the first minute and made it 2-0 in the 42nd. Lionard Pajoy scored in the 81st and Antione Hoppenot finished off the rout (go ahead and avail yourself of the comments section KC fans) in the 87th.
Now back to our Cascadian heroes. The Timbers win this round, 2-1 in front of 20,438 at Jeld-Wen Field. Kris Boyd opened the scoring for the home side in the 16th minute and it was 2-0 Timbers by the 25th. Eddie Johnson pulled a goal back in the 58th to finish off the scoring. Since this is part of the Cascadia rivalry, the animosity boiled over in stoppage time when Seattle’s Fredy Montero and Lovel Palmer were sent off in another example of why soccer players shouldn’t get into shoving matches. Making it all the more intriguing, they weren’t sent off for shoving each other.
The day before, Toronto drew 2-2 with New England giving Toronto five points from 13 games and leaving them only six points adrift at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They also blew a two-goal lead at home, provided by Danny Koevermans (4th) and Ryan Johnson (42nd). Blake Brettschneider cut that lead in half in the 71st minute and Chris Tierney was the hero of the Revolution with his 94th minute equalizer.
Montreal were on the right side of a 4-2 score line against Houston at Saputo Stadium. The Impact’s Sanna Nyassi scored in the 4th minute with Houston’s Brad Davis equalizing in the 16th. The teams traded goals again with Davy Arnaud scoring for the Impact in the 21st and Will Bruin equalizing in the 45th. Montreal took over with goals from Hassoun Camara (60th) and Patrice Bernier (67th). Houston’s Adam Moffat was sent off in the 73rd minute.
In Chicago, the Fire beat Columbus 2-1. Chicago was already up 2-0 with goals from Marco Pappa (2nd) and Dominic Oduro (26th) when Gonzalo Segares was sent off in the 29th minute. Tony Tchani scored for the Crew in the 36th, but Sean Johnson made eight saves to send all three points Chicago’s way. If it were possible for the Player of the Week voters to ignore goal scorers, that’s a superb performance worthy of recognition.
Real Salt Lake’s turn towards trouble continues with a 2-1 loss at home to San Jose. When we say “Earthquakes” you say “Wondolowski” because, as usual, he was the difference. San Jose went up in the 75th minute when Alan Gordon scored, but RSL was level four minutes later through Javier Morales. That setup yet another Wondolowski moment, scoring the winner in the 84th minute. Meanwhile, at FC Dallas Stadium, Dallas and Chivas USA played out a scoreless draw. And that’s why official nicknames are a good thing. Had we referred to the Hoops and the Goats, you probably shouldn’t have had any idea who we’re talking about.
Back at the Home Depot Center, the LA Galaxy took three more points with their third win in a row. This time it was Vancouver, shutout 3-0 by LA. Mike Magee (16th), Robbie Keane (30th) and Landon Donovan (41st) did the damage. In the final game of the weekend, New York beat DC 3-2. Again we got an early goal, with Chris Pontius scoring in the opening minute. New York equalized through Brandan Barklage in the 20th minute and Barklage put them ahead in the 47th. Jan Gunnar Solli made it 3-1 DC in the 55th, with Pontius pulling a goal back in the 66th minute.
What Did We Learn?
1. New England coach Jay Heaps shows us one way to motivate a team that entered the locker room two goals down. “It was the same thing at half-time against D.C., we are still in a process of believing in each other and figuring out what kind of team we are going to be. So at half-time it was really more about what we need to do and not so much who we are playing against. It was about correcting what we did wrong and how do we go out in the second half and be a better team.” Bingo.
2. Who would’ve thought that the Eastern Conference would be so interesting in late June, specifically the middle of the table. Trying to figure out the teams from 5th to 8th place is a challenge, with Houston, Columbus, New England, and Montreal giving us enough reason to believe in them or doubt their chances.
3. Staying in the East, let’s talk about the 4th-place Chicago Fire. They’re four points ahead of Houston and five points back of Kansas City, and which direction they’re heading is a very good question. They’ve chased two losses with two wins, putting them on better form than any team in the East except for 2nd-place New York. Yet there’s still the feeling that Chicago isn’t a legit contender. If they beat Sporting on Friday will that change things? At this point, not beating Sporting in a week where they’re coming off a lopsided loss and a Tuesday Open Cup date would be the bigger indicator.
1. San Jose: Well, this is embarrassing. At least we have the lame excuse that the reason the Earthquakes were 4th in last week’s ranking is because they didn’t play.
2. New York: Seriously, we have to bring a team from outside last week’s top five and welcome them back at number two? It’s like we’re making this stuff up week-to-week.
3. DC: Yes, they lost but they still lead the Eastern Conference. Are we firm believers that United will reverse their slide and start adding points the top of the table? No, we are not.
4. Chicago: Arguably the hottest team in the Eastern Conference.
5. LA: Definitely the hottest team in the West.