Before we head to the results, let's start with another round of designated player excitement. Late Friday, Columbus announced that Federico Higuain had signed. In a press statement Columbus president and GM Mark McCullers thanked both Crew and MLS staff "for their expertise and diligence in seeing this complicated and lengthy negotiation to fruition.”
Not to be outdone, Seattle also added a designated player on Friday. Christian Tiffert joins the club from Kaiserslautern and the Sounders had to open up a slot to complete the deal. That means Alvaro Fernandez is now a member of the Chicago Fire. And now for the games on the field.
Oh to be a professional soccer player with a noticeable hairstyle. From Neymar to apparently Steven Lenhart, that's what gets the fans going. Saturday in San Jose was the exquisitely branded "Lenhart wig night presented by Cosmo Catering" and what fun the real Steven Lenhart had. With Chicago leading from a 37th minute Chris Rolfe goal, the curly headed one scored an equalizer a full eight minutes into stoppage time to split the points. And... and... Lenhart's goal came five minutes after the Quakes' Alan Gordon was sent off. Take it away man of the moment.
“We never say die and we never come into a game or at any moment in the game do we think that we are going to lose," Lenhart said. "I think we have had that mentality all season. We are very strong as a team with our focus and determination.”
Can we just go ahead and change the name of this club to the San Jose Goonies and get it over with? Chunk can replace Q (and extra credit for anyone outside of the Bay Area who could name San Jose's mascot), they can borrow that nifty pirate ship from the NFL stadium in Tampa, and so on. An effusive Sports Business Journal feature on creative marketing awaits.
However, first we travel back in time to Friday and pick up Real Salt Lake's 2-1 win over Vancouver. Alvaro Saborio opened the scoring in the 34th minute with Darren Mattocks equalizing in the 53nd. It was Saborio again with the 58th minute winner. Back to Saturday, where Houston shutout Toronto 2-0 at BMO Stadium. Calen Carr (45th) and Brian Ching (86th) had the goals. At Saputo Stadium, Montreal beat New York 3-1 with Marco Di Vaio opening the scoring in the 48th minute. Davy Arnaud made it 2-0 Impact in the 50th, with Thierry Henry cutting that lead in half seven minutes later. Sanna Nyassi put the game out of reach in the 74th minute.
With David Beckham making us proud to be MLS fans by captaining a boat down a river on the other side of the ocean, LA managed a 1-0 win over Dallas in Frisco. Mike Magee was our game winner with a 62nd minute goal setup by Robbie Keane. Columbus's Jairo Arrieta was the hero in a 2-1 win over Sporting KC. Kei Kamara had the home team up a goal within eight minutes, but Arrieta scored in the 17th and 34th minutes to send all three points home with the Crew. Rhetorically, of course.
Meanwhile, at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the Colorado Rapids lost 2-1 to Seattle who wasted no time in getting a goal. See, here's the problem with rhetorical devices. Technically, any time they wasted in the less than 120 seconds it took Eddie Johnson to score is problematic. We're going to chose to let that go and focus instead on Drew Moor's equalizer that came less than 60 seconds later. With the game once again even, Eddie Johnson setup Osvaldo Alonso for a 65th minute game winner in front of an announced crowd of 13,816. In Portland, the Timbers were shutout 1-0 by Chivas USA. Danny Califf scored the goal in the 68th minute.
One game on Sunday, with Philadelphia beating New England 2-1 on a 90th minute goal from Jack McInerney. New England's Saer Sene put the Revs up on the road in the 12th minute. The Union got a 59th minute equalizer from a Freddy Adu penalty to setup the late heroics.
What Did We Learn?
1. Whatever momentum Toronto was building is likely dashed by another loss against the kind of team they have to beat. Yes, we know. Houston is on a fabulous tear knocking off giants like Montreal, Sporting, and an undermanned DC that gave up on the game 17 minutes in. Like we said, this is the type of game Toronto needs to not be losing.
2. Montreal can put together a home result. It couldn't have hurt that over 19.400 fans showed up to see them drop three goals on a far superior New York team. Yes, New York is in transition with players moving in and more on the way. Still, as our Jason Davis explained when the move was announced but still unofficial, the purpose of these moves is more goals for New York. Not being able to hold off a juggernaut like mighty Montreal is an issue for a team like New York
3. We're not the first and we shouldn't be the last to make a very simple point about the Olympic opening ceremonies shown conveniently on tape-delay in the USA on Saturday night. Not only is David Beckham also a professional soccer player, he plays for a club called the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer. NBC opted to ignore the potential for cross promotion, and that's not ok.
1. MLS All-Stars: Hey, in a week when they join Milan in beating Chelsea the All-Stars take the top spot.
2. San Jose: We get it. A draw isn't a win and San Jose might already have hit the skids. Remember though, this is the league of odd parity and right now that's in full bloom.
3. Seattle: The Sounders return to MLS play with a win on the road.
4. Real Salt Lake: Back and 2nd in the West level on games with San Jose and trailing by two points. All of that probably means San Jose has slipped as much as it does RSL surging forward.
5. New York: Yes, we're keeping them in the Top Five.