In what was supposed to be a must-win scenario for the Philadelphia Union on Sunday night at RFK Stadium, the points were split and the angst was raised. Brian Carroll opened the scoring for the Union in the 8th minute, and Philadelphia put the ball in the back of their own net in the 71st.
DC thought they had already equalized, but the referee called off a 64th minute goal. Dwayne De Rosario looked like the hero for DC with an 87th minute penalty, but his attempt had to be retaken after the referee called for encroachment. DC's Branko Boskovic was sent off in the ensuing disagreement over the call, and De Rosario was unsuccessful with his second attempt. Philadelphia's Sheanon Williams headed for a slightly earlier than expected exit in the 89th minute.
"It seemed like one of those crazy games and once again, the officiating needs to be better," De Rosario said.
Also on Sunday, Portland looked to be well in control against New York only to end up losing 3-2. Bright Dike opened the scoring for the Timbers in the 8th minute, and it was 2-0 Portland when Darlington Nagbe scored in the 32nd. The Red Bulls got a goal two minutes before halftime from Kenny Cooper who had subbed on minutes earlier. The score was level when Tim Cahill scored in the 45th. Heath Pearce got New York's winner in the 83rd. In the nightcap, Houston drew 2-2 with Columbus. Brad Davis got the first goal in the 19th minute, with the Crew answering through Cole Grossman (33rd) and Eddie Gaven (58th). Adam Moffat equalized for the Dynamo in the 82nd minute.
On Saturday, Seattle shutout Vancouver 2-0 in front of yet another massive crowd at CenturyLink Field. 55,718 to be exact, with Fredy Montero scoring in the 64th and Eddie Johnson getting a goal in the 87th minute. Toronto lost to Sporting Kansas City 1-0 on an indirect free kick from Kei Kamara in the 83rd minute. Kamara's shot seemed to deflect off of Toronto's wall. Toronto had hit the frame twice in the 43rd minute.
Montreal pulled off the shock of the weekend, beating mighty San Jose 3-1. Both teams were a man down before the opening goal when the Impact's Hassoun Camara and the Quakes' Steven Lenhart were sent off for fighting in the 21st minute. Chris Wondolowski put San Jose up two minutes later, but that lead would only last two minutes. Marco Di Vaio equalized in the 25th and Montreal took the lead when Lamar Neagle scored in the 61st. San Jose's Jason Hernandez was sent off in the 71st for denying a goal scoring opportunity and Patrice Bernier converted the penalty to finish off the scoring.
Back in the Eastern Conference, Chicago beat New England 2-1 in front of 17,495 at Toyota Park. Chris Rolfe had Chicago up five minutes in and the score was level when Fernando Cardenas equalized in the 11th. Sherjill MacDonald scored the winner in the 25th minute. Colorado - Chivas USA finished 1-1 in Commerce. Brian Mullan opened the scoring for the Rapids in the 19th minute, making the Chivas USA defense pay for a sloppy clearance. Juan Pablo Angel split the points with an 83rd minute goal.
“I was really pleased with the way we finished the game," Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser said. "I thought early on we had pretty good intention, but just didn’t execute well enough early in the game. Certainly as a result we gave up a number of chances, but as the game wore on, certainly toward the latter stages of the game, I thought we really pushed well. We were able to create some dangerous opportunities for ourselves."
Real Salt Lake dropped a 2-1 decision to Dallas at Rio Tinto, and it was the away side opening the scoring. Fabian Castillo's 61st minute goal was cancelled out by Alvaro Saborio in the 76th minute. That 1-1 score held until stoppage time when Brek Shea setup David Ferreira for the 94th minute winner.
“I think that they weren’t causing us really any troubles except for those two plays," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "The first one come off of a give-and-go in which Tony gets played in behind with Castillo and didn’t react quickly enough to it. The second one comes off of our aggressive decisions."
What Did We Learn?
1. Sporting's Kei Kamara speaks for the MLS fan base at large by asking the other team to actually, you know, play soccer. "It’s a new coaching staff and a new system so we know what they are looking to do. Everyone is looking to impress, but at the same time we were really looking forward for them to come at us a lot more because when teams come at us we get to play our game. When teams sit back we don’t get to really do what we are good at." Indeed, Kei. Indeed.
2. Meanwhile, the team in question's Darren O'Dea teaches us all a lesson in candor. "Yeah, to be honest when I went down it wasn’t for any particular reason, it was to give myself a breather and it’s been a tough week. People work nine to five, I wouldn’t want to be doing that so I’m happy to be flying around the world playing football matches in different places, I’m not complaining. I’m tired, but it’s not a big deal."
3. Seattle's Michael Gspurning got the 'no shots on goal' version of the shutout from Vancouver, who wasted a lot of words in the run-up to their meeting with the Sounders. Somewhere, there's an American soccer business plan that would gift a team an additional point for winning without the opposition putting a shot on frame. After all, nothing sells tickets like an obviously overmatched opponent. What, we're being too mean to the mighty Caps? Five shots officially taken, one blocked and four off target.
1. New York: Yes, it's a surprise to us as well but this is what happens when San Jose can't beat an expansion team.
2. Kansas City: Winners move up.
3. San Jose: And losers move down.
4. Seattle: Last week, we put Seattle in the Five over Salt Lake. This week, they won and RSL lost. Score one for us.
5. Dallas: A six point week for the mighty FC, who got a win at Rio Tinto. 'Wait a minute,' someone rhetorically responded, 'they're 12th in the mythical single table.' Indeed, but they're playing very good soccer right now.