We got two examples of Major League Soccer teams scoring four times over the weekend, starting with New York's 4-1 defeat of Toronto. This is exactly the kind of game where the Red Bulls should be scoring in numbers, but it wouldn't be MLS in 2012 without drama. That came courtesy of Toronto's 6th minute opener, meaning New York's onslaught was a comeback effort. Markus Holgersson equalized in the 13th minute, with Kenny Cooper scoring in the 27th and 88th. Thierry Henry finished off the scoring three minutes into stoppage time. Henry assisted on the other three goals.
Our other four goal thriller was an unnecessary reminder that Chivas USA is struggling. Real Salt Lake got the 4-0 shutout at The Home Depot Center, with Alvaro Saborio scoring three in a row with goals in the 8th, 11th, and 65th minutes. Paulo Jr added a fourth in the 81st.
“Very happy with the victory and performance of the team and the win on the road," Saborio said. "We worked hard to create chances and score, the midfielders did their job to get chances.”
In the Friday game, Sporting Kansas City reminded the Eastern Conference that they're still the team to beat with a 2-0 shutout of Chicago. Graham Zusi scored in the 11th and 96th minutes. Chicago's Gonzalo Segares was sent off in the 94th. On Saturday, Columbus beat Philadelphia after dropping a two goal lead. Jairo Arrieta scored in the 44th and 50th minute, but goals from Danny Cruz (65th) and Jack McInerney (86th) had the Union level. Milovan Mirosevic scored the Crew's winner a minute later. Hosoutson got goals from Ricardo Clark (77th) and Boniek Garcia (93rd) to shutout New England 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Seattle and Vancouver ended scoreless.
Portland drew 1-1 with DC. Chris Pontius put United up in the 60th minute but Bright Dike equalized in the 79th to split the points. In a back-and-forth game at Buck Shaw Stadium, San Jose and Dallas ended up in a 3-3 draw. Alan Gordon opened the scoring for the Quakes, but Dallas's Blas Perez equalized in the 37th. Perez put Dallas in the lead in the 72nd, but San Jose's Steven Lenhart equalized ten minutes later. Matt Hedges had Dallas up again in the 88th, but once again it was Lenhart with a 95th minute equalizer.
“We kept ourselves in the game," Lenhart said. "We played some ugly soccer at times tonight, but we got the ball to bounce our way for the equalizer."
In Sunday's game, Marcelo Sarvas put LA up in the 10th minute but Colorado's Jaime Castrillon equalized in the 16th to split the points in a 1-1 draw.
What Did We Learn?
1. The travails of the Red Bulls isn't lost on their star player. "I’ve been saying the same thing since the beginning of the season we have to come back into games and fight and use more energy than some others teams sometimes," Thierry Henry said. "Yeah, at the end of the day, we did what we have to do but every time we have to come out of a bad situation. That’s the way it is, we have to fight for everything. It’s tiring at times."
2. In the battle of streaking Eastern Conference teams, the obvious choice remains the obvious choice. That's Sporting KC, who haven't lost in nine games.
3. Don't expect bad teams to play out the schedule. Clubs already out or with no chance of making the playoffs won't be making it easy for anybody. Dropping points to teams already out or waiting to be officially mathematically eliminated is a good way to make sure your club doesn't make the postseason. Keep in mind, drawing means dropping points, and there are bubble teams who can look back at Week 30 and wonder why they couldn't take three.
1. San Jose: A draw is a disappointment for this team, but they're still three up in the Supporters' Shield race.
2. Kansas City: Beating a streaking Chicago is a big time result.
3. Chicago: Yes, they lost but there's still the feeling this might be the best team in the Eastern Conference.
4. Salt Lake: Tough to argue with four goals, even against Chivas USA.
5. New York: Doing work against weaker clubs is what can separate a contender in this League.