This week in MLS play saw the commencement of what is already one of the countries most intense soccer rivalries, an upset of one of the league’s top teams at home, and a whole lot more goals than last weekend.


WEDNESDAY 5/11
Philadelphia Union 1 – Los Angeles Galaxy 1
The Galaxy will certainly feel like they let three points slip through their grasp after giving up a last second goal to the anemic Union attack.  LA pressured consistently throughout the game, but they were limited to a single Landon Donovan goal in the 24th minute; his fifth goal in four games.  After making significant tactical changes at the half, the Union were able to put more pressure on the Galaxy and found an equalizer when substitute Danny Mwanga picked off a lazy Sean Franklin back pass, dribbled around LA keeper Donovan Ricketts, and put the ball in the back of the net.

FC Dallas 1 – Toronto FC 0
Dallas and Toronto played a hard fought game in the rain only to have a single penalty kick decide the outcome.  Dallas had the better of the chances but were unable to convert any from the run of play.  However, in the 48th minute Dallas defender George John appeared to be dragged down in the box while attempting to head a free kick and FCD captain Daniel Hernandez buried the penalty.

Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – San Jose Earthquakes 1
Coming into this game, both teams needed three points to avoid being acknowledged as the basement dwellers of the western conference.  Somehow neither team managed to avoid that fate and would have to wait until Saturday’s games to determine their fates.  San Jose looked dangerous early on, creating several early chances and in the 39th minute Chris Wondolowski scored off a cross tapped in via a back-heel flick.  San Jose continued to create chances for themselves but were unable to find an insurance goal which would come back to haunt them as the Whitecaps found a way to score in stoppage time for the third time this season.  David Chiumiento’s in-swinging cross wrong-footed John Bush in the 91st minute, sneaking through a mess of bodies and landing just inside the goal’s far post to tie up the game.

SATURDAY 5/14
Toronto FC 2 – Chicago Fire 2
Toronto and Chicago have both struggled this season to find their form and although both teams will have wanted a win they will be pleased that their offenses, the focus of both teams, are scoring goals.  Joao Plata opened scoring with a well placed effort that beat former TFC keeper Jon Conway in the 9th minute.  Early in the second half Maicon Santos scored with a rocket of a shot that Conway was unable to control and Toronto seemed to be in the drivers seat.  However, the Fire clawed their way back and with a Marco Pappa freekick in the 63rd they pulled within one.  In the 76th, Fire rookie Orr Barouch put away a Corbon Bone cross to tie the game at 2-2.

New England Revolution 1 – Vancouver Whitecaps 0
The Revolution will be happy to pick up three points at home after a well-earned penalty kick put them ahead.  While Vancouver were again missing some players due to injury, they also regained the services of other who have missed significant time this season.  Their continued roster turnover is playing havoc with the Whitecaps’ team chemistry and is a continued source of frustration for team and fans alike.  New England, on the other hand, were able to continue the Shalrie Joseph and Benny Feilhaber midfield partnership and it paid dividends in the 49th minute as Benny earned a penalty kick and Shalrie stepped up to convert it.  Despite coming away with the win, New England is surely not satisfied with their play after missing numerous chances throughout the game.

DC United 1 – Colorado Rapids 1
With the Rapids missing the services of several of their star strikers it was always a question if they would be able to score on the road against DC.  With Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan out injured, and Conor Casey starting the game on the bench as he returns to fitness, Colorado were able to find a goal from one of their defenders as Drew Moor fired home a loose ball after DC failed to clear a cross into the box.  While the Rapids lacked forward options at the beginning of the game, United saw theirs go down injured in the first half as both Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff had to be substituted due to injury.  DC had several opportunities of their own but they were unable to convert until the 62nd when Chris Pontius was fouled in the box and converted the subsequent penalty.

FC Dallas 2 – Philadelphia Union 0
The stingy defense of the Philadelphia Union was cracked open as red-hot FC Dallas became the first team to score two goals on them this year.  Philadelphia dominated the possession in the game but never looked like the more dangerous team.  Fabian Castillo continued to shine for Dallas and set up a tap-in goal for Brek Shae in the 29th minute then followed up with a goal of his own, sliding one past Union keeper Faryd Mondragon in the 43rd.

Real Salt Lake 0 – Houston Dynamo 0
Physical play characterized this game between two sides known for their effort and intensity.  The first half had limited chances for both teams as crosses from the Dynamo’s Brad Davis and the RSL’s Arturo Alverez were unable to be converted.  The second half was much more lively with a number of scoring chances for both sides forcing saves or going just wide of the post.  In what was an equal game, both sides will be disappointed not to have seized their opportunities and come away with the full three points.

Los Angeles Galaxy 4 – Sporting Kansas City 1
The points leader in MLS against the league’s bottom dweller started off with a surprise as Kansas City took the lead in the 39th minute on an Omar Gonzalez own goal.  The Galaxy did not take long to answer, however, as five minutes later David Beckham was taken down inside the box and Landon Donovan stepped up to convert the penalty.  Just one minute into the start of the second half, Donovan scored again after playing a nice one-two pass with Chad Barrett.  In the 64th it would be Juan Pablo Angel scoring and Chad Barrett picking up his second assist of the night.  The final Galaxy goal came in the 87th minute as David Beckham scored on a trademark curling free kick to the net’s upper ninety.

San Jose Earthquakes 3 – Columbus Crew 0
The San Jose Earthquakes upset the Columbus Crew in what was one of the most surprising scorelines of the year so far.  The Crew had not lost since the league’s opening weekend and boasted the second fewest goals allowed, coming into the weekend, while San Jose were on a six game win-less streak.  The game was largely even until Chris Wondolowski volleyed home a Ryan Johnson cross in the game’s 50th minute.  The Earthquakes scored again nine minutes later as former Crew forward Stephen Lenhart headed in a goal that took a deflection off the back of Ryan Johnson.  Finally, San Jose’s Khari Stephenson finished off the game in the 62nd by slotting one home around keeper Will Hesmer.

Seattle Sounders 1 – Portland Timbers 1
The Sounders supporters unveiled one of the most impressive tifos seen in MLS history to kick off this rivalry at the highest level of American soccer.  Both the home supporters and the traveling Timbers Army were in fine form and lent an atmosphere to the game that was previously unseen in MLS.  The game itself was a fine back and forth with neither side dominating.  Few chances were created as the game played out primarily in the midfield until the 52nd minute as Alvero Fernandez got in behind the Timbers defense to volley home a flicked on Freddy Montero Header.  The Timbers, predictably, tied up the game on a free kick sent into the box by Jack Jewsbury and headed in by Mamadu “Futty” Danso in the 65th minute.  Neither team looked like taking a winner after that with Timbers taking a defensive stance to preserve the tie.

SUNDAY 5/15
New York Red Bulls 2 – Chivas USA 3
The weeks lone Sunday game was afive goal thriller that featured outstanding performances for former Barcelona superstar Thierry Henry and former Salt Lake City recreational league player Justin Braun.  In the early going Chivas controlled play and pressed the attack against the Red Bulls, culminating in Justin Braun scoring a well taken goal that curled around Bouna Condoul from the top of the penalty box in only the 6th minute.  With the first goal scored the Red Bulls were finally able to find the game and equalized thanks to an impressive touch and cool finish by Thierry Henry in the 21st.  The first half continued its breakneck pace as Braun scored once again, this time from a flick on inside the goalie’s box, in the 31st minute.  The half was not yet over, however, and in the 35th Luke Rogers when down in the Chivas box, drawing a penalty that Dwayne DeRosario blasted into the back of the net.  The second half saw the same attacking pace continue as both teams threatened, but it was once again Justin Braun who would score for Chivas in the 53rd minute, tapping in a Alejandro Moreno header that rebounded off the crossbar, completing his hat-trick.

 

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