Aug 12, 2012; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane (7) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Chivas USA during the first half at the Home Depot Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

MLS 2012, Week 21: Chivas Thumped By Donovan, Galaxy

The U.S. Open Cup was great, but it also made MLS seem extra wonderful.

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Major League Soccer 2012, Week 21: What We Learned

Sporting Kansas City secured their first trophy since 2004, the Eastern Conference continues to get tighter and San Jose is slowly pulling away from the rest of the pack in the Supporters' Shield race.


Philadelphia Union Vs. Chicago Fire, 2012 MLS: Fire Cruise To Easy Win

Up 1-0 at home, the Philadelphia Union were feeling pretty good about themselves. But they did not account for the Chicago Fire finding a whole other gear. Led by Chris Rolfe and Arne Friedrich, the Fire stormed back to take down the Union, 3-1, at PPL Park and move within striking distance of the top of the Eastern Conference.

The Union went in front after 34 minutes when Freddy Adu's cross missed Chandler Hoffman, but found Jalil Anibaba. The ball bounced off the Chicago defender and into the goal for an own goal, but Philadelphia didn't care. They were up 1-0.

It looked like that lead would hold into halftime, but the Fire struck twice just before the break. First, Sherjil MacDonald got to the endline before crossing for Rolfe to finish in the 43rd minute. Then in stoppage time, Friedrich got on the end of a Marco Pappa corner kick and finished it. Two minutes from halftime, the Fire had gone from a goal down to a goal up.

Rolfe capped his great night in the 56th minute when he ran at the Union defense and cleared just enough space to let rip from distance. Zac MacMath got a hand to the shot, but he couldn't keep it out and the match was in the bag.


New England Revolution Vs. Montreal Impact, 2012 MLS: Sanna Nyassi's Stunner Does It

For 89 of 90 minutes, the New England Revolution and Montreal Impact weren't really worth watching. Neither team was very good, the play wasn't attractive, there was no atmosphere in the cavernous and largely empty Gillette Stadium and there was very little on the line between two teams that if not mathematically, are realistically out of the playoff race But Sanna Nyassi had one moment and for that moment, the entire match was worth watching as Montreal won, 1-0.

Nyassi started the play by taking the ball 30 yards from his own goal. It was a nice tackle, but what is someone really supposed to do that far in his own half? Apparently take off at a blistering pace towards goal. That's what Nyassi did and nobody from New England tried to stop him until he was 35 yards from goal on the other half of the field. He nutmegged the would-be defender, put the ball on his right foot and then let rip from 20 yards. It was a brilliant strike, right into the corner for the perfect end to a great play. The match may have been bad, bit Nyassi's goal was incredible and it earned the Impact all three points.


Chivas USA Vs. LA Galaxy: Final Score 4-0 Galaxy, Landon Donovan Sets Assists Record

A late flurry of goals led to the LA Galaxy thumping Chivas USA 4-0 at the Home Depot Center on Sunday night. Following a demolition job at the hands of the Seattle Sounders last weekend, one might have expected the Galaxy to be a little short on confidence, but they came out of the blocks at full speed and didn't take long to test the Chivas defence, with Robbie Keane looking exceptionally dangerous early.

Keane got his goal in the 27th minute, when Landon Donovan drew Dan Kennedy away before cutting back to the Ireland striker. From then on, the game, held before a disappointingly small crowd despite the Home Depot Center being home for both teams, was never really in doubt. Save for a Nick DeLaGarza shot cleared off the line, Chivas weren't good enough to threaten the Galaxy, and it was only a matter of time until more goals were added. Juninho made it 2-0 with a neat curling effort from just outside the box following another feed by Donovan.

From then on the question was just how many the 'visitors' would score -- and how many assists Donovan would get on the night. The answer to turned out to be four, with the midfielder setting a new MLS single-game record for assists with a far-post cross to Juninho before finishing Chivas off in the 83rd minute by dropping a corner kick onto Omar Gonzalez's head.

As far as the hosts were concerned, their best player was their goalkeeper. In a 4-0 loss. Youch.


FC Dallas Vs. Colorado Rapids, 2012 MLS: Fabian Castillo Leads FCD To Win

For one night, Fabian Castillo was every bit as good as FC Dallas always hoped he would be. The young attacker, pegged as a future superstar when Dallas signed him, was sensational on Saturday night against the Colorado Rapids. He scored Dallas' first goal, drew the free kick that FCD got their second goal on and then assisted on the game-winner to put the Hoops on his back and lead them to a 3-2 win.

The Rapids went in front after 12 minutes when Jaime Castrillon scored, and after that it looked like they might be able to put things on cruise control. Dallas really struggled to string much together, and Colorado, while equally inept going forward, looked safe.

That changed in the 41st minute when Castillo got the ball in the center of the field, took the ball towards goal and ripped a shot from 20 yards. It was a deadly accurate shot, low and just inside the post. Matt Pickens couldn't get to it and, almost single-handedly, Castillo got Dallas even.

Once they got the first goal, Dallas couldn't stop scoring. Castillo was fouled 30 yards from goal, seemingly too far away to beat Pickens, but Jair Benitez wasn't scared off by the distance. He stepped to the ball and ripped a brilliant free kick for the possible MLS Goal of the Week and a Dallas lead.

With a 2-1 halftime lead, the Hoops were feeling good, but they were feeling even better in the 49th minute. Julian de Guzman found Castillo in the box and then Castillo cleverly pulled the ball back for David Ferreira, who made no mistake with his shot from 12 yards to give the home side a two-goal lead.

Jeff Larentowicz did his best to get Colorado back in the match in the 55th minute with a goal that cut the Dallas lead in two, but it wasn't going to be enough. Castillo had made his impact, contributing to all three goals as Dallas came away winners at home.


Sporting Kansas City Vs. DC United, 2012 MLS: Final Score, No Cup Hangover For Sporks In 2-1 Win

Sporting Kansas City was expected to have a bit of a cup-winning hangover for their MLS match against D.C. United, but didn't experience anything of the sort on Saturday night. They looked extremely sharp and were the better side against the Black and Red throughout their 2-1 home win.

Teal Bunbury started again over C.J. Sapong, who still isn't quite 90 minutes fit, and got his team on the scoreboard early with an impressive header on a corner kick. He lost Chris Pontius on a run away from goal and headed back across his body, beating Bill Hamid at the far post.

D.C. United had an impressive quick answer, with Andy Najar setting up Nick DeLeon for the 23rd minute equalizer. Najar cut in from the right wing and created space for himself with some impressive trickery before lofting a cross towards the back post. DeLeon took the ball down, cut back inside and poked the ball past Jimmy Nielson to level the score.

That was by far the most impressive bit of attacking play that D.C. United would produce in the match. They were second best for the rest of the second half, then got badly outplayed to begin the second half. Graham Zusi scored the goal that had been coming since the second half began in the 63rd minute, finishing off a centered pass by Kei Kamara from close range.

Kansas City continued to control the match until the final whistle, though they employed some hilariously bad time-wasting tactics in stoppage time, picking up a couple of yellow cards. In another time-wasting measure, they also gave young Barcelona product Oriol Rosell his first team debut, a 30-second run out at the end of the match.


Vancouver Whitecaps Vs. Real Salt Lake, 2012 MLS: Caps Impress In 2-1 Win

The Vancouver Whitecaps can apparently get rid of every player they have and still win matches. Okay, that is an exaggeration, but they have jettisoned several very good players and still managed to replace them and win. It's amazing and that was the case again on Saturday night when they welcomed Real Salt Lake to BC Place and took down the second best team in MLS, 2-1.

The two teams played almost an hour of scoreless soccer before Camilo Sanvezzo finally found the goal in the 58th minute. The preceding hour wasn't bad as both teams played pretty well, but it didn't result in a goal and probably the ugliest moment of that first hour came on the goal.

It should have been a pretty simple play for RSL to defend, but they made a hash of it. They were on their heels, unsure of what they wanted to do and when the ball came into the box, they rushed a poor clearance. Eventually the clearance was deflected into the path of Camilo, who slid the ball pas Nick Rimando for the opening tally.

Dane Richards doubled Vancouver's lead six minutes later with a rare display of skill and class. With the ball 20 yards from goal, Richards picked out a corner and hit a peach of a shot, curling and finessing the ball around a defender then into the net for a gorgeous foal by the man known for his pace, not skill.

RSL did their best to get back in the match, but it was too late. Even Nat Borchers' 92nd minute goal didn't really put a scare in the Caps, who held on for a very good three points.

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