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Defending MLS Cup Champions the Colorado Rapids defeated Chivas USA in a chippy match at the Home Depot Center. Six yellows were issued in a very physical match, which ended as the fourth consecutive clean-sheet for the Rapids against Chivas USA.
The Rapids were forced to do without Omar Cummings (away on international duty for Jamaica) and Conor Casey (on the bench with a calf injury) but still managed to emerge with a big road win, sitting on Amarikwa’s impressive 32nd minute goal and riding out the remaining hour to claim all three points.
The Rapids were less than full strength and looked it but were still the dominant side in a physical match. Chivas were clearly outmatched on the day and were most likely fortunate to escape having conceded only once.
On an evening where Real Salt Lake made a strong case for being the best team in MLS, the Rapids did little to stake their own claim and despite the away win, Colorado looked less than dominant. And when you consider their place in the league at the end of last year’s regular season, that’s likely not much of a surprise. The Rapids looked a good team but certainly not dominant, and if they fancy themselves a contender for the Supporters Shield they;ll need to produce better efforts than what was on display this evening.
A crowd in the neighborhood of 37 people were on hand to witness Chris Wondowlowski be the best goalscorer in the history of MLS (or something) and lead the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-0 over FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park.
FC Dallas looked little like the MLS Cup contender of last season, giving Wondolowski far too much space on multiple occasions and offering very little in resistance in terms of providing an attacking threat.
It was a poor showing for an FC Dallas team that was considered by some to be legitimate challengers for the Supporters Shield, and while the goal is still far from out of reach this sort of effort will do little to bolster their chances. To add insult to injury, after a positive week-one crowd that saw Dallas break the 20,000 mark in attendance things appeared to be back to normal at Pizza Hut Park, with empty seats dominating the landscape on an altogether miserable evening for the club.
Real Salt Lake established themselves as being on a different level from the rest of Major League Soccer with a dominant 4-1 win over LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium. It was all RSL right from the get-go, Andy Williams putting the home side ahead less than a minute and a half in.
Javier Morales made it 2-0 with a penalty drawn by Paulo, Jr from which Josh Saunders may have been lucky to escape with just a yellow. Morales struck agaiin in the 41st minute with a wonderful strike froom the edge of the bbox and the rout was on, 3-0 to Real Salt Lake.
LA Galaxy emerged from the half with a bit more attacking intent, but Real Salt Lake were more than equal to the task,capitalizing on a counter-attack made possible by a horrendous defensive effort by LA Galaxy and a wonderful cross from Espindola to Paulo, Jr.
Juan Pablo Angel got the Galaxy on the score sheet with a tap-in from a David Beckham free-kick, but it was far too little too late from LA as Real Salt Lake established themselves as the best team in MLS by quite some margin on a weekend during which the other consensus powers faltered.
LA Galaxy managed to take some very small consolation from their clash with Real Salt Lake after Juan Pablo Angel worked his way onto the end of David Beckham’s free-kick to tap home and get LA on the board right towards the end.
Bruce Arena and his team did not seem to take a great deal of pleasure in the goal and it seemed to do nothing but wake Real Salt Lake from a dominance-induced slumber, but if the Galaxy take nothing else from the game they can at least say that their new striker got onto the score sheet in his first game for the club.
Beckham did just about the only thing of which he is capable of doing at a high level at this point, bending a free kick around the entirety of the the Real Salt Lake defense and into the path of the Colombian striker.
Real Salt Lake continued to assert their dominance over LA Galaxy with an opportunistic fourth, Kyle Beckerman pouncing on a loose ball resulting from a comically bad defensive mix-up for LA. Beckerman sent a lovely through ball to Espindola breaking down the left wing who then sent a perfect low cross to Paulo, Jr and RSL are clearly home and dry.
It’s been a nightmare for LA as it often is for visitors to Rio Tinto, and the home team are making a pretty definitive statement as to whom the title of Best Team In The League most rightfully belongs. In the wake of the goal the ‘Ole’ chants rang out around the home stadium, the home crowd clearly aware of their side’s dominance.
It’s very clearly face-saving time now for LA Galaxy, as Bruce Arena would most likely do well too chalk this up to the altitude and his team missing Landon Donovan.
The Los Angeles Galaxy were solid, though fairly underwhelming in their first two matches. Without the magic strikes of Juninho, they wouldn't be looking so good. Their best player, Landon Donovan, is away on international duty. Real Salt Lake are the best team in the league, which was almost unquestionable before this game started. It wasn't exactly obvious what was going to happen in this game, but it probably should have been. RSL have completely asserted their dominance over LA, and they very much deserve their 3-0 lead.
Javier Morales has been the star of the show, and his second goal, RSL's third, was the cherry on top of a spectacular first half performance. It only took 90 seconds for RSL to score through Andy Williams, and only another 10 minutes for them to get their second, as Josh Saunders hauled down Paulo Araujo Jr. in the penalty area. Javier Morales converted the spot kick, and at the end of the second half, he would complete a brace with an absolutely stunning strike from outside of the penalty area.
It's 3-0, and it's been simple. LA don't look capable of presenting much of a challenge to RSL.
Chris Wondolowski has scored twice in the first 23 minutes to give the San Jose Earthquakes a 2-0 lead over FC Dallas. Those goals mean the reigning Golden Boot winner has now scored his team's last 12 goals dating back to last year, a MLS record.
Wondowlski's first goal came in the 5th minute when was able to chest down a pass from Chris Leitch, spun and fired a left-footed strike inside the far post. He followed that up with a snap-header in the 23rd minute. FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was helpless to stop either shot.
One of the hopes for the Earthquakes front office was to lessen the pressure on Wondolowski to carry his team's offensive load. But with Steven Lenhart still ailing, Wondolowski still seems perfectly able to do the heavy lifting.
FC Dallas, meanwhile, was not looking for this kind of start to their season. Down 2-0 30 minutes into their second game, both at home, they are in danger of claiming just one point.
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Everyone got what they wanted at Columbus Crew Stadium tonight, as the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew played to a 0-0 draw. With New York missing more than half of their first choice XI and Columbus being a generally suspect team, both teams started the game with the mindset that a clean sheet was the No. 1 priority. New York did a great job of staying organized, and though Columbus got a bit more ambitious in part of the second half in an attempt to steal three points, both teams ultimately kept a defensive style and as a result, achieved a result they were at the very worst content with.
All of New York's players should be ready to go next week after international call-ups and slight nagging injuries. Columbus certainly looked better this week than they did last week, but based on New York's available roster and style of play, this tells us next to nothing about what kind of team they will be going forward.
Charlie Davies scored his MLS-leading third goal of the season, but it wasn't enough for DC United to overcome a pair of questionable goals from the New England Revolution who won 2-1 on Saturday. Davies scored on a penalty in the first minute of stoppage time.
The Revolution took the early lead on a goal from Zach Schilawski in the 8th minute. Schilawski's goal probably should have been waved off, as he clearly handled the ball before striking it past United goalkeeper Pat Onstad.
About nine minutes later, the Revolution benefitted from a questionable penalty against Dax McCarty, who appeared to make contact with Pat Phelan while attempting to clear the ball out of the penalty area. Phelan had no clear advantage on the play. Shalrie Joseph converted the ensuing penalty.
For the second straight week, the Chicago Fire were the beneficiaries of a question straight red card. This week, it was Sporting Kansas City Designated Player Omar Bravo getting sent off in the 34th minute. The Fire took the initial lead on the ensuing penalty and ultimately held on a for a 3-2 victory on Saturday.
Despite being a man down, Sporting were able to twice close a two-goal deficit, but were never able to find the equalizer. Matt Besler and Teal Bunbury each scored for Sporting, while Diego Chaves, Gaston Puerari and Marco Pappa scored for the Fire. All five scores came after Bravo's red card.
Pappa's goal was particularly noteworthy, as he was able to dance through no fewer than four SKC defenders on his way to goal. Pappa received the ball about 30 yards out, dribbled around one defender, split two more and then slotted the ball inside the far post past a diving Jimmy Nielson.
The Philadelphia Union improved to 2-0-0 on the season with a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. The Union were helped by playing a man up for the final 35 minutes after Eric Hassli was sent off with his second yellow card.
Carlos Ruiz scored the Union's goal off a nice feed from Sebastian Le Toux. Both Ruiz and Le Toux had gotten well behind the Whitecaps defense after a long shot deflected off a couple of defenders.
Last year, it took the Union until their eighth match of the season to get to pick up their second win of the season and reach six points. A trio of new additions have significantly contributed to the Union's quick start. In addition to Ruiz, goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon and defender Carlos Valdes also played well. Mondragon made three saves and did a quality job of directing the Union backline. Valdes was steady as a center back.
The Philadelphia Union have been controlling their match with the Vancouver Whitecaps ever since Eric Hassli was sent off with his second yellow card in the 57th minute. They finally made good on that domination when they scored in the 77th minute on Carlos Ruiz's first goal in a Union uniform.
Ruiz scored off an assist from Sebastian Le Toux, who had gotten well behind the Whitecaps defense when a long shot deflected off a couple defenders. Le Toux was able to find Ruiz, who was totally unmarked at the far post and Ruiz easily scored the goal.
Hassli was sent off when he made a sloppy foul, basically colliding with a Union player. Hassli had picked up his first yellow card when he needlessly tripped Union defender Danny Califf on what was essentially a dead ball. Hassli's yellow card was the sixth of the match after five were handed out in the first half.
Teal Bunbury has pulled Sporting Kansas City to within a goal with a strike in the 72nd minute. Bunbury made his 2011 debut as a second-half substitute for Craig Rocastle. SKC is down to 10 men and trails 3-2 in the 74th minute.
It has been a wild second half, featuring three goals, including two from SKC, who has been a man down since Omar Bravo was given a straight red in the 35th minute. Matt Besler pulled a goal back in the 51st minute, but the Fire quickly got it back on a Marco Pappa score in the 60th minute.
Besler's score came off a quick free kick and deflected off several players before Besler was able to get a boot on the ball as it squeaked past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who appeared to misplay the ball. That gave SKC some life, but Pappa's score nine minutes later quickly dampened those hopes.
Pappa's goal will definitely be a Goal of the Week candidate. He received the ball about 30 yards out, dribbled into the box through four defenders and then beat SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielson with a shot to the far post with two of those defenders nipping at his heels.
There have been five yellow cards issued in the first half of the Philadelphia Union-Vancouver Whitecaps match, but so far there has been no score. The Union have received three of those yellows, while the Whitecaps have received two. Danny Mwanga, Kyle Nakazawa, Danny Califf have all been booked for the Union, while Eric Hassli and Nizar Khalfan are in the book for Vancouver.
Neither side has been particularly dangerous in the first half, but the Whitecaps have take more shots and put more of them on goal. They have forced Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon into three saves, while Joe Cannon has only hade to make one save. Whitecaps rookie Russell Teibert has had a second straight impressive game, creating some dangerous chances for his teammates. The Union's best chance came early on when Sebastian Le Toux combined with Carlos Ruiz, but was unable to get a solid shot off.
Both teams are coming off opening week victories. The Whitecaps beat Toronto FC 4-2, while the Union won 1-0 at the Houston Dynamo.
A goal by Zach Schilawski in the eighth minute and a converted penalty from Shalrie Joseph in the 17th minute have given the New England Revolution a 2-0 lead over DC United. Schilawski's goal probably should not have been allowed, as he clearly handled the ball in the penalty area. Joseph had sent a cross into Schilawaski from about 45 yards away, Schilawski controlled it but then the ball came up and hit him in the hand. Schilawski's first shot came off the back of a United defender, but came back to him and he was able to beat Pat Onstad for the game's opening goal.
The lead became 2-0 when Dax McCarty committed a foul in the penalty area. Onstad guessed the right direction on the ensuing penalty, but Joseph was still able to score his second goal of the year.
United have had about 70 percent of the game's possession, but so far have nothing to show for it in the 23rd minute.
With all of their injuries and international call-ups, it was pretty obvious that the ultimate goal for the New York Red Bulls this afternoon was going to be keeping a clean sheet against Columbus Crew. So far, they have accomplished this goal. The Crew have had more possession and have spent a good amount of time in New York's half, but they've failed to create any clear cut chances. New York has stayed organized, and they look like they will be able to continue stifling the rhythm of Columbus and preventing them from creating chances.
Alex Horwath and Stephen Keel have both been extremely impressive in their debuts. They both appear to have a good understanding with veteran Carlos Mendes and they've been successful in shutting down the Columbus attack. The two central defenders have done a great job of catching the Crew's attackers with the offside trap, while Horwath has shown excellent control of his area.
Luke Rodgers hasn't had the best debut up top, not that he's had much help from Mehdi Ballouchy, who has been very poor. Despite the thin roster, New York does have Corey Hertzog, John Rooney, and Matt Kassel available on the bench. All are inexperienced, but very talented. It's hard to imagine that they wouldn't be better than the underwhelming pair of Ballouchy and Rodgers, if only for the fresh legs.
The Chicago Fire have taken a 2-0 lead over Sporting Kansas City with both of their goals coming after Omar Bravo was sent off witha straight red card. The Fire's first goal came in the 34th minute when Diego Chaves converted the penalty that was awarded on Bravo's red card. About six minutes later, Gaston Puerari scored the Fire's second goal of the match.
This is the second straight game that the Fire have benefitted from an opposing player being given a straight red card. Last week, Brek Shea was sent off when he was ruled to be the last-man back and fouled a Fire attacker. On replays, the call seemed soft.
This red card seemed to be a little soft as well. Bravo was the last man back on a Fire counter-attack and appeared to gave Puerari a slight shove as he prepared to shoot. Puerari's shot did not seem to be affected.
A lot of MLS teams have been decimated by international call-ups and injuries, but none more than the New York Red Bulls. Their lineup has an incredibly makeshift look to it, with third choice players starting at striker, central defense, and goalkeeper. Columbus have a first choice lineup available to them, but it's debatable whether or not that makes them favorites, even at home. Last week, their performance against D.C. United was abysmal, and Robert Warzycha has admitted as much. Here are your starting lineups.
New York Red Bulls lineup (4-4-1-1): Horwath; Borman, Mendes, Keel, Miller; Lindpere, Tainio, Tchani, Solli; Ballouchy; Rodgers
Columbus Crew lineup (4-2-3-1): Hesmer; James, Balchan, Marshall, Miranda; Burns, Rusmir; Rogers, Ekpo, Gaven; Mendoza
If you want to watch this match, you can catch it on local television in New York or Columbus, as well as on MLS Direct Kick or Matchday Live. Interestingly enough, on MSG, Direct Kick, and MDL, the awesome Glenn Davis is filling in on the play by play as his regular gig, calling Houston Dynamo games, was outsourced to JP Dellacamera and Fox Soccer Channel this week.
Mikael Yourassowsky was taking his sweet time coming off the field in the 84th minute, something referee Silviu Petrescu apparently didn't appreciate. The TFC defender was given his second yellow card as he slowly came off the field, forcing his teammates to play a man down for the final six-plus minutes. Yourassowsky received his first yellow card of the match in the 56th minute for a hard foul. Ultimately, it didn't matter as TFC held on for the 2-0 win.
TFC got two goals from Javier Martina, the second of which should be a Goal of the Week candidate as he took a long pass from goalkeeper Stefan Frei and one-touched it with a half volley past Timbers backup goalkeeper Jake Gleeson. The victory kept TFC from losing their first two matches of the season, both against expansion teams.
The Timbers are now winless in two MLS matches are are currently holding a -4 goal-difference, the worst in MLS. They entered the season with somewhat high hopes, but it is now clear they have some work to do.
Say what you will about Javier Martina's overall game, but the Toronto FC forward sure looks like he can finish. The 20-year-old just gave TFC a 2-0 lead over the Portland Timbers on a wonderful half-volley from about 15 yards out in the 71st minute.
Perhaps even more impressive than the goal, was the pass that set it up. TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei started the play when he grabbed a corner kick, alertly looked up field and sent a long pass to Martina, who gained position on Timbers left back Rodney Wallace and hit it on a first-touch inside the far post.
That goal came against the run of play, just as the Timbers seemed to be gaining momentum. For most of the second half, the Timbers were controlling play and dictating pace.
Since then, though, the Reds have created a couple more good scoring chances, forcing rookie goalkeeper Jake Gleeson into a couple of saves.
The Portland Timbers were already down to their second goalkeeper at the start of the match, but they'll be playing the second half with their third-string goalkeeper. Adin Brown apparently suffered some kind of injury in the first half, making way for 20-year-old Jake Gleeson to make his MLS debut.
Gleeson played for the Timbers U-23 team last year, and has played for New Zealand at the U-17 and U-20 levels. He was reportedly disappointed not to receive a call-up to the senior national team for this weekend's international friendly.
Gleeson was tested early, as Maicon Santos was allowed to go in 1v1 in the 49th minute. But Gleeson was able to stop the shot and keep the Timbers with a goal. Santos, despite being unmarked inside the penalty area, did not get much on the shot and hit it almost right at Gleeson.
For Toronto FC, they've removed Nathan Sturgis and installed Alen Stevanovic, a 20-year-old from Switzerland who was most recently with Inter Milan.
A goal from Javier Martina proved to be the only goal of the first half as Toronto FC continues to show that it should at least be capable of scoring some goals this year. Their defense still looks suspect, and the Timbers have been able to control much of the possession and have created several decent chances, but considering how low expectations for the Reds were this year, that seems at least acceptable.
The Timbers, meanwhile, are learning that MLS is perhaps a little tougher than they may have originally believed. Although the players are generally MLS veterans, the front office clearly set expectations rather high. Coach John Spencer refuses to call his team an "expansion" side, preferring to view them as recently promoted. Technical Director Gavin Wilkinson has said that he believes his team is a playoff contender.
But a week after facing one of the league's best teams, the Timbers are now trailing one of the league's worst. There's definitely time to turn this game around, but this is not the kind of start the Timbers were expecting.
The Portland Timbers may consider themselves a "promoted" team, but they sure look a lot like any other expansion side. Toronto FC has taken a 1-0 lead on a goal from Dutch import Javier Martina in the 14th minute.
The goal was created when Maicon Santos sent a through ball to Dwayne De Rosario inside the penalty area. De Rosario then pulled the ball back and laid it off to Martina, who took two dribbles and finished inside the far post.
Martina, who was one of several Dutch players new TFC coach Aron Winter brought over during the off-season, was once in the Ajax system, making two senior team appearances from 2008-10. Martina also played for Holland's U-18 and U-20 teams, but has not seen much success as a senior player.
While TFC's defense still seems very suspect, it appears they may have some decent offensive players. Just 120 minutes into their season, they have scored three goals.
Perhaps no two teams got off to worse starts in Week 1 than Toronto FC and the Portland Timbers. As has been well documented, TFC was thoroughly embarrassed in the first MLS Canadian derby, falling 4-2 to the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Timbers got a rough introduction to MLS, getting outclassed by the defending MLS Cup champions and falling 3-1.
This week, we should probably get a much better idea of how this season might go for these two teams. TFC returns home and gets another expansion team. Losing this week just about guarantees what many have long suspected: This could be a long season. The Timbers get a shot at much more manageable opponent, but a loss at Toronto does not bode well for a team that had its sights clearly set on making the playoffs in Year 1.
TFC starters (4-3-3): Stefan Frei, Mikael Yourassowsky, Ty Harden, Adrian Cann, Dan Gargan, Dwayne DeRosario, Nathan Sturgis, Jacob Peterson, Javier Martina, Alan Gordon, Maicon Dos Santos.
Timbers starters (4-4-2): Adin Brown, Steve Purdy, Eric Brunner, Kevin Goldthwaite, Rodney Wallace, Ryan Pore, Jack Jewsbury, Peter Lowry, Jeremy Hall, Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza.
As we detailed in our Week 2 MLS preview, there are somewhere between 25-30 players being called away for national duty this weekend. Obviously, some teams are considerably more effected than others. The New York Red Bulls, for instance, will be without seven of their players and several more teams will be missing at least two.
In some cases, this will make otherwise lopsided matchups look a lot more even, like when the Columbus Crew host the Red Bulls at 4 p.m. EDT. Making matters worse for the Red Bulls is their missing Thierry Henry, who apparently suffered a knock during training this week.
The first game on the slate, Toronto FC vs. Portland Timbers, is one of the few games that is relatively unaffected (with no projected starters missing from either side). Both teams are looking to rebound for disappointing opening week performances, with TFC being embarrassed by the Vancouver Whitecaps and Timbers being humbled by the Colorado Rapids.
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