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Buoyed by goals from Cam Weaver, Bobby Boswell and Will Bruin, the Houston Dynamo picked up their first win of the season, beating the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 on Saturday. That leaves just Chivas USA and the Portland Timbers as the only two MLS teams without a victory four weeks into the season.
Weaver and Boswell's first-half goals were separated by just five minutes. Weaver opened the scoring in the 37th minute with a goal off an assist from Boswell. Less than a minute later, though, the Whitecaps tied the score on a Camilo Sanvezzo score that came off an assist from Davide Chiumiento. The Dynamo reclaimed the lead in the 42nd minute on Boswell header.
That's where the score remained until the 76th minute when Bruin got behind the defense, dribbled around Whitecaps goalkeeper Jay Nolly and scored from a sharp angle. The goal was Bruin's first of his MLS career.
Fellow 2011 SuperDraft first-round pick Omar Salgado also made his much awaited MLS debut for the Whitecaps. Salgado only recently received clearance to play for the Whitecaps before his 18th birthday and had been playing with the United States U-20 team in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament. Salgado entered the game in the 84th minute and did not register a shot.
Will Bruin has scored his first career MLS goal to give the Houston Dynamo a 3-1 lead over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. Bruin found himself 1v1 with Whitecaps goalkeeper Jay Nolly after receiving a nice throughball, beat Nolly on the dribble and put the ball in the net from a sharp angle.
The second half of this match has been much less eventful than the first half, especially the last 10 minutes. The chances on goal have been few and far between and neither team had really been forcing the action.
Bruin has been starting in place of Brian Ching, who has missed mot of the season with an injury. Bruin was the No. 11 overall pick in the most recent MLS SuperDraft after being one of the top scorers during his college days at Indiana.
Cam Weaver scored to give the Houston Dynamo a 1-0 lead, Camilo Sanvezzo answered just seconds later to tie the score and Bobby Boswell scored about four minutes after that to leave the Dynamo with a 2-1 lead over the Vancouver Whitecaps. The entire sequence took about five minutes to unfold, injecting some life into a match that had been pretty mundane up to that point.
The Whitecaps entered the match missing several key players, most notably Designated Player Eric Hassli and seemed to be playing a little more conservatively than we had grown accustomed to seeing. The Dynamo had the only real scoring opportunity in the early going, with Danny Cruz ringing a shot off the crossbar on a shot from about 20 yards out.
That all changed in the 37th minute, when Brad Davis sent a corner kick into the box, Boswell flicked it toward the goal and Weaver finished it past Jay Nolly. But the Whitecaps came right back down the field and scored the equalizer when Davide Chiumiento found Sanvezzo streaking toward the goal. Sanvezzo then beat Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall for his third goal of the season.
But that tie was short-lived as well. Boswell was able to get his head onto an entry pass from Cruz to give the Dynamo a 2-1 lead. The game has now gone into halftime with the score 2-1.
The short-handed Vancouver Whitecaps have made some interesting moves to make up for the absence of several starters. Chief among them is putting Omar Salgado in the gameday 18 for the first time. The No. 1 overall pick in the most recent MLS SuperDraft only received clearance to play a couple of weeks ago and since then has been with the United States U-20 team. But with the U.S. crashing out of the tournament with a loss in the quarterfinals, he's back with the Whitecaps.
His return couldn't come soon enough. Eric Hassli, the team's Designated Player and leading scorer, will miss Saturday's game after receiving a red card on Wednesday. That is the second game this season that Hassli has missed due to a red-card suspension.
The other big change for the Whitecaps is Alain Rochat making his debut in the midfield. This is the third position Rochat has played in as many games, having appeared at left back and center back in his previous two matches.
Dynamo starters: Hall; Freeman, Boswell, Hainault, Ashe; Cruz, Cameron, Palmer, Davis; Weaver, Bruin. Reserves: Deric, Chabala, Robinson, Sarkodie, Clark, Dixon, Garey.
Whitecaps starters: Nolly; Leathers, DeMerit, Boxall, Wagner; Chiumiento, Brovsky, Rochat, Khalfan; Camilo, Harris. Reserves: Cannon, Duckett, Knight, Salgado, Teibert, Harmse, Akloul.
Chivas had the bulk of the possession in the first half and were able to create some positive chances on Will Hesmer's goal but in the end nothing was getting by the Crew keeper. The game ended up seeing both clubs rely on counter-attack style of offense to create chances. The ball was won and lost in the midfield time and time again by both sides and towards the end neither were maintaining longs spells of possession.
The best chance for the Crew came in the 58th minute as Emilio Renteria found himself on a breakaway chance only to be stopped by rookie Zarek Valentin, who was back from international duty with the US U-20 national team.
Chivas threw some decent chances on goal in the second half and Health Pearce's header in the 90th minute nearly broke the scoring deadlock.
CHV -- Marcos Mondaini (caution; Reckless Foul) 35
CLB -- Julius James (caution; Reckless Foul) 55
CHV -- Zarek Valentin (caution; Reckless Foul) 59
CLB -- Kevin Burns (caution; Reckless Tackle) 64
CHV -- Jorge Flores (caution; Reckless Foul) 65
CLB -- Sebastian Miranda (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 81
CHV -- Nick LaBrocca (caution; Reckless Foul) 86
CHV -- Michael Lahoud (caution; Tactical Foul) 87
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Julius James, Chad Marshall, Rich Balchan, Eddie Gaven, Dejan Rusmir, Kevin Burns, Robbie Rogers, Emilio Renteria (Tommy Heinemann 78), Emmanuel Ekpo(Dilly Duka 72).
Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Cunningham, Josh Gardner, Andy Iro, Justin Meram, Andy Gruenebaum.
Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Michael Lahoud, Zarek Valentin, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic, Nick LaBrocca, Ben Zemanski, Jorge Flores (Victor Estupinan 80), Justin Braun, Marcos Mondaini (Gerson Mayen 68), Alejandro Moreno.
Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Boyens, Francisco Mendoza, Mariano Trujillo, Michael Umana, Zach Thornton.
Referee: Yader Reyes
Referee's Assistants: Peter Manikowski; Claudio Badea
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:49
Weather: Clear and 58 degrees
The San Jose Earthquakes still can't buy three points at Buck Shaw Stadium this season. In three home games so far this season they are winless and last night they nearly lost their second game to Toronto FC. Had it not been for the heroics of Simon Dawkins, Toronto would have left the Bay Area with a huge win.
The Quakes went down early thanks to a goal from Alan Gordon. The goal came after a mistake in the back by former TFC midfielder Sam Cronin. Cronin headed back a ball played into the box and Gordon was there to finish it.
San Jose responded ten minutes later with Dawkins. The Tottenham loanee continued to show his worth to Frank Yallop as he slipt the defense and played a nice ball to last year's Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski, who then played the ball right back to Dawkins for the game-tying goal.
Both teams traded chances in the second half but neither were able to covert on them.
TOR -- Alan Gordon 2 (unassisted) 27
SJ -- Simon Dawkins 2 (Chris Wondolowski 1) 38
TOR -- Tony Tchani (caution; Dissent) 35
SJ -- Sam Cronin (caution; Dissent) 36
TOR -- Nana Attakora (caution; Reckless Foul) 41
SJ -- Ike Opara (caution; Reckless Tackle) 55
TOR -- Julian de Guzman (caution; Reckless Foul) 79
SJ -- Ramiro Corrales (caution; Dissent) 84
SJ -- Chris Wondolowski (caution; Dissent) 87
TOR -- Jacob Peterson (caution; Reckless Foul) 93+
Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Ty Harden, Nana Attakora (Julian de Guzman 46), Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman,Maicon Santos (Joao Plata 65), Jacob Peterson, Tony Tchani, Javier Martina, Alan Gordon, Alen Stevanovic (Gianluca Zavarise 63).
Substitutes Not Used: Oscar Cordon, Dan Gargan, Mikael Yourassowsky, Milos Kocic.
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Ike Opara, Ramiro Corrales (Joey Gjertsen 85), Bobby Convey, Sam Cronin, Simon Dawkins, Khari Stephenson (Matt Luzunaris 80), Ryan Johnson, Chris Wondolowski.
Substitutes Not Used: Anthony Ampaipitakwong, Bobby Burling, Chris Leitch, Brad Ring, Andrew Weber.
Referee: Ramon Hernandez
Referee's Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry; Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Daniel Fitzgerald
Weather: Sunny and 61 degrees
The Los Angeles Galaxy struck early to go ahead and just kept holding on and holding on. DC United had a couple chances here and there, but there was any sustained pressure that resulted in many scoring chances. It looked like the Galaxy were going to grab three points to start off their three games in nine days road trip. Then, DC was shown a red card and the Galaxy's win was all but certain. Charlie Davies, with some help from a generous referee gave DC a shocking comeback to share the points with Los Angeles in a 1-1 draw at RFK Stadium.
Davies got the ball with just Omar Gonzalez defending him in the 90th minute and took a touch toward the endline when he went to the turf. It didn't look like there was much contact at first and the replays confirmed it as Gonzalez put the slightest of touches on Davies with his arm, hardly enough to slow him down let alone make Davies go to the turf. Even so, Davies' legs went up, he hit the ground and the referee pointed to the spot. Davies stepped to the spot and chipped it right down the middle for his league-leading fourth goal of the season and third from the penalty spot to get DC the draw.
DC was in a bad spot before Davies scored because of a 12th minute goal by Mike Magee. Los Angeles earned a corner kick and Magee came running in towards the near post. David Beckham's service was perfect, right on Magee's head, and the ball went into the net for a 1-0 LA lead. It was the third consecutive goal that the Galaxy has gotten off of a Beckham set piece and crucial for them because they were playing without Landon Donovan, who was resting up with a bit of a knee injury before Wednesday's match at Toronto FC.
That goal, along with Santino Quaranta's red card had DC looking at a loss. Quaranta picked up a first half yellow card and when he missed on a 50/50 ball in the 85h minute, only to have his studs come down on Gonzalez's ankle. Quaranta saw a second yellow for his sending off. Quaranta was rescued though because just five minutes later Davies drew his penalty, however dubious it may have been, and converted to split the points.
Collen Warner set up two different goals to lead Real Salt Lake to a 2-0 win over the New England Revolution. Warner first set up second year defender Chris Schuler on a corner kick midway through the first half. Shortly after halftime Warner found Paulo Araujo Jr., on a breakaway fun and the Brazilian tucked the shot away.
Jason Kreis put out what most on Twitter were calling a "B" squad tonight after he rested most of his starters after their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal win in Costa Rica this past Wednesday. Mainstays like Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando started on the bench for the Claret-and-Cobalt.
After the two goals the game got physical. Shalrie Joseph and Pat Phelan both saw red cards for New England while RSL midfielder Will Johnson saw red after getting two yellow cards. There were plenty of other physical plays in the game, one included Tony Beltran being "checked" into the advertising boards by New England defender Kevin Alston. Alston only received a yellow card for the physical challenge on Beltran.
RSL dominated the possession game tonight, and really forced New England to sit back for large chunks of the game. New England only had a couple chances on goal and never really tested backup keeper Kyle Reynish.
The win for RSL also pushed their regular season undefeated streak to 17-games (dating back to last season), the third longest in league history behind last year's FC Dallas and the 2004-05 Columbus Crew's runs.
Seemingly everyone has been behind Charlie Davies in his comeback from a life-threatening car accident, but even the most ardent of Davies supporters will find it difficult to argue that he didn't dive his way to a goal. Davie got the ball on the left and was defending 1v1 by Omar Gonzalez. After a couple little move, Davies took the ball towards the end line and Gonzalez put the slightest of touches on Davies with his arm. That's all Davies needed to throw his feet up in the air and hit the turf for what everyone saw was a dive. Well, everyone but the one man who mattered as the referee pointed to the spot.
Davies stepped to the spot to take the penalty and with Donovan Ricketts faking from side to side, Davies just chipped it right down the middle to get DC United the equalizer. It is Davies' league-leading fourth goal of the season and third to come from the penalty spot. Now, despite being down to 10 men, DC is just a few minutes away from earning a draw.
If DC United wasn't having enough trouble scoring against the Los Angeles Galaxy already, it just got tougher now that they have to play down a man. Santino Quaranta was booked for his second yellow card of the match in the 85th minute with his United side already down 1-0 at RFK Stadium. Quaranta's first yellow came in the first half when he took down Juninho. His second came when he got he raised his boot while trying to play the ball and missed, instead coming down on Omar Gonzalez with his studs.
DC has pushed Los Angeles more in the second half than they did in the first and if anyone was to score in the second half it looked like it would be the home side. Now down a goal, that doesn't seem as true and the Galaxy look like good bets to hold onto their 1-0 win and three points.
It didn't take Real Salt Lake long to double their lead, just three minutes into the second half Paulo Araujo Jr., took a pass from Collen Warner and raced away for the game's second goal. Warner found a streaking Paulo Jr., down the middle of the field and the young Brazilian tucked it just over Bobby Shuttleworth.
Real Salt Lake has continued maintain large chunks of possession in the second half while the New England Revolution continue to shift their lineup around hoping to gain some sort of energy up front.
The game has also gotten a little chippy in the second half as both teams have seen their fair share of yellow cards and even one red card. Shalrie Joseph was issued a red card midway through the second half for a tough challenge on Kyle Beckerman. RSL defender Tony Beltran was "checked" into the ad boards by Kevin Alston, the second year defender for New England saw yellow for the push into the boards.
The New York Red Bulls did everything right except for two small things. They didn't put the ball into the back of the net, and they made one awful mental error to gift a goal to the Philadelphia Union. Other than that, they were the better team for 90 minutes. Unfortunately, scoring and not making bad mental errors in defense are almost certainly the two most important aspects of the game, so despite their apparent superiority, it's hard to argue that the Red Bulls deserved to win.
In the 68th minute, Tim Ream turned the ball over to Danny Mwanga, who found Roger Torres for the goal, and that was that. The Union played with 10 men behind the ball for the vast majority of the game and defended extremely deep. Ream, Rafael Marquez, and Teemu Tainio were not pressured when they had the ball. Philly played for a 0-0 draw, and they got a 1-0 win. It was a tough loss for the Red Bulls, but it's unlikely that Hans Backe is set to make wholesale changes anytime soon. Based on the way they played for most of this match, they should start winning games any time now.
No Landon Donovan, no problem for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Playing without their star, LA still leads DC United 1-0 at halftime thanks to Mike Magee's finish of a David Beckham corner kick in the 12th minute. With this match at RFK Stadium marking the first of three away matches in nine days for the Galaxy it is imperative that they take points where they can get them and a goal up at halftime is definitely one of those times where they need to take points.
Magee's goal marked the third consecutive Galaxy goal to come from a Beckham set piece and also put DC in the unenvious position of having to chase the game. United has had more of the possession, often pushing into the Los Angeles half, but they have struggled to turn those into scoring chances. The likely introduction fo Charlie Davies in the second half will likely help invigorate a DC attack that has been somewhat held back by their current strikers' inability to test the pace of the Los Angeles back line.
Also worth keeping an eye on in the second half is the card situation. Santino Quaranta has already been shown a yellow card for DC, while Beckham and Todd Dunivant were also cautioned for LA. Beckham's challenge was rash and most certainly was deserving of the card, but it also caused his ankle to start bleeding, staining his sock, and raised the intensity of the match. How both sides conduct themselves in what is becoming a testy match could be the key in the final 45 minutes.
After a couple long spells of possession by what some are dubbing a "B" team by Real Salt Lake, second year defender Chris Schuler hammed home his first career goal and the game's first goal. The goal came off a corner kick by Collen Warner.
The New England Revolution only saw a couple chances on goal so far. A couple of those chances came late in the half and were after their longest spell of possession. Kenny Mansally had a couple chances but none were on target. For the most part, the Revs have yet to put together any positive movement in their attack so far tonight. RSL's defense has been doing a good enough job to handle the Revolution attack.
RSL had a few quality chances on goal after a couple free kicks. For a team that is resting most of their starters, they've looked very good so far tonight. Seeing a mostly reserve team do well against most of the Revs' main starters has to be a positive sign for Jason Kreis. His club is proving yet again how good and deep they truly are here.
Schuler (Warner) 27'
The New York Red Bulls have been the better of the two teams in their match against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park tonight, but their superiority has yet to result in goals. They're tied up 0-0 at halftime, despite having plenty of possession and a couple of great opportunities. Juan Agudelo has been dangerous for the visitors, while the defensive trio of central defenders Tim Ream and Rafael Marquez, plus defensive midfieder Teemu Tainio have been allowed to dictate the pace of the game.
Carlos Ruiz had Philadelphia's best opportunity of the first half, forcing a good save out of Bouna Coundoul with a long range shot, but the Senegalese international made a good save. Agudelo hit the woodwork twice for the Red Bulls, and easily could have a goal to his name so far. The Red Bulls have had 62% of the possession, and the big gap between Philly's strikers and central midfielders is to blame. Tainio has days worth of time and acres of space on the ball, and it's had a negative effect on Philly's game so far.
The Los Angeles Galaxy have made a habit of falling behind early in matches this season, but in the first match of a three match road trip they have bucked the trend. Mike Magee got on the end of a David Beckham corner kick to put the Galaxy ahead just 12 minutes in for their first goal of the season within 30 minutes. The goal is also the Galaxy's third consecutive goal to come on the end of a Beckham set piece. Los Angeles will now only drop deeper than they already were and look for their attack through the counter-attack with a 1-0 lead.
DC had gotten some space in the early going, especially through Chris Pontius, who was off to a quick start. Pontius was finding space in front of the Galaxy defense and Dax McCarty was pushing higher to give him support, but they couldn't find the clear cut chance they were looking for. LA was content to let DC keep the ball in front of their back line and look for the opportunity to strike quickly, which they used on a quick move that led to the corner kick for the goal.
Two teams that had tough midweek games ended up putting out a fairly reserve lineup tonight at Gillette Stadium. Jason Kreis kept most of his main starters like Alvaro Saborio, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, and Nick Rimando on the bench for this one, resting after their big win in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal.
Steve Nicol's Revs 4-3-3 still has Sharlie Joseph, Marko Perovic and Pat Phelan. The Revs will have to find a way to make the most of their chances in this one as in their last game against Vancouver, they failed to get anywhere with a two-man advantage.
New England Revolution Starting XI: Bobby Shuttleworth; Didier Domi, Ryan Cochrane, Franco Coria, Kevin Alston; Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph, Stephen McCarthy; Zack Schilawski, Marko Perovic, and Kenny Mansally.
Landon Donovan has spent much of the last two years playing match after match after match. This winter was the first time Donovan had a rest in a long time and he took advantage. With this season starting with lots of matches for the Los Angeles Galaxy and then two recently for the U.S. National Team, Donovan got himself another break though. He is not in the starting lineup and not on the bench either for tonight's match at DC United, getting the evening off before a Wednesday match at Toronto FC.
DC gets Charlie Davies back from a slight groin injury that forced him to miss last week's match and is available on the bench for United. Blake Brettschneider makes his second consecutive start for United and Josh Wolff is also up top, allowing Chris Pontius to move back into his more natural midfield spot. DC should be able to challenge the LA back line with their speed from deep and with LA going with AJ DeLaGarza at right back instead of Sean Franklin, there isn't nearly as much need for DC to be cautious on the left side.
DC United: Hamid; Korb, Jakovic, White, Burch; Quaranta, Simms, McCarty, Pontius; Wolff, Brettschneider
LA Galaxy: Ricketts; Dunivant, Leonardo, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza; Magee, Beckham, Juninho, Franklin; Lopez, Angel
Whenever New York and Philadelphia square off in any sport it always brings with it a bit of an edge. That is just the reality of when two teams from big cities a mere 90 minutes away play each other. In just their second year of existence, the Philadelphia Union are already creeping their way up the standings and with it, up the list of New York Red Bulls enemies. The two teams are ready for their first match-up of 2011 with the scrappy Union hosting the star studded Red Bulls at PPL Park.
The Union have everybody back for them with Amobi Okugo back rom US U-20 duty and on the bench. The Red Bulls also trot out plenty of quality as Dwayne De Rosario makes his first start for New York behind the dangerous duo of Juan Agudelo and Thierry Henry.
Philadelphia Union: Mondragon, Valdes, Califf, Harvey, Williams, Miglioranzi, Carroll, Mapp, Daniel, Le Toux, Ruiz
New York Red Bulls: Coundoul, Solli, Marquez, Ream, Miller, Richards, Tainio, De Rosario, Lindpere, Agudelo, Henry.
It took five matches fro the Seattle Sounders, but they finally got it as the took down the Chicago Fire, 2-1, in front of another sell out crowd at Qwest Field. Amazingly, it came with Fredy Montero still out due to a wrist injury, but strong play from Steve Zakuani and a reenergized O'Brian White put the Sounders through. The first half was wide open with three goals and chances for both sides back and forth. While there were some second half chances, none resulted in goals and that was largely due to a tremendous performance in goal by Kasey Keller who almost singlehandedly kept the Fire off of the scoreboard in the second half.
Seattle was the first to tally when White skied above two Chicago defenders and headed the ball perfectly inside the post to put the Sounders ahead 1-0. Chicago didn't flinch though and came flying back with a goal 90 seconds later. Diego Chaves got on the end of a Patrick Nyarko low cross and calmly slotted it past Keller for the equalizer. About halfway through the first half, Zakuani put the Sounders ahead for good though, dancing his way in from the left wing and then blazing in on goal before poking it in for the 2-1 Sounders edge.
The second half brought plenty of chances for the Fire. A few just missed the frame, but there were three others that looked like sure goals until the 41-year-old Keller had a sip from the Fountain of Youth and kept Seattle in front. Once it was a diving save of a shot from six yards out, the other time it was just getting a fingertip to the ball and the most heroic of the all was stopping a 1v1 breakaway. In the end, Keller did enough to earn Man of the Match honors and Seattle did enough to earn three points.
It's been a frustrating start to the season for the Seattle Sounders. A pair of losses to open the season followed by a pair of draws left them heading into their fifth match of the season still without a win in a season where expectations were high. Well, goals by O'Brian White and Steve Zakuani have put the Sounders ahead of the Chicago Fire, 2-1, at a sold out Qwest Field and 45 minutes away from that elusive first win.
Seattle struck first in the seventh minute when Mauro Rosales' cross from the right found White about 12 yards from goal. White elevated and snapped a wonderful header just inside the post for the vital opening mark. That mark would hold up for all of 90 seconds thanks to a quick strike back by Diego Chaves. Gaston Puerari released Patrick Nyarko and Nyarko found Chaves, who sidefooted the ball past Kasey Keeler for the equalizer. That level scoreline held up until the 24th minute when a fantastic individual move by Zakuani allowed him to race in from the left and slide the ball past Sean Johnson to give Seattle the lead back at 2-1.
The first half has been wide open with Seattle dictating most of the play. They've had more chances that Chicago and are the much faster team, but the Fire haven't been buried. They had a few chances to knocked the ball around some, but have struggled to turn a bit of midfield possession into chances in the final third. Without much of note on the bench, a Fire comeback seems unlikely, but Seattle did give away a lead last week and could very well do so again.
So, was this going to be a wide open match? If two goals inside of eight minutes didn't give it away, a third goal in the 24th definitely did the trick. Steve Zakuani used some crafty footwork to work his way in on goal and then slide the ball past Sean Johnson to gives the Sounders the lead that they held for all of 90 seconds earlier in the match. Seattle is now back in front in their bid to get their first win of the season.
With the way this match has gone, there is no reason to believe this will be the last of the goals. The Fire have had a couple chances even though the Sounders have had the better of the play so this match hasn't been all Seattle. The problem for Chicago has been their inability to defend the wings. Seattle's first goal came off a cross and the second came on a blinding run by Zakuani from the wing. O'Brian White has worked well in the center for Seattle and continues to draw the Chicago fire centrally, leaving acres of space for the Sounders outside against a scrambling Chicago defense.
Only 90 seconds after falling behind, the Chicago Fire have found an equalizer thanks to a calm finish by Diego Chaves. O'Brian White put the Seattle Sounders ahead 1-0 in the seventh minute, but before the eighth minute even came to a close, Chaves and the Fire were celebrating a goal of their own. Goals for the Fire aren't so rare, having scored four in their first two matches of the season, and the Sounders are once again even in their attempt to get their first win of the season.
The move started with Gaston Puerari spotting Patrick Nyark making a run down the right and delivering a perfect ball that allowed Nyarko to run onto it. The speedy Nyarko chased the ball down easily and spotted Chaves in the center. A low cross was right to Chaves and the Uruguayan easily sidefooted the ball into the net to level the match. Two goals in eight minutes and it looks like we have ourselves a wide open match.
Who needs Fredy Montero? The Seattle Sounders don't look like they do seven minutes into their match with the Chicago Fire thanks to a wonderful header by O'Brian White that has put them ahead. The Sounders now have a goal, something most figured would be difficult to come by with Montero, and their 36,000+ sell out crowd behind them.
The goal was not the result of a long build up, instead just a cross and finish. Mauro Rosales got some room on the right and played a cross into White, who outjumped two defenders and put a fantastic header past Sean Johnson. The header came from about 12 yards away and curled just inside the post perfectly. Now with a 1-0 lead, the Sounders will lean on their defense to make the lead stand up, but with four goals in their first two matches, Chicago can be counted on to challenge for a goal or two.
The lineups are in for the first of six MLS Saturday matches today and the most notable absence comes on Seattle's end with Fredy Montero missing out yet again. The Colombian remains out with a wrist injury and head coach Sigi Schmid has has made a tweak to his lineup in response. Instead of his tried and true 4-4-2, Schmid will send Seattle out in a 4-3-3 with Erik Friberg and Steve Zakuani pushing up high as wide forwards.
The Fire are playing in a 4-4-2 as they have made a habit of doing so there is nothing surprising there. Chicago couldn't manage a point in either match against the Sounders a year ago, but neither of the goal scorers from those matches, Montero and Blaise Nkufo, are playing for Seattle so this one could be different.
Months of pent up frustration of losing a MLS Cup were let out tonight by FC Dallas players left and right. FC Dallas downed the Colorado Rapids 3-0 thanks to a brace from 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira. The Colombian scored a cheeky goal before the end of the first half and then netted one of the quickest goals to start the second half. Ugo Ihemelu added the other Dallas goal earlier in the game.
Tonight was all about Dallas and their wing play. With Brek Shea moved to the left back position and the play of Eric Avila off the bench, Dallas controlled the tempo from the start of the game. Newcomer Fabian Castillo looked very dangerous at times on the wings for the Toros as well and his ball to give Ferreira his first goal of the year was pure class.
The Rapids were totally out matched in this one as they never got any solid possession out of their midfield. Not having veteran Pablo Mastroeni exposed a lot of holes in midfield as Dallas was able to string plenty of passes together on the wings to create their many chances on the night. Strikers Caleb Folan and Omar Cummings were never able to see quality chances on their own end causing the Rapids midfield to sit back more than Gary Smith would probably have liked.
The loss was the first of the season for the defending champions, while Dallas finally got their first win of the 2011 campaign.
The Rapids face a quick turnaround to fix their mistakes from tonight. They will travel to Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake on April 13 in the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
DAL -- Ugo Ihemelu 1 (Marvin Chavez 1) 26
DAL -- David Ferreira 1 (Fabian Castillo 1) 40
DAL -- David Ferreira 2 (Eric Avila 1, Daniel Hernandez 1) 46
DAL -- Andrew Jacobson (caution; Reckless Tackle) 13
COL -- Sanna Nyassi (caution; Persistent Infringement) 19
COL -- Caleb Folan (caution; Reckless Foul) 33
COL -- Anthony Wallace (caution; Reckless Tackle) 52
COL -- Omar Cummings (caution; Reckless Foul) 81
COL -- Drew Moor (caution; Reckless Tackle) 84
DAL -- Daniel Hernandez (caution; Dissent) 90
Just when you think a two goal lead is the worst to begin a half with, think again. FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira scored one of the quickest goals I've ever seen in person. Ferreira took a pass from Eric Avila off the wings and just like that, 25 seconds into the half (yes you read that right 25 seconds), FC Dallas goes up 3-0.
Since then the game has settled down quite a bit with the Colorado Rapids finally seeing a couple chances on goal. Nothing has challenged Kevin Hartman though as he has yet to really be tested tonight. The Rapids have looked better since adding Brian Mullen on the wings in place of Sanna Nyassi.
Fabian Castillo continues to impress on the wings as well for Schellas Hyndman's club. His pace and energy has been a huge difference. Avila has also filled in nicely after Marvin Chavez left the game in the first half with a head injury after the first Dallas goal.
65th Minute Recap:
Ugo Ihemelu (Chavez) 26'
Ferreria (Castillo) 40'
Ferreria (Avila) 46'
2010 Major League Soccer MVP David Ferreira opened up his goal scoring account on the season with a cheeky flick over Matt Pickens in the 40th minute. Fabian Castillo played a nice through ball into the box where Ferreira was running on to it and the veteran flicked it over Pickens for the game's second goal.
Dallas as completely overwhelmed the Colorado Rapids so far in this one. With the previous goal from Ugo Ihemelu, Dallas is playing like the team most expected them to be at the start of the season. The wing play has been the difference tonight as Schellas Hyndman moved Brek Shea from the center back position to the left back in place of Jair Benitez, a move that is really working out well for the Toros.
Has Colorado looked this bad? Maybe, but not having Pablo Mastroeni in the midfield has certainly changed the way they are playing. Dallas is able to open things up much more on the flanks without Mastroeni out there. Their attack hasn't had much of a bite either as Jamie Smith has not been able to do much on the wings tonight while Sanna Nyassi continues to stay in foul trouble.
The bigger thing is seeing Ferreira play more freely in the middle tonight. That may be due to the play of Andrew Jacobson, who aside form a questionable yellow card has looked very well for them tonight.
FC Dallas 2 - 0 Colorado Rapids
Ihemelu (Chavez) 26'
Ferreira (Castillo) 40'
FC Dallas has packed on the pressure early in this one. With Brek Shea starting at left back and Zach Loyd back at right back, the flank play tonight for Dallas has been huge. Chance after chance with Marvin Chavez, David Ferreira, and Fabian Castillo. Finally in the 26th minute Ugo Ihemelu got on the end of a Chavez cross to put Dallas up 1-0.
Chavez was hurt on the goal and had to be subbed out, Eric Avila replaced him.
So far there hasn't been much out of the Rapids other than just tough defense and big stops out of Matt Pickens. The keeper has had to brush a handfull of shots out of his box so far tonight. On the other end Kevin Hartman has yet to even be tested by the highly rated Rapids attack of Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan.
30th Minute Recap:
Dallas Goal: Ihemelu 26' (Chavez)
Dallas: Jacobson (yellow)
Colorado: Folan (yellow) Sanna Nyassi (yellow)
The lineups are now in for both sides. Only a couple surprises tonight for Gary Smith's and Schellas Hyndman's clubs. Colorado is putting out their usual 4-4-2 with Pablo Mastroeni starting out on the bench with Joseph Nane starting in his place. Smith is also bringing some speed on the outside with Sanna Nyassi in the place of veteran Brian Mullan. Smart move considering it's still nearly 90 degrees here tonight in Dallas.
Hyndman is sticking to his 4-1-4-1 lineup with Brek Shea in the back for another game but this time at left back for the injured Jair Benitez. Andrew Jacobson makes his first start for Dallas tonight in the middle behind David Ferriera.
The Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas are going in opposite directions heading into their MLS Cup rematch tonight. The Rapids are leading the league standings with nine points after three games while FC Dallas is at the bottom of the standings with just a single point.
Colorado will lean on strikers Omar Cummings, Caleb Folan and midfielder Jamie Smith against a Dallas defense that has been leaky to start the season. The Rapids defense will face it's toughest test to date though, even though Dallas only has one Milton Rodriguez goal to their name this season.
This game will be won (or lost) in the midfield as both teams like to maintain possession for long spells at a time. The big question for Dallas tonight is who will start behind David Ferreira in the midfield. Eric Alexander started the season behind him only to see Jackson Goncalves replace him a week ago against the Columbus Crew. With Jackson suspended we may see FCD manager Schellas Hyndman turn to Andrew Jacobson for the linking midfielder role.
One game into Week 4, and we are already off to an interesting start. The Whitecaps-Revolution match on Wednesday seemed to do a good job of encapsulating the so far wild nature of this season, as there were six cards, three ejections a penalty, a stoppage-time goal and a not-quite-deserved result for the Revs.
There are at least two matches this week that seem particularly interesting: Friday's FC Dallas-Rapids affair and Saturday's Union-Red Bulls match. The first is a rematch of last year's MLS Cup final, while the other is the latest installment of what many expect to be one of the next great rivalries. In both cases, we have one team off to a strong start and the other, who has been a bit frustrated.
As impressive as the Rapids' season-opening wins over the Timbers, Chivas USA and DC United may be, it is worth noting that none of those teams made the playoffs last year. But part of being a champion is beating the teams you play, and their +6 goal-difference has the look of a team trying to prove that their championship was deserved. The fact that they'll be without Conor Casey hardly even seems to matter as Caleb Folan looks like the real deal. As odd as it may seem, their first big test comes against a team that is winless through three matches. The Toros are better than their 0-2-1 record, but playing this is their third match at home and they need to start getting results. Pick: FC Dallas 2-1.
Did anyone really think the Sounders would enter their fifth match of the season without win and likely without any Designated Players in the starting lineup? Yet here we are, the Sounders winless, cutting ties with one DP (Blaise Nkufo), another being nursed back to health (Fredy Montero) and a third apparently reduced to coming off the bench (Alvaro Fernandez). This was definitely not how they drew it up to start the year, but scorelines aside they have played reasonably well and they still have plenty of talent. The Fire, meanwhile, have looked strong in the early going despite a massive offseason overhaul. They probably won't be playing their much ballyhooed 3-5-2 and injuries have left them depleted for this match. The big question is whether the Uruguayan duo of Gaston Puerrari and Diego Chaves can continue to work their magic. Pick: Sounders 3-1.
This was supposed to be one of MLS's big rivalries last year, but it didn't quite stick. With these two teams potentially being the top two in the Eastern Conference, maybe this will be the year it really catches. The Union are coming off their first loss of the season, on the road against the Galaxy, but even then they looked solid defensively. Carlos Valdes gives them some added grit on the backline and Faryd Mondragon seems to be as good as advertised. The Red Bulls have, so far, underperformed. Part of that is because they haven't had much opportunity to really gel, but no one doubts their talent. Dwayne De Rosario will probably make his starting debut after a full week of training with the team. Should be interesting. Pick: Red Bulls 2-1.
It's hard to know what to make of the Revolution. They've been outplayed for large chunks of every match, their offense has not been impressive, their defense has failed to dominate and, yet, they are one of the five MLS teams currently without a loss. At some point, you figure something has to give. Both of these teams are coming off exhausting midweek games (the Revs needed a stoppage-time goal to tie nine-man Vancouver and RSL advanced to the CCL finals), which probably doesn't bode well for the quality of play. As good as RSL may be, it would hardly be surprising if they were at less than their best for this one. Pick: Tied 1-1.
Both of these seem to be underperforming in their own special way. DCU looked so strong in Week 1, but hasn't really built on that success and lost a bit of a stinker last week. The Galaxy were expected to be a Supporters' Shield contender, but have looked entirely unimpressive in each of their three matches. No one is saying these teams are incapable of turning it around, but this seems to be one of those games where we should learn something about both sides. Charlie Davies has declared himself "good to go" for the match and Bill Hamid made his season debut with a strong performance in the U.S. Open Cup so United is at least getting close to full strength. The Galaxy should also have nearly their full complement of players. Pick: Galaxy 1-0.
At the start of the year, I really thought Robin Fraser had done an admirable job making this a respectable team. Maybe, expecting that turnaround to be evident this early in the season was expecting too much. The Goats took a step forward last week, but it was against a Toronto FC team that was starting three players who had been with the team for less than a week. The Crew, while still looking less-than-impressive, have at least managed to get results against some decent opponents. This could very well end up being the ugliest match of the day. Pick: Chivas 1-0.
The good news for Aron Winter is that the locker rooms at Buck Shaw Stadium are so small that reporters are never allowed inside. So, at least he won't have to fight that battle this week. On the field, though, the Reds are going to have their hands full. Despite lots of skepticism about their ability to repeat last year's performance, the Quakes have looked good in all of their matches. They very easily could have gotten a tie in Week 1 against RSL and maybe even deserved to win last week's match against the Sounders. They have a defense good enough that Ike Opara has been reduced to coming off the bench and their offense has looked potent despite missing Steven Lenhart, who has been upgraded to "questionable" this week. Pick: Earthquakes 3-1.
In the last two weeks, the Dynamo have faced a hard-to-believe 48 shots. It's a credit to Tally Hall and his 14 saves that they have given up just two goals in those games and come away with a point in each. Now, they had back home nursing a host of injuries and facing a Whitecaps team that is equally short-handed. It's hard to project who's going to start, let alone what kind of game we can expect. The Whitecaps looked like a very different team in their one game away from Empire Field than they have in their other three. The Dynamo haven't looked particularly good in any of their games. Pick: Tied 1-1.
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