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With five wins in their first five matches at Jeld-Wen Field, the Timbers are off to the best start for a first-year team in the post-shootout era.
The fun of the night may have been the weather delay. For the most part of the night Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas struggled to get anything going. The hour and 52 minute weather delay didn't do anything to change the outcome of the game as it ended 0-0.
Both teams struggled to really get anything going in both halves. It was possibly due to the muggy weather in the area or the lack of quality attacking midfielders for both clubs.
Dallas may have had the better of the chances in the first half with a strike from George John off a corner kick. Nick Rimando got a finger to the shot and brushed it away to keep the game level. Rimando also came up big in the second half when Eric Alexander sent a blast from 30 yards out.
RSL had a couple decent chances of their own, but none that really tested Kevin Hartman. Their best chance in the first half ended on the wrong side of things when Alvaro Saborio's header from a Will Johnson cross was called offside. Johnson also had a decent crack early on in the first half that tested Hartman.
With the draw Dallas moves back into second place in the Western Conference with 18 points. RSL moves into a three-way tie for third place with Portland and Seattle with 17 points.
Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens wasn't challenged often by Toronto FC on Saturday, but the two times he was, he came up big. Pickens' three saves allowed the Rapids to salvage a point in their 0-0 draw. The result was hardly pretty, but considering the circumstances, they will take every point they can get.
Of course, facing a Toronto FC team that has so far been one of the worst teams in MLS this season, you'd think the Rapids would be looking for more than a point. Yet it was TFC, which entered the match with just one road point, that had the better scoring chances.
The best of those chances came toward the end of the first half when Nick Soolsma was all alone against Pickens about eight yards out. But Soolsma appeared to slip just before shooting and Pickens made the save. In the second half, Mikael Yourassowsky had a clear path to the goal and fired a shot from about 15 yards out. Pickens was able to get just enough of the ball for it to hit off the crossbar.
It is like deja-vu here in Frisco. With eight minutes and change left on the clock the center official has called a weather delay due to lightning and thunder in the area. It was only a couple weeks ago here at Pizza Hut Park when the Los Angeles Galaxy were in town on a Sunday evening when weather delayed that game for a hour.
FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake go into the delay still scoreless. Both teams have made a couple subs in the second half hoping to inject some energy in what has been a rather dull game. So far neither have been able to get anymore quality chances on goal.
The best chances in the second half have been thanks to Brek Shea finally getting involved into the offense. He's had a couple crosses in the second half that could have been extremely dangerous for Dallas had Fabian Castillo or Marvin Chavez.
Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens made a huge save in first-half stoppage time to keep the score with Toronto FC 0-0 at halftime on Sunday. TFC forward Nick Soolsma had a 1-v-1 opportunity just outside the goalbox, but appeared to slip as he took his shot. Still, Pickens had to make a quick reaction save that currently stands up as the play of the match.
Outside of that shot, there really haven't been too many scoring opportunities for either side. Each goalkeeper has only had to make one save and both teams have only taken three shots.
Toronto FC, somewhat surprisingly, seems to have gone with a largely first-choice lineup despite playing for the Nutrilite Canadian Championship on Wednesday when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps with the aggregate goals tied 1-1. A win in that match will punch TFC's ticket to the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
The Rapids have countered with a 4-4-2 that includes Kosuke Kimura playing in the midfield.
The first 45 minutes are in the books and for the most part both FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake would both probably be glad to be in the locker rooms. Either it is the muggy night here in Frisco or the lack of an attacking midfielder on both sides, neither squad really had many quality chances on goal. The ball was lost in the midfield for bulk of the first half.
The few chances that were there in the first half for each side the best being a shot off a corner kick for Dallas when the ball came out to George John who put a one-timer on Nick Rimando's goal but the veteran keeper was quick to react and brushed it wide.
RSL's lone chance on goal actually went in the back of the net when Will Johnson connected with Alvaro Saborio who headed home the cross. But the goal wasn't meant to be as Saborio was a shade offside.
Each side enter halftime with only one shot on goal a piece. Maybe the second half will open it up a little more for each side with some subs.
Schellas Hyndman puts out the same starting eleven as he did in last weeks 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union. Hyndman is hoping his newly formed 4-4-2 will continue to see success.
Jason Kreis is hoping a couple minor changes will spark his team into their first ever win in Frisco. He's bringing in veteran Andy Williams to start in the Jaiver Morales role in the midfield and Tony Beltran will get a start tonight in the defense.
The San Jose Earthquakes waited until the ninth week of the season to win their first home game. After their 2-1 win over the New England Revolution on Saturday, they've now won two straight. Prior to last week's win, the Earthquakes had won just one of their first seven.
Ellis McCloughan and Bobby Convey each scored for the Earthquakes, who have now turned in three straight quality performances since losing to the Philadelphia Union in a match in which they played up a man for more than a half. McCloughan's goal came off a nice cross from Chris Wondolowski. Convey's goal came on a free kick from about 20 yards out that he curled inside the far post.
The Revolution did pull within a goal when Chris Tierney scored in the 86th minute, but it wasn't enough to avoid their fourth loss of the season. Tierney scored on a free kick from about 25 yards out.
It wasn't a great night for the Portland Timbers but it was a night that saw them get yet another three points at JELD-WEN Field. Just as the second half opened up so did the goal scoring for the Timbers as Eric Brunner headed home the game's lone goal off a quick restart by the Timbers. Kalif Alhassan sent a lofty chip over the Columbus Crew back line and found Brunner, a former Crew defender, alone on the backpost.
But the game wasn't all Portland. The Timbers lacked any real chances on goal in the first half and for the majority of the second half they held the possession but weren't creating many chances on goal. Alhassan may have had the most chances in the second half for the Timbers but he could never seem to get a ball on frame as he sent a couple shots high and wide.
The Crew didn't play terrible tonight, the first half saw them nearly go into the half with a lead. Rookie Tom Heinemann took a wonderful cross from Andres Mendoza and nearly headed it past Troy Perkins. After the Timbers goal to start the second half the Crew couldn't create a lot of chances on goal until a late shot by Robbie Rogers that hit the post. That was probably their best chances of the second half.
It didn't take the Portland Timbers long to get on the board after halftime was over. Former Columbus Crew defender Eric Brunner made his former team pay for not protecting him in the Expansion Draft last fall as he headed home yet another set piece goal for the Portland Timbers. Jack Jewsbury played a quick kick to Kalif Alhassan who set a nice chip over the Crew's defense to find Brunner on the back post.
Portland made a sub to start the second half as Sal Zizzo came on for Darlington Nagbe. Zizzo immediately sparked his club as he sent a dangerous ball into the mix and a foul outside the box caused the free kick. Just like we've seen all season the Timbers made the other team pay for giving up a set piece.
The Crew are now playing like a frustrated club giving up more dangerous spots for the Timbers. Giving up such an early goal in the half can't be a good sign for the visitors who looked very dangerous in the first half.
Starting the season with 10 straight road games, Sporting Kansas City knew they were going to need some breaks to go their way. Eight games in, it's not looking good. The Seattle Sounders were the latest team to continue Sporting's woes, as Jeff Parke scored in the third minute of stoppage time to give the Sounders a 1-0 victory on Saturday.
Parke's heroics came at the end of a somewhat odd series of events. A ball went out on the endline, but Sounders midfielder Roger Levesque threw it in. The ball was whistled dead and in the meantime Roger Espinoza and Parke started exchanging words, which caused a delay of about a minute. Finally, Tyson Wahl took the corner kick and it found Parke's head.
Prior to the goal, this seemed to be heading directly for a scoreless tie. While the Sounders were showing some ambition, especially in the second half, they weren't really challenging SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. The Sounders had put just one of their first 11 shots on goal and were having trouble getting the ball through a packed in defense.
The first 45 minutes are in the books at JELD-WEN Field. The Portland Timbers and the Columbus Crew are still nodded up at 0-0. The game so far has seen few chances but plenty of physical play out of the two sides.
Columbus has pushed the Timbers around a decent bit in this first half and have probably seen a couple good chances including a late header by Tom Heinemann that was somehow pushed away by Portland keeper Troy Perkins. Heinemann's diving header was easily the best chance by either side.
The Crew also had another decent chance by Heinemann early on in the match when he made a quick turn around Mamadou "Futty" Danso. The move around Danso was good but shot by Heinemann was not. Perkins made an easy save on that one.
Portland's couple chances haven't really tested William Hesmer. The Crew back four have been physical all evening against Kenny Cooper and Jorge Perlaza. The physical nature of the first half probably was a big reason why the Timbers lacked quality chances on goal.
After seven games on the road and five straight losses, it's safe to say Sporting would be happing with just a point and so far they have been playing that way. They've been effective at disrupting much of what the Sounders wanted to do in the midfield and in their defensive third, but have not showed a lot of ambition in the run of play.
That said, when they have gone on the attack, they have been more effective at getting shots on goal as they lead the Sounders 3-0 in that department. None of those shots really looked very dangerous though.
The Sounders created at least two good scoring chances, but neither one of them required a save from Jimmy Nielsen. Alvaro Fernandez set up Mauro Rosales for an open header, but it went over the crossbar. Rosales then laid off a ball about 25 yards out for Osvaldo Alonso, but that shot also went high.
JELD-WEN Field should be a rocking place once again tonight as the Portland Timbers host the Columbus Crew. This marks the first meeting ever between these sides in league play. The Crew are coming off a bad loss in San Jose last week while the Timbers are probably still buzzing from their 1-1 draw to their arch-rivals the Seattle Sounders.
John Spencer and Robert Warzycha have their lineups set and really there aren't any real shockers to discuss between either side tonight. Portland looks to be going with their big offensive guns with rookie Darlington Nagbe, Kenny Cooper and Jorge Perlaza out there. Columbus does mix things up with rookie Tom Heinemann getting a start.
Just as it seemed that the Houston Dynamo were about to ride three massive points in a win over their Eastern rivals, the New York Red Bulls rode a late Mehdi Ballouchy goal in the 91st minute to seal the 2-2 draw. Ballouchy put a nice header in the back of the net thanks to a great cross by Joel Lindpere. The Dynamo had gone ahead late in the second half when newcomer Koke scored.
The game got off to a lively start when Dane Richards netted a New York team-record for fastest goal to start a game. The goal came after 38 seconds when Richard hammered a ball from about 25 yards out.
Houston responded pretty quickly though. Brad Davis netted the penalty just 10 minutes after Richard's goal when rookie Will Bruin was brought down in the penalty box by Rafa Marquez. It appeared that Bruin was offside on the play but Marquez was clumsy and brought him down anyways. Davis then set up and buried the penalty past keeper Greg Sutton.
After the first 45, the two sides traded jabs until it was Koke who was about to find the back of the net after a silly mistake by New York keeper Greg Sutton. He had made a stop on a shot from Geoff Cameron but was unable to keep a hold of it and Koke made him pay.
WIth the draw the two teams stay where they are at in the standings. New York remains in first in the Eastern conference with 16 points, while the Dynamo move up with 14 points.
Carlos Ruiz has been among the frustrating figures for the Philadelphia Union this season. For at least one day, people should be talking about him for all the right reasons. The Guatemalan forward's left-footed volley from close to 40 yards in the 75th minute stood up as the winner as the Union scored two goals for the first time this season and beat the Chicago Fire 2-1 on Saturday at PPL Park.
Ruiz started the goal-scoring sequence when his free kick from about 35 yards out hit the wall. The ball came back out to Ruiz, who fired his shot on a volley that hit the underside of the crossbar and into the goal. It was Ruiz's third goal of the season, but his first since April 16.
The ended a three-match winless streak for the Union, who had lost 2-0 last week. It was the first time the Union had scored as many as two goals in a match since Oct. 16, 2010. Michael Farfan had scored his first career goal on a shot from about 25 yards out.
The Fire have now gone winless in their past eight. Their last victory came in Week 2. They got a goal from Dominic Oduro.
Michael Farfan had given the Union the initial lead in the 64th minute on a strike from about 25 yards out that came after a free kick was deflected out to him. But that lead was short-lived, as Dominic Oduro equalized just three minutes later. Oduro received a cross from Gonzalo Segares at the edge of the penalty area, brought it back to the top of the area and then beat his man and to the edge before putting the ball past Faryd Mondragon.
Based on their season scoring output, that seemed to be a huge blow to the Union, who have scored a league-low six goals through their first nine matches. But Ruiz had different thoughts. The much criticized forward scored his third goal of the season, but his first since April 16.
Will Bruin drew a 11th minute penalty when he was taken down in the area by Rafael Marquez and Brad Davis converted it to bring the Houston Dynamo even, 1-1, with the New York Red Bulls on Sunday. The goal was Davis' first of the season and the first time he has scored since Sept. 5, 2010.
On the penalty, Bruin looked like he may have been offside, but Marquez did not appear to be in a position that required a foul. Bruin did not look like he was in position to be a major problem. It's the second straight match in which Marquez has made a bad defensive mistake that led to a goal. Last week, Marquez was one of the main culprits as the Red Bulls yielded three goals to Chivas USA.
If this is indeed a sign of Marquez showing his age, this could be a bad sign for the Red Bulls. Marquez is likely to have a busy summer as he has already been named to Mexico's Gold Cup squad.
Richards was set up by a pass from Luke Rodgers, who collected a goal kick near the edge of the penalty area. He was albe to lay it off to an onrushing Richards who one-touched it past a diving Tally Hall.
It was Richards' second goal of the season. Coincidentally, his only other goal also came against the Dyanmo during their April 2 encounter. In that match, the Red Bulls settled for a 1-1 tie.
The assist was Rodgers' second of the season, to go along with three goals. This was the first time he has started without Thierry Henry next to him. Henry did not make the trip to Houston and was replaced in the staring lineup by Juan Agudelo.
Just as he's begun to play the best soccer of his short MLS career, Thierry Henry has picked up an injury and will have to miss the New York Red Bulls' match on Saturday against the Houston Dynamo. While the nature of the injury or severity of it has yet to be confirmed by the club, Henry did not travel with the team to Houston and will not play this weekend. The injury comes at an awful time for Henry considering his great form in which he has scored five goals in his last four matches
Initial reports suggest that Henry has swelling in his knee and that is the reason for his missing this weekend's match. That is entirely plausible considering that Henry has had some knee issues over the past few years, but it will no doubt be a blow to a club trying to rebound from last week's embarrassing home loss to Chivas USA.
Henry's injury does open the door for Juan Agudelo. It is expected that he will start alongside Luke Rodgers up top in Henry's absence, possibly a final audition for the young American expected to be named to the United States Gold Cup roster on Monday.
The so-called SuperClasico takes place this Saturday. That may be the game most people are interested in, but the FC Dallas-Real Salt Lake match might bea little more compelling. Both teams have recently lost their MVP candidates, but have gone in so far different direction. FC Dallas has suddenly emerged as a real contender, while RSL has fallen back to pack. This match could tell us just how true both those things can be.
Last week: 7 of 12 correct predictions
Just a few weeks ago, the Union seemed to be a team ready to make a monumental leap from expansion team to potential Supporters' Shield contender. Their defense was one of the best in the league and they had won four of their first six. Fast forward three matches and their season is starting to look a lot different. They are now sitting 4-3-2, haven't won since April 30 and are coming off a 2-0 loss to FC Dallas. The defense still doesn't look bad, but their offense has yet to score more than a goal in any match. If they are going to halt the slide, though, this is the kind of match they need to do it in. The Fire have won just once all year and that was back on March 26, although they are riding a four-match unbeaten streak and are coming off a come-from-behind 2-2 tie with Toronto FC. The health of Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon will probably be key. Pick: Union 1-0.
It's tough to know what to make of the Dynamo. They went from going unbeaten in six straight to losing two in a row, including one against Toronto FC, and then gutted out a 0-0 tie with Real Salt Lake last week. Tally Hall seems to be the real deal in goal, but beyond that, who knows? Will Bruin looks amazing one week and then just disappears. The defense has failed to find a consistent rhythm. This is a team that should challenge for a playoff spot, but would anyone be surprised if they fell apart? Despite a serious setback last week that saw them lose to Chivas USA a few days after playing an ill-advised friendly against the Montreal Impact, the Red Bulls still look like a formidable team, even if it is one with warts that had gone previously unnoticed. Their defense is a little more susceptible to fatigue than we may have wanted to admit and they aren't unbeatable at home, but Thierry Henry continues to light up the scoreboard and Luke Rodgers seems to be a near perfect pairing for him. Pick: Tied 1-1.
Chivas USA vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 10 p.m., Saturday (ESPN2)
We'll have a full preview in a separate article. Pick: Chivas 2-1.
There seems to be a perception out there that the Sounders are kinda falling apart. True, it's been three matches since they last won, but they do have eight points in the five matches they've played mostly without Steve Zakuani and have picked up a point in their last two. While they are still very much adjusting to life without their speedy winger, it hasn't exactly fallen apart either. The same can not be said for Sporting KC, who has seen their season quickly erode ever since Omar Bravo went out with a hernia injury on April 8. The last time he played, in fact, was April 2 when he received a red card in a 3-2 loss to the Fire. In his absence, SKC has gone 0-4-1. Bravo is expected to return, along with midfielder Ryan Smith, although it's not known if either is fit enough to start. Pick: Sounders 3-1.
Just when the season seemed to be coming apart at the seams, the Earthquakes pulled one of the bigger surprises of the season by dismantling the Columbus Crew 3-0. Chris Wondolowski continued to show that he's more than a one-hit wonder, scoring his third goal in four matches, and the Quakes won for the first time at home this year. They'll be facing a Revolution team that has been hard to figure this season. Despite adding several big pieces in recent weeks, they've been on a bit of a roller-coaster which saw them win in rather unimpressive fashion last week. Benny Feilhaber is starting to look more comfortable with his teammates, although Ousmane Dabo and Marko Perovic are both going to be out again this week. Pick: Quakes 1-0.
Portland Timbers vs. Columbus Crew, 11 p.m., Saturday
After reading the reactions from last week's 1-1 tie with the Sounders, you'd have thought the Timbers had registered a pretty decisive victory. While the tie was well deserved, it does somewhat gloss over the fact that they are still winless away from home. Lucky for them, they return to Jeld-Wen Field this week and face a Crew team that suddenly does look so formidable. If the Crew had trouble with Steven Lenhart a week ago, Kenny Cooper could be an absolute monster. If they had trouble with Brandon McDonald, watch out for Mamadou Danso. This does not seem like a matchup that favors Columbus. Pick: Timbers 2-0.
FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m., Sunday
Since David Ferreira went down with what appears to be a season-ending injury, FC Dallas has gone on an absolute tear. They have claimed 13 points in the five matches since his injury and now have the second most points in MLS. Most of the credit for their turnaround from that 1-3-1 start has to go to their defense, which has allowed just two goals during their five-match unbeaten run and is working on a 499-minute scoreless streak. RSL, which has dealt with a similar injury to Javier Morales, has not been playing as well. They needed a late goal to beat nine-man Chivas USA two weeks ago and settled for a 0-0 tie with the Dynamo last week. Truth be told, it's been five weeks since RSL really looked on top of their game. This team should be fine, but this does not seem like the week they are going to win at Pizza Hut Park for the first time in their history. Pick: Dallas 2-0.
Colorado Rapids vs. Toronto FC, 7 p.m., Sunday
Considering all the injuries and other absences the Rapids have dealt with this season, their 4-3-3 start is quite commendable. In their last four they are unbeaten, even if three of those matches have been ties. Conor Casey is supposed to be back this week, which should be a nice boost, although the Rapids are still missing Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan. The Reds will be playing on somewhat short rest, as they played the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Voyageurs Cup on Wednesday. That's probably one hill too many, especially considering this match will be played at altitude where the Rapids are especially tough to beat. Pick: Rapids 2-0.
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