Major League Soccer Week 15: RSL-Revolution Settle For Referee-Marred Tie

Philadelphia ties DC 2-2 thanks to some late heroics from Carlos Ruiz

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LA Galaxy Vs. Seattle Sounders: Brian Perk Solid In Debut, Saves Point For Galaxy

The big question surrounding the Los Angeles Galaxy as they got ready to face the Seattle Sounders in a battle of two of the leagues top teams was how goalkeeper Brian Perk would stand up in his MLS debut. It didn't take long to find out. After a Omar Gonzalez handball in the box, Perk had to face a Fredy Montero penalty in the 18th minute. While Montero's attempt was far from perfect, it was on frame and Perk was able to make the save. That helped pave the way for a 0-0 tie, the 20th scoreless tie in MLS this season.

Other than Perk's penalty save, neither goalkeeper was tested that often. Juan Pablo Angel came close to giving the Galaxy the lead on a couple occasions, and even hit the post on a shot that Kasey Keller got a hand on in the 68th minute, but real scoring chances were few and far between.

The tie kept the Galaxy and the Sounders four points apart in the standings. The Galaxy are now two points ahead of FC Dallas for the most points in the league and the Sounders now have the third highest point total.


Real Salt Lake Vs. New England Revolution: Two Red Cards, Two Penalties Make For Crazy Tie

There have been many poor refereeing jobs in MLS this season. So much so, that it has become a bit of a broken record. But Monday's performance by Yader Reyes in a 3-3 tie between Real Salt Lake and the New England Revolution may be one of the absolute worst.

It started off poorly when Reyes not only awarded a penalty but gave Nat Borchers a red card in the 3rd minute on a play replays showed probably wasn't even a foul. It continued in the second half when Reyes -- seemingly in an effort to even out his calls -- awarded a RSL penalty on a handball that was highly questionable. He then closed it out with an amazingly soft second yellow card on Ryan Cochrane to bring both teams down to 10 men.

The result was a match that featured 27 fouls, five yellow cards, two red cards and two penalties. Of course, all that helped make it an interesting match.

The Revolution jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Rajko Lekic's penalty and a Chris Tierney free kick from outside the area. The lead seemed pretty safe considering the Revolution were playing a man up. But Will Johnson brought one goal back with a 24th minute goal and Alvaro Saborio equalized in the 56th minute on a penalty. The Revolution then retook the lead on Shalrie Joseh's 63rd minute goal.

A few minutes later, Reyes stepped in again to even out the sides by giving Cochrane his second yellow. That set the stage for Fabian Espindola's equalizer in the 83rd minute.


Portland Timbers Vs. Sporting Kansas City: The Sheen Is Off In Portland

The Portland Timbers burst out of the gate, opening their MLS existence with five straight wins at home. It hasn't gone quite so smoothly ever since, as the Timbers have not won anywhere since then. The latest result was a 2-1 loss at home to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

CJ Sapong and Aurelien Collin scored four minutes apart early in the first half and Sporting held on for their fourth win in five matches and ran their unbeaten streak to eight matches after opening the season with one win in their first eight. Sporting now finds themselves sitting in the No. 10 playoff position.

The Timbers did get a wonderful goal from Darlington Nagbe in the closing moments of the first half to pull within a goal. Nagbe took a ball just outside the penalty area, juggled it to himself twice and then volleyed a perfectly placed strike into the far upper "V."

The loss was the Timbers' second straight, their fifth in six matches and their fifth in six matches, including their third loss in their past four home games. The Timbers, who once looked to be a lock for the playoffs, now have the third lowest point total in MLS. 


DC United Vs. Philadelphia Union: Carlos Ruiz Saves A Point For Union

If rumors are true, Carlos Ruiz already has one foot out the door toward leaving the Philadelphia Union. If Saturday marked one of his final games in a Union uniform, he made it count. The oft-criticized striker scored an 84th minute equalizer, allowing the Union to salvage a point in a 2-2 road tie with DC United.

United twice built one-goal leads, but neither time were able to hold on. Dwayne De Rosario helped make a positive impression in his first game, threading a cross inside the Union penalty area to Josh Wolff, who scored his fourth goal of the season. But the 44th minute goal was relatively short-lived, as Perry Kitchen scored an own goal in the 49th minute to level the score.

Andy Najar grabbed the lead back for United, though, with a with a thunderbolt from nearly 40 yards out in the 58th minute. The goal was Najar's second of the season. 

That looked like it would be enough for United to get their first win in more than a month, but Ruiz gave one more example of how he became one of the most deadly striker in MLS history. Sheanon Williams sent a cross into the box that Ruiz was able to get just enough of and beat goalkeeper Bill Hamid to the far post.

The point maintained the Union's two-point lead in the Eastern Conference over the New York Red Bulls. The tie also was United's third straight, but ran their winless streak to five matches.


San Jose Earthquakes Vs. New York Red Bulls: More Than 41,000 Show Up For Entertaining Draw

With more than 41,000 in the house at Stanford Stadium -- most of whom were probably there to see the postgame fireworks -- the San Jose Earthquakes and New York Red Bulls put on quite a show. Joel Lindpere scored a brace, with his goals giving the Red Bulls the early lead with a 2nd minute goal and then equalizing in the 85th, as the sides settled for a 2-2 draw.

Back in April, the Earthquakes announced that they had moved this match up the road to Stanford Stadium. It's hard to imagine they expected it to turn out this well, though. The announced attendance of 41,028 was more than the last four matches at Buck Shaw combined. The Earthquakes did their best to send those fans home happy.

Khari Stephenson scored the equalizer in the 37th minute and Steven Lenhart gave the Earthquakes the lead with a 68th on a well-taken header, as the Earthquakes recovered from a touch-and-go first half to dominate most of the second half. But Lindpere scored on a ball that deflected off two Earthquakes defenders to secure a third point on the Red Bulls' season-long four-game roadtrip.


FC Dallas Vs. Columbus Crew: Shea Nets His Eighth Of The Season As Dallas Wins 2-0

While the first half was a slug fest of cards and dicy yellow cards from the center official, the second half opened up a lot more for both FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew. Dallas settled down after the Crew began the half with a few chances on goal when in the 58th minute Brek Shea finished a wild play that was started when Marvin Chavez got loose in the penalty box and put a shot in on Columbus keeper William Hesmer. Hesmer bobbled the ball and Shea was there to put home the game's first goal. 

The goal from Shea was his eighth on the season, putting him in a tie for the league overall lead with LA's Landon Donovan, New York's Thierry Henry and DC's Charlie Davies.

Dallas wasn't done there as as moments later the speedy play of midfielder Jackson Goncalves chipped a shot over Hesmer for the games' second goal. It was Jackson's forth goals in the last four games (including the US Open Cup this past Tuesday). 

Columbus couldn't seem to get their offense going after the first Dallas goal and even saw defender Andy Iro receive two yellow cards for fouls on Marvin Chavez.

With the win Dallas stays in second place in the Western Conference with 34 points, just one behind the LA Galaxy and their league lead. Columbus remains in third place in the Eastern conference with the loss at 24 points. 

The win gives Dallas the first ever Pioneer Cup, the trophy in honor of the two club's founder Lamar Hunt. 


FC Dallas Vs. Columbus Crew: Tied 0-0 At Half

The second leg of the Pioneer Cup got off to an interesting start as FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew are tied 0-0 at half. Both clubs had a couple chances on goal but the story of the half had to be, unfortunately, the officiating from Jorge Gonzalez. 

Both teams received a pair of yellow cards a piece and all but one were really reactionary on Gonzalez's part. Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu received a yellow card after a run in with Columbus forward Tommy Heinemann. The two had their feet collide as the fell to the ground. Gonzalez was clearly out of position to make a call like he did on the play and to give a yellow card on it was baffling. 

Aside from the cards, Dallas really dictated the pace of the half with chances from Brek Shea, Marvin Chavez and Jackson Goncalves. Had it not been for a couple offsides calls, Dallas probably would have a goal or two. 

The Crew's best chance came early in the half when Ihemelu made a bad judgement on a ball that was sent into Columbus Designated Player Andres Mendoza. The striker made a quick turn and put a shot on goal but Kevin Hartman came up huge with a save. 


FC Dallas Vs. Columbus Crew: Lineups

The second leg of the Pioneer Cup kicks off here shortly. Both FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew have to battle the heat tonight as temperatures are near 100 degrees. 

Neither team is making any major changes going into this game as both are coming off big wins that saw each of the sides score four goals in their last league match. On Tuesday they both played in the US Open Cup and saw different results as the Crew were the only MLS side to fall in the third round of play. Dallas barely advanced in the Open Cup as they needed late heroics to win. 

Expect some fireworks in this one as well as there is always the interesting Jeff Cunningham factor. Cunningham is known for his play against his former sides and the veteran striker is still gunning for his first goal of the season, one that will tie the league's all-time scoring mark with Jamie Moreno. 


FC Dallas starting XI: Kevin Hartman; Zach Loyd, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez; Jackson Goncalves, Eric Alexander, Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson, Brek Shea; and Marvin Chavez

Dallas bench: Chris Seitz, Bruno Guarda, Ruben Luna, Milton Rodriguez, Ricardo Villar, Bobby Warshaw, and Andrew Wiedeman

Columbus starting XI: William Hesmer; Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Andy Iro, Josh Gardner; Eddie Gavin, Rich Balchan, Emmanuel Ekpo, Bernardo Anor; Tommy Heinemann, and Andres Mendoza

Columbus bench: Andy Gruenebaum, Jeff Cunningham, Julius James, Justin Meram, Robbie Rogers, Dejan Rusmir, and Danny O'Rouke


Major League Soccer Week 15, Preview, Picks: A Poor Weekend For Showcase Matches

It's a real shame this weekend wasn't better planned. There are six games on national TV and only three of them seem remotely interesting. Guess that's what happens when the TV schedules are made at the start of the season.

DC United vs. Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m., Saturday (FSC)

Dwayne De Rosario should be available after his surprising trade to the Black And Red, which should bolster their already potent attack. The Union, too, appear to be going through a bit of a transition, as Carlos Ruiz is expected to miss this week and could be leaving the team for good. Could we finally see Danny Mwanga solidify is spot in the starting lineup? Pick: Tied 2-2.

FC Dallas vs. Columbus Crew, 9 p.m., Saturday

Just about every week I say the Crew are among the hardest teams to figure out in MLS. Three weeks ago, they lost to the Chicago Fire. Last week, they beat the Colorado Rapids. Go back through their schedule, and you'll find similarly contradicting results. A win on the road against Founders Cup rival FC Dallas, though, would be their biggest statement yet. Of course, I don't expect it. Pick: FC Dallas 2-0.

Chivas USA vs. Chicago Fire, 10 p.m., Saturday (Galavision)

Someone may want to inform the good folks at Galavision that Cuahtemoc Blanco no longer plays for the Fire. That's the only possible explanation for why this game is on national TV. Two teams struggling to make the playoffs with limited fanbases. Not much to say. Pick: Tied 1-1.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. New York Red Bulls, 10:30 p.m., Saturday (ESPN2)

One of the curses of being a high-profile team is that other sides are always looking to make a statement against you. With this game being played at Stanford Stadium and fireworks afterward, this should be a much larger-than-normal crowd for the Earthquakes. The Red Bulls, though, should have Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream back. Pick: Quakes 1-0.

Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City, 11 p.m., Saturday

Oh, how a few weeks can change things. Suddenly, the Timbers are looking like the expansion team they are and Sporting look like the playoff contenders many expected to see. While Jeld-Wen Field isn't quite the fortress it once seemed to be, the Timbers are still quite dangerous at home. Could be a shootout. Pick: Tied 3-3.

Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo, 9 p.m., Sunday (ESPN2)

Two teams that are an absolute mess do battle on national TV. Wow, this really seems like it could be a bad ratings week for MLS. Just for good measure, Conor Casey will be out with a red card. Here's hoping Omar Cummings is healthy enough to play. Pick: Rapids 1-0.

Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution, 8:30 p.m., Monday (ESPN2)

Well, at least one of these teams is looking halfway decent. Real Salt Lake seems to be recovering from the CCL-induced lull, coming off a resounding 3-1 win over Toronto FC. Facing a Revolution team that is maybe even worse, this could be the time they get the season headed backin the direction many of us always expected. Pick: RSL 2-0.

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m., Monday (ESPN2)

Finally, a game worth watching. The Galaxy are down to their third goalkeeper and might be without David Beckham, whose wife is due to give birth on this day. They will have Landon Donovan back, though, and they are facing one of the hottest teams in the league. This could really tell us a lot about how the Supporters' Shield shakes out. Pick: Tied 1-1.

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