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The Colorado Rapids had gone unbeaten in nine matches across all competitions, but then they went to Toyota Park and were ambushed by the Fire, who have now miraculously won two straight matches. Thanks to goals by Dominic Oduro and Corey Gibbs, the team that has already set a MLS record for draws in a season picked up a 2-0 win to run their winning streak to two against a Rapids side that was obviously weary from their midweek CONCACAF Champions League match.
Oduro will get the accolades for the first goal of the match, but it doesn't take much to beat Tyrone Marshall these days. The Fire striker ran past the aging defender and cooly finished to put the Fire on top. Gibbs finish was strong as he rose up to head home a cross from Sebastian Grazzini in the 35th minute to seal the scoring. Both goals were set up by Pavel Pardo, who played the initial balls to open up the play for the tallies.
Unfortunately for Chicago, Pardo went off at halftime with a groin strain. That didn't change the match much though. While the Fire struggled to create chances with Pardo off, the Rapids didn't do much either. The introductions of Macoumba Kandji and Omar Cummings didn't change things and Colorado suffered their first loss in nine matches.
Boy I hope no one left LIVESTRONG Sporting Park when the game reached 2-0 tonight. All things seemed to be going right for Sporting Kansas City after Kei Kamara put them up 1-0 at halftime and Omar Bravo netted the game's second goal midway through the second half.
Things changed after the game hit 2-1 in favor of Sporting when striker Teal Bunbury was sent off with his second yellow card. Sporting was down to ten men and it ended up helping the road warriors from Dallas. Brek Shea sent in two amazing balls to Santos and Warshaw.
The game-tying goal to Santos was a great buildup from the Toros but the game-winner in stoppage time may have been the better of the two.
Kansas City really controlled the first 70 minutes of the match with their two goals but giving up three late goals really had to hurt. This was certainly a result that they should have won and would have helped move them up in the Eastern Conference standings with Columbus dropping points on the road today and Houston doing the same.
Kansas City failed in the final third in the last 15 minutes to tackle, which was a strong part of their game before then. It seemed the goal from Ihemelu off the set piece from Daniel Hernandez shook them a little bit, considering it came moments after they went up 2-0 with Bravo's goal easy goal.
With the loss KC remains second in the Eastern Conference with 36 points while FC Dallas pushes their season total to 46 points.
Sporing had been building the attack for the majority of the second half until it was a weird shot into the box that got headed back to a wide open Teal Bunbury who slit a pass across the mouth of the goal to a wide open Omar Bravo for the game's second goal.
Things got even more interesting a few minutes later as Teal Bunbury who was carrying a yellow card from earlier in the game, made another silly foul on a Dallas defender. The center official took a little time with the call but in the end showed the young striker his second yellow of the game, thus giving Dallas a one-man advantage with 15 minutes to go in the match.
It took until the 86th minute, but the Vancouver Whitecaps finally found a goal when Shea Salina struck to deliver the home side a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo. It was a fitting end to an afternoon in front of a lively crowd at Empire Field that were left wanting after several missed chances, but finally got to celebrate as their club came away on top. Salinas' strike put an end to the Dynamo's five-match win streak and a major dent in their playoff hopes as they come away with zero points against the worst team in MLS.
Joe Cannon got the nod in goal for the Whitecaps and it's a good thing he did because he was sensational. He was right there to save a good headed attempt by Brian Ching and added a scrambling save off of a deflected Brad Davis shot to keep the Dynamo off the scoreboard. Add in some help from the crossbar on a ferocious shot by Adam Moffatt and Cannon was living right.
Just because the Dynamo had their share of chances doesn't mean that the Whitecaps didn't. They had one of the best chances of the match when Mustapha Jarju nodded a set piece for what looked to be a sure goal, but Tally Hall somehow kept it out. It ended up not mattering much because Salinas got free down the left just before the final whistle and was able to slide a right-footed shot home for the winning goal.
The Dynamo will feel hard done because they thought they had themselves a penalty in the 48th minute. The referee whistled for a penalty when it appeared as if Cannon had fouled Carlos Costly, but he reversed his decision after consulting with the assistant referee. Houston were incensed and only more so when the final whistle blew and they had nothing to show for their efforts.
With Toronto FC hosting the San Jose Earthquakes, I don't think anyone was expecting an exciting game. We got a reasonably interesting one anyway, with a first half goal scored by Toronto's Eric Avila in the 33rd minute eventually cancelled out by a very very late Chris Wondowlowski strike which featured the home defence making the curious decision of not bothering to mark the Earthquakes striker on a long throw in while he stood four yards from goal. Calling it a heartbreaking finish for Toronto is only true to a point, mostly because they brought it upon themselves.
Of course, that's what the game will be remembered for, by everyone except me. I will look back upon this match as featuring what should have been one of the best goals in the history of the sport, a jaw-dropping moment which would have instantly dispelled questions about the natural beauty of football - and for American teams to achieve the heights of pure soccer perfection.
When a cross is met in the air with a backheeled flick not once but twice before landing, you expect magic in the air. When the landing point is in fact atop the eighteen yard box with in front of an attacker with a clear sight of goal, one might look for the spectacular. A finish to end all finishes, in fact. Had Bobby Convey struck the ball cleanly, it probably would have been the single best team goal in the history of the league. Instead, he blasted it into Row Z.
The rest of the game was a trifling irrelevance. Bobby Convey, you are on my list.
It was another strong start at home for Sporting Kansas City as Kei Kamara put them up 1-0 early on over FC Dallas. Kamara's eighth goal of the season came in the 22nd minute when he pressured Dallas midfielder Bruno Guarda and defender Ugo Ihemelu into a mistake. Kamara took over a ball from the Dallas pair and sent in a great shot on goal.
The game has been a fairly physical one since the goal too as both Teal Bunbury and Chance Myers have been booked for Sporting in this one. But Dallas has been lucky not to get booked as well as they've put in a few tough challenges on the ball.
Aside from the lone goal, Sporting hasn't had too many chances on Kevin Hartman's goal. Dallas actually had a couple decent chances on set pieces in the first 45 minutes. Just moments before the Kamara goal, Dallas had a corner kick that nearly went in from a Maicon Santos header. The Brazilian's header was just wide of the goal however.
Santos had a couple other chances on goal in the first half but none were good enough to really test Jimmy Nielsen.
After some back and forth play between Sporting Kansas City and FC Dallas, Kei Kamara used some pace and aggressiveness to make Dallas pay early. In the 22nd minute, some miscommunication between Ugo Ihemelu and Bruno Guarda helped open up space for Kamara to steal the ball and head in on goal for the games first goal.
The finish was beautiful as Kevin Hartman had no chance at saving it. The goal was Kamara's eighth of the season.
The miscommunication in the back for Dallas shows the amount of fatigue the Hoops are dealing with at the moment. Dallas had played a game and a half in the midweek in Toronto.
Dallas had been pressing for a goal just moments before Sporting got the goal. There have been a couple chances for Brazilian striker Maicon Santos early on for Dallas. Santos nearly got on the end of a Ricardo Villar corner kick. His header just missed the far post.
Lamar Neagle entered this MLS season known by few outside of friends and family. After his hat trick against the Columbus Crew during the Seattle Sounders 6-2 victory on Saturday, he'll surely be the talk of the week. Neagle's performance was so impressive, that it surely rendered Jeff Cunningham's setting of the MLS career goals scored a mere footnote.
Making the accomplishment all the more impressive was that all three goals came in the run of play. Neagle's first goal came when he fought off Crew defender Rich Balchan and skipped a low shot toward the goal that Will Hesmer was unable to handle. Neagle's second goal came in the 20th minute when he was left unmarked at the far post and was able to put away James Riley's perfectly placed cross. He closed out his day with a Goal of the Week candidate, blasting a shot from the top left corner of the penalty area. The shot ricocheted off the cross bar and just beyond the goal line.
Neagle's final goal restored the Sounders' 4-0 lead, which had been cut to three on Cunningham's 134th career goal. The record-setter came from the penalty spot after coach Robert Warzycha insisted Cunningham take the kick instead of Emilio Renteria, who had earned it and appeared set to take it.
The six goals were a MLS record for the Sounders, who had never scored more than four goals in a match. They also got goals from Mike Fucito and Mauro Rosales, who each added assists as well. The Sounders' sixth goal came on a Josh Gardner own goal, who had scored his second goal of the season only a minute earlier.
With the win, the Sounders improved to 4-0-3 all time against the Crew. It was also the second time in the past four times they've played that the Sounders have won by four goals.
As if a match that included one team scoring four first-half goals and Jeff Cunningham breaking the MLS career goals scored record wasn't exciting enough, the second half has gotten even wilder as the Sounders have taken a 6-2 lead over the Columbus Crew. Since Cunningham's goal made it 4-1, the two teams have combined for three goals in a four-minute span.
Two of those goals were absolute beauties. In the 70th minute, Lamar Neagle completed his first career hat trick with an even prettier goal when he unleashed a shot from the edge of the penalty area that hit off the cross bar and just behind the goal line. After a brief moment of confusion, the goal was correctly ruled good. Just a few minutes later, Josh Gardner scored his second career goal on a wonderfully taken free kick from about 25 yards out. His shot went straight over the wall and beat Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller. But even that moment of joy was short-lived, as Gardner gave it right back about a minute later with an own-goal.
This might be an otherwise forgettable match in the history of the Columbus Crew, but Jeff Cunningham will surely remember it well. The Crew striker scored a 59th minute penalty to set the MLS record for goals scored in a career. His 134th career strike brought the score to 4-1 in favor of the Seattle Sounders.
Cunningham's record breaker included just a bit of controversy. Teammate Emilio Renteria earned the penalty when he was cut down in the box by Sounders defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and looked prepared to take the kick. But Robert Warzycha emphatically demanded that Cunningham take it, prompting Renteria to spike the ball in anger. Earlier in the season, Warzycha had wanted Cunningham to take a penalty, but Andres Mendoza took that one.
Cunningham has now scored two goals this season and had been tied with Jaime Moreno ever since July 6 when he scored against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
What was billed as an encounter between the best team in the Eastern Conference and one of the best in the Western Conference has turned into an absolute rout. The Seattle Sounders scored three goals in the first 20 minutes and take a 4-0 lead into halftime of Saturday's game against the Columbus Crew.
Lamar Neagle has been the biggest star of the half, scoring two goals to equal his MLS career output, but there was plenty of praise to go around. Mauro Rosales scored a penalty and added an assist; Mike Fucito had an assist and scored his first goal since April of 2009; and the defense did a solid job of limiting the Crew's opportunities. Although the Crew have actually out shot the Sounders 9-7, none of those were particularly dangerous.
The Sounders have now led the Crew in each of their last five meetings, and look to be a solid bet to continue their undefeated ways against Sigi Schmid's former team. In six meetings, the Sounders are 3-0-3.
The Seattle Sounders have stormed out to a 3-0 lead over the Columbus Crew in the 20th minute of Saturday's game. Two of those goals have come off the foot of Lamar Neagle, who now has four goals in his MLS career.
The second of those goals came in 20th minute off a perfect placed cross from James Riley. Two Crew defenders were unable to stop the cross and Neagle was left all alone at the far post where he easily found the back of the net.
Just a few minutes earlier, the Sounders had taken a 2-0 lead on Mauro Rosales' fifth goal of the season. The strike followed a somewhat questionable penalty against Rich Balchan, who has been having an absolutely horrible game in his first start as a MLS center back. Balchan was the man mostly responsible for marking Neagle on his first goal and was in the middle of at least two other very good Sounders scoring opportunities.
It didn't take long for the Seattle Sounders to grab yet another lead against the Columbus Crew. Lamar Neagle scored a 4th minute goal to give the Sounders a 1-0 lead. In each of the teams' past five meetings, the Sounders have led at one point in the match.
Neagle's goal highlighted what promised to be the Crew's biggest weakness heading into the match. Josh Gardner, who had spent most of his career before this year in the USL, is the team's starting left back and Rich Balchan, a rookie who has mostly played in the midfield, got the start at center back.
The Crew defense showed some more cracks just a few minutes later when Mike Fucito, Fredy Montero and Mauro Rosales worked a little give-and-go inside the penalty area, but Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer was able to make the save on Rosales' shot. Montero again had an open look just a few minutes later, but his shot just went wide.
Showing the dividends of sending some of their starters home, rather than taking them to Monterrey this week, the Seattle Sounders will be using what essentially amounts to their first-team for Saturday's match against the Columbus Crew. Kasey Keller, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Mauro Rosales and Fredy Montero, none of whom went to Mexico, are all in the starting lineup for the Sounders.
The Crew will counter with more of a patchwork team, but that is due to mostly injuries. Rookie Rich Balchan, who has not played in more than a month, will get his first start of the season at center back after playing most of the season as a central midfielder and left back. Kevin Burns will receive his first start since June 8 in the midfield.
Sounders starters: GK Keller, D Riley, D Hurtado, D Parke, D Wahl, M Alonso, M Friberg, M Rosales, M Neagle, F Montero, F Fucito. Bench: GK Terry Boss, M Servando Carrasco, M Brad Evans, M Alvaro Fernandez, F Nate Jaqua, F/M Roger Levesque, D Zach Scott
Crew starters: GK Hesmer, D Miranda, D Balchan, D Marshall, D Gardner, M Burns, M Ekpo, M Rogers, M Duka, F Mendoza, F Renteria. Bench: GK Alex Riggs, F Bernardo Anor, F Jeff Cunningham, M Eric Gehrig, F Tommy Heinemann, M Justin Meram, D Danny O'Rourke
The Crew will be looking for their first win ever against the Sounders, a team with whom they have created much history in limited time.
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