Major League Soccer 2012, Week 16: What We Learned

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 07: Steve Zakuani #11 of the Seattle Sounders battles Drew Moor #3 of the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field on July 7, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The Sounders defeated the Rapids 2-1. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Scoreless draws and big names returning headlined a busy Week 16.

Between the Fourth of July Holiday and the weekend slate of games, Week 16 had plenty to discuss.

The big news was the return of three big names from long absences to Major League Soccer, with one of those players going the full 90 minutes on Saturday.

FC Dallas welcomed back David Ferreira on Wednesday against Toronto - he also played the full game on Saturday against San Jose. It had been nearly 15 months since the 2010 MLS MVP last played in a competitive league game.

Wednesday also saw the return of the 2011 MLS Defender of the Year, Omar Gonzalez. The LA Galaxy defender was lost to a knee injury after last year's MLS Cup win.

And on Saturday, Steve Zakuani returned to the field as a second half sub against the same team that he was injured against last season, the Colorado Rapids.

Mullan, Zakuani find closure

For some Seattle Sounders fans it had to feel like ages ago since they last saw Zakuani racing up and down the sideline in the rave green. It was a nasty tackle from Brian Mullan last spring that did him in for 47 games (that includes last year's playoffs).

Seattle didn't exactly need Zakuani on Saturday night as he came off the bench in a 2-1 win over the Rapids. Mauro Rosales and Eddie Johnson led the way for the Sounders on the night but the story was all about seeing Mullan and Zakuani embrace one another and exchange shirts on the field for a moment after the game was over.

The meeting at midfield was the first time each had talked to one another in person since the injury.

Double for Keane lifts Galaxy

While David Beckham got all the headlines going into the LA Galaxy's game with the Chicago Fire over the weekend for his one-game band for kicking a ball at an official, it was Robbie Keane who quickly left his mark on the Windy City to cool the streaking Fire.

Keane scored a brace in the Galaxy's 2-0 win Sunday over the Fire. LA is seemingly back on track in some folks eye's after falling on Wednesday at home to the Philadelphia Union.

We're slowly seeing the Galaxy of old here. Keane scoring despite not his best effort, Landon Donovan providing quality service in place of Beckham and the defense seeing a shutout.

LA now sits in 5th place in the Western Conference with 23 points. And while they've looked better as of late it is hard to look past the ugly middle column in the standings. Only the Impact and Toronto FC have more than the Galaxy's 10 losses.

Bengtson gets going for New England

The New England Revolution made waves this past week by signing a Designated Player in the form of Honduran striker Jerry Bengtson. Some would call signing a 25-year-old striker a gamble, but it only took a few minutes to see why he was the leading scorer for three seasons in his native country's league.

Bengtson found the back of the net late in the second half against the New York Red Bulls in a big 2-0 win for the Revs. Bengtson's goal won't air on SportsCenter for its quality or anything but he did show plenty of signs of why the Revs were smart to spend the money on him.

The victory extended New England's unbeaten run to five matches (2-0-3), and prolonged New York's winless streak at Gillette Stadium to 17 games (0-13-4), dating back to 2002.

New England was wise to pull the trigger on this move and now they sit just a couple points back of a playoff spot. As long as Bengtson and Saer Sene can come together on the same page, Jay Heaps' offense will be just fine. Don't sleep on this New England squad, they're just good enough to do some damage in the Eastern Conference and perhaps in the playoffs.

Streak continues for Dallas

FC Dallas is slowly creeping into some ugly territory here this season. After their decent 0-0 draw to the league leaders from San Jose, Dallas saw their winless run hit the unlucky number 13 - just a few games back of the all-time worst mark set by Real Salt Lake back in their expansion season of 2005.

Dallas has two shutouts in their last three games (all draws) with a defense that has an average age of 23 years old. The injuries that piled up earlier in the season are slowly getting erased as players like Ferreira and Ricardo Villar are coming back.

Ferreria went the full 90-plus against San Jose on Saturday and while he didn't provide any assists on the night, there were enough moments out of him that were a cause of concern for San Jose.

The bigger story in this one was San Jose's lack of ability to find the back of the net for the first time since March. Dallas had two goal-line clears and two late stops on breakaways from the Quakes. The MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski had a quiet night for what seemed like the first time in ages as Hernan Pertuz and rookie Matt Hedges kept him at bay.

The ugly 13-game winless mark for Dallas seems to have a light at the end of the tunnel but it all comes down to when Schellas Hyndman's offense will find it's spark.

Goose-eggs all around

With the dog days of summer in full swing, so too have the scoreless games come back around. Five games ended scoreless in Week 16, showing that it was either the summer heat getting the best of some clubs or that teams have just done enough homework to figure each other out at this point.

Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo played to a scoreless draw - Houston's second one of the week after a 0-0 affair at home against Chicago on Tuesday.

Chivas USA and Vancouver joined the scoreless brigade on Saturday. Both sides were missing some key attacking elements as Juan Agudelo was hurt and rookie Darren Mattocks was suspended. This game was so bad that Vancouver only managed a single shot on goal. Ouch.

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