Play through international weekends without most of the league's stars or play more midweek matches with minimal attendance. Neither option is particularly attractive, but those are the only ones MLS has, so they went with playing through the international weekends. This was one of them.
D.C. had gone 18 straight without losing at home, but that's over. Ben Speas scored just before the hour mark to earn Columbus an impressive road win without Jairo Arrieta, who was on international duty. United continues to have problems, namely Chris Pontius' tendency to put on an invisibility cloak for stretches and the shiny silver plate that Bill Hamid likes to serve chances up on. On Saturday he did it twice, and that was the difference in the match.
Peter Vermes continues to insist upon playing a 4-3-3 to disastrous results. Sporting are a complete mess in the final third and the midfield aches for Roger Espinoza, which we saw as they struggled to grab a hold the match against a bad Revolution team that didn't play especially well. It's been long enough that we can finally say this without doubt: Sporting are not an elite team.
Patrice Bernier continues to be the best player in the very young MLS season and showed it with the delightful assist to Marco Di Vaio, who finished smartly to provide the difference in Montreal. Maybe more importantly, Bernier, Di Vaio and Davy Arnaud made it through another match on the Olympic Stadium turf unscathed.
Meanwhile, Mike Petke's team was outplayed for the first time this season and are still searching for their manager's first career win.
No team was hit by internationals worse than Salt Lake. Alvaro Saborio, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando were all in Denver for the United Stats versus Costa Rica World Cup qualifier, and that last absence made all the difference in Dallas. Josh Saunders allowed a bad sharp angle goal then made a complete hash of an admittedly bad backpass to gift FCD a second goal. Worse, it all happened while Rimando sat on the bench as the Americans' backup.
Dallas is now top of the West, a fairly misleading place considering the forgiving schedule they have had thus far. We'll see how good they really are starting in mid-April.
Dominic Kinnear has done a wonderful job to turn a bunch of average players into the centerpiece of championship teams, which is why the Dynamo's winning on Saturday against a good Whitecaps team despite missing Boniek Garcia and Brad Davis wasn't so surprising. Darren Mattocks' wonderstrike aside, the Whitecaps were undone by the Dynamo, who once again proved that Kinnear can turn coal into diamonds and that nobody beats Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Galaxy absolutely thrashed the Rapids, which is not a surprise considering Colorado is a bad team that was hurt by two first half injuries, but the difference in the match was absolutely shocking. Drew Moor hit Marcelo Sarvas to get sent off and hand LA the match-winning penalty, which marred an absolutely sensational match by Clint Irwin. The goalkeeper turned back LA's teenage duo Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean time and time again, nearly stealing a point for Colorado, but in the end, the Galaxy got the win they deserved thanks to Moor's idiotic play.
Once again, the Seattle attack was listless and unsurprisingly, they are still winless. Without Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins, the Sounders couldn't crack an Earthquakes defense that was missing three starting defenders and a handful of other players. So with seemingly everyone missing, the match came down to the one start left -- Chris Wondolowski. A fabulous shot just before halftime caught the inside of the post, found the net and delivered the home side a good three points.
Chivas is, dare I say it, good? It's too early to say that, and there are still plenty of questions about the odd squad Chelis has at his disposal, but the Goats are second in the west after thrashing Chicago on Sunday. Juan Agudelo's gorgeous curler was the highlight for Chivas, but they have to be happy with all 90 minutes as they showed dynamism and cohesion from front to back.
As for Chicago, if someone decided to torch Toyota Park after this start to the season, they wouldn't be completely in the wrong.