Here's a run down of this past week's MLS action that involved teams other than the Chicago Fire. All in all, it was kind of a dull week as most matches seemed a little lopsided. The weekend's action began on Friday night with Houston visiting Seattle.
Houston 0 at Seattle 2
Houston had some good early momentum in this one, but Seattle scored first. In the 24th minute, David Estrada took a shot off of a bad clearance from a Seattle corner kick. The shot deflected off a Houston defender and sent the ball opposite of where Tally Hall was diving.
A few minutes later, Patrick Ianni was pushed in the back by Geoff Cameron inside the penalty box. Brad Evans buried the ensuing penalty kick for Seattle. Houston seemed to have the wind sucked out of them from there on as they created very few chances for the rest of the match. Not many teams that are able to come back being two goals down against Seattle.
San Jose 3 at Toronto 1
Everyone was making a big deal out of the Torsten Frings injury, but there was no way a healthy Torsten was going to stop the second half onslaught from the Earthquakes. For the first ten minutes of this match, San Jose had Toronto on their heels and against the ropes. Once Wondolowski got the first goal in the 9th minute, San Jose laid off for the rest of the of the first half. Toronto sent cross after cross into the box, but nothing came of it.
When the second half started, San Jose turned it up a notch. The the big glaring weakness for Toronto seems to be the left side of their back line as San Jose's midfield was able to find oodles of space on the left with overlapping runs out of their midfield. In the end, Toronto is lucky that San Jose only scored 3 goals. Toronto has conceded 7 goals in their two league games so far.
Portland 0 at New England 1
Here is a game that could haunt Portland for a while. After last week's draw in Dallas, members of the media were asking Timber's manager John Spencer questions about last year's bad road record. John, noticeable vexed, responded by stating that it was only the first half of last year and the past is in the past.
Then on Sunday, Portland allowed New England to score their first goal of the season in the first minute of the game (29 seconds in to be exact). Chris Tiereny sent a perfect cross in from the top corner of the penalty box and forward Saer Sene headed it just under the crossbar. Portland would pressure New England throughout the rest of the game, but they would be unable to score an equalizer.
Montreal 0 at Columbus 2
Montreal did themselves no favors here. Jeb Brovsky was sent off with a straight red card for elbowing Mirosevic in the head in the 19th minute. After that, Donovan Rickets made some huge saves for Montreal to keep it nil-nil, but Columbus kept the pressure on. In the 29th minute, Felipe Martins tripped Edgar Renteria in the penalty box. For the rest of the match, it was only a matter of time until Columbus would strike again as Montreal struggled to get any momentum in this game. Olman Vargas's goal in the 66th sealed the deal.
Chivas 1 at Real Salt Lake 0
This game was like watching a cat toy with it's prey a little too long allowing the prey to get away. Near halftime, RSL had over 65% of the possession. By the end of the game, possession for RSL was still over 60%. Here is some other fun statistical facts - RSL had more corner kicks 9 to 2; RSL had more attempts on goal 13 to 6; RSL had more open crosses 24 to 9; RSL had more passes with 483 to 315 completing 85%. Yes, RSL played the game that RSL plays, but they played with no urgency. Rookie Casey Townsend scored the lone Chivas goal by knocking the ball loose from Nick Rimando in mid-air and kicking it in the net. Dan Kennedy came up with some huge saves to shut out RSL. I especially enjoyed watching him rob Espindola in added time.
DC 0 at Vancouver 0
I was actually looking forward to this game. I had imagined that either DC was finally going to get a weaker opponent and take them to task, or Vancouver was going to come out pumped up after winning their first two games and really looking to make a statement since DC is not an expansion team or Chivas. What ended up here was the ultimate draw. I watched 20 minutes of this before turning it off in favor of the condensed version on MLS Live and even that was a struggle to get through.
Pretty much nothing happens for 65 minutes, then Joe Cannon makes a terrific save and Vancouver counters but fails to score. Aside from a few chances late in the game from De Rosario, nothing else worth noting happens the rest of the match. I'm now finally convinced that DC are as bad as they've been looking since the latter part of 2011, and I'm starting to suspect that, even though they got a few fancy names in the off-season, Vancouver is not that good. After all, this is pretty much the same Whitecaps team as last year plus Le Toux and Young-Pyo.
Colorado 1 at New York 4
It only took until the third game of the season for Hans Backe to figure out that he needs to start Kenny Cooper. Some one must've sat him down in front of a computer this past week and found Kenny Cooper highlights for him on YouTube. I think most anyone who watched their season opener against Dallas would have started Cooper after that match. Especially with the way Henry was working with Cooper right off the bat.
Kenny Cooper got his first start this weekend, and he scored the second goal of the game in the 6th minute. Colorado had multiple defensive lapses throughout the entire game. The absence of Larentowicz definitely hurt Colorado, but just like with Toronto without Frings, there was only so much Larentowicz could have done to stop Cooper and Henry running roughshod over the back line of the Rapids.
FC Dallas 1 at Sporting KC 2
This was easily the most entertaining match of the weekend. Ricardo Villar goal in the 25th minute off a set piece gave Dallas the lead first. For long stretches of the game, Sporting was the better team on the pitch, but between not finishing chances and some heroic saves by FC Dallas keeper, Kevin Hartman, they had to have the full 90 minutes to squeeze out the win.
Sporting leveled the game at 1-1 just before halftime on a set piece of their own as Graham Zusi connected with Aurelien Collin through the air. The most dramatic moment came when FC Dallas captain Igo Ihemelu took down Sporting right back Chance Meyers in the penalty box. Kia Kamara took the penalty kick, driving it low and to the left only to be denied by Kevin Hartman.
Sporting would get the game winner in the 87th minute. Graham Zusi played a through ball to Chance Meyer off a give and go, and Chance out ran Dallas left back Hernan Pertuz to send the ball in to a sliding Kei Kamara for the win.
Week 4's action will start on Friday, March 30th at 6:30 cst with FC Dallas at DC United.