The Week That Was in Major League Soccer: Round 6

HARRISON, NJ - APRIL 14: Thierry Henry #14 of the New York Red Bulls reacts after a missed opportunity against the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena on April 14, 2012 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)

D.C. United takes on Montreal tomorrow at 6:30 PM CST and Sporting KC squares off against Vancouver at 9:00 PM CST. Before moving onto those games, let's rewind to the 6th round of 2012 MLS action. The theme of this past week was corner kicks as three games this were decided by goals off of this nature. Not only were these three games decided by goals off of corners, but they were also the only goals in those 3 matches.

Saturday's Matches

Columbus 0 @ Philadelphia 1

This was an ugly physical game between two teams that are pretty equal. It would have ended up deadlocked as 0-0 draw if it wasn't for handball in the penalty box on Columbus defender Eric Gehrig. Philadelphia's Gabriel Gomez put the penalty kick in the back of the net. Throughout the full 90 minutes, there were a total of 3 shots on target between both teams. The most interesting related to this game didn't even happen in Pennsylvania. From Massive Report:

The day started off on a sour note before most people were even awake. The Nor On Tour bus trip that was scheduled to travel to Philly for the game and stay overnight had their plans derailed by a large bird that hit the bus's windshield, resulting in a huge crack. This bird must have been, yes, massive, as it forced them to return to Columbus for a replacement bus. However, by the time it would have arrived, they would have barely made it to PPL Park for the first half. A couple few brave souls still took the long journey by themselves, and I applaud them.

Massive, indeed.

DC United 2 @ New England 1

I hate saying this, but I have liked what I have seen from New England over the past couple of matches. It seems like they are trying to instill a style of play much like Real Salt Lake, except a bit more aggressive. However some Revs fans are starting to raise questions about the amount of focus on the team's offense. From Matty Jollie at The Bent Musket:

Which brings me to my next question: Is the attack-minded philosophy hurting this team defensively? I'll give D.C. huge credit on the first goal as it was just a great feat of athleticism and skill, but the second? Once again, a wing back gets caught in transition and a slower CB gets beat for the goal. I'm all for defenders getting involved on over-lapping runs to create crossing chances, but let's face it, if it impedes on your defensive responsibilities, you've got to re-evaluate.

It is a new system in New England, and the team is still learning. If they keep doing what they're doing, they'll find a balance. On Saturday, they came very close to handing DC a loss, and looked to be the better team.

In reading and listening all of the post game media I could find, I heard someone tout DC United as the hottest team in the league. I don't think I need to elaborate on how off that statement is. While they are not the hottest team in the league, they are definitely starting to hit their stride. They still have some defensive issues from time to time during games, but the offense is starting to gel.

The Josh Wolff and Chris Pontius substitutions turned out to be key for DC. Especially Pontius, as he played only a little more than the last 10 minutes of the game and put the game winner past Reese in the 82' minute.

Colorado 0 @ Seattle 1

Here is a fun fact: Colorado out possessed Seattle nearly 60% to 40%. That's a pretty differential. Here's a second fun fact: Seattle out shot Colorado 18 to 4. In other things that don't make sense, Freddie Montero has yet to score a goal this season but is apparently drawing interest from Liverpool.

After last weekend's loss at Rio Tinto, Rapids coach, Oscar Pareja decided to change things up. From UZ at Burgundy Wave:

Oscar Pareja was clearly frustrated by his tactics backfiring in Salt Lake so the Rapids came out with a very different game plan against Seattle. Where they had bunkered against Salt Lake they were going forward early and often against Seattle. Where they had been countering heavily against Salt Lake they were possessing the ball as much as they possibly could against Seattle. It was a very nice display that led to 60/40 possession win at halftime for Colorado.

At halftime, things did look even. And while the Sounders did register 18 shots in the game, only 5 of them were on target. The lone goal in this one came off a set piece scored by Seattle defender, Zach Scott.

And lastly, Brian Mullan, on his first game in Seattle since folding Steve Zakuani's shin like a lawn chair, got a yellow card in 87' minute for a tackle on Osvaldo Alonso.

Chivas 1 @ Toronto FC 0

This win by Chivas give them the second best start in the history of the club. They've grinded out results against RSL and Portland, and this week, they took it to Toronto for much of the first half by continually winning possession in the midfield. Still, chances were a bit of a rarity with two of the best looking ones coming from a couple of Ben Zamanski screamers from distance, which forced Milos Kosic to make a couple of saves. The lone goal on this one came from Oswaldo Minda header off of a corner kick in the 31' minute.

Toronto finally seemed to wake up in the second half and nearly had a couple of equalizers. One very close opportunity in particular was a close range shot by Danny Koovermans that was denied by Dan Kennedy.

People are still bringing up the loss of Torsten Frings when talking about Toronto's woes. Next week we will get to see if Torsten can have an impact on the pitch. From Duncan Fletcher at Waking The Red:

Once again the introduction of Torsten Frings is the big thing to be hanging a sense of hope on. He will probably be back next week against Chicago, and we can only hope he has the immediate impact he had last season. It should be interesting to see exactly where he lines up. Will it be in the middle of the defence again, as he was to start the season? This will be the first time that Cann and Frings have been in the same side. Will Cann's presence be enough to allow Frings to move into the midfield where he can provide the leadership and ability that's so far been lacking.

Scoring has been hard to come by so far this season for Toronto. To date, Toronto has yet to have a lead in any MLS game this season. Having Torsten Frings on the pitch will help, but his presence alone is not going to fix this.

San Jose 2 @ New York 2

4 goals in the first 35 minutes of this one. After that, things dropped off a bit. San Jose seemed to have control of he match in the second half, but they weren't able to generate a lot of scoring chances. They also had a couple of turnovers in their defensive third that gave the Red Bulls a few very dangerous chances.

The biggest story out of this game is San Jose loosing two players to injury on the same play at the end of the first half. Victor Bernardez sprained a knee ligament while going up for a header, and New York's Rafa Marquez made a pretty senseless tackle (a la Brian Mullan) on Shea Salinas, breaking Salinas's collarbone.

And as the final whistle blew, Thierry Henry kicked the ball in frustration. After the game, here is what Henry had to say to the New York Post:

"The aim is to do better, play better,’’ said Henry. "I’m not going to talk about how many goals we score. I was sad for Ryan the other day because he made some great saves. Since the beginning of the season he’s been brilliant, and we haven’t been able to give him a clean sheet. It’s up to us. It’s been proven that he can be out goalkeeper; I think it’s time to give him something back.’’

Montreal 1 @ FC Dallas 2

This one almost got away from Dallas. Both teams had their chances in the first 45 minutes, with Montreal looking like the better team. Then in the 61' minute, Zach Lloyd fouled Davy Arnaud inside the penalty box which would result in Bernardo Corradi's first MLS goal of his career.

Something clicked in Dallas after that penalty. From Drew Epperly at Big D Soccer:

For me however, Dallas really didn't wake up until after the penalty call on Zach Loyd. It was the shot in the arm that the club needed as the first 15 minutes of the second half resembled the first 45 minutes of the game where the offense just couldn't take off. Give credit to Montreal for defending in numbers and for playing physical when they needed to across the midfield.

During the last third of the game, Dallas suddenly seemed to have pace as they would then go on to score two goals in the final 15 minutes of the match - Blas Perez in the 77' and Shea with the game winner in the 87'.

Real Salt Lake 0 @ Sporting KC 1

Real Salt Lake was never able to get fully comfortable in this game offensively. Sporting's high pressure defense prevented RSL from ever putting a real attack together. RSL struggled to get past the midfield and resorted to sending long balls through the air to get into the attacking third.

This game would be decided on a corner kick. Aurelien Collin headed in a Graham Zusi corner in the 63' minute. Sporting is now 6-0-0, but 4 of their games this year have been at home so far. It'll be interesting to see how this team fares once they have to leave Livestrong Park a little more frequently.

Sunday's Match

Houston 1 @ Chicago 1

Tweed has the write up on our beloved Fire's rained out match over here.

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