The Week That Was in Major League Soccer: Round 9

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 5: DC United celebrates Hamdi Salihi #9 goal against Toronto FC during MLS action at BMO Field May 5, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
From Wednesday to Sunday, there were 12 matches this week. Out of those 12 matches, 5 were won by a two goal margin. While other games were closer on the score board, they weren't closer on the field. This was a week for fairly lopsided matches. Let's review the action, or lack thereof, shall we?
Weekday Matches

Colorado 1 @ New England 2

New England came back from being an goal down at home. Saer Sene got himself a goal and an assist. Signing Saer is looking like a great long term investment for the Revs. He's only 25, and could become the best striker they've had since Taylor Twellman.

LA Galaxy 0 @ Seattle 2

There was a lot of talk leading up to this game about how these two teams have a great rivalry. Then for the game, Bruce Arena essentially puts bench warmers out on to the field. Maybe Arena did this because they had to face New York in a couple of days and because playing Seattle has been a gimme for LA since 2009. No matter what the logic was, LA played possum in this one. While Seattle's first victory over the SoCal scum might have an asterisk, I doubt that a full strength LA side was going to fair much better.

Freddy Montero, after taking something like 30 shots this season, finally got a goal. If you haven't seen it yet, it will probably be Goal of the Week.

DC United 3 @ San Jose 5

Along with the talk about the LA/Seattle rivalry was talk that this match was an early classic this season. How is this? It was a very entertaining match, but San Jose was never in any real danger of loosing this one. They went down 1 - 0 in the 8th minute, but it was early on and San Jose had looked dangerous. San Jose went up 3-1 in the 31st off a Justin Morrow goal and essentially had at least a two goal lead for the rest of the match. That doesn't sound like a classic to me.

Chicago 2 @ Chivas 1

For this one, Tweed has a recap here. Alicia Ratterree has a Chivas perspective write up over at The Goat Parade. Things did just get a little more difficult for Chivas with a trip north to visit Chris Wondolowski and Steven Lenhart next weekend. Per Alicia:
Minda is suspended against San Jose: If we agree he's been one of Chivas' best players so far this season, then losing Oswaldo Minda to suspension because of yellow card accumulation is going to be a big loss. And the team they'll be playing when Minda will be out is the San Jose Earthquakes, who currently sit atop the Western Conference. Hope you're ready, Vagenas!
That is a bummer.

Saturday Matches

DC United 2 @ Toronto 0

Yeesh. 8 straight losses to start the season puts Toronto into the record books for worst start to an MLS season ever. Torsten Frings played center back for the Reds, which doesn't exactly scream, "let's win this one, guys!"

I don't see Toronto as being this bad of a team. They are by no means a good team, but they have enough talent on their side that there is no excuse for not getting a single point at this stage of the season. Could Aaron Winter be packing his bags soon? From Waking the Red:
Is the end nigh for winter? This game saw the crowd booing, with a few chants of let's go bluejays (sic). If the Reds do lose to Montreal on Wednesday to kill off any hope or meaning for this season, with a 10 day gap until the next game which would be a very useful time for a new coach to get settled in, Winter may well be hearing chants of "you're getting sacked in the morning'.
On the D.C. side of things, they're incredibly pleased with this result. From D.C. United's staff writer, Sebastian Salazar:
It wasn't with the players you'd expect, and - at times - it wasn't very pretty. But in the aftermath of a 2-0 win over Toronto FC, D.C. United's makeshift back four could claim one of the club's best defensive performances of the young season.
So how - less than 72 hours after allowing five goals in San Jose - did the Black-and-Red manage their first shutout since April 7 against Seattle?
Whatever D.C. did do, I'm sure playing Toronto helped a little.

Philadelphia 0 @ Seattle 1

Mauro Rosales seems to be fully back from injury, which should put the rest of the west on alert. Seattle is a better team with Rosales in the line up. Without Rosales, the Sounders offense struggled. They scored only 3 goals in 4 matches - two of which they were shut out in. With Rosales in the line up, the Sounders have scored 8 goals in 4 matches. Even without Rosales (prior to his return to the lineup for the match at Toyota Park), the Sounders had managed to get off to their best start in franchise history.

With a mid-week match against FC Dallas and then hosting RSL on the weekend, it's possible that they're going to take first place in the west by the end of next week. May is going to be a test for the Sounders as they still have 5 of their 7 games to go

Oh, and the Union also played if anyone cares.

San Jose 1 @ Vancouver 2

This was the best performance Vancouver has put together this season. They actually got some offense going, especially after they went down a goal. Eric Hassli scored the game winner in added time. It was Hassli's first of the season and Vancouver's first two goal game since their season opener against Montreal.

New York 1 @ LA Galaxy 0

Joel Lindpere got his first goal of the season in the 19th minute, and that was all New York needed. After that, New York buckled down and defended for the rest of the match. LA had a number of chances to even things up but New York goal keeper, Ryan Meara, made a couple of huge saves. One huge save in particular came around the 82nd minute where Meara denied Juninho with a one handed, cat-sprawling leap. Thierry Henry has been praising Meara this season, and on Saturday, Meara showed why.

Montreal 2 @ Sporting Kansas City 0

L'Impact de Montreal got their first road win in their MLS history, and they did it against arguably the best team in the league. I say arguably because Sporting have now lost two in a row. Felipe Martins goal in the 30th set Sporting up behind the eight ball, and a converted penalty kick in the 64th minute by Patrice Bernier sealed the deal.

Montreal played a tough and physical game and Sporting seemed to never get comfortable in the match. Sporting did manage to finish the game with 22 shots, but only 4 of those were on goal. They also won the possession battle 66.1% to 33.9%. Unfortunately for Sporting, winning possession does not award points.

New England 1 @ Real Salt Lake 2

New England played a tough match down at Rio Tinto. The Revs even had the lead for about 10 minutes after Blake Brettschneider took on two RSL defenders just inside the 18 and buried a shot from a somewhat awkward angle. Still, even though New England had the lead, it never felt like RSL was ever in danger of loosing this one as the Revs defense were giving up too many chances, and it was only a matter of time.

At the end of the match, these two teams were dead even in shots (13), shots on goal (7), corner kicks (4), fouls (16), duels won (43), and RSL only won possession with 52.4%. Another interesting fact stat line to this game was from referee, David Gantar. According to the match commentators, Gantar has now overseen 9 MLS matches and handed out 6 red cards after Saturday's match. That's an pretty incredible rate.

Columbus 0 @ Portland 0

Both teams looked fairly flat in the first half, but Portland came out strong after half time with 12 of their 15 shots coming in the second half. Timbers fans must be reeling after this one. They looked to be the better club and they were at home. I recall Jeld-Wen being a fortress at one point. What happened? For Columbus, they have to be pretty happy to get a point out of this one, especially after a pretty "bleh" performance like that.

Sundays Match

Colorado 2 @ FC Dallas 0

Hey Dallas, was this a disaster, or was this a disaster? Daniel Hernandez seemed like he woke up on the wring side of the bed on Sunday morning. He needlessly gets a yellow card for dissent early on in only the 25th minute of the game. Then 9 minutes later, Hernandez foolishly bulldozes over Martin Rivero. It was an surprisingly blatant foul for someone who had already been booked once in the match. And even after he gets shown the red card, he decides to get a few words in with referee Mark Gieger before exiting the field.

Then two minutes later, Blas Perez gets a straight red card, which brought FC Dallas down to nine men. Perez had his foot high and studs exposed as he collided with a Rapid defender. It appeared that Perez didn't realize he was going to collide with someone until it was too late.

With a two man advantage, there would be no excuse for the Rapids to not win this one. While Colorado got the job done, there was one good piece of news along with one bad. The good news, Connor Casey finally got some playing time for the first time in what seems like an eternity. The bad news, Omar Cummings hurt his ankle and could be out a few games.
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