I will be trying to drop a new piece every week doing a quick recap of all the past week's MLS action. With 18 teams, that's a lot of action to try to follow, so I thought it would be a good idea to condense everything into one place for all of our readers. Although the week could have been much better had we beaten the hated Sounders, there was still plenty of thrilling MLS action to go around (except for the Chivas/Columbus game, which I will touch on later). Join me after the break for some highlights...
Although the crowd at Vancouver was not as impressive as their home opener, it did not lack for entertainment, with a game featuring more red cards than you could shake a stick at. Just before halftime, Gershon Koffie earned a straight red on an elbow to the face of Pat Phelan. I was watching the game live and, although his elbow did clearly come up, I don't think there was malicious intent to injure, thus a yellow should have been given. In the second half, Zac Boggs took down Camilo in the box for a penalty kick, which Frenchman Eric Hassli promptly put away for a 1-0. The problem was that he celebrated by removing his long sleeved jersey and threw it under the crowd. He had a short sleeved jersey below it, so I have to give him credit for some nifty planning. Unfortunately for him, even though he still had a jersey on, taking your jersey off is a yellow card, which added to one he had picked up early, so he drew a red and an ejection. Although he claimed that he didn't know the rule as it's allowed in some European leagues, the Whitecaps had the lead but were down 11 men to 9.
A.J Soares then drew a straight red for the Revs with a sliding tackle on Atiba Harris. Ilja Stolica put a dagger into the Whitecaps with a stoppage time blast to earn a draw.
Not as much to report in this one, as FCD Dallas looked the better side from the opening whistle. Current MLS MVP David Ferreira showed why he is a top MLS striker, notching a brace with Ugo Ihemelu tallying the 3rd. Ferreira celebrated the first goal by putting a pink pacifier in his mouth as a symbol to his pregnant wife. Logic would dictate they must be having a girl. That, or David is the next Nostradamus. Either way, it's a nice tribute and a more unique, rather than canned celebration. Which can't be said for his second goal. He pulled the old "rocking the baby asleep" celebration. At least think up of something better. Maybe he needs an "Ochocinco's Original Celebrations Recipe Book"? That celebration is old and worn out and should be retired ASAP.
Although New York, on paper, has the most talent, Philly has played well this year. Faryd Mondragon has been stellar thus far, and these teams really seem to be building up a nice derby type of rivalry. Hopefully more rivalries continue to develop like this, although maybe not in the vein that Philly fans take rivalries too. Fortunately, no Philly fans purposely vomited on Red Bulls fans, no snowballs or batteries were thrown, and no cheering happened when a wide receiver was lying still on the ground potentially paralyzed. I will say having to be surrounded at all times by security and having own areas for concessions, bathrooms, etc keeps up with the best hooliganism in the world.
Roger Torres was the hero in what was an otherwise surprisingly uneventful match for the most part. Tim Ream, despite having a bright future for NYRB and the USMNT, passed a ball directly to Danny Mwanga, who found Torres for the game winning goal. The turnover wasn't on the level of Leon Lett in the snow on Thanksgiving, but it definitely was costly.
Saturday, April 9th: New England Revolution vs. Real Salt Lake (0-2)
Real continued their early dominance this season, essentially fielding a reserve team in a comfortable victory over the Revs. Chris Schuler notched his first career goal with a header, Collen Warner tallied two assists, feeding Paulo Jr. just after halftime for the second score.
This match also featured its share of red cards, as Shalrie Joseph was sent off in the 70th minute. Seriously, does he have no regard for costing me with that Red on my fantasy mfls team? He could have had the common courtesy to at least get an assist or goal to offset the negative points he incurred my fantasy team with that red card. Pat Phelan picked up a second yellow/d in an exchange with RSL's Will Johnson. Rumor is that Johnson made fun of Gerard Phelan, long lost relative and hero of the Flutie Hail Mary. I guess in the Phelan family, making fun of relatives brings serious consequences.
The Galaxy continue on their shaky, up and down form so far this year. A good sized crowd was on hand at RFK stadium, as DC United continues to impress. Although they were pretty bad last year, and most people thought Daniel Snyder owned the team, they have really turned it around this year. Landon Donovan missed the game due to a leg injury, although I had my doubts as there was a DC United sign that made the TV broadcast that simply said "Landon Got Probed". Whatever the truth, DC United ended up starting 3 rookies themselves. David Beckham assisted on the first goal by Mike Magee, which almost stood up.
Santino Quaranta then picked up a second yellow late in the second half with a studs up challenge on Juan Pablo Angel. Fortunately, Angel was not injured, and his hair gel even stayed in place despite the challenge. In the 89th, Davies entered the left side of the 18 yard box, and fell down on some very, very light contact from Omar Gonzalez. I am a big fan of Charlie Davies as he is trying to complete the road back to full fitness from the car accident that nearly took his life, but that definitely should not have been a penalty kick. However, the call was made, and Davies coolly pulled a nice deke on the goalie for the score.
Definitely not much to write here. The game did not feature many genuine scoring chances, and was a fairly boring affair overall. I was only able to watch about 15 minutes until I was so bored I switched to the condensed version on MLS Matchday, and that nearly put me to sleep as well. On a side note, I was at Miller Park Saturday watching my beloved Cubs get shut out, and that was more exciting than this game, and believe me Cubs fans didn't have a lot to get excited about Saturday night. We had a pretty fun time, but it's funny how much trash Brewers fans talk considering they have won just as little as we have. In fact, a Brewers fan in front of us had a half an hour long burn (according to him, and no that guy in front of us was not Jim Rome) against my friend based on the fact that they won one playoff game in 2008 when we won 0. Seriously, if that's the only argument you have to stand on to try to prove your team is better, then maybe you shouldn't be talking at all. I failed to mention to this guy that they should be thankful, the only time they can sell out their stadium is when we come to town and bring more fans than them.
What's that you say? I shouldn't be talking about baseball in a soccer article? Well, you would be correct, but my story was 10 times more interesting than the Chivas/Columbus game. And that's even if you hate the Cubs, Brewers, or my story in general.
Sunday, April 10th: Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (3-1)
Action was much better in this matchup, as Houston picked up their first win this season. Action was pretty good, as 3 goals were scored in a 5 minute stretch. Cam Weaver scored his second goal in as many games off a corner kick to open scoring for Houston. Camilo then netted an equalizer to knot the game at 1-all.
If you remember from the above Whitecaps recap, Vancouver played without Eric Hassli and Gershon Koffie due to red cards, so they were a little short handed. Bobby Boswell netted the game winner in the 42nd, and rookie Will Bruin finished off the scoring with a strike late in the 2nd half.