SATURDAY JULY 2ND
Here we are with another trip around the MLS! What a week it was. Do you like Red Cards? We got you covered. Do you like stupid referee decisions? Have we EVER got you covered. Do you enjoy watching New England piss away a victory? ABSOLUTELY 1000 TIMES YES! Do you like draws? Uh what you don't? Really you don't want to talk about draws? Well I'll try but I don't know how well that is going to go. What if we salve the open festering wound that is the result that will not be discussed further with some cool goals? Is that OK? If it is join me after the jump for some fun.
DC United vs Philadelphia Union. Oh my I'm sorry to lead with this but the RESULT THAT WILL NOT BE DISCUSSED FURTHER showed up here in the form of a 2-2 scoreline. This was a really fun game. DC's supporters were in full effect and a ton of Son's of Ben were in the away supporter section in the bug infested upper deck of RFK stadium giving this game a great atmosphere. Both keepers were on their game each making terrific saves early in the game. DC's first goal was all De Ro as he set up Josh Wolff for an easy tap in (Quick Editorial here: NY you are dumb). Oh noes a DC OG!?! Andy Najar ripped a golazo that Mondragon was helpless to stop. Carlos Ruiz went all dirty fish in the final 5 minutes and scored a nice goal to salvage a point. Black and Red United with their always solid match review and player ratings post. The Brotherly Game chimes in with the Union perspective here.
FC Dallas vs Columbus Crew. Dallas have begun their summer march towards silverware. Brek Shea has become an unstoppable scoring machine as he propelled them towards a 2-0 victory against Columbus. Hartman was again great (is there a more underrated keeper in MLS history?) and Shea did his thing by getting a garbage goal to start things off and terrorized the Yellow Team for the entire game with shots and passing. Also Shea may have become the first payer to become MLS' version of the utility player. He can play defense, he can play on the wing and he can play an upfront striker. His versatility is really quite something. Cbus perspective here (a shot differential of 16 in favor of Dallas. Wow.) Big D soccer with their thoughts on the game. Yes indeed Brek Shea was tied for the league lead in goals after this game. Tied with Landon Donovan, Thierry Henry and Charlie Davies. Remember when the idiots (hi guys!) were braying about how resigning Brek Shea was not worth a press conference for Dallas? Yeah I think this should prove all of those fools wrong.
San Jose Earthquakes vs New York Redbulls. Dax Mccarty got the start. I wonder if he had as good a game as De Ro did. Hmm I don't think he did. The true hero of NY, Joel Lindpere, does the business early to go up by one. San Jose takes advantage of Bouna time to tie things up. Then MLS Rudo extraordinaire Steven Lenhart strikes with that giant cabesa of his to take the lead. Lindpere strikes again (aided by TWO San Jose defenders) to uh you know. Um so this game ended 2-2 and yeah. No we won't talk about it further. No recap from Once a Metro this week but you can read their "live" match thread to bask in their pain. No recap from the San Jose side.
Portland Timbers vs Sporting KC. The wheels of home dominance have completely fallen off for Portland as Sporting gets a 2-1 victory ON THE ROAD. This result surprises me since Sporting had issues winning on the road during their monstrous road trip before their stadium opened. You would expect Portland to at least get a point out of this game since they are probably the more talented side (Kenny Cooper aside). A sweet, understated finish from Sapong puts Sporting up early. Sporting struck again 5 minutes later. At the end of the first half Darlington Nagbe juggles the ball twice and then rips it home upper ninety over the outstretched hands of Nielsen. Crazy goal. Add it to the collection of awesome goals this year. Kenny Cooper predictably can't finish with his head from INSIDE THE SIX YARD BOX (is there a more over rated player in MLS history?). Jack Jewsbury puts one just wide near the end of the game. Stump Town Footy with their thoughts on the game which are, surprisingly, Cooper hate free. The Daily Wiz haven't written anything since June so I had to go to KansasCity.com to get the KC perspective for you. This is to bad as I had a great line regarding the Wiz pontificating about victory. Bummer.
SUNDAY JULY 3RD
Colorado Rapids vs Houston Dynamo. Supposedly this game was great fun (err the twitter told me it was good). I did not watch it. The highlights do not do it justice except for highlighting a great Tally Hall performance (MLS has awesome goalkeeping why is this not talked about as a huge league wide positive? Every team has a good keeper and some teams have two.) No I will not say the D word. Dynamo Theory talks about the awesomeness that is Tally Hall here. The Burgundy Wave also talks about how awesome Tally Hall is.
MONDAY JULY 4TH: INDEPENDENCE DAY
SUPER AWESOME GO FIND THIS AND WATCH IT GAME OF THE WEEK
Real Salt Lake vs New England Revolution. This game was epic. It had everything a neutral MLS supporter could want out of a game. Controversy. Red Cards. A New England Collapse. Steve Nicols freaking out on the bench. RSL with a king sized comeback. Laughable ESPN commentary (they don't know the rules!). A Lalas giving game analysis at halftime (always good for laughs). Inspired play on the field. The gamut of emotions were run. I LOVED this game.
Indulge me here as I'm going to do a mini recap: RSL goes down a man in the THIRD MINUTE and concedes a penalty while acquiring this red card (bye Nat Borchers). Controversy starts early here. The penalty is buried and New England is up early. Chris Tierney rips a free kick through a paper thing RSL wall for goal numero dos. New England has a two goal lead after 20 minutes. Five minutes later Andy Williams puts a free kick off the post and then Will Johnson taps in the rebound for a goal. At this point it was apparent New England was going to collapse as their wall did not follow their markers after the free kick. Three RSL players were heading towards that ball to put it in. Matt Reis was pissed at his lazy defenders. In the second half RSL gets a penalty in their favor as a handball was given on a New England defender. After watching the replay I can see where the ref called handball (really and elbow ball) but this was very harsh on New England. Penalty converted and things are all uhh knotted up. Nicols starts to lose it here. Shalrie Joseph gets a header past Jamison Olave to put New England back up. Then another red card happens this time to New England. Now that things are even it is really only a matter of time before Espindola notches the point salvaging goal. Matt Reis stopped this thing from becoming an embarrassment for New England.
One thing that did drive me nuts was the instant analysis surrounding the early red card on RSL defender Nat Borchers. A penalty was awarded as Borchers was ruled to have pulled down Felhaber as the last man (in the 3rd minute). If you are the last man, and you are ruled to have pulled that man down IT IS AN AUTOMATIC RED CARD. The Ref got the call wrong but the ensuing red card he had to give. MLS defenders historically have been given way to much leeway and the league is, rightly, trying to cut back on that this season. Auto red cards for last man infractions have become automatic in this league which is a good thing. Now we just need guys who can get the initial call correct.
Go visit RSL Soapbox and The Bent Musket to soak in all the "ahhh MLS referee system is broken ahhh" reactions. Look I know it has been a rough go for the league refs this year and honestly they need to fix the system but if you watch other leagues around the world (that aren't the EPL, Bundesliga or La Liga) this kind of officiating is just as prevalent. When the top league of the country doesn't pull in huge dollars or isn't able to control their national federation than the refereeing gets the short shrift. The problem in Los Estados Unidos isn't with MLS in particular it is with the USSF. This is a FEDERATION wide issue and thus the they should fix it or work with MLS to fix it.
Los Angeles Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders. This game sucked. On the bright side it looks like LA's third keeper is better than the Red Bulls first string keeper. Brian Perk was terrific in this game. He made some nice saves and showed a lot of fire commanding his box. LA is LOADED at keeper. NY would be wise to try to acquire one of them. LAG Confidential with a little Perk love. Sounders at Heart with one of their recaps here. I would be good never having to watch these two teams play ever again.
For video highlights MLS produces a week in review show that has lots of Transformer type sound effects. It is pretty good. Go here to view it.
That is it for the week. There are 4 games on tomorrow night. I suggest you watch at least one of them. Weirdly you are going to have to have Match Day Live to watch any of them as it looks like this Wednesday night was a gift to TSN as they get a nice little Canadian doubleheader. Best game of the night is probably Sporting KC vs Colorado but honestly I'd rather watch New York play TFC. I have no idea if TFC's DP's are debuting but it should still be a fun contest since neither team knows how to play defense.