In this past week, a new stadium opened, a new leader emerged in the East, and there were a number of beautiful goals. I considered just posting highlights of goals, but there was much more than goals happening. Also, I need to reach a minimum word count to post a story. Let's run down the action, shall we?
Houston 0 @ New York 1
New York records their third straight shutout proving that they know how to play some defense. As nice of a streak as that is, it's going to take a few more solid performances before anyone will consider their defense as a force to be reckoned with. For Houston, this is the last game of their season opening road trip. Unfortunately for them, they end it on a disappointing loss from a foolish miscue.
Seattle 2 @ FC Dallas 0
Dallas was still feeling the hangover of the Rapids match from the weekend. Daniel Hernandez and Blas Perez were out from suspension. Brek Shea was on the bench for the first 70 minutes as he is still recovering from turf toe. Despite the injuries and the absences, Dallas was able to keep Seattle from scoring for the first 68 minutes. A large amount of the credit for this goes to Dallas's keeper, Kevin Hartman.
Fredy Montero scored both goals in this match. The goals were three minutes apart of each other. I heard someone once say that when Freddy begins to score, he scores in bunches. Freddy now has 3 goals in the three games since he got his first goal of the season
Real Salt Lake 0 @ Chicago 0
This result sort of felt hollow. Gregg has it summed up well in his recap. Denz over at RSL Soapbox has some post-match quotes up here.
Los Angeles 1 @ Montreal 1
Montreal is still unbeaten at home, but this draw should have been a win. Montreal missed out on a couple of early chances to go up by two, and they had the Galaxy beat in the midfield for most of the afternoon. If it wasn't for David Beckham's ridiculous free kick, the story line would be about another Galaxy loss and a poor performance by Beckham. He probably would have blamed his performance on the turf.
DC United 0 @ Houston 1
What is this? A new MLS stadium opening without the Chicago Fire? Yes, BBVA Compass Stadium finally opened just outside of downtown Houston. It has to be hard to be the first truly new stadium after LiveStrong set the bar so high, but BBVA Compass Stadium looks to be a pretty nice facility. It's covered with so much orange that non-Dynamo fans get sick by looking at it.
For DC United fans, there's something else that is making them sick:
For 28 minutes, United looked superior to the Houston Dynamo in their brand new BBVA Compass Stadium. For 28 minutes, it looked like we might steal the show. But then, disaster struck. It struck the knee of the player that had been the best wearing black to that point. For the second United/Dynamo match in a row, D.C. lost its most important defensive player to an injury. First Emiliano Dudar, and now Perry Kitchen.
While United supporters see Perry Kitchen's departure as the tipping point, Dynamo fans see another player's entrance into the match as turning the game to their favor:
It was the Carmago substitution which provided the necessary push to allow Brad Davis the space to gather the ball at his feet, shift himself away from a defender and then wheel back and fire a golazo which will forever be etched in the minds of Orange Faithful. It was also the Brazilian Midfielder who continued to provide offensive pressure on the DC United backline, and nearly helped the Dynamo go up by a second goal not too much longer after the first.
And quite the golazo it was:
Vancouver 1 @ New England 4
Even though Lee Nguyen says that this game wasn't about revenge, getting two goals and an assist against the team that cut him has to feel pretty good. Vancouver was completely dismantled in the first half. In the second half, both teams got chippy and physical with each other. It was apparent that Vancouver was fatigued from their loaded schedule and just wanted to get back home. There's going to be little rest for the Whitecaps as they're playing a game every 3.8 days this month thanks to the Canadian Championship.
In the 72nd minute, Lee Nguyen fired this screamer past Joe Cannon to make it 4-1:
Between New England's improvement this year and all of the recent talk about rivalries, I can't wait to play New England. It'll be like old times, again.
FC Dallas 1 @ Columbus 2
FC Dallas continues to free fall. They are 0-4-2 in their last 6 matches. While Dallas put together a solid first half, they fell apart in the second half. Their first goal was partly thanks to Columbus midfielder, Tony Tchani, stopping during the run of play to appeal to a referee that the ball had gone out of bounds. With nothing but open space behind Tchani, Fabian Castillo took the ball all the way to goal and slid it past Andy Gruenebaum.
In the second half, momentum was beginning to tip in Columbus's favor. The final push of momentum came in the 63rd minute when Zach Lloyd picked up his second yellow card for a foul on Justin Meram. Up a man in the final 27 minutes of the match, Columbus almost doubled their shot total and put two in the back of the net.
Sporting KC 1 @ Chicago 2
In the gamethread introduction, I wrote:
Sporting is a defensively stout team. If the Fire are going to score goals, it most likely will not be off a defensive mistake.
In hindsight, that was a foolish thing to say. While Sporting KC had that impressive no shots on goal steak earlier this season, they have lost their previous 2 matches to defensive mistakes. Now in three straight losses, four of their five goals have been due to defensive errors.
Oh, and apparently there were 400+ Sporting fans in attendance. That seems to be a bit of an overestimate.
Real Salt Lake 1 @ Seattle 0
Real Salt Lake went into Seattle and played a defensive game. In the 51st minute, a Seattle turnover in the midfield lead to the only goal. The lone goal was enough to win it as Seattle seemed to lack ideas in the final third. They recorded a total of 8 shots, none of which were on goal. From Jeremiah Oshan over at Sounder at Heart:
As has been suggested, the busy schedule surely played a part in this. Played on another day, with both teams at full strength and on similar rest, maybe it comes out differently. Maybe it doesn't.
I think there's some truth in this. Seattle just had their second week in a row with matches both mid-week and on the weekend. Real Salt Lake also had a mid-week match, and to this point, has played more matches than any other team in the MLS. Neither team was up to snuff in this match, and it showed. Thankfully, there will be two more matches between these two teams.
New York 3 @ Philadelphia 2
With the win in Philadelphia, New York passes Sporting KC for first place in the Eastern Conference (you're welcome New York). I'm not so sure this game would have gone New York's way. Freddie Adu was having a pretty good game until he received his second yellow card for diving just before halftime. Even after going down a man, Philly forward, Lionard Pajoy, managed to score a goal (his second on the day) a few seconds into the second half to take a 2-1 lead. Philly held that lead for the next 20 minutes.
Unfortunately for the Union, goals by Markus Holgersson and Kenny Cooper put the Red Bulls back on top. In the waning minutes of the match, Philly had a number of chances to get a draw out of this, but fell short. On top of the painful home loss, Philly fans now have to handle the recent news that Danny Califf is most likely getting traded to Chivas in exchange for Juan Pablo Angel.
Chivas 1 @ San Jose 1
Chivas has been a nuisance for San Jose, winning 3 out of the last 4 matches between the two. An early goal by newly acquired striker, Jose Correa, put Chivas ahead in the 4th minute. From that point on, it was dig in and defend for Chivas. San Jose fought the entire match through, nearly equalizing at a number of moments along the way. Finally, in the 88th minute, Alan Gordon, who subbed on for Tressor Moreno, put a header past Dan Kennedy to tie the match.
In the end, the Earthquakes had tallied 25 shots, and they looked relieved to get the draw. A draw keeps San Jose a win away from pulling even with RSL (who will have next week off) in the standings. For Chivas, the draw breaks their losing streak and puts them one point above the cellar dwelling Timbers. The Chicago Fire travel to Portland to take on the Timbers this Sunday, May 20th.