Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! I hope you all had your fair share of green beer.
The MLS provided us six games of glorious action Saturday. We had everything from punches to the family jewels to Will Bruin dominating the universe, making Lionel Messi weep tears of amazement and pure joy at the Dynamo man's unparalleled skill. As always in soccer-land, home teams are listed first on the scoreline.
New York Red Bulls 1, Colorado Rapids 1
After getting beaten to a pulp by Vancouver a week ago, the New York Red Bulls re-introduced Thierry Henry to the lineup Saturday. So instead of seeing wasted chances from players not named Thierry Henry, viewers were treated to wasted chances set up by players named Thierry Henry. The first 15 minutes featured multiple chances for New York, two of which were heavily influenced by the aforementioned Henry, and all wasted.
It got better in the second half. Henry heard Defoe was stealing his thunder in Seattle and he decided he should remind us all he is pretty good too. So he put the ball in the net with his head. Granted it was because Shane O' Neill was like a dog and Tim Cahill was his squirrel. He decided to leave Henry completely wide open and run after that Cahill rascal, which in hindsight or in any of kind sight, is pretty stupid.
Henry did a cool celebration where he became a camera man.
It was OK, though, because Marvin Chavez is fantastic at running backwards in the box and colliding with defenders, in this case Jamison Olave. He was so good at it in fact that the ref decided a penalty kick was in order (because he is a replacement, and therefore stupid). Vicente Sanchez scored the freebie. For what it's worth, I think Luis Robles has been fantastic this year. Without him, New York would have conceded about 50 goals by now.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm really excited to go to the Fire home opener against New York. I really like watching Lloyd Sam play. He even body-slammed a guy in this game.
Philadelphia Union 1, New England Revolution 0
I would say Sebastien was a little Le Toux much to handle Saturday. See what I did there? He put home a nice chip shot right in front of the goalkeeper after last-minute starter Leo Fernandes made a nice run and pass to set it up. Fernandes really stood out in this one and may demand more playing time moving forward though it will be hard to supplant Brian Carroll. The Union look very comfortable to start the season, playing well in all phases and racking up four points in two games against Portland and New England.
The Revolution, the sexy darkhorse pick this year and a team I believed would be dangerous, are off to an awful start. They played uninspired again even after getting Will Bruin-ed all over their faces last week. While it would be nice to see Jose Goncalves decide to play soccer again, his return won't fix their problems. They REALLY miss Juan Agudelo and will need someone to spark the offense.
Apparent superstar-to-be Diego Fagundez would be a likely candidate but he can't be missing golden scoring opportunities like he did Saturday. Teal Bunbury did everything a professional soccer player possibly could to set up his teammate for a goal and Fagundez really Rolfe'd the hell out of the opportunity and killed momentum.
Seattle Sounders 1, Toronto FC 2
Jermain Defoe took less than 20 minutes to realize the MLS is not the Premier League and easily netted his first goal of the season after receiving a nice through ball from Jonathon Osorio at the top of the box that split the back line.
Then, after the WORST back pass in the history of soccer from our old friend Marco Pappa, Defoe decided he would start his march to 100 goals in a season by scoring again even though he'd only been in the league for 25 minutes.
After dominating possession for the second half, the Seattle Sounders finally got on the board after a nice run out from Obafemi Martins that led to him making a pass to the top of the box to Clint Dempsey who put it home. Dempsey thus ended the Sounders embarrassing statistic of Chad Barrett being the team's only goal scorer in 2014.
Clint Dempsey also punched a grown man in his baby making device during this game. Many people were angered by the gesture.
Honestly Seattle was the better team most of the game, but Toronto showed it has enough talent to bury you 500 feet in the ground and take all three of your points if you make a mistake. Considering this was the first real game for this squad and it was on the road in one of the most difficult venues, it is scary to think how good they may come to be.
Sporting Kansas City 1, FC Dallas 1
FC Dallas just didn't park the bus. They parked your car, they parked my car, they parked your mom's car, hell, they parked Peter Vermes' car. But while Sporting Kansas City had the ball for the entire first half, they didn't have Graham Zusi, which means they didn't have a brain.
Sporting Kansas City struggled to solve the puzzle of the car parking valets until about 10 minutes left in the game when they got a set piece on a corner kick. Apparently those who park cars do not like marking Aurelien Collin, which is understandable since no one would really want to stand all that close to him. But it led to him heading in a goal.
It was that header that made the lowly valets of Dallas say 'Hey, let's actually try driving these cars around a bit.' (metaphorically speaking). On a set piece right outside of the box, Matt Hedges headed home a pass from Michel because Hedges is kind of tall and can jump fairly well. It was way cooler than Collin's lame goal.
Other than that it was not the most entertaining game. I did enjoy watching Fabian Castillo anytime he had the ball on his feet. Quality stuff.
Houston Dynamo 1, Montreal Impact 0
Will Bruin, your reigning, defending president of everything, continues to preside over you and all things in the universe with tremendous grace. This time, he showed off his geometry skills by purposely shooting off a defender to make his shot deflect just so that it ended up in the back of the net. Trust me when I say Will Bruin does not score by accident. He scores by 100 percent I meant-to-do-thatness.
Aside from that goal, Montreal probably should have won this game. I mean it's pretty bad when someone makes Juan Luis Anangonó look like Lionel Messi, but that is exactly what Andrew Wenger accomplished tonight. I think I actually might be impressed by Wenger's complete inability to hit an open net. It would've been easier to score.
Marco Di Vaio is badly needed on this team and even that will likely not be enough to overcome the Klopassian curse.
Tally Hall is a pretty good goalie. That needs to be noted.
San Jose Earthquakes 3, Real Salt Lake 3
So Joao Plata is quickly becoming my hero. Real Salt Lake is a must-watch every week and for me the main reasons are the insane energy Plata plays with and the just straight-up ridiculous skill of Kyle Beckerman. This game was certainly one of the most entertaining of the weekend with a nice flow of action both ways.
It started with a set piece goal from Chris Wondolowski and was followed up with an absolute blast from distance by Beckerman. But it was the next goal I loved the most, as Plata got his jitterbug on and danced through the box before leveling a great goal. Luke Mulholland got some revenge for his incorrectly disallowed goal last week by netting one right before the half.
San Jose treated the second half like a hockey game, which was awesome. They were relentless in kicking balls at Nick Rimando just waiting for a rebound to pounce on. It finally came with about .0005 seconds left in stoppage time as Victor Bernardez drilled one in deep in the box.
I must say Steven Lenhart was the true monster of the match, creating scoring chances all over the place. Clearly the loss of Jason Kreis has not slowed down the machine that is RSL. If you have not had a chance to see them this season I highly suggest it. They are providing the most entertaining soccer on the year so far.
After all those close Lenhart chances, the draw seemed like a just result.