Houston Dynamo 1, FC Dallas 4
Texas is big, but it ain’t big enough for both Houston and Dallas in MLS. Ok, so maybe it is. Someone has to take home bragging rights though, especially now that both clubs are in the same conference. Dallas staked their claim early, and it was all they needed. Ryan Hollingshead unleashed a left-footed laser to start off the scoring in the 9th minute. Twelve minutes later David Texeira tallied goal number two for the hoops on a clinical finish. Giles Barnes gave Houston hope in the 32nd, curling in a free kick from an advantageous angle. That would be all she wrote for the Dynamo however. FC Dallas would score twice in four minutes on insanely impressive individual efforts by Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo. Texas bragging rights belong to FC Dallas, as does first place in the western conference, where they stand with seventeen points. Houston lies in seventh place on ten points.
Two fringe (at the moment) playoff teams doing battle can often be a cagey affair. Big games in league play don’t phase Chris Wondolowski one bit. He opened up the scoring in the 19th minute by doing what Wondo does best: poaching a goal off of a slight deflection. Despite the lion’s share of possession, and multiple chances, RSL could only muster one goal, gifted to them by San Jose defender Victor Bernardez. The own goal was one of the more embarrassing in recent memory. Despite the huge mistake, San Jose occupies the final playoff spot in the west on ten points. RSL also have ten points but are second to last on goal differential.
Toronto FC might finally be shaping itself into a worthy playoff team, even if recent evidence came against the woeful Philadelphia Union. PPL Park and the Sons of Ben once again had to sit through ninety minutes of shame. I won’t even go into too much detail, as I hope for better days for former Fire player Jim Curtin, and a loyal, passionate fan base. We can’t all be winners, and Philadelphia always find themselves at the losers end. Speaking of winners, how about that Sebastian Giovinco though? In the 34th minute, the Italian import sent a long distance free kick with the arch of a Roman aqueduct or a Turin snow slope, dipping into the goal. Toronto FC now sit in fifth place on nine points, while Philadelphia have accrued only six points and lie in ninth place.
D.C. United 2, Columbus Crew 0
There’s just something about seeing Chris Rolfe involved in a scoring play against that yellow team, even if he no longer dons the Fire kit. Fabian Espindola finished off a perfectly placed through ball by Rolfe in the 15th minute. Columbus were not without their chances, namely from Meram, Kamara and Higuain, but all of their possession resulted in a fat goose egg. Sean Franklin sealed the deal for United four minutes before the half, slicing in an Espindola corner kick. D.C. United’s win gives them seventeen points and they sit only behind New England, with a game in hand. Columbus remains in fourth place with eleven points.
All good things must come to an end. For the Red Bulls of NY/NJ, it was their seven game point streak. New England – on the counter for much of the game – took a quick lead via Charlie Davies and his glorious head. Teal Bunbury scored the winner in the 60th minute after some Arsenal-esque passing between Scott Caldwell and Lee Nguyen. Slight retribution would come New York’s way in the 73rd minute. Mike Grella would send a long ball to Sacha Kljestan who stayed composed as he kept the ball down, skipped passed the keeper and scored. New England would hold onto the win, and are currently Supporters Shield leaders with seventeen points. Red Bulls first loss keeps them in third on thirteen points.
LA Galaxy 1, Colorado Rapids 1
It appears as though Colorado is totally stealing the Fire’s on-field dress code from last season. Bow tie, long tie, bolo tie, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s a tie. Pity for them, they actually held the lead for a solid thirty minutes. Gabriel Torres found himself 1v1 with his countryman Jaime Penedo and coolly slotted home after an impressive run. In the 75th minute, Alan Gordon happened. He happened upon the Rapids as he’s happened on so many prior foe. Within three minutes of subbing in, the former San Jose bash brother headed in a Stefan Ishizaki corner, with 16,000+ at Stub Hub Center erupting in cheer. The draw is enough to keep LA in fourth place on thirteen points. Colorado sits dead last in the west on nine points.
Despite playing a Cascadia opponent in front of a capacity home crowd, the Timbers could only muster one shot on goal. The painful part is they held the ball at nearly 64% while only allowing two shots on goal from the often lethal Vancouver attack. Only three yellow cards were given through the twenty-two total fouls. If you can find an inkling of a highlight, watch the video above. Vancouver sits behind FC Dallas on goal differential, while Portland holds steady in eighth on ten points.
New York City 1, Seattle Sounders 3
The infancy stage of NYCFC was filled with the publicity and adulation fit for newborn royalty. The past few weeks on the pitch have been – if anything – the awkward preteen phase. The inability to finish being much like a zit breakout, and the defensive lapses similar to being called upon by the teacher to answer a question only to stare blankly and shrug. Seattle reminded NYCFC what it was all about to be a new member in MLS, especially a successful one. Obafemi Martins scored a brace, his goals coming in 23rd and 66th minutes. Nestled in-between was a goal that appeared all too easy for Clint Dempsey. The lone highlight for NYC came in the 54th minute when Mehdi Ballouchy scored a fantastic long range goal, only to be immediately subbed off for an ineffective David Villa. So the growing pains continue in front of capacity crowds at the house a baseball player built.