Monday, March 16, 2015

It Happened in America: MLS Matchweek 2

There were eight exciting MLS matches this weekend. Here's how they went down.

Houston Dynamo 0-1 Orlando City
A tight game in almost every respect. it came down to an own goal off of Houston's keeper Tyler Deric. Deric was simply receiving and launching a back pass when Orlando's Pedro Ribeiro got in the way, forcing him to scramble towards the goal for the ball. In the end, his only option was to reach around the Orlando striker to try and punch it wide. He failed to do that and put it right into the net. It was a drastic mistake, but let's not discredit Ribeiro for his hard work to block the initial ball, then basically force Deric into putting the ball into his own goal.

Chicago Fire 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
Chicago was able to sustain consistent pressure throughout the match, but David Ousted made sure nothing found its way into the Vancouver goal. Vancouver was stuck on the counter attack most of the game, and it was Octavio Rivero taking advantage of some shady defending to give the Whitecaps the victory.

Columbus Crew 2-0 Toronto FC
Toronto put themselves in a big hole juse before halftime when Justin Morrow was sent off for denying Columbus's Ethan Finlay an obvious goal scoring opportunity. From that moment on it was all Crew as Justin Marem headed home a Finlay cross in the 57th and Kai Kamara flicked another home four minutes later.

FC Dallas 3-1 Sporting Kansas City
Blas Perez was the man again for Dallas as he scored twice from close range. The first was the result of some nice passing on a break, the second was the result of a dubious no-call. Perez was clearly offside when the cross fell to him, yet the assistant's flag stayed down. Between Perez's tallies, Roger Espinoza had equalized at one for Kansas City. Fabian Castillo put it out of reach in the 73rd as Dallas went on to claim all three points.

Real Salt Lake 3-3 Philadelphia Union
It was a barn burner in Utah that featured Javier Morales with a gorgeous free kick goal in the 29th minute to put RSL on top 1-0. It would take Union less than ten minutes to pull ahead however when Fernando Aristeguieta took advantage of back to back defensive errors that he easily converted. RSL would comeback early in with Jamison Olave chipped home a free kick in the 55th. Olave would turn the villain three minutes later when a cross took a bad bounce off him into his own goal. RSL would level on a very, very hard penalty given against Maurice Edu. It was a 3-3 draw that both sides will feel they should have won.

Seattle Sounders 2-3 San Jose Earthquakes
Clint Dempsey scored the fastest goal in Seattle history when he headed home a rebound after all of 21 seconds. Chris Wondolowski made sure that didn't last long as he equalized in the 13th. He bagged a pair just after halftime after a poor back pass by Brad Evans that Wondo managed to poach home. Victor Bernardez received a controversial red card for a dubious challenge in the 52nd. Yes, he gave a swift kick in the calf to Michael Azira, but he was going for the ball. Foul? Yes. Yellow? Yes. Red? Not in my eyes. However, not only did ten man San Jose hold on for all three points, they managed to add a third goal when Innocent Emeghara made Evans look silly again to score his first in a San Jose kit, Obafemi Martins made it a contest in the 84th with a simple tap in, but it wasn't enough.

New York City 2-0 New England Revolution
New England dominated the first half, but failed to score after having more than ample opportunity to do so. Juan Agudelo, in particular, will wonder how he didn't bag a first half hat trick. David Villa took advantage of a great break and orchestrated a one-two with Ned Grabavoy after quite the driving run to score City's goal.  After coming out swinging in the second half, New York City was given a boost when Jose Goncalves was shown straight red for denying Kyrie Shelton a clear goal scoring opportunity. The real story of this one is how many times I facepalmed at the sight of players failing to score. There was Agudelo in the first half and David Villa all game. yes he scored once, but three other times he was in on goal and only managed to shoot right into the keeper. Patrick Mullins, mere minutes after coming on as a sub, buried a Villa pass to seal the deal for NYC.

Portland Timbers 2-2 LA Galaxy
What a match. It was another draw that Portland will feel they should have won, Fanendo Adi scored his first of the year on a fantastic break out that saw him get the ball at the top of the box where he could deliver a strike inside the far post. Galaxy found the equalizer early in the second half when Gyasi Zardes beat keeper Adam Kwarasey to the ball, thus booting it in. Then, seconds before time, Adi thought he had found the winner when Darlington Nagbe received a perfect long ball from Liam Ridgewell, turned a pretty pass across the face of goal, where Adi was was waiting to tap it in. Less than two minutes later, Galaxy earned a corner that Alan Gordon headed home perfectly to seal the draw. It was the type of match that Portland has seen all too often. However, snatching draws from the jaws of victory is not a way to go about a season.

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