Monday, March 30, 2015

It Happened in America: MLS Matchweek 4

Cold, windy, and sometimes snowy weather coupled with rosters depleted from international fixtures plagued MLS this weekend. Here's how the lower quality matches turned out.

New England Revolution 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes
New England finally scores a goal and earned their first win of the year. Kelyn Rown scored twice in the first half to give the Revs the lead on a cold, snowy day in Foxborough. Wondo buried one from the spot for San Jose, but it wasn't enough to conquer the home side in the snow.

Montreal Impact 2-2 Orlando City
Due to the combination of injuries and international call ups, Orlando was forced to dress only 15 of the usual 18 players. All the action happened in the later stages of the first half. Impact took the early lead with Ignacio Piatti converting a penalty in the 14th. Montreal's advantage was doubled by Jack McInterey 13 minutes later. The advantage wouldn't last long as Kaka and Pedro Ribiero got rolling a couple minutes after it became 2-0. First, it was Ribiero from Kaka in the 29th, then the two flipped places and Kaka equalized from Ribiero a minute later. the 2-2 scoreline would last through the second half and the honors were shared.

New York City 0-1 Sporting Kansas City
Ike Opara scored in the 12th minute for Kansas City on the increasingly cluttered pitch of Yankee Stadium. Soccer out there is still strange, and I doubt it will get any better. With no width to speak of, games at NYC featuring teams with stout, compact defenses like Kansas City will probably be kind of boring to watch.

DC United 1-0 LA Galaxy
While the entire league has suffered from playing during international breaks, LA Galaxy probably suffer the most. Their captain and best player, Robbie Keane, was out to play for Ireland in their EURO 2016 qualifier against Poland and Gyasi Zardes was called up by the USMNT for friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland. Their absence showed as Galaxy failed to get much going against their east coast rivals. Chris Pontius scored at the end of second half stoppage time to secure all three points for DC.

Columbus Crew 1-2 New York Red Bulls
A back and forth first half produced no goals, but things came alive after the break. Bradley Wright-Phillips converted a penalty to get things started. Crew managed to level with a Tony Tchani tap in, but it was Mike Grella with a classy chip in from outside the penalty are after forcing the turnover to win it for Red Bulls.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Portland Timbers.
See here for all you need to know about this Portland failure.

Houston Dynamo 0-0 Colorado Rapids
A bland 0-0 Draw if there ever was one. The teams managed five shots on target between them, enough said.

FC Dallas 0-0 Seattle Sounders
I was really looking forward to this being one of the best matches of the early season, but boy was I wrong. While it was pretty bad that Houston and Colorado only managed five shots on target, these two high scoring teams failed to put anything on target. Chris Seitz and Stefan Frei could have not been there at all and the result would have been the same. I guess not having Blas Perez and Clint Dempsey in a game has that effect. For what it's worth, Seattle owned possession, although it was entirely useless.

Chicago Fire 1-0 Philadelphia Union
Harrison Shipp delivered a beautiful free kick that Adailton got his head to for Chicago's goal late in the first half. There were plenty of other chances, including one earlier on that was stopped by what looked like the arm of Union defender Ethan White. Rais M'bolhi was the main reason Chicago couldn't win by more. The Union keeper came up big in quite a few spots to at least keep his team in the match. While doing better to get forward in the second half, Philly's attack as mostly lifeless as they failed to register a shot on target.

Real Salt Lake 2-1  Toronto FC
This game left me really wondering what could have been. Both sides were missing their two best players due to international call-ups and it was a drab match for most of the 90 minutes as a result. Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley were both away with the USMNT for Toronto and RSL was missing keeper Nick Rimando to the USMNT and Alvaro Saborio to Costa Rica. RSL took the lead on a wonderful back post cross from Javier Morales that Luke Mulholland headed in. The last 20 minutes had all the life in this one, though. First Toronto had a goal called back for... something in the 73rd. Jackson Goncalves completed a beautiful run through Salt Lake's defense to level in the 88th. The tie score would not last long as RSL buried the winner less than a minute later when Jordan Allen headed home his first career MLS goal.

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