Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday MLS: SKC remain perfect, Union tied atop the East

Philadelphia Union 2-0 New England Revolution
The Union were looking to take some momentum home off their big win in Columbus. The Revs were in search of their first win of the season after a couple of draws to open their campaign. It was Philadelphia and CJ Sapong getting the scoring going int he 18th minute. Sapong latched onto a pass with a great first touch that allowed him to get a shot past Bobby Shuttleworth. Some more nice passing led to Sapong's second goal in the 34th minute. A wide move that stared with Fabinho up top moved down to Warren Creavalle down low. Creavalle played a low cross that threaded the lackadaisical New England back line on it's way to Sapong for the finish. Lee Nguyen nearly pulled one back a couple minutes later that knocked both posts before deflecting back to Andre Blake in goal.

After that the referee decided to take over with some shaky calls. First off, in the 36th, Javonne Watson was sent off as the latest in MLS's binge on questionable red cards. Watson was making a play on the ball as jumped to avoid. Watson's cleat clipped his boot leading to a straight red. Then, in first half stoppage time, Andrew Farrell obstructed Ilsinho with a borderline hip check in the penalty area and got called for it. Thankfully, Shuttleworth saved the penalty to preserve the two goal deficit going into halftime.

The second half saw New England control much of the ball with a few Philadelphia counter attacks thrown in. The Union had the better chances, too. The best came when Chris Pontius push a shot wide after Sapong did very well to set him up on a two on one break. Sebastian Le Toux missed a wide open net at the 75 minute mark. The refs tried to give Philadelphia yet another goal in the 79th minute by calling a penalty against Jose Goncalves, but Sapong bought the call by backing into the defender and falling down. Shuttleworth was able to rise to the occasion again and made the save on a pretty bad take by Sebastian Le Toux. Le Toux would make up for that miss by adding the icing on this blowout a couple minutes into second half stoppage time. This means that Philadelphia are one of two East teams with six points, placing them in a tie on points atop the standings.

DC United 1-1 Colorado Rapids
The ESPN match of the day seemed like a dud, but they got lucky (or did they?) when official signing of Tim Howard by Colorado came down to draw a little more interest int he visitors for this one. Add that to Colorado having beaten LA Galaxy last week, and maybe we don't have as boring of a match as the first glance indicated. Howard won't be able to help Colorado score more goals or provide offensive firepower, which is exactly what they could have used here.They only managed to take eight shots on the evening with the one goal being the only one on target. At the time, it looked like that one goal would be enough. It came in the 69th minute off a corner. Dillon Powers raised his head to the ball to knock it in for the Rapids lead. United would not let that stand. They were the better team up front throughout, so it made sense for them to earn the draw in the 80th minute. Fabian Espindola latched onto a pinballing ball in the penalty area that could have been managed better by Zac MacMath in the Rapids' goal. D.C. are still winless on the year, but their pair of draws keeps them out of the basement over Columbus.

Sporting Kansas City 1-0 Toronto FC
Toronto had to storm back for a draw at Yankee Stadium last weekend, now a trip to always rowdy Sporting Park was on the list for them. Kansas City was trying to keep their hot start going. After wins at Seattle and at home agaisnt Vancouver, they were looking to keep the good vibes going. They did remain the only perfect side in MLS through three games thanks to Brad Davis netting the winner in the 70th minute with a fantastic individual effort through the penalty area. The game would not pass by without another reckless challenge resulting in a red card. This one I will not take exception to as Roger Espinoza stomped on Marky Delgado's shin. Either way, Sporting Kansas City are the only perfect team through three games while Toronto adds a loss to go with their win and draw.

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