Sunday, April 17, 2016

It Happened in America: Drogba, Jones score in first starts of season

After spending all of last Saturday lounging in my living room watching soccer from 7:45 in the morning until well after midnight, I took this Saturday to do... Saturday things on a beautiful afternoon in southeast Michigan. As a result, I only watched on MLS game all day, and I was beat by the time it ended to write about all of them. So, here's the recap of the MLS action from both today and yesterday.

Chicago Fire 1-2 Montreal Impact
It had begun to feel like Didier Drogba had gone back to England to take up a coaching position at Chelsea since he missed most of the start of this season since he's not playing on turf to protect his knees. Well, Saturday was his first start of the year for the Impact, and he had an immediate... impact. After Kennedy Igboananike had the Fire in the lead thanks to a wonderful 29th minute goal, Drogba scored his first of the campaign in the 59th. He did it in classy Drogba fashion as well. After Chicago failed to get the ball out of their attacking half, Drogba received a low cross and backheeled the ball into the Fire net. Add in Ignacio Piatti's stoppage time winner and Montreal had three points on the evening.

D.C. United 0-1 Toronto FC
Sebastian Giovinco scored the lone goal in the opening minute and Toronto never looked back. The reigning MVP slid home a series of low crossing passes in less than a minute. D.C. United's shooting was frequent, but ineffective. They only put three of their 18 on target while they controlled just about every five minute interval on the day. United still only has a single win on the year and is really struggling to find goal scoring. Toronto can almost look forward to their home opener. They only have two more matches before they return to BMO Field in the grist weekend of May.

Columbus Crew 3-2 New York City
The Crew finally win one! They went in front within ten minutes thanks to Ethan Finlay, but gave the lead back in eight minutes as David Villa equalized. It remained tied through halftime until Columbus finally got a goal from their leading man, Kei Kamara. Last year's co-golden boot winner scored four minutes after the restart and the Crew were good to go. Thankfully Justin Meriam bagged an insurance goal in the 80th, that way they had cover for the penalty conceded in the penultimate minute that allowed Villa to nail his brace. Columbus not only has a win on the season, but they are also out of the Eastern basement thanks to the Red Bulls really screwing up to begin the season, too.

Colorado Rapids 2-1 New York Red Bulls
This game that probably should have been cancelled due to the blizzard like conditions at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Regardless, Jermaine Jones made his Rapids debut with style as he scored his first goal since his suspension ended in the 21st minute. The Red Bulls would battle back an equalize through Ronald Zubar at the hour mark, but they would fail to hold on. The suddenly threatening Rapids got a winner from Dominic Badki in the 82nd minute. They are now on 13 points through seven matches and sitting near the top the West.

Real Salt Lake 1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
RSL continues their unbeaten season with a gritty 1-0 win against Vancouver. The lone goal came from Juan Manuel Matrinez in the 55th minute at the end of a two on one break. Salt Lake may be unbeaten, but they are still behind FC Dallas for first out West. Thankfully, they have a pair of games in hand on the current leaders and can catch them with a win in each.

Seattle Sounders 2-1 Philadelphia Union
The Sounders appear to have found their footing. They were up at halftime with another goal from defender Chad Marshall and they doubled it in the 71st with Jordan Morris's first career MLS goal. The Union would have a quick response to Morris with Sebastian Le Toux scoring in the 73rd, but it wasn't enough. Seattle are now unbeaten in three matches since earning their first points of the season.

Portland Timbers 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes
Now for the one match that I did watch. The Timbers probably put on their best display of the season as they avenged their defeat at San Jose from a few weeks ago. After a scoreless first half with limited opportunities, Jack McInerney scored an impressively determined goal in the 52nd minute. After battling hard with the defender, he slid to poke the ball away and stood quickly to knock it into the goal. Fanendo Adi added their second in the 65th minute before the sky looked to be falling down. Diego Valeri earned two yellows in stoppage time for running his mouth at the referee, including after San Jose was awarded a penalty for a clumsy challenge by Nat Borchers. Chris Wondolowski converted the penalty, but then the Quakes left themselves far too open and Portland would get a third goal to Adi on a counter attack as the last action of the match. It was Portland's first win since the opening weekend.

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