Sunday, March 18, 2012

MLS Week 2 Recap

Nine games this weekend in MLS as now all 19 clubs have played at least one match. Here's a rundown of the weekend's action:

Montreal 1 Chicago 1 - Team Captain Davy Arnaud scored the first goal in Impact history when he headed home a cross from Sanna Nyassi early in the second half, but Dominic Oduro equalized for the Fire 15 minutes later and the Impact were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw. A record crowd of 58,912 packed Olympic Stadium for the match, and they nearly got a magical finish when left back Josh Gardner drilled a shot in the 95th minute from around 35 yards out only to have it denied by the post.

Houston 1 San Jose 0 - Brad Davis buried a 14th minute penalty kick for the only goal of the match as Houston won its second straight road game to start the season. Tally Hall made 5 saves and earned a second straight shutout with a lot of help from the Dynamo backline. Houston was able to keep San Jose's dangerous tandem of Steven Lenhart and Chris Wondolowski frustrated for much of the match really limiting their dangerous touches. Houston tries to make it three in a row on the road on Friday when they travel north to take on the Sounders.

Kansas City 3 New England 0 - New England saw Stephen McCarthy get sent off in the 14th minute when he was ruled to be the last defender on a foul against Kei Kamara, and from that point on it was all Kansas City. Graham Zusi and Kamara each had a goal and an assist and C.J. Sapong scored for the second straight match as Sporting cruised to a their second straight win to start the season despite playing without Teal Bunbury (U-23 National Team Duty). Jimmy Nielsen made 6 saves and earned his second shutout.

Dallas 1 Portland 1 - Panamanian Blas Pérez followed up his two-assist debut with his first MLS goal, but FC Dallas, playing without Brek Shea (U-23 National Team Duty) and Fabián Castillo (injury), were unable to hold their early lead and ended up drawing 1-1. Substitute Darlinton Nagbe scored the equalizer for the Timbers just over 4 minutes after entering the match at halftime.

Real Salt Lake 2 New York 0 - New York's struggles continue as they suffered a second consecutive loss to start the season. Fabián Espíndola converted a breakaway goal in the first half and 18 year old Luis Gil added an insurance goal in the second half as Real improved to 2-0 on the year and haven't lost to New York since 2009. Nick Rimando made 4 saves for his first shutout of the season.

Seattle 3 Toronto 1 - David Estrada bagged the first hat trick of the 2012 season as the Sounders bounced back from a crushing 6-1 midweek Champions League loss to Santos Laguna and defeated Toronto FC 3-1. The 24 year old former UCLA Bruin had appeared in just 6 MLS games over the past two seasons and had yet to register a point before this breakout performance. Estrada was called up for a U.S. U-18 national team camp in January 2007, but has not yet played internationally for any country (he is also eligible to play for Mexico). Álvaro Fernández was involved in all three of Estrada's goals and was credited with a pair of assists while Ryan Johnson scored a brilliant goal for Toronto in a losing effort. Also worth noting was the loss of Toronto captain Torsten Frings in the 24th minute with a hamstring injury. The severity could have a severe impact on any CONCACAF Champions League ambitions Toronto FC might have had.

Vancouver 1 Chivas USA 0 - It may be hard to believe, but this was Vancouver's first ever road win since becoming an MLS franchise last year. Team captain Jay DeMerit buried a diving header off a set piece for the only goal of the match, and the first goal in DeMerit's MLS career (he played in England from 2003-2010). Vancouver did lose their starting keeper Joe Cannon in this one to an apparent leg injury, but backup Brad Knighton made a pair of saves in his first appearance since 2010 to preserve the shutout. Chivas USA has now dropped back-to-back matches by identical 1-0 scores.

COLORADO 2 PHILADELPHIA 1 - Three different players scored their first MLS goals in Colorado's 2-1 win over the Union. Colombian midfielder Jaime Castrillón and 2012 first round draft pick Tony Cascio both tallied goals for the Rapids who improved to 2-0 while Philadelphia's new Colombian striker Lionard Pajoy got one for the Union. The Rapids overcame a 58th minute ejection to midfielder Jeff Larentowicz and even added on to their 1-0 lead at the time when Cascio picked defender Chris Albright and got in behind the defense. The Union had plenty of opportunities to get back in the match, and while they were able to get a goal back, they couldn't find an equalizer. Matt Pickens had 4 saves for Colorado in the win.
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LOS ANGELES 3 DC UNITED 1 - The Galaxy finally got into the win column after a frustrating stretch that saw them eliminated from the Champions League and on the losing end of their MLS opener. LA's stars delivered in this one though as Robbie Keane tallied a pair of goals and Landon Donovan and David Beckham each added assists. Edson Buddle actually didn't start with Chad Barrett starting up top in his place. It will be interesting to see if this continues going forward because with numerous other American forwards making headlines (Herculez Gomez, C.J. Sapong, etc), you'd have to think Buddle's spot on the National Team could be in jeopardy. Marcelo Sarvas (LA) and Nick DeLeon (DC) each scored their first MLS goals. DeLeon was the 7th overall pick in the 2012 SuperDraft.

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