Wednesday, May 2, 2012

MLS Recap - Week 8

FC Dallas 1 Real Salt Lake 1 - Brek Shea scored his second goal of the season when he converted a penalty kick in first half stoppage time, but Real Salt Lake rallied for the tie thanks to Emiliano Bonfigli's first MLS goal. The 23 year old Argentinian came on as a substitute for Paulo Jr. and took a pass from Will Johnson and beat goalkeeper Chris Seitz for the equalizer. Seitz started for the second straight match for Kevin Hartman who continues to deal with back spasms. Dallas got more bad news on the injury front in this one as midfielder Carlos Rodríguez had to be stretchered off with a dislocated elbow early in the second half.
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Montreal 2 Portland 0 - It was a rough trip over the border for the Timbers as they lost defender Steve Purdy to a concussion in the first half, saw starting goalkeeper Troy Perkins get cleated in the face and have to leave the match in the second half, and then gave up a pair of late goals and dropped a 2-0 decision to the Impact. 36 year old Italian striker Bernardo Corradi broke a scoreless tie with a converted penalty kick against Portland's rookie backup goalie Joe Bendik and then had an assist on Sinisa Ubiparipovic's insurance goal a little while later. Bendik, who played the last two seasons in Norway, made 2 saves in his MLS debut.

New York 1 New England 0 - Thierry Henry scored his league leading 9th goal of the season, but left after just 25 minutes when he suffered a hamstring injury. Still despite Henry's injury and an inexperienced backline with just one regular (Markus Holgersson) and just 11 career MLS starts between the four of them entering the match, the Red Bulls hung on for the shut out win thanks to a strong performance from keeper Ryan Meara. The rookie from Fordham made 5 saves for his first MLS shutout as the Red Bulls snapped a two game winless streak and sent New England to a third straight defeat.

San Jose 2 Philadelphia 1 - The Union kept Chris Wondolowski off the board, but Steven Lenhart came off the bench to score twice in the second half including the game winner three minutes into stoppage time as the Earthquakes improved to 6-1-1 and remain in first place in the Western Conference. Lenhart opened the scoring in the 76th minute with a diving header off a cross from Marvin Chavez, but the Union would equalize not even 10 minutes later on a goal by Gabriel Gómez, his third of the year. The Quakes appeared to take the lead in the 89th minute when another Lenhart diving header found Ike Opara for an easy tap-in, but a phantom offsides call overturned the goal and kept the game tied. The Quakes would not be denied though as Chavez and Lenhart would connect again late in stoppage time for the game winner. Zac MacMath made 5 saves in a losing effort for the Union.
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DC United 3 Houston 2 - DC United extended their unbeaten streak to 7 games thanks to a pair of goals from Maicon Santos in a back and forth affair with the Houston Dynamo. The Brazilian striker opened the scoring just over ten minutes into the match when Chris Pontius pulled keeper Tally Hall out of position and set up Santos for an easy header into an empty net. Houston would equalize early in the second half when Will Bruin scored for the third straight game, volleying in a cross from Jermaine Taylor. DC would retake the lead a few minutes later though when reigning MVP Dwayne De Rosario scored his first goal of the season on a cross that went through everyone and deflected off the post and into the net. But Houston would again equalize thanks to Bruin when the Dancing Bear's long range shot went through the hands of Joe Willis and into the net for his second goal of the game and 4th of the season. But Santos would have the last word again scoring with his head, this time from Daniel Woolard as DC United stayed red hot and in second place in the Eastern Conference.
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Vancouver 1 Columbus 0 - The Crew had a pair of first half goals called back and had a third bid hit the crossbar, but in the end couldn't solve Joe Cannon as the Whitecaps tallied their sixth shutout in their first 8 games. Lee Young-Pyo supplied the game's only goal when his free kick was misjudged by Crew keeper Andy Gruenebaum and found it's way into the top left corner. It was the 35 year old South Korean's first MLS goal. The Caps have now won two straight while the Crew are now winless in their last four.

Seattle 2 Chicago 1 - Seattle benefited from an own goal off the heel of Arne Friedrich and Eddie Johnson's first goal as a Seattle Sounder and then held off a late charge from the Chicago Fire to pick up their second straight win. Marco Pappa scored a brilliant goal late in the match bending a corner kick around keeper Michael Gspurning and off the back post for his first goal of 2012, but the Fire couldn't find an equalizer. Meanwhile Fredy Montero's scoring drought continues as he is still without a point through Seattle's first six games this year. Montero scored at least 10 goals in each of his first three MLS seasons.

Real Salt Lake 3 Toronto 2 - Toronto's hard luck start to 2012 continued this weekend as Real Salt Lake's Jonny Steele scored late in second half stoppage time to steal a 3-2 win from the Reds and condemn Toronto FC to a seventh straight loss to start the year. Kyle Beckerman opened the scoring for Real with his third goal of the year, but Toronto - despite a missed first half penalty by captain Torsten Frings - would bounce back and equalize on Eric Avila's first goal of the year. Real Salt Lake then regained the lead when Fabián Espíndola's cross to Álvaro Saborío deflected off defender Richard Eckersley's knee and into the net. Toronto would once again battle back though this time with Doneil Henry heading in a corner from Miguel Aceval. But Toronto would be denied their first point of the year thanks to Steele's late heroics. It was Steele's second goal of the season, both of them stoppage time game winners.

Colorado 4 Chivas USA 0 - After a scoreless first half the wheels came off for Chivas USA. In their first 15 halves of soccer this year, Chivas surrendered just five goals, but they were touched up for four in the final 45 minutes against the Rapids this weekend. Tony Cascio opened the scoring with his second goal of the season when he brought down a Martin Rivero corner and whipped a low driven shot to the back post and past a frozen Dan Kennedy. Chivas had a couple great opportunities to equalize, but Laurent Courtois struck the crossbar and Nick LaBrocca had a shot from close range go just wide. The score stayed 1-0 until the final ten minutes and then Colorado started pouring it on. Kamani Hill made it 2-0 with a easy finish from close range, Jeff Larentowicz made it 3-0 moments later from the spot after he was taken down in the box by Ante Jazic, and then Hill struck again in stoppage time when he picked up a rebound off a Conor Casey miss.
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Los Angeles 1 FC Dallas 1 - The Galaxy have all kinds of offensive firepower with Edson Buddle, Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Juninho leading the charger, but it took a stoppage time goal from 31 year old Pat Noonan to salvage a draw with FC Dallas. The Galaxy had their chances early with Landon Donovan missing an empty net off the post and then Robbie Keane missing the goal entirely on a penalty kick after Donovan was brought down in the box. Brek Shea then gave Dallas a lead with a converted penalty after keeper Bill Gaudette took down Blas Perez inside the six. It looked like Dallas was headed for three big points on the road, but Keane found an open Noonan just beyond the penalty spot and he buried his chance for the 42nd goal of his MLS career and first since 2010 when he was with the Sounders. Gaudette's start was his first since 2006 when he was with the Crew as starting keeper Josh Saunders missed the match after being enrolled in Major League Soccer's substance abuse treatment program so he will be out indefinitely. Gaudette finished with 4 saves.
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