Dead weekend in the MLS. Really dead.
What did we have to choose from? A Flounders game and a match between two non-contenders, played on what looked an awful lot like a converted high school football field whose mascot appeared to be the Patriots. Pawtucket HS, perhaps?
Whatever it was, it was a disgrace. Even more of a disgrace than that warn down shag carpet they call a pitch up at the CLink. At least the Flounders' grounds crew had the decency to scrub the numbers off the field.
Two weekend matches, two match reports. Well, let's do three, just for the hell of it. After the jump.Flounders 0:2 Union
Having devoted much energy to winning the US Open Cup last week, the Seattle Sounders rested many of their starters for a lowly league match. They were also without Fredy Montero, serving a card accumulation suspension. Flounders fans will likely point to those two pieces of information as reasons why they failed to defeat the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
Philadelphia dominated the early parts of the match, but Seattle was the only side really creating any chances in the first half. Zach McMath was terrible in front of the Philadelphia goal at times, but poor finishing on the part of Brad Evans and others kept the ball out of the net. The second half was a bit more interesting. In the 60th minute Freddy Adu received a nifty pass from just off the endline by Gabriel Farfan and smashed it past an unready Kasey Keller. Old man Keller was too slow again 10 minutes later, as Sebastien Le Toux fed Brian Carroll on a breakaway for Philly's second goal.
Philadelphia are now in first place in the Eastern Conference and looking awfully sure of themselves at 47 points. Seattle's loss puts them out of the running for the Supporters Shield, so they'll likely be saying, "Screw it," until there's another piece of hardware to be won.
Patriots 1:2 Quakes
Ok, when I was in high school, my varsity soccer team had to play in the stadium on the football field, with faint yellow lines demarcating the soccer pitch. It was impossible to keep them straight, especially the out-of-bounds lines. Apparently, the Kraft Group have about the same level of disrespect for the beautiful game.
Chris Wondolowski appeared to take personal offense to that disrespect and scored two for the San Jose Earthquakes to the New England Revolution's one (by Benny Feilhaber). But with both teams officially out of the playoffs and the Earthquakes mathematically eliminated from the Wooden Spoon, there's not a whole lot else to be said about this one.
USA 1:0 Honduras
The US Men's National Team finally found some quality under the leadership of Jurgen Klinsmann, with Brek Shea and Clint Dempsey bringing back some magic we haven't seen since the first half of the Costa Rica match. But once again the US was lacking in the finishing department and only managed a single goal for the victory.
The Yanks looked shaky early on and Honduras very nearly made them pay in the 18th. A one versus the keeper breakaway from Jerry Bengtson met Tim Howard, who closed down the space and made a spectacular save. From that point until the end of the first half, the US asserted themselves better and got a number of chances. They finally broke through in the 36th minute, Shea finding Dempsey with a bouncing cross and Dempsey doing what he does.
The Stars & Stripes picked up where they left off in at the start of the second half, with Brek Shea again showing his vision with a cross into Dempsey, who let it go through to Danny Williams, but his shot only found the keeper. Later on it was Jozy Altidore who crossed to Shea, who felt that tripping over the ball might be a clever way to create an element of surprise. The wet pitch didn't help him, nor did it help Oguchi Onyewu, who missed a no-doubter a few minutes later. The US spent the next twenty minutes or so defending their half, but Honduras could not get the ball past Howard, who made another spectacular save in the 73rd minute. The US took control back by the 84th minute, when Dempsey should have had his second, but for a weird call by the referee, disallowing the goal.
Klinsmann can breathe a sigh of relief, having won his first match as USMNT Coach. Doubters will doubt, though, and frankly to me at times the Yanks' defense was not up to the challenge brought by Honduras. Once again the day needed saving by superhero goalkeeper Tim Howard. On the other hand, offensive production is improving, and the US attack looked dynamic and creative at times -- it'll be tough to continue calling them the Jozy Altidore Show if a few more of the team's chances start finding the back of the net.