SANDY, UT - SEPTEMBER 3: Dude, Chris Schuler is crazy tall. I can't even fit him in the frame he's so tall. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
It was supposed to be a weekend set aside for international matches, but MLS still scheduled two games anyway. One of them was a very important one for the Portland Timbers. The other one, well, we'll see how important it ends up being.
Reals 2:1 Unions
Real Salt Lake dominated their dojo in a Saturday match that looked a bit more one-sided than the score suggests. Most importantly for Portland fans, Philadelphia Union keeper and captain Faryd Mondragon has reported that he broke his finger during the match (although the team has not confirmed the report). Zac MacMath replaced him at half-time.Kyle Beckerman opened the scoring in the 18th minute, calmly beating Michael Farfan on a kind of an end-around off a short corner kick, then firing a shot into the upper right corner of the goal. Philly recovered quickly, though, and moved the ball up the pitch with urgency, creating a couple chances. But undeterred Salt Lake won a corner off a possibly finger-breaking save from Mondragon in the 25th, and 6'4" Chris Schuler's header made it 2-0. Again, Philadelphia came right back, this time with midfielder Justin Mapp in space on the left flank. His spectacular cross found Sebastien Le Toux, who volleyed it in to cut the deficit by half. RSL went on to dominate a goalless second half and won another three points.
Philadelphia remain 2 points ahead of Portland with a match against the New England Revolution on Wednesday before they welcome the Timbers on Saturday. RSL are 10 points ahead of Portland and seem a lock for the playoffs.
'Zards 2:2 Stars
The Los Angeles Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City bludgeoned each other in an ugly, messy, sloppy, dirty grudge match on Monday. Galaxy defender Sean Franklin scored a brace for his team, but an 89th minute Frankie Hejduk handball in the penalty area helped KC salvage a draw.
Landon Donovan was kind enough to grace his club with his presence, which means he won't be burdening the USMNT with his squandered chances on Tuesday. Sean Franklin scored two goals on two KC defensive blunders in the 25th and 74th minutes, while Julio Cesar scored off the dregs of a corner kick in the 72nd and Bravo converted the penalty kick in the 92nd. Neither team played particularly well, and neither team was especially deserving of a win. And I don't understand how a brand-spanking-new stadium like Livestrong Sporting Park can have such a crappy playing surface.
Oh well. The Galaxy extend their lead over Seattle to four points. Sporting remain in second place in the hapless East, but they are only five points ahead of Portland; if the other contenders in the East somehow start racking up wins, Sporting's point total may begin to matter to the Rose City.