Here’s a rundown of this week’s MLS action.
Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Columbus Crew 2
Kei Kamara bagged a brace as the visitors earned a draw at BC Place. Columbus took the initial lead in the 24th minute when Kei Kamara picked up the pieces of his own intercepted cross and slotted the ball home under David Ousted. Just moments later, however, Octavio Rivero scored his fifth goal in six games to send Vancouver into the locker rooms at 1-1. The Whitecaps came out looking to seize control after halftime, but an ill-advised goal kick and casual defensive recovery permitted Kei Kamara to score a standstill second in the 50th minute. But the enigmatic Darren Mattocks came to Vancouver’s rescue, as the Jamaican finished off a pretty cutback ball from Kekuta Manneh in the 64th minute. Mattocks wasn’t done, either, as he put in his best effort to lead the Whitecaps’ charge for a winner, including stinging the post just a minute after his equalizer, but the Whitecaps couldn’t find the winning combination.
FC Dallas 0, Colorado Rapids 4
You read that right. In the shock result of the season to date, the Rapids went into Toyota Stadium and stunned the MLS world with a 4-0 win over an FC Dallas team that led MLS two weeks ago. While the Burn were simply dreadful throughout, the Rapids (who, in fairness, showed signs of life against the New England Revolution the week before) were stunningly precise on the counter. Colorado stated their intent early when, in just the 2nd minute, Domonique Badji finished a beautiful early ball from Dillon Powers. Powers, who little more than a month ago Rapids manager Pablo Mastroeni adjudged not good enough to start, was tremendous throughout and bagged himself a goal in the 43rd minute when he finished past Chris Seitz from the left side of the box. If things weren’t strange at halftime, they went straight up twilight zone when Gaby Torres scored a goal (set up, of course, by Powers). You’re forgiven if you forgot Torres still played for Colorado. You won’t forgive yourself, however, if you forget Dillon Serna’s left-footed screamer six minutes from time. And with that, the Rapids dropped the mic, leaving the MLS onlookers who had rightfully treated Colorado with unmitigated contempt for much of the past fourteen months in a stunned silence.
New England Revolution 0, Columbus Crew 0
The first of two scoreless draws in Week Six, this match was a frustrating one in the attack. Through 90 minutes the Crew out shot the Revolution eight to five, but got none of their efforts on goal while the Revolution forced at least three saves from Crew keeper Steve Clark. In the 36th minute, Clark impressed with a point blank save on Lee Nguyen after the Revolution midfielder ran onto a chipped pass from Juan Agudelo in the Crew box. The Crew had a chance to steal three point in the third minute of stoppage when Aaron Schoenfeld brought down the ball in the Revs' box, only to see it knicked off his feet by an aggressive play from New England keeper Bobby Shuttleworth. With the teams struggling to break each other down, the game got chippy as it went on. Both teams received three yellow cards in the match and there was a 13-minute period in the second half in which four of those were awarded.
The home side earned a much needed three points against the listing expansion side. Philadelphia opened the scoring in the 27th minute when Sebastien Le Toux crossed the ball into the box with pace, leading to a scramble into at the goalmouth that ended with Eric Ayuk spectacularly celebrating a goal that belonged to Zach Pfeffer. New York pulled even in the 55th minute when David Villa pounced on a loose ball in the box after a beautiful buildup and easily put the ball past debutante goalkeeper John McCarthy. The Union earned the full three points at the death, however, when Josh Saunders couldn’t get a full punch on a cross and instead put it right to the penalty spot and at the feet of Vincent Nogueira, who calmly slotted the ball past a flailing Saunders for the winner.
New York came out on the front foot but the home team was the first to find the back of the net. A D.C. United corner kick in the 26th minute and poor effort by Luis Robles coming off his line gave Perry Kitchen an open goal to head the ball into for the opener. D.C. took the 1-0 lead to the break, and 20 minutes into the second half doubled their advantage when Chris Rolfe slashed down the wing in the 67th minute and cut to the middle before laying the ball off to Kitchen who struck a well placed shot past Robles to complete his brace. The Red Bulls struck back immediately, however, by way of a Damien Perrinelle header off of a corner kick to claw back into the game. New York completed the comeback in the 89th minute when a dipping free kick proved too much for the otherwise sublime Bill Hamid to handle, as the American international spilled the rebound right to a waiting Loyd Sam for the late equalizer.
Coming into this match the Dynamo were a mess. Winless through five matches, Houston were playing unattractive soccer that was not only tough to watch, but also wasn't getting them any points. Whether the Dynamo are fun to watch now or not, they certainly managed to take all three points in conclusive fashion off the Impact, starting in the 15th minute with a classic Houston goal: Brad Davis whipped a curling free kick into the Montreal box that Giles Barnes put a head on, tucking it inside the far post. From there the match stretched out as the Impact looked for an equalizer. Eventually the Impact over-committed and the Dynamo punished them for it as Ricardo Clark hit with a close-in finish in the 72nd minute. The goal was not uncontroversial as Barnes was in an offside position, but the referee adjudged Barnes was not involved in the play. Finally, the Dynamo finished the match off in the 80th, as rookie Rob Lovejoy picked the ball off from an Evan Bush goal kick, carried it toward the Houston box, and fired a long range bomb that dipped down over Bush and into the back of the net. The result moves Houston into sixth in the Western Conference and leaves Montreal rock bottom in MLS with only two points from four games.
On Saturday evening Real Salt Lake, the Western Conference’s only unbeaten team, visited Kansas City for the first time since losing in the MLS Cup Final at Sporting Park. And watching this one, you’d never know these two teams were in a cup final eighteen months ago. The teams combined for a mere single shot on goal (a save, by the way, that Nick Rimando made look way easier than anybody else would) while RSL fired a meager four shots altogether. The only bona fide chance of the game came from Krisztian Nemeth, who dribbled one off the post before Jacob Peterson fired the outback wide. Otherwise, it was mission accomplished for the Claret-and-Cobalt, who came in more concerned about a point than aesthetics and left with exactly what they wanted.
San Jose Earthquakes 1, Vancouver Whitecaps 0
Without Innocent Imeghara, the Quakes' sparkplug of the 2015 season to date, it was not surprising to see San Jose backslide into their "Bash Brothers" inspired ways as they took on the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Whitecaps, of course, came into this match looking to right the ship following their midweek draw that felt like a loss to the Columbus Crew. The match got chippy quick and stayed that way for the duration, but it was the Whitecaps who saw more of the ref's whistle, getting collared for 17 fouls to the Quakes' 9 and earning five yellows to San Jose's one. Of course, it would not be a meeting of the once and future goons without a pair of dueling red cards, issued to San Jose's Adam Jahn and Vancouver's Pedro Morales for a scuffle that broke out between the two in the 88th minute and involved Morales kicking out at the "ball" after the play had been whistled dead.
In terms of actual soccer, the Quakes looked like they had grabbed the opener in the 8th minute as Matias Perez Garcia served up a cross that Jahn bundled home, only to have the goal called back as Jahn was a step offside. San Jose got their winner eventually as, in the 75th, they hammered a series of shots into a packed in Vancouver defense until Sanna Nyassi finally found a crack through which to put the ball home, hammering home a hard shot on the volley and giving the Quakes the win.
San Penedo, they call him. And on Sunday afternoon Jaime Penedo was heavenly. The Panamanian goalkeeper first got in the action in the 9th minute when he redirected a dangerous Lamar Neagle header over the bar. Penedo was equally impressive on the ensuing corner when Chad Marshall nodded the set piece on frame, but Penedo dove in traffic to deny the Sounders centerback. If Seattle couldn’t quite put its two headers in the net, Alan Gordon had no trouble doing so in the 23rd minute to edge the Robbie Keane-less Galaxy ahead. Stefan Frei wasn’t about to let Penedo have all the fun, though, as the Seattle netminder got low to deny Robbie Rogers in the 48th minute before Juninho fired the reentered ball just wide. But Frei couldn’t rain on Penedo’s parade, as the Galaxy keeper came up big for L.A. again and again on his way to ten saves that preserved the Galaxy’s victory.