If all you really want is goals, Week Eight (and specifically Saturday) was for you. Here’s a rundown of all the MLS action this past weekend.
It couldn’t have started much worse for NYCFC. And it almost started spectacularly for Chicago Fire in the 15th minute when David Accam made a weaving run through the box and unleashed a low shot that was only kept out by the post. There would be no post to save Ryan Meara five minutes later, however, when he fumbled a routine ball on the edge of the box, allowing Accam to pick it up and slot into the wide-open net. Meara’s gaffe joins Tyler Deric’s in Week Two as the early favorites for Not-Goal of the Year. Insult turned to, well, probably more insult for NYCFC in the 23rd minute when Andrew Jacobson drew a red card for bringing down Accam (he was really good early on, if that wasn’t apparent) on the break. NYCFC, however, didn’t entirely wilt from the game a goal and a man down, but Fire were the only team to create chances and were deserved winners at Toyota Park. As a result and despite a putrid start to the season, as a result of three straight wins the Fire have moved to 5th in the East on nine points.
The Rapids started brightly in in this biggest wild-card game of the weekend and nearly took the lead when a Nick LaBrocca strike from distance rocked the post, but the game, like Fabian Castillo, turned on a dime when the Colombian winger zig-zagged through the Rapids defense and fed Mauro Diaz for the opener. As spectacular as FC Dallas can be at times, they can also be equally undisciplined. And although the Burn looked to have the Rapids on their heels after Diaz’s goal, Blas Perez was sent off for an elbow to Drew Moor. From there it was one-way traffic in Colorado’s favor and, although it took some time, the Rapids found the equalizer in the 79th minute when LaBrocca finished a headed cross despite being cleared out by Dan Kennedy.
Columbus Crew 4, Philadelphia Union 1
The game was heavily one sided as Columbus dominated the game against the lackluster Philadelphia Union. The first goal of the match did not come until the 21st minute but it was indicative of the game. Ethan Finlay's cross found Kei Kamara at the back post with enough time to chest the ball down and then half volley the ball past the charging keeper. After setting up the first Finlay earned his goal after another uncontested cross into the box by Weyland Francis in the 32nd minute. Just before halftime Justin Meram slalomed into Philly's box and hit a driven shot that was too much to handle for John McCarthy and it squirted under him for the third goal of the half. Columbus was in cruise control after that but did give up a goal in the 64th minute when CJ Sapong hit a cross to the head of Eric Ayuk Mbu. The Crew put the game away in the 73rd minute when Finlay was played behind the defense and scored his second of the game.
A depleted RSL squad playing without Nic Rimando in the line-up kept the Revolution from scoring 38 minutes but then gave up 4 goals in just over a half of play. Chris Tierney opened the flood gates in the 39th minute when he received a pass from Juan Agudelo after which he cut it back to his right and curled the ball towards the far post and into the back of the net. The second came minutes later in the 43rd minute when a Charlie Davies shot was parried towards the middle of the field and Agudelo tapped in the easy goal. The Revolution put the game out of reach just after the break in the 50th minute when Davies headed in the Scott Caldwell cross. The icing on the cake was scored in the 84th minute after a scrum in the box and the bouncing ball squirted out to the top of the box where Caldwell calmly passed placed the ball in the bottom corner of the net.
Whoa. So this wasn’t a bad one. And it got going early when Krisztian Nemeth took the ball off Kofi Sarkodie’s and took it all the way to paydirt where he slotted it past a could-have-done-better Tyler Deric. The Dynamo came right back in the 10th minute, however, when Giles Barnes volleyed home a sloppy Roger Espinoza turnover, and took the lead just before the break when Will Bruin’s glancing header from a Brad Davis corner kick redirected the ball inside the far post. The home team looked to have things well under control just on the other side of intermission when Barnes struck a low dribbler from 25 yards past Luis Marin. Barnes was the goat in the 73rd minute, however, when Dom Dwyer picked off Barnes’s back pass, rounded Deric, and passed the ball into the net. Bad back passes, goalkeeping mistakes, and some class offense. What else could this game provide? The worst call of the season, it turns out. Four minutes after Dwyer brought SKC within a goal Kevin Stott sent Jermaine Taylor off for a phantom handball in the box that allowed Benny Feilhaber to equalize from the spot. Justice appeared to prevail, however, in the 83rd minute when Raul Rodriguez nodded home a Davis set piece, but Feilhaber stole a point for the Wiz at the death with a pinpoint equalizer four minutes into second-half stoppage time.
The most stunning aspect of the game? The game boasted eight goals...and eight shots on goal. Rough day for goalkeepers.
Not every match on Saturday was an unrelenting goalstravaganza as we saw in D.C.'s ground out win over the Whitecaps. Vancouver opened the scoring almost immediately off a placed volley from Pedro Morales after he found himself in space at the top of the box less than two minutes in. D.C. answered back in the first half, however, as Bobby Boswell put a redirected header just inside the near post to beat Whitecaps keeper David Ousted. Although the first two goals came quickly, the game slowed until late in the second half when Whitecaps midfielder Matias Laba picked up his second yellow of the night and was sent off. The loss of Laba was just enough for D.C. to find an open, eventually breaking down the Whitecaps thanks to a bomb from the top of the box from Chris Rolfe to make the scoreline 2-1.
With the league's two most high profile media markets in action this match started off exactly as MLS would prefer in the absence of Robbie Keane from the starting lineup for LA: with a quick strike from homegrown talent Bradford Jamison IV, who dribbled and cut his way through the Red Bulls' box before slotting the ball home. For their part, the Red Bulls struggled to make the most of their chances, finally grabbing the equalizer from a very unlikely source. While Felipe Martins may be capable of scoring in MLS, it seems likely that this was the first time a close range shot was parried into his face and ricocheted back into the back of the net. Of course, the game might have looked very different if the Red Bulls has been able to convert this point blank shot from Bradley Wright-Phillips that Jaime Penedo was in the right place at the right time to save.
Toronto picked up their second win of the season today, putting the perennially challenged Canadian side on six points as they continue their season opening road swing. Although both teams had their designated players on the pitch for this one, it was Toronto's who came up big. Jozy Altidore opened the scoring shortly after the break after beating his man on the dribble and firing home a shot just past the feet of Donovan Ricketts. Altidore would strike again just eight minutes from full time, this time dribbling both a defender and a goalkeeper en route to knocking the ball home into an empty net. Although he chipped in an assist on Altidore's first goal, Giovinco almost managed to grab a goal of his own just before Altidore's second, trying to slip a ball under Ricketts, only to have the Oralndo big man get down quick enough to tip the ball off the post.