This weekend was truly a whirlwind of excitement. Major League Soccer showcased its best, with Obafemi Martins' goal and a Teal Bunbury nutmeg; its worst with Orlando City getting blown out and Real Salt Lake losing two men to red cards; and it showed its weatheryest (yes, I chose to create a word for this) in
Dallas Frisco. With games every night from Thursday through Sunday, let's jump into it.
New York City FC 1 - Philadelphia Union 1: Both teams are looking lost this season. New York cannot seem to hang on to get three points, while Philly is predictably inconsistent. In the first match of the weekend for each team, we saw a very card-heavy match with seven total being handed out, including yellows for diving and excessive celebration. NYCFC also saw David Villa leave at the half with a hamstring injury.
New York Red Bulls 2 - San Jose Earthquakes 0: This game showcased the San Jose side we would like to see every week: A side that was clearly weaker and only had four shots on target. What we do not want to see when we play them at the end of May is a very dominant Red Bulls side. 21 total shots, eight on target, and an active Sacha Kljestan. This is a Red Bulls team that looks like they will challenge for top in the east again, even without Thierry Henry.
DC United 1 - Houston Dynamo 1: DC does it again, finding a way to blow a second-half home lead. DC is not playing badly but seem to have one or two key lapses in the second half of matches that cost them. This time it was an unmarked Ricardo Clark knocking home a rebound in the 65th minute. There is something DC can take from this match and that is that Chris Rolfe takes a mean free kick.
Columbus Crew 3 - Orlando City SC 0: The Orlando side that beat up Portland 2-0 stayed home this weekend. Rafael Ramos did everything wrong in this match. A couple minutes after failing to follow his man on the first Columbus goal, he felt he was fouled by Waylon Francis. His response: to scissor kick the man. It led to a straight red card in the 34th minute and Columbus did not look back. With two more goals, a Crew attack that was on all night just blew away an Orlando side that was left frazzled without their right back. Though can we blame Ramos for losing Frederico Higuaín on this goal?
FC Dallas 3 - Toronto FC 2: Where should I start? I would not go as cliché as a tale of two halves, but...FC Dallas starts with three goals in 27 minutes. But then the one and only weather event that can really stop a soccer a game, lightning. Okay sure, tornadoes and a lot of snow can stop a match too, but that's not the point. After over three hours of delay, the match started back up at 3-0 in the 42nd minute. Then halftime (and yes they played three minutes and then took another 15 minute break). Then a rather uneventful (in comparison to the rest of the match) stretch of about 40 minutes before Sebastian Giovinco scored two late goals. Toronto has found a way to spend a lot of money on attacking talent that shows up for about 15 minutes a match, but forgot that you have to still not give up goals.
FACT: This is annoying.— Big D Soccer (@BigDSoccer) April 19, 2015
Colorado Rapids 1 - Sounders FC 3: We took three points. Lamar Neagle finally got on the score sheet. We scored on the road. Oh and that Obafemi Martins goal was pretty cool if you like that kind of thing.
Real Salt Lake 0 - Vancouver Whitecaps 1: Supporters'-Shield-leading Whitecaps win again on the road with their third win in four road matches this season. Vancouver is a team no one wants to play right now because even when they seemingly forget to show up for parts of the match, like the opening 15 minutes, they do enough to get it done. Darren Mattocks tallied his second goal of the season with an 80th minute header. RSL was starting to look like they were going to give one up before Sebastian Saucedo was shown a straight red in the 76th, but after going down to 10 men they had no shot at holding Vancouver. About 10 minutes later, Jámison Olave was shown a second yellow after pulling down Darren Mattocks as he tried to chase a throughball, ending any hope of a comeback for RSL. I contend that Saucedo deserved the red card for going studs up on Mauro Rosales, what's your thought?
Los Angeles Galaxy 2 - Sporting Kansas City 1: The Galaxy did what they do best, win games late. We saw a 94th minute goal from substitute Omar Gonzalez, who knocked home a loose ball off a corner. In another mediocre display from both perennial playoff sides, it looked like a draw was coming until Gonzalez changed that. Other than that, there just was not anything that special in this match. Neither team looks like a MLS Cup contender, but as we know too well, the Galaxy have the ability to find three points without playing well.
Philadelphia Union 1 - New England Revolution 2: Cristián Maidana scored a beautiful free kick minutes before halftime to send the Union in happy. Home match, halftime lead, have you sensed a theme for the weekend yet? Yep, they blew that lead. Teal Bunbury subbed on in the 61st minute for Kelyn Rowe and took over. A beautiful nutmeg and cross to Charlie Davies for the first goal. Then a 40-yard run into the box where Diego Fagundez found him and all he had to was tap it in past John McCarthy. Teal Bunbury did everything he could to earn a starting spot for next week and I think his play today did - truly an impact sub.
New York City FC 0- Portland Timbers 1: A fairly uneventful first half except for the injury to Tony Taylor, which is possibly an ACL tear but all that is known is it was a bad looking knee injury and he had to be stretchered off. Both sides were hampered by injuries going in, with David Villa out for NYCFC and Portland not able to dress a full bench. The second half had a large handful of defensive miscues for both teams, with Dairon Asprilla deflecting a shot off of Ned Grabavoy and grabbing the three points for Portland. NYCFCs problems were summed up nicely.
Portland lead #NYCFC 1-0. Why? BECAUSE THEY SHOOT THE BALL.— Hudson River Blue (@hudsonriverblue) April 20, 2015
Sounders are now back in playoff position, sitting in fourth. FC Dallas rebounded from their slide and was able to hold onto second and the Galaxy sit a point ahead of us in third. Sounders do hold two games in hand on Vancouver and one on both Dallas and LA. Portland is where they should be, outside of playoff position.
Sounders 2 played twice over the weekend on a two-game road trip to Oklahoma. S2 lost for the first time, losing 4-3 to Tulsa Roughnecks and then again 2-1 on a late goal against the Oklahoma City Energy. The match against Tulsa is exactly how it sounds, full of offensive chances but less than zero defense. With plenty of games going on across the USL, the standings are starting to take shape. Last year's champions, Sacramento Republic FC, have surged to the top with 12 points from six matches. S2 currently sits in 3rd, ahead on goal differential, but with more games played, than Arizona United. Two teams, the Rochester Rhinos and Charleston Battery still have yet to lose a game, going 3-0-2 and 3-0-1 respectively in the eastern conference. S2's next match is next Sunday against Vancouver Whitecaps 2.