Some teams got a bit of relief with players coming back and able to start, like Jozy Altidore who did not live up to Jurgen Klinsman's expectations during the group stages. Other players like Marco Pappa returned after their sides were eliminated. The return of players definitely helped their sides but how much depended purely on fatigue.
Chicago Fire 0 - Columbus Crew 1: In game one of two for this match up this week, Columbus won as expected but since this was only game one of two for these sides this week and was nowhere near as interesting as the Sunday match, I'll let you keep reading past this one.
Los Angeles Moneybags 5 - San Jose Earthquakes 2: The embarrassment of riches in LA started to come together just before Steven Gerrard showed up and in his first MLS minutes he contributed nicely. I may dislike him. A lot. But he is a good play and converted a simple goal to get his scoring started. Quincy Amarikwa started off the match with two goals in a span of three minutes, giving SJ a 2-nil lead at the 25th minute. Tommy Thompson earned a yellow while giving up a PK that Robbie Keane converted. The wheels came off at that point for the visitors as Gerrard got his seven minutes later. SJ limped into half tied at two, but two more by Keane, including a 2nd PK, and a stoppage time goal by Sebastian Lletget sealed the deal. The Earthquakes were just a mere aftershock in this one as Moneybags USA FC woke up in the 30th and blew 'em out.
Toronto FC 2 - Philadelphia Union 1: Another match and another three minute span to get a 2-0 lead. TFC needed about 90 seconds from the 29th to the 32nd. Marco Delgado, the US Youth National Teamer, replaced the senior side captain, Michael Bradley in the middle of the park and came through scoring the first TFC goal in this one. MVP candidate Sebastian Giovinco finished what ended up being the game winner minutes later. Conor Casey grabbed one back for Philly in stoppage time but too little too late. Both side defensively were suspect, as expected. My question, how does TFC get their attacking duo and we don't???
New England Revolution 1 - NYCFC 0: The Revs finally stopped losing!! NYC started losing again, which makes me smile. The Revs ended their five game losing streak in a nervy match that finished with Lee Nguyen's 17th minute strike as the difference maker. Nguyen and Scott Caldwell each picked up a yellows before half but the lead was their's. It took only minutes into the second half for NYCFC to start filling the stats sheet but for them they chose cards. A yellow in the 48th to Jason Hernandez and then a red for Ned Grabavoy after he appears to cleat Daigo Kobayashi in the side of the thigh. They played the final 35 minutes down a man and had no chance, but luckily did not give up another goal. Unlike LA, NYC did not have their retirees on the field for this one.
Orlando City 0 - NY Red Bulls 2: The Red Bulls won their second in a row and fourth in the last five. They are starting to pick up steam and at the right time as DC has been slipping as of late. They needed to go on a run to have a shot at winning the east or the shield and they are. Meanwhile Orlando is a hard team to figure out. Some weeks Kaka is on and the team gels and they look almost unstoppable and some weeks they lay an egg but hey, at least they have a lot of fan support. I'll hold off my mocking of them for a while. Now a quick rundown of this match was a beautiful Sacha Kljestan strike in the 29th, a 32nd minute red to Cyle Larin (the lone non-Kaka attacking threat for OCSC), and then a Mike Grella stoppage time insurance goal in the 90th. Oh and both goals were assisted by Dax McCarty, a player I want on the Sounders.
Sporting Kansas City 2 - Montreal Impact 1: Benny "I can't make USMNT roster" Feilhaber started things off early in this one with a 4th minute tally. Dom Dwyer followed in the 34th to bring his side into the half with a 2-0 scoreline. Ignacio Piatti in the 59th ensured his side did not get shut out and created an emotional final 30 minutes for fans of the Wizards/BBQ/Sporks but the American side held on beating the Canadian side who could not make a late impact. SKC is picking up results at the right time with games in hand and a full selection of players because they rejected the Gold Cup and the are flying up the table. The Impact meanwhile are just...how to even describe them. They win in cups and continental tournaments but in league, nope. They looked post-Champions League like they might make a run with games in hand but nope. No impact from their best players and it appears like it will get worse before it gets better.
FC Dallas 2 - DC United 1: Dallas is hot and not just the weather. They are now top of the West and the Supporter's Shield after beating the shield leaders. Dallas has won four in a row and haven't lost in five. They play Portland and then Chicago, this streak is not ending. DC meanwhile is slipping two straight losses and only appear to be getting worse. They traded for Alvaro Sabario and hopefully that will cure their attack in the coming games after he did not make this week's 18. It took over an hour to get interesting goalwise as FC Dallas went on to score three in the final 20 minutes. It started with Kellyn Acosta breaking the draw and putting his side up 1-0 in the 73rd. Matt Hedges then scored one of his own....in his own goal tying the match up. It took until the second minute of stoppage when Taylor Kemp could not clear and Fabian Castillo finished like a DP should giving Dallas three points at home, 1st place in the West and the shield. If you ever wanted to see Castillo take his shirt off, watch the video. If you haven't, watch it for the goal anyway.
Sounders FC 0 - Colorado Rapids 1: Well that sucked. I only could hear it on the radio and for the few minutes my radio was not coming in is when COL scored...I'll take some of the blame.
Real Salt Lake 2 - Houston Dynamo 0: Javier Morales. That's all I have to say. The man who used to be MLS' Andrea Pirlo is now just Utah's Pirlo. No matter whose Pirlo he is, he did it again with another great strike to put his side up 1-0. Salt Lake rode the lead into the half and when they came back Kofi Sarkodie decided that even numbers was not fair and took a red card, putting Owen Coyle behind the eight ball for the final almost 40 minutes. It took another 14 minutes but RSL doubled their lead and locked down the game with a Joao Plata goal. Both Morales and Plata left this one with a goal and assist. It turns out keeping Brad Davis due to "injury" has not helped Houston.
Portland Timbers 1 - Vancouver Whitecaps 1:Good news out of this one. A lot of good news. 1. Vancouver does not run away from Seattle in the standings. 2. Portland stays below the Sounders in the table. 3. A draw is great for Seattle in the Cascadia Cup standings. And 4. Will Johnson got a red. Other than that, a first half goal for Diego Valeri, who is starting to get back into the stride that made him a threat pre-injury. Carl Robinson lit a fire under his side who came out aggressive in second half with DP midfielder Matias Laba tallying the tying goal in the 57th. Two stoppage time reds, one per side saw Jordan Harvey and Will Johnson leave the pitch and WJ's for a great reason. I'm not sure what the "foul" was since both his yellow and red were given in a mob after the final whistle but it make me happy no matter what the reason was.
Columbus Crew 3 - Chicago Fire 1: In the second match between these two teams of the week, home stadiums flipped, it took only 12 seconds for Columbus to draw a PK. It was not taken for another 90 seconds but when it was Frederico Higuain converted with ease. It was the earliest PK awarded in MLS history, if you were wondering. A ridiculous game that included a 50th minute CHI red after Jason Johnson flopped and received his second soft yellow of the match, still looked ridiculous when he did it. Columbus held on in this one but CHI had enough chances to win this one themselves but they could not finish at any point, saw red, and could not stop a potent Crew attack which finished with a 3rd goal coming from Ethan Finlay (my Fantasy team was rocking with Finlay and Kamara). Crew SC picks up six points of six this week against Chicago and soars to second in the East, starting the week in 5th.
The Sounders disappointingly sit in 5th place in the MLS West, 6th in the Shield, after another poor performance. The Sounders only have a game in hand over 2nd place LA, everyone else is even or has them in hand on Seattle. It'll take a great run to get back into shield position and win it all as we've come to expect.
S2 drew after Sergio Mota tied the match in Colorado up at one against the surging Switchbacks, who were only one point back of S2 and sat in 3rd place. Sergio was later ejected for elbowing a Switchback in the head. With LA II drawing the Orange County Blues on Thursday, it only put them a point ahead of the Sounders going into the Colorado game. The Sounders draw push them back into first place on tiebreakers but with one more match played.