Monday, April 17, 2006

MLS Week 3 Recap or LA finally looks like champions

Week three saw the Crew luck into a tie, Freddy Adu show off for DC, New England continue to falter on offense, FC Dallas surrender 2-points, Real Salt Lake play better then their opposition and LA return to champion form. Not a bad weekend of soccer. Here are my recaps.

The Fire should have won this one. The first half was a lot of forgettable soccer, but the second 45 had its moments. In the 49th, Chris Rolfe got things going off to a good start thanks to a great pass by Chad Barrett. Barrett got the ball at midfield and dribbled unchallenged to the top of the box. He then found a hole in the defense and slotted a ball over to Rolfe who ran onto it and blew a left-footed shot right past Columbus keeper Jon Busch. This was bad defense by the home side and smart play by the visitors. The Fire looked strong, but a bad call let the Crew get back into it when Kei Kamara fooled the ref into thinking he was taken down in the box by Jim Curtin. Kamara had no chance at the ball and Curtin nudged him, so he dove. For his actions, his team was award a penalty kick. If you ever wonder why players dive, this is a perfect explanation. Goaltender Zach Thornton tried to stop the pk, but it was just out of his reach. The Fire had some more great opportunities, including a shot by Rolfe that Busch was lucky to stop, but they could not get that second goal.

Crew 1-1 Chicago


If you ever wondered how important midfielder Dwayne De Rosario is to Houston, Saturday's game answered that question. With De Rosario out due to suspension, the Dynamo lacked control and pressure. They did have a great chance in the 14th, but that had everything to do with good play by Brian Ching. DC defender Facundo Erpen was holding the ball a bit too much with Ching around and sure enough, Ching stole the ball. He went for the shot, but Bobby Boswell was able to save his team by getting his body in front of Ching's shot. DC got on the scoreboard 10-minutes later off a free kick by Christian Gomez. He whipped it into the box, where Jaime Moreno tried to force it in from point-blank range, but keeper Pat Onstad denied it. However, Onstad could not keep control and the ball found its way to Joshua Gros who nailed it into the open net.

After the break, Houston looked much better, but they still could not finish. Then Freddy Adu came to life. In the 68th minute, he took a rushed shot off a Gomez pass that almost beat Onstad. In the 70th minute, he made a run at the top of the box that caused a poor foul. Gomez took the kick, which ricocheted off the wall and pass Onstad. A few minutes later Adu sent another shot just wide. Soon after, he beat the defense again, but his shot from the top of the box banged off the crossbar. Houston had a couple chances late, but it was not to be.

DC 2-0 Houston


It didn't take long for Jimmy Conrad to make his presence known. After missing the first two-weeks due to a sports hernia, he got the match's lone goal in the third minute when he lobbed a header over NE keeper Matt Reis and into net. Conrad almost had a second goal in the 23rd by Reis was able to make a great dive to deny him. All and all Reis had a fantastic night, which included stopping a penalty kick in the 7th. Much like in the Crew game, the pk should not have been given, but unlike that one, the keeper was able to stop it. Reis faked left and dove right. He kept his feet together and was able to just kick it away. Wonderful save. Reis made multiple good saves in the first half, including stopping a 40 yard blast by Jack Jewsbury.

For New England, their offense was again spooked, much like the black cat that ran onto the pitch in the 38th minute. Clint Dempsey had some opportunities, but only one of them was strong. Taylor Twellman was a non-issue and Sharlie Joseph was lost. Andy Dorman did make some chances, but the Revs just could not get it together. If it weren’t for Reis, New England would have had a much worse night.

KC 1-0 NE


You think Colorado sent Dallas defender Clarence Goodson a thank you bouquet this morning? In the first 25 minutes, FC Dallas found themselves up by 2 thanks to a great free kick by Greg Vanney and a fantastic strike by Roberto Mina, but Goodson conspired to give it away. Okay, I'm picking on Goodson, but he did give the Rapids a penalty kick off a beyond stupid handball in the box and scored an own-goal, so I think some ribbing is in order. The handball was off a pass from Colorado's midfield. It was beyond the reach of any Rapids, but Goodson went to stop it instead of letting it skip back to the keeper. For some reason, he reached out to bat it down with his arm and sure enough, the ref called a handball in the box. Then right before the half ended, Colorado's Terry Cooke put a cross into the box. Goodson tried to clear it, but instead redirected it right into the netting. The second half saw very little action except for a really great shot by Colorado's Nicolas Hernandez. If it weren’t for the quick hands of FCD’s Dario Sala, the Rapids would have got all three points on the night.

Rapids 2-2 FCD


Who knew New York and Real would give us one of the best games of the weekend? The first 76-minutes might not have seen a goal, but they did see a lot of back and forth soccer. Both teams had chances, but Salt Lake was the better of the two. Still, it was the Reds who managed to find the goal first. Amado Guevara dumped a pass towards the top of the area to Edson Buddle who fired a shot that keeper Scott Garlick was able to stop, but not control. Guevara raced towards the ball and snagged it just before Garlick to pound it into goal. New York found a new life after the goal, but Real didn't give up and in the 89th minute, Jason Kreis got his 101st MLS goal off a header of a Chris Klein free kick. The Salt Lake fans went nuts after Kreis's goal, but Garlick would have to make one more amazing save to keep his side even. Kreis had a chance to add a second goal, but his shot went well over the posts.

Real 1-1 NY


Nothing like an intra-stadium rivalry to bring out the best in both LA teams. In the first 45-minutes LA had the better chances, but like their first two games, they just couldn't finish them. For Chivas, they keep up enough of an attack to keep LA from getting comfortable. In the second 45, it was Chivas who came out of the gates on fire. Juan Pablo Garcia picked up a bad clearance by LA and took it towards the right side of goal, drawing the keeper towards him. He then passed it over to Ante Razov who could not miss the open net. Chris Albright almost tied it up in the 52nd off a corner kick header, but it went just off target. Chivas almost went up by 2 when Juan Francisco Palencia beat the keeper with a slow rolling shot, but LA's captain Peter Vagenas acted as a defender and cleared the ball right before it crossed the line. Chivas had another chance minutes later, but LA keeper Kevin Hartman made a great reaction save to deny Razov a second goal on the night.

That's when Landon Donovan (pictured looking like Zoolander) showed why he is America's golden boy. In the 84th-minute, the Galaxy caught Chivas sleeping with a long throw in to the box. Donovan won a hard fought header and sent it to Cornell Glen, who ran into it and put it between the posts. Then, three minutes into stoppage time, Donovan again linked up with Glen. This time Landon raced with the ball from his own half to the area, where he pulled up waiting for help. All three of Chivas's back men came towards him, then he curled it over to a wide-open Glen who hit a volley past the keeper. The Goats, who just 10 minutes earlier looked on their way to their first win in the Súper Clásico now walked off the pitch defeated.

Chivas 1-2 LA


I didn't see so many ties coming or the big splash by LA. Here's how my wife and I did:


PersonThis WeekSeason

Bad, bad week for us both.


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