Monday, May 01, 2006

MLS Week 5 Recap or Where were the goals?

Who would have thought that almost half the goals scored this weekend (5 of 12) would take place during the Real-LA match? Maybe with all the games that were decided in the final minutes last week, defense was on everyone's mind. The good news, the ESPN2 game of the week happened to be the game with 5 goals. Now goals don't equal good, but they do make for better TV. So here are my recaps.

If I was a member of LA's management, I would be very worried right now. Why would I say this after they win a match and don't give up a late free kick? Look how they won the game; Landon Donovan. He came to life getting a goal and two assists, and he also caused havoc for Salt Lake throughout much of the match. The only other game the Galaxy won was against Chivas and that was a direct result of the play of Donovan. However, Landon is about to go away for 10 games or so and from what they've shown thus far, the Galaxy will not be much without him.

As for the match, the opening goal by Real was a fantastic example of smart soccer. Jeff Cunningham stepped over a ball, fooling the defense and allowing it to find Andy Williams who sent a cross to the far side to find Jason Kreis who redirected it in. But Donovan would not let that goal stand, as a few minutes later, he stole the ball from fellow US national Eddie Pope right a top the Real box (you think they'll be joking about that during camp?). Pope tried to catch Landon, but there was no chance. Keeper Scott Garlick dove for it, but Golden Boy put it right passed him for the tie. Donovan was again involved with the second goal when he sent a ball out wide to Chris Albright who put in the high cross that found Cobi Jones in the box and the second goal. Sure enough Landon was a key part of the third goal when Paulo Nagamura found him. Landon quickly turned it to an open Herculez Gomez. Gomez had all the time in the world and sure enough, he beat Garlick. Real would pull within on in the 74th thanks to a Jason Kreis cross into a busy box that found Atiba Harris, but it really wasn't much of a contest late. Real has now gone 17 games without a win and to add to their troubles, Kreis will not be part of their next match thanks to two yellows.

Real 2-3 LA


The battle between the top two teams in MLS ended with neither of them being able to claim the top crown (the KC match ended moments before this one). Ben Olsen continued his terrific run of form by finishing a long strike off a back pass from Josh Gros. With Bruce Arena in the crowd, there really was no better time to get such a pretty goal (a long-range threat is not something the US really has). However, once DC got their goal, it sparked Dallas. The next 25-minutes saw a lot of FCD running it towards Troy Perkins and the United net. Ronnie O'Brien took a long shot around the 25th minute, but it went right to Perkins. About 15-minutes later, O'Brien took another long shot, but this time Perkins had no chance. The game was tied and Dallas was happy to do everything to keep it that way. In the second half United came on strong, including more then a few clever plays by Freddy Adu. All these shots forced FCD keeper Dario Sala to earn his pay, especially on Christian Gomez's free kick. Sala had to dive all the way to his left to just get a tip on the ball. There was one ball Sala missed, when Bobby Boswell headed one in off a short corner play, but Bobby was wll beyond offside. United kept coming in waves, but Dallas was able to stop them (be it by luck or talent) to leave the nation's capitol still undefeated.

DC 1-1 FCD


I could only listen to part of the audio cast of this one, so my recap is weak, but then again, so was the game. KC came out in full attack mode for the first 30-minutes, but somehow the Crew was able to keep a clean sheet. Columbus then put together some nice play for the final 15 of the first, but the last good chance of the half went to Eddie Johnson who had a diving header from about three feet out go just wide of the net. KC ended up controlling much of the second half and finally got their goal in the 74th minute when Sasha Victorine put a ball just far enough out of the reach of Crew goaltender Jon Busch to find Josh Wolff who finished it with a smile.

Crew 0-1 KC


The last time these two teams met, Brian Ching got 4-goals and put his name back in the running for a World Cup spot. This time, there would be only one goal, but the name on it was only too familiar. The game started poorly for Colorado as they almost gave up a super easy one in the fourth minute. Rapid Defender Pablo Mastroeni sent a bad clearance right to an open Alejandro Moreno. Net minder Joe Cannon came out fast to shut Moreno down. It looked like he got a piece of Moreno without finding the ball, but no penalty was called. But the Dynamo got the goal soon enough when, in the 16th, Ching headed a corner towards goal. Cannon was able to bat it down, but Ching reacted fast and found his own rebound to put the ball into the net and his team up by one. The Rapids had many more chances through out the next 50-minutes, but most of them went just wide. Ching almost got another header off a corner in the 64th, but Cannon was able to stop. The Rapids came close to pulling level in the 76th off a free kick at the top of Houston's box, when Jovan Kirovski send a screamer in that smacked the side bar. Dynamo goalie Pat Onstad could do nothing but watch and pray that it would not go in. The final few minutes saw Alejandro Moreno get ejected for Houston due to a hard, stupid challenge that earned him his second yellow of the day.

Rapids 0-1 Houston


Wow, both goalkeepers were on their game for this one. Chivas USA had more chances, but New York's Tony Meola was able to push all shots aside. On the other end, Brad Guzan might have made a few less saves, but the ones he did were unbelievable. It's hard to give these two men enough credit. Both made saves they shouldn't have. The best stop of the night was by Chivas's Guzan in the 63rd minute when Mike Magee got the ball in the box. Magee's first shot caused Guzan to jump and fall, but it hit the top bar. Magee recovered the rebound and shot again. Guzan somehow pulled himself up enough so he could jump at the ball. Sure enough, he was just able to get a foot on the shot and send it over the net. Magee looked in pain after missing that one. As far as nil-nil games goes, this was pretty good.

Chivas 0-0 NY


Taylor Twellman finally got a goal, but his club could not hold back the onslaught that was the Chicago Fire's offense. The Revs got off to a good start with Clint Dempsey getting some nice chances in the first 20-minutes, but the Fire started settling things down towards the end of the first half. As the second half started the visitors looked to be the better, but it was New England that got the first goal thanks to a great high pass in the box by Andy Dorman that Twellman was able to get his head on for his first goal of the year. However, Chicago would equalize 10-minutes later when Thiago played a Rev defender for a fool and got open in front of goal for a blast that goalkeeper Matt Reis never really had a chance to save. Just four minutes later in the 68th, Chris Rolfe would finish an easy goal off of bad communication between Reis and his backline. Chad Barrett sent a low ball into the box, but no Fire players were there. Still, Reis raced off his line as if an attacker was coming on him quick. He dove for the ball and got a hand on it, but could not hold it. Instead he knocked it right to a wide-open Chris Rolfe who took a quick shot to get the game winner. The Revs had a great chance for the tie in the 86th off a corner kick, but Twellman's header hit the cross bar. The woes for the Revs continue while the road show Fire are staying strong.

NE 1-2 Chicago


Both the wife and I walk away with losing records this week, meaning we are still tied for the year. Here is the table.


PersonThis WeekSeason

One of us will have a breakout week soon, I'm sure of it.


Blogger Kinney said...

Sala made the save on the Boswell header. It then fell to Gros who headed it in the net but was offsides.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Kinney, thanks. Must have wrote it down wrong in my notes.

5:53 PM  

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