MLS Week 5: What We Learned

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By RYAN BRISTER

Among the news on the field, Columbus won its third straight match to move into first place in the Eastern Conference and Erick (Cubo) Torres torched the Red Bulls for three goals. Off the field, this week brings two local votes into the spotlight as voters in St. Louis and St. Petersburg, Fla., decide whether to provide public financing for stadiums in attempts to land a Major League Soccer team.

Cabrera and Torres Make the Connection

Cubo Torres is back. The Mexican forward emerged as a star under Coach Wilmer Cabrera at Chivas USA, but was a non-factor for two seasons with Owen Coyle and the Dynamo. Cabrera has taken over in Houston, and Torres is the leading scorer in MLS through five games. He scored a hat trick in Houston’s commanding win over New York. Torres’ revival is a big factor in the Dynamo’s hot, 3-1 start.

Time for Video Replays?

The Dynamo were dominant on Saturday night, but Red Bulls supporters had reason to question rulings by Referee Fotis Bazakos on two of Houston’s four goals. Torres’ first came from the penalty spot, after what appeared to be a clean tackle by Damien Perrinelle, On the third goal, Andrew Wenger was offside, and looked to be involved in the play in front of goalkeeper Luis Robles.

Likewise, Union fans can assert that Marcelo Sarvas should have been sent off for stamping on Derrick Jones. He could be suspended by the league’s disciplinary committee. If video assistant replay was in place, the results might have been different.

Vancouver Wins Without Manneh

The Whitecaps sprang two surprises last week. First, they traded Kekuta Manneh to Columbus in for midfielder Tony Tchani. Manneh, 22, had electrified at times over four years with Vancouver, but seemed to be on the cusp of a breakthrough that never quite came with the club.

On the field, the Whitecaps defeated Los Angeles, 4-2. After scoring twice in their first three games, Vancouver broke out with three in the second half. The Galaxy, now coached by Curt Onalfo, has lost three of their first four.

Minnesota’ First

After being on the wrong end of some lopsided results, Minnesota United claimed its first win in MLS in a blowout. The Loons gave up an early goal, but responded as Christian Ramirez scored twice to spark the 4-2 win at TCF Bank Stadium.

Schweinsteiger Finds Life After Manchester

Bastian Schweinsteiger wasted no time getting in sync with his new teammates in Chicago. The German midfielder started on Saturday against Montreal and scored in the 17th minute. Later in the game, Schweinsteiger’s through ball led to a red card for Victor Cabrera. The match finished in a draw, but only after goals from both teams after the 90th minute.