MLS Week 7 Recap, Highlights: Early goals, late drama

by RYAN BRISTER

Major League Soccer made the most out of all 90 minutes in its 13 matches this week. Early goals were a recurring theme, with five being scored in the opening five minutes of matches. So too was late drama, with another five goals being scored in second half stoppage time.

Columbus Crew SC 3-2 New York City FC

Columbus overcame a brace from David Villa in earning their first win of the season. Ethan Finlay and Villa scored goals in the opening quarter hour for each side. On several occasions in the first half, Crew attackers got in behind NYCFC’s back line, but their inaccuracy kept the game level. They would not be so wasteful after halftime. Kei Kamara finally found the bottom corner to give Columbus the lead, and Justin Meram seemed to put the game away in the 80th minute.

There was a sting in the tail, however, and controversy to boot.  When Tyson Wahl brought down Kwadwo Poku in the box, a penalty was called, but the red card for denying a goal-scoring opportunity was given to Michael Parkhurst. At any rate, Villa converted the penalty, but City was unable to complete the comeback.

Orlando City SC 2-2 New England Revolution

Controversy kicked off and capped off a wild game between Orlando and New England. Julio Baptista made his first start for Orlando, and earned a penalty within the opening 15 seconds. Kaka scored from the spot to give the Lions an early lead, but replays showed Baptista might have used his arm. Teal Bunbury leveled the game late in the first half.

It stayed 1-1 until stoppage time, when Kevin Molino appeared to score a winner for Orlando. Molino used his hand to control the ball, but the Revs put their arms up waiting for a handball call that would not come. To an extent, this wrong was righted by another, deeper into stoppage time, when Servando Carrasco was called for a handball in the box. Nguyen scored the penalty to finish the game at 2-2. 

Houston Dynamo 1-4 LA Galaxy

Houston scored very early, but were then hit with a landslide of LA goals in a loss to the Galaxy. David Horst headed in a corner in the game’s opening minute to give the Dynamo the lead. It did not last very long. Giovani Dos Santos scored an equalizer in the fourth minute. Baggio Husidic put LA in front, and before the first half was over, Dos Santos had a second. The scoring finally came to an end just after the break, with Gyasi Zardes’ goal. Dos Santos had an assist on that, for good measure.

The Galaxy needed a performance like this on the road, where they have found it very difficult to find wins going back to last season.

Chicago Fire 1-2 Montreal Impact

 

Didier Drogba came off the bench and spurred a comeback win for Montreal over Chicago. Kennedy Igboananike put the Fire in front with curling shot from outside the box. But Drogba came on in the 50th minute and quickly left his mark on the match. Matt Lampson gave away the ball and soon saw Drogba beat him with a backheel flick into the net. The game stayed level at 1-1 until stoppage time, when Ignacio Piatti scored from almost the exact same spot on the pitch as Igboananike.

Montreal, with the win, is firmly atop the east with 12 points through six games.

FC Dallas 3-1 Portland Timbers

Dallas declared themselves the best in the West with a dominant win on the road against the defending champions in midweek. All three Dallas goals came in a first-half onslaught. Michael Barrios started the fun in the fourth minute. Fabian Castillo’s chip doubled Dallas’ lead in the 26th minute. Tesho Akindele completed the damage three minutes later. Darren Mattocks scored his first goal as a Timber in the second half, but it was far from enough.

Adding injury to insult: Alvas Powell suffered a torn ligament in his wrist, which will keep him sidelined for several weeks. The Timbers are already without Liam Ridgewell and Darlington Nagbe due to injury.

Colorado Rapids 2-1 Sporting Kansas City

Colorado went in to Kansas City and came out with a surprising midweek win. Luis Solignac gave the Rapids the lead first in the 41st minute, benefiting from a steal and pass by Marco Pappa. SKC fought back and eventually found an equalizer. Dom Dwyer did not start the match, but he scored in the 77th minute to tie the game. Parity would be short-lived, however. Dillon Serna rocketed a long shot off the crossbar, and the rebound came to Shkelzen Gashi, who scored his first goal for the Rapids.

FC Dallas 2-1 Sporting Kansas City

SKC’s week only got worse, while Dallas was able to further their place atop the standings. Wet weather deterred much of the crowd in Dallas; those who stayed home missed an entertaining game. Kansas City took the lead when Lawrence Olum headed in a low corner kick. Michael Barrios appeared to be offside when he scored the equalizer, but the goal stood. Mauro Rosales came off the bench in the second half and his first touch was a perfect free kick goal to give Dallas the lead and the win.

Dallas has played a league-most eight games, which inflates their point total, but they have provided plenty of reasons to believe they are the best team in the league right now.

San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls’ anemic attack could not fight back against San Jose. New York produced the best chances of the first half, but they went into halftime trailing thanks to a deflected goal by Fatai Alashe. The other side of halftime would be no more generous to the Red Bulls; Chris Wondolowski doubled the Earthquakes’ lead, and the game ended 2-0.

Colorado Rapids 2-1 New York Red Bulls

In orange-ball weather, Colorado was able to hold off New York, who got a goal but not a point. Jermaine Jones made his first appearance for the Rapids, and it couldn’t have gone much better. He opened the scoring in the 21st minute. Ronald Zubar ended a lengthy scoreless drought for the Red Bulls with a header in the 60th minute. Zubar’s goal was the Red Bulls first in 337 minutes, and it looked like it might propel them towards a draw or even more. But Jones added an assist to go with his goal, and Dominique Badji gave the Rapids a lead they wouldn’t surrender.

With two wins in the week, the Rapids suddenly find themselves among the league’s top teams in the standings. The Red Bulls continue to sit at the bottom, having lost six of their first seven games.

Portland Timbers 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes

Portland bounced back from their midweek defeat and thumped San Jose. The goals didn’t start flowing until the second half, when Jack McInerney put Portland in front. Fanendo Adi came on in the 63rd minute and scored in the 65th. Chris Wondolowski made it 2-1 by converting a penalty kick in the 91st minute. There were nine minutes of stoppage time in all, due to an injury to Timbers keeper Adam Kwararsey. Adi was able to grab his trademark brace in the game’s 99th minute.

It’s still early in the season, but this performance feels like a much needed one for the Timbers. Now if they could just stay healthy.

Real Salt Lake 1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps

Salt Lake remained undefeated and topped a Vancouver side that continues to struggle for goals. Joao Plata and Burrito Martinez were active going forward for RSL, and that combination paid off on the game’s only goal. Plata provided the pass, but it was Martinez’s nifty footwork that opened up a lane for the shot. At the other end, Nick Rimando made five saves to keep Vancouver out. The Whitecaps’ last goal from open play was in their first game of the season, against Montreal.

On a points-per game basis, RSL holds the league’s best record so far. Vancouver needs to start finding goals if they are to climb up the standings.

Seattle Sounders 2-1 Philadelphia Union

Jordan Morris scored his first professional goal, and it ended up being the winner as Seattle beat Philadelphia. There was no shortage of action in front of goal, with the teams combining for 32 shots. But it wasn’t until the 41st minute when Chad Marshall scored the game’s first goal off a corner kick. Andreas Ivanschitz provided the service there, and a brilliant ball to Morris that led to the second goal. The Union were already down to 10-men due to Roland Alberg’s red card, but they bounced back with a quick response from Sebastien Le Toux.

After a slow start, Seattle has gotten points from three straight games, and they seem to have good footing underneath them.

DC United 0-1 Toronto FC

Sebastien Giovinco scored in the first minute and that was enough for Toronto against DC. Giovinco snuck in behind a ball-watching back line as Marky Delgado slid the ball out in front of goal, and the finish was an easy tap-in for the Italian. DC took 18 shots looking for an equalizer, but only three of those were on target.

TFC has a 2-2-2 record on their road trip so far, with just two more games before they arrive home at renovated BMO Field.


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