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FC Dallas 1-1 Real Salt Lake
TheTexan side and the Utah-based one opened a sensational 10-game match day. The first clash was played on Wednesday 25th April and ended with a draw which slowed down Real Salt Lake’s ambitions of taking an alone lead of the Western Conference.
Both teams had a good start with goal chances created by strikers Álvaro Saborío and Fábian Castillo, and Dallas were also disallowed a goal scored by defender Bobby Warshaw due to an offside by Zach Loyd. Shortly before stoppage time the Texan franchise took the lead, as Brek Shea clinically converted a penalty kick as defender Tony Beltran hit the ball with his left arm.
With less than 20 minutes still needed to be played, the visitors got the equaliser thanks to Argentinian rookie Emiliano Bonfigli who flashed the ball past Chris Seitz with a precise left-footed shot. Later on, the Dallas goalkeeper saved on an attempt by Saborío to round him, as the Costa Rica international started a counterattack.
Montréal Impact 2-0 Portland Timbers
Contrary to what a common belief states, soccer is not (entirely) an exact science and a team’s performances are almost unpredictable. Take the Portland Timbers, who provoked the first defeat in the season to Sporting Kansas City a week ago, but eventually lost 2-0 in Canada and are still laying on the bottom of the Western Conference.
A series of goal chances, the majority of which occurred in favour of the Impact, characterised a goalless first half, followed by the replacement of Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins by Joe Bendik due to injury. In the 73th minute visitors’ defender Steven Smith was sanctioned an handball on an effort by Collen Warner and former Manchester City striker Bernando Corradi converted the subsequent penalty kick. The Impact doubled 10 minutes later with an absolutely comfortable finishing by Bosnian midfielder Siniša Ubiparipović on a cutting cross by captain Davy Arnaud.
New York Red Bulls 1-0 New England Revolution
The New Jersey franchise confirmed their resilience from heavy defeats whenever they are back to play in their home stadium in Harrison. The recovery seems to be really easy as long as you can afford a terrific striker (Thierry Henry, who has nine goals in seven matches) and a vigilant goalkeeper (Ryan Meara).
The Frenchman inspired the victory as he scored the winning goal by lobbing the ball through a volley. He eventually abandoned the pitch due to an injury and left the role of main character to Meara, whose five decisive saves empowered the Red Bulls to maintain the lead until the final whistle.
Philadelphia Union 1-2 San Jose Earthquakes
The Californian side grabbed three fundamental points, as they took the leadership of the Western Conference with two matches in hand compared to Real Salt Lake. Fantastic saves by Union goalie Zac MacMath on Rafael Baca and Khari Stephenson were clear indicators that it was about to be a successful afternoon for the team managed by Frank Yallop.
After a boring half-a-hour back from the dressing rooms, the final 15 minutes were like fireworks. The Earthquakes scored as forward Steven Lenhart adjusted into the net a curling cross by Marvin Chávez. However, it took seven minutes to Union to level out, as Simon Hawkins served a ball to Gabriel Gómez who pushed it into the goal with a superb drive. After a goal not allowed to Ike Opara, the visitors were back to lead in the dying seconds, again with a header by Lenhart on an another accurate cross provided by Chávez.
Columbus Crew 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
The victory would mean the third place in the Eastern Conference table for Columbus, but in the end it was the opponent side to improve its ranking in the other conference. The Crew began brilliantly, as defender Josh Williams shoke the net with a volley but the goal was disallowed due to a foul by captain Chad Marshall on Jay DeMerit. Five minutes later, it was an offisde to prevent Eddie Gaven to celebrate a goal just scored. Other ten minutes passed and the Crew even hit the bar with a stunning scissors kick by an unlucky Williams.
Although the winning goal was scored in the 74th by Korean fullback Lee Young-Pyo through a hybrid between a shot and a cross on a free kick, the main contributor for this crucial victory was goalkeeper Joe Cannon. During the entire first half, as well as after Lee’s goal, he made many efforts in order to keep his net undefeated. That is nothing unusual, since the start of the season.
DC United 3-2 Houston Dynamo
The Washington-D.C.-based franchise won a lavish home match and are now occupying the second place in the Eastern Conference. The path towards the three point went downhill after only 10 minutes as Brazilian forward Maicon Santos deflected into the empty net a pass by Chris Pontius and scored his 5th goal of the season.
The second half provided the spectators with four goals. Houston equalised in the 49th with a punctual finishing by Will Bruin who anticipated the intervention by United defenders on a cross from the left flank by Jermaine Taylor. Chris Pontius immediately gave the lead again to the home side with a header, but within five minutes Bruin got another equalised helped by goalie Joe Willis’ blunder. United found their third, decisive goal again with high balls and Santos scored his brace, raising to six goals his personal record.
Chicago Fire 1-2 Seattle Sounders
A sensational goal by Marcos Pappa directly on a corner kick was not sufficient to Chicago Fire to shun a home defeat by Seattle Sounders, this meaning that the leading places of the Eastern Conference table are further for the Illinois franchise.
On their part, the Sounders caught the victory scoring a goal in each half. It was David Estrada in the dying minutes of the first part to give the lead, with an insisted solo ended with a shot deflected by ex-Germany international Arne Friedrich. Eddie Johnson eventually doubled with a clever tap-in, then the two-goal advantage was halved by the aforementioned fine feat by Pappa in the 88th.
Colorado Rapids 4-0 Chivas USA
The good news for Californian fans is that their team is not on the bottom of the Western Conference in these early stages of the season. The bad news is that they are surpassed also by the Rapids, who are now 5th after a sensational 4-0 victory against the “Goats”. Yet, the Californians had a pair of opportunities whilst approaching the first half-a-hour, but Matt Pickens did not concede a goal on the efforts by Laurent Courtois and Juan Pablo Ángel.
Reined in the first half by their opponents, the Rapids stunningly emerged in the final 10 minutes. Rookie Tony Cascio, whose precise shot found the bottom corner of the net following a corner kick, gave the lead shortly in the second part, and Chivas missed two chances. Then, Colorado doubled in the 81th as Kamani Hill capitalised a counterattack led by Omar Cummings. Jeff Larentowicz immediately added a third converting a penalt kick, and finally Hill scored a brace in stoppage time, taking advantage of a rebound.
Real Salt Lake 3-2 Toronto FC
A top-bottom clash – the Utah side are leading the Western Conference, the Canadians are still winless – which was about to coincide with the first point in this season for Toronto. The balance was soon broken by Real defender Chris Schuler and this was the main key incident of the first half.
Back onto the pitch from half time break, Toronto equalised thanks to a great solo by Eric Avila ended with a curving shot. An unlucky deflection by defender Richard Eckersley on a precise cross by Fábian Espindola put Real one goal up again, but Toronto were enough resilient in leveling out with a header by Doneil Henry. The Utah-based got a dramatic 3-2 victory in additional time, as Northern Irish Jonny Steele beat Miloš Kocić with a clinical shot from the edge.
Los Angeles Galaxy 1-1 FC Dallas
Like in a ringkomposition in an epic poem, this MLS match day opened and ended with a 1-1 draw involving FC Dallas, this time playing away in Los Angeles. However, the Home Depot Center clash ended to be an entertaining match, with great saves, two penalty kicks (one scored, one missed) and an injury-time equaliser.
FC Dallas took the lead in the second half from the penalty spot thanks to Brek Shea, who scored his second goal in just four days. The Galaxy had previouly wasted a few chances, with Landon Donovan hitting a post and Robbie Keane blazing a penalty kick wide. Then, as stoppage time started, Pat Noonan gave a definite draw to the Californians as he turned into the net a short pass by Chad Barrett.
|1||Sporting Kansas City||21||8||7||1||0||12||3||9||4-0-0||3-1-0||W-W-W-W-L|
|3||New York Red Bulls||13||8||4||3||1||18||14||4||3-0-1||1-3-0||W-W-T-L-W|
|9||New England Revolution||6||7||2||5||0||5||9||-4||1-1-0||1-4-0||W-W-L-L-L|
|1||San Jose Earthquakes||19||8||6||1||1||15||6||9||3-1-0||3-0-1||W-W-T-W-W|
|2||Real Salt Lake||19||10||6||3||1||16||11||5||4-1-0||2-2-1||W-L-L-T-W|
|3||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||14||8||4||2||2||7||6||1||2-1-1||2-1-1||T-L-L-W-W|
|4||Seattle Sounders FC||13||6||4||1||1||8||3||5||3-1-0||1-0-1||W-L-T-W-W|
9 goals: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls). 8 goals: Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes). 7 goals: Kenny Cooper (New York Red Bulls). 6 goals: Maicon Santos (DC United).