Major League Soccer – Week 5

by Michael Orr

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Michael Orr rounds up the Week 5 action in Major League Soccer.

Wednesday April 4:
Real Salt Lake 1 – Montreal Impact 0
In the league’s first mid-week game propelled Real Salt Lake took all three points in a 1-0 win over expansion Montreal Impact at Rio Tinto Stadium. Paulo Junior‘s 13th minute penalty was just enough to propel the home side past the struggling Impact. Montreal did make things interesting for Salt Lake, keeping the game close and threatening on several occasions, yet RSL emerged with its fourth win in five games to start the season.

Thursday April 5:
FC Dallas 1 – New England Revolution 0
FC Dallas won its second game of the season on an injury time header from captain Ugo Ihemelu. The defeat of New England Revolution at FC Dallas Stadium was not a surprise, given the dominance in chances from the home side, but with the score still level at nil-nil with just seconds left, the result was an exhilarating one for Dallas. Brek Shea, Blas Pérez and Matt Hedges, whose goal was called back due to a foul, all could have put the Hoops through for three points earlier on but it fell to Ihemelu to win it. The Revolution will head back east for the next month, surely disappointed not to have taken four points from a two-game west coast trek.

Saturday April 7:
Montreal Impact 2 – Toronto FC 1
After six games, Montreal Impact finally have their first MLS game, 2-1 over rivals Toronto FC at the Olympic Stadium. The Impact got goals from Siniša Ubiparipović and top draft pick Andrew Wenger before Danny Koevermans scored a meaningless goal in the 88th minute. Having struggled to score in its first three games, Montreal got two goals for the second straight weekend, this time emerging with all three points. The loss for Toronto is a bad one, though they do get the excuse of the CONCACAF Champions League one more time (having lost in the semi-final second leg on Wednesday). The Reds have not yet won a league match and have a -7 goal difference after just four games.

Columbus Crew 1 – Red Bull New York 4
High flying Red Bull New York crushed Columbus Crew 4-1 at Columbus Crew Stadium behind two more goals each from Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry. Cooper’s New York renaissance is due in large part to Henry, though the combination at the top of the Red Bull formation is what gives opponents the most trouble. Since his inclusion in the starting XI in Week 3, New York has won 4-1, 5-2 and 4-1 with Cooper scoring five times. That alone would be impressive, but with Henry scoring his sixth and seventh goals of the season, New York look formidable in the Eastern Conference. Columbus’ only goal came from captain Chad Marshall in the 89th minute while trailing 3-0.

Sporting KC 1 – LA Galaxy 0
The highest profile match of the weekend came at Livestrong Sporting Park as Sporting KC won its fifth consecutive match to start the season with a 1-0 defeat of LA Galaxy. Kei Kamara‘s 40th minute header was enough to take down the double holders, who are off to a terrible defense of their titles. The Galaxy still have just three points to show for their first four games, though this particular loss is far more understandable than last week’s debacle against New England. Sporting controlled the match, as they often do at home, with 60% of possession and did not allow a single shot on target. In fact, the Galaxy had just four shots in the entire match.

San Jose Earthquakes 3 – Vancouver Whitecaps 1
Vancouver Whitecaps broke the MLS record for consecutive shut out minutes to open a season, but San Jose Earthquakes exploded for three goals in ten second half minutes to finally give the Whitecaps their first loss of the campaign. The 3-1 score line at Buck Shaw Stadium gives the Earthquakes twelve points from five, sitting second in the Western Conference behind only Real Salt Lake. Sébastien Le Toux opened scoring in the 49th minute but Vancouver’s 427 minutes of defensive brilliance were shattered when Chris Wondolowski equalized in the 68th. Alan Gordon‘s diving header in the 72nd won the game for San Jose before Wondolowski closed things out with a 78th minute goal. His six goals are second only to Thierry Henry as the Earthquakes continue to surprise after a difficult 2011.

DC United 0 – Seattle Sounders 0
Neither side could find a goal, despite both clubs hitting the post in a nil-nil draw between DC United and Seattle Sounders at RFK Stadium. Hamdi Salihi beat Michael Gspurning but not the post in the 23rd minute for the home side and Matt Burch, the former DC defender, hit the post in injury time for Seattle, keeping the game scoreless. The away match was the first of the season for the Sounders. United have not lost since March 18, though two of those results have been nil-nil draws. Seattle are currently fifth in the West while DC are sixth in the East.

Real Salt Lake 2 – Colorado Rapids 0
Playing its third game in seven days, Real Salt Lake opened the eighth season of the Rocky Mountain Cup with a 2-0 win over Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium. Álvaro Saborío scored the opener on twenty minutes and Fabián Espíndola scored a controversial goal in the 57th to give the home side all three points and an early leg up on what would be Salt Lake’s sixth straight cup. Espíndola’s goal came after he handled the ball just outside the box, playing the ball down to himself and squeezing a shot past Matt Pickens to clinch the game. RSL are atop the Western Conference with fifteen points while Colorado, having won its first three games, are still on nine points.

Portland Timbers 1 – Chivas USA 2
The weekend’s final game saw Chivas USA win its second away game of the season, coming from behind for a 2-1 win over Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Portland blew a second half lead at home for the second week in a row, and losing for the third straight week. Kris Boyd got the opener after Dan Kennedy and James Riley collided in mid-air, but that goal in the 16th minute was the final shot on target for the home side. When Ryan Smith came on at half-time for the visitors, he instantly attacked down the left wing, producing a 48th minute cross for Alejandro Moreno‘s equalizer. In the 82nd minute, Smith did it again, this time finding Nick LaBrocca for the match-winner. Chivas has scored just once in its first four games, has now won in both Salt Lake City and Portland – usually two of the most difficult venues in MLS. Portland now face LA Galaxy and Sporting KC in its next two matches with a very real possibility of a five-game losing streak on the horizon.

Eastern Conference

# Club PTS GP W L T GF GA GD Home Away Last 5
1 Sporting Kansas City 15 5 5 0 0 8 1 7 3-0-0 2-0-0 W-W-W-W-W
2 New York Red Bulls 9 5 3 2 0 14 8 6 2-0-0 1-2-0 L-L-W-W-W
3 Houston Dynamo 6 3 2 1 0 2 2 0 0-0-0 2-1-0 W-W-L
4 Columbus Crew 6 4 2 2 0 4 6 -2 1-1-0 1-1-0 L-W-W-L
5 New England Revolution 6 5 2 3 0 4 6 -2 1-0-0 1-3-0 L-L-W-W-L
6 D.C. United 5 5 1 2 2 5 5 0 1-1-1 0-1-1 L-L-T-W-T
7 Chicago Fire 4 3 1 1 1 2 3 -1 1-0-0 0-1-1 T-W-L
8 Montreal Impact 4 6 1 4 1 5 12 -7 1-0-1 0-4-0 T-L-L-L-W
9 Philadelphia Union 1 4 0 3 1 2 6 -4 0-1-1 0-2-0 L-L-L-T
10 Toronto FC 0 4 0 4 0 2 9 -7 0-2-0 0-2-0 L-L-L-L

Western Conference

# Club PTS GP W L T GF GA GD Home Away Last 5
1 Real Salt Lake 15 6 5 1 0 11 4 7 3-1-0 2-0-0 W-L-W-W-W
2 San Jose Earthquakes 12 5 4 1 0 8 2 6 2-1-0 2-0-0 W-L-W-W-W
3 Colorado Rapids 9 5 3 2 0 7 7 0 2-0-0 1-2-0 W-W-L-W-L
4 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 8 5 2 1 2 4 3 1 1-0-1 1-1-1 W-W-T-T-L
5 Seattle Sounders FC 7 4 2 1 1 5 2 3 2-1-0 0-0-1 W-W-L-T
6 FC Dallas 7 5 2 2 1 6 8 -2 2-0-1 0-2-0 W-T-L-L-W
7 Chivas USA 6 5 2 3 0 3 4 -1 0-3-0 2-0-0 L-L-W-L-W
8 Portland Timbers 4 5 1 3 1 7 8 -1 1-2-0 0-1-1 W-T-L-L-L
9 LA Galaxy 3 4 1 3 0 5 8 -3 1-2-0 0-1-0 L-W-L-L

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