MLS Game Reviews - August 25
Chivas USA 3 New York Red Bulls 2
The hosts got back to winning ways with a narrow victory over New York. Julio Morales gave them the lead on the half-hour mark with his first professional goal which was one to remember as he fired in a fabulous effort from distance.
The home sides joy was short-lived however as 1 minute later two of the visitors Designated Players combined to equalise, as Tim Cahill headed home a Thierry Henry corner. It was the Australians seventh strike to take him level for the team lead with Henry and Fabian Espindola.
Just as it looked as though it would be all-square at the break the home side were awarded a penalty 2 minutes into stoppage time. Erick Torres was upended by Ibrahim Sekagya and the same player dusted himself down to convert the spot kick. Torres then increased Chivas’s advantage with 9 minutes remaining when he latched on to a lose ball in the penalty area.
For those people who thought that they could now relax and savor the win they could not have being further from the truth as 5 minutes later Dax McCarthy got the visitors back within one as he got on the end of a Henry free-kick to head home.
With the pressure now mounting on the home side New York sensed that this was not a lost cause and that almost became a reality as in stoppage time a shot from Cahill was cleared off the line by Bobby Burling, before the final whistle was blown and everyone could breath again.
The loss for the Red Bulls meant they missed an opportunity to grab the lead in the Eastern Conference as they remain in third place two points behind leaders Montreal, but they have played two matches more than the Canadian outfit.
New England Revolution 5 Philadelphia Union 1
The Revs gained back-to-back wins to climb into the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference and also claimed their second win a row over the Union in this venue after they had defeated them 2-0 back in April.
Kelyn Rowe set them on their way when he fired in a long range effort after 26 minutes, before Danny Cruz got the visitors level 6 minutes into the second-half after he had received a nicely weighted pass over the top of the New England defense by Conor Casey and he did the rest as he rounded Rev’s goal-keeper Matt Reis to roll the ball into the empty net.
The Union then had the ball in the net again 2 minutes later but an Assistant Referees flag denied leading scorer Sebastien Le Toux who was adjudged to have being off-side in the buildup to him poking the ball home.
2 minutes later and Philly had a legitimate beef with referee Allen Chapman after Reis failed to collect a right-wing cross cleanly and Casey bundled the ball into the net, but Chapman decided that the Rev’s keeper still had control of the ball and disallowed the tally. Casey was incensed by this decision and replays showed he had a case. If goal-line technology was in use here it would have said the ball went in but the right human decisions still has to be made for a goal to stand.
That could have definitely changed the momentum in the favor of the away side, instead it seemed to galvanise the hosts and 3 minutes after that dubious decision they were back in front. Amobi Okugo, who’s night would eventually get worse, diverted Juan Agudelo’s effort into his own goal, before Rowe bagged his second of the night and his third in his last two outings after 65 minutes with another excellent long range strike to put the home side in total control.
Diego Fagundez got in on the act for the Rev’s fourth 6 minutes later when he controlled a Scott Caldwell pass and finished neatly past Zac MacMath in the Union goal. Agudelo then rounded off the scoring 2 minutes later as he capped off an outstanding personal performance with a sublime chip to beat MacMath to get his second goal in as many games. A second yellow card for Okugo in stoppage time compounded his misery, the defeat for the Union snapped their two game unbeaten run and see’s them remain fourth in the East three points behind the pole sitting Impact, but they have taken to the field two extra times though.
Seattle Sounders 1 Portland Timbers 0
The hosts gained their fist victory in their last three encounters in front of a massive crowd announced at 67,385 the second highest ever for a standalone match, only bettered by the 69,255 that witnessed the LA Galaxy’s first home game at the Rose Bowl against the NY/NJ Metrostars on April 13 1996, as they leaped into the final playoff position in the Western Conference.
Eddie Johnson scored the decisive goal on the hour mark with a header from a Mauro Rosales free kick, who had just entered the match for Shalrie Joseph a little while before. On another day Johnson could have had a hat-trick as twice in the next 10 minutes he had great chances but was thwarted by Timbers Keeper Donovan Ricketts.
As time wound down the visitors exerted pressure and it was Ricketts opposite number Michael Gspurning who came up with two crucial saves first after 88 minutes to deny Darlington Nagbe and in stoppage time Andrew Jean-Baptiste to persevere the win for Seattle. The Timbers who had their three game undefeated run ended still sit third out West but now trail pacesetters Real Salt Lake by six points but they do have two games in hand.
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