MLS Game Reviews August 21st
Columbus Crew 0 Seattle Sounders 1
After a serve thunderstorm passing through Ohio had delayed the kick-off for nearly two hours the Sounders claimed back-to-back wins as they moved up to third in the Western Conference.
Things though did not start well for the visitors and the fact they played over 83 minutes with only ten men made the victory even more remarkable.
A deflection put rookie Crew forward Ryan Finley, who had come into the side for captain Federico Higuain who was starting the first match of his two game suspension, on a run to goal and as he accelerated passed Seattle’s last defender Leonardo Gonzalez he was cynical pulled to the turf and it left referee Ismail Elfath little option but to send the Costa Rican back to the dressing rooms.
Despite being a man light it was the visitors who grabbed the only goal just 7 minutes later as Eddie Johnson found the net with a header from a Mauro Rosales free-kick to score for the second game running.
Although the hosts pressed continuously to find an equaliser a combination of wayward finishing and saves from keeper Michael Gspurning preserved the win and left the home side tasting defeat for the second straight game as their chances of post-season play start to fade away.
Philadelphia Union 0 Montreal Impact 0
The Impact had their two game winning run ended but they did stretch their unbeaten streak to three games which still keeps them top of the Eastern Conference but now only on goals scored.
The visitors thought they had stolen maximum points when just after the hour mark MLS’s leading goal scorer Marco Di Vaio found the net but an assistant referees flag ruled it out for offside.
After last weeks 5-1 debacle at New England the Union played an all-round much better game and still sit fourth in the standings three points behind their opponents, but they have played two games more.
New York Red Bulls 2 DC United 1
New York got back to winning ways but still had to overcome some nervousness late on to claim the success which moves them to second place level on points with Montreal at the head of the Eastern Conference.
The Red Bulls who had started the game with Thierry Henry on the bench got off to the perfect start when Lloyd Sam set them on their way after only 8 minutes. He hit a cross from the right side and it floated in off the far post despite a frantic effort from DC’s keeper Bill Hamid’s to keep it out.
United almost equalised after 27 minutes but Lewis Neal could not hit the target despite being unmarked. 9 minutes later however they were back level after Dwayne De Rosario cross field pass had found Nick DeLeon who cut past debutant David Carney before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Luis Robles.
For a team that lacks constancy they would have being happy to play out the remaining minutes of the first half and go in level but unfortunately that did not happen.
Only 2 more minutes had elapsed before Tim Cahill notched his second in as many games to regain the lead for the hosts.
After good work out wide by Jonny Steele, he outflanked DC right back Chris Korb to put in a splendid cross that Cahill converted with a bullet header.
That proved to be the Australians last meaningful contribution as 13 minutes into the second half he went off injured to be replaced by Henry.
After 73 minutes the visitors had a great chance to tie it up after De Rosario was obstructed in the penalty area by centre-back Ibrahim Sekagya, who was also sent-off.
De Rosario claimed the ball himself but Robles was able to get down low to his right to make the save to ensure the victory.
United have now lost their last two against the Red Bulls and in recent league play five of their last seven outings.
Sporting Kansas City 2 Colorado Rapids 1
The home side snapped their two game MLS losing skid to move on to equal points with leaders Montreal in what is now a three team logjam at the head of the Eastern Conference.
Benny Feilhaber gave them the lead when he scored with a long range effort which curled past Clint Irwin in the Rapids goal 12 minutes before the break, after good work from Dom Dwyer had gained him possession. That strike ending their MLS goal scoring drought at 213 minutes.
Edson Buddle who had started the game on the bench and had only being on the field for seven minutes got his second tally in his last two outings when he equalised with 13 minutes remaining after hisshot deflection off centre-back Matt Besler and past a sprawling Jimmy Nielsen.
Just as it looked like the teams would share the points up popped Graham Zusi with 2 minutes left to convert a knock-back from another sub C.J. Sapong after a great first-time cross by Chance Myers had picked him out.
The loss for the visitors brings to an end to their nine game unbeaten run but just to show how tight it is in the Western Conference if they lose their next game they could fall out of the playoff places all together as only five points covers Colorado in fourth and San Jose in eighth and most of the other teams have one or more games in hand as well.
LA Galaxy 3 San Jose Earthquakes 0
Football has seen some dynamic duos, but non can have had a bigger influence in such a significant amount of games as captain Robbie Keane and veteran Landon Donovan have had as the hosts gained their third straight MLS win to move within five points of the Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake with two games still in hand on them.
Donovan got them going after 26 minutes with his fifth goal in his last four games after he had received a perfectly weighted ball over the Earthquakes defence from that man Keane and he did the rest as he rounded keeper Jon Busch before rolling the ball into the empty net. Keane himself doubled LA’s advantage when he converted a penalty 2 minutes before the interval after Steven Beitashour had fouled Gyasi Zardes.
He then got his second to make the points safe after 67 minutes when he volleyed in a Zardes cross to register his seventh goal in his last five outings in all competitions as LA avenged the 3-2 loss to the Earthquakes when they last met in June.
The reversal for San Jose saw their two game unbeaten run end as they continue to fight to claim one of the playoff spots out West.