MLS Week 16 Recap: FC Dallas Can’t Win; Gonzalez, Ferreira, Zakuani Return
The Houston Dynamo extended their unbeaten record at home with a scoreless tie against the Chicago Fire. Despite finishing the game with the majority of possession and outshooting the Fire 13-6, the Dynamo were unable to make their offensive chances count. For Chicago, Marco Pappa’s shot from outside the box in the 12th minute was the team’s only shot on goal. Houston had their best chance of the game just before half when Corey Ashe found Will Bruin in the middle of the box, but Bruin’s header went wide of the post. Pappa nearly gave Chicago the lead in the 56th minute after a deflected shot landed at his feet, but his shot ended up on the wrong side of the post.
Portland 2-1 San Jose
Goals on either side of halftime by the Portland Timbers gave the San Jose Earthquakes their first loss since May 27th. The Timbers came out strong and were nearly rewarded with a goal in the 15th minute, but Eric Alexander’s shot hit off the post and was cleared out. However, in the 29th minute, Portland made their next chance count with Danny Mwanga finishing a cross from Franck Songo’o for his first goal of the season. Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury doubled the lead in the 59th minute by pouncing on a loose ball after pressure from Mamadou Danso caused ‘keeper David Bingham to mis-play a free kick. The Earthquakes cut the lead in half in the 74th minute when Alan Gordon redirected a long distance shot from Marvin Chavez into the net, but San Jose could not pull level before the final whistle.
Montreal 1-3 Kansas City
Two second half penalty kicks helped Sporting Kansas City recover from a one-goal deficit and earn an eventual 3-1 win over the Montreal Impact. The Impact was the more active of the two teams in the first half thanks to the play of Justin Mapp and Marco Di Vaio, but Montreal would have to wait until the second half to find the back of the net. In the 49th minute Felipe Martins ran onto a through ball in the box and sent a pass back to the top of the box where Patrice Bernier one-timed the ball past Jimmy Nielsen. Six minutes later things turned for the Impact when Bernier was called for a handball in the box and Kei Kamara converted from the spot to pull Kansas City level. Sporting found themselves back at the PK spot in the 75th minute after Davy Arnaud fouled Soony Saad in the box. This time Graham Zusi stepped up and gave Kansas City the lead. The final goal of the game came from a deflected shot by Jacob Peterson in the 82nd minute.
Dallas 1-1 Toronto
It was much of the same for FC Dallas and Toronto FC as both teams continued their current run of form with a tie. While Toronto extended an unbeaten streak to five games, Dallas added to their record winless streak bringing the total to 12. Things started off well for Dallas when Andrew Jacobson got a head to a cross from Jackson. Jacobson sent the ball back across the box where Zach Loyd finished the play off with a diving header to give Dallas the lead in the 5th minute. Dallas continued to press forward without success and in the 31st minute some shaky defense let Toronto level the scoreline in the 31st minute. After Terry Dunfield sent in a cross, Dallas failed to clear the ball to safety a number of times. Eventually the ball ended up at the feet of Eric Avila who sent a ball into the box where Danny Koevermans flicked it past Kevin Hartman. Two minutes later Dallas nearly retook the lead, but Fabian Castillo saw his shot on goal tipped off the crossbar. The second half saw some more dangerous chances, but neither side was able to break the deadlock.
Colorado 0-1 Vancouver
The Vancouver Whitecaps made their only shot on target count in their win against the Colorado Rapids. In front of a sell-out crowd, the Rapids dominated play and forced Joe Cannon to make six saves, but when Drew Moor failed to clear a cross from Jordan Harvey in the 43rd minute, Darren Mattocks was there to pounce on the loose ball and slipped the ball past Matt Pickens. In the second half the Rapids continued to throw all they could at Cannon and the Whitecaps defense, including an attempted bicycle kick from Jeff Larentowicz, but the shutout would stand.
Salt Lake 0-0 Seattle
Squandered chances by both sides led to a scoreless tie between Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders. At the end of regulation, both teams combined for just four shots on target out of nineteen attempts. In the first half the Sounders saw their crosses handled by Nick Rimando as Salt Lake watched their shots miss the target all together. In the 52nd minute, RSL looked to have taken the lead, but Alvaro Saborio was called offside after getting behind the Sounders defense. Seattle had their own chance to finish with three points when Mauro Rosales sent a ball across the box that evaded Rimando, but Cordell Cato failed to get a touch into the empty net.
LA 1-2 Philadelphia
With a goal in the 95th minute the Philadelphia Union stole a point away from the LA Galaxy, who were hoping for a change in form with the return of Omar Gonzalez. The Galaxy nearly took the lead in the 11th minute after Robbie Keane dribbled around Zac MacMath, but Keane’s shot hit a defender on the goal line. In the 25th minute LA had a number of chances in the same series, but Philadelphia would not be beaten yet. Just before the halftime whistle Michael Farfan beat his mark to the end line and sent the ball to the top of the 6 yard box where Jack McInerney flicked the ball into the net with the inside of his heel. Just before the hour mark, the crossbar kept the Galaxy scoreless, but in the 73rd minute Chad Barrett finally gave LA a goal by poking in a cross from inside the six yard box. The game looked set to end on level terms, but in the 5th minute of stoppage time Lionard Pajoy back-heeled a pass into the path of Farfan who took a few touches before curling his shot inside the far post.
Kansas City 0-0 Houston
Sporting Kansas City did not benefit from any PK calls against the Houston Dynamo like they did earlier this week against the Montreal Impact, and settled for a share of the points despite out-shooting Houston 18-7. The Dynamo did have the first good chance of the game, but Jimmy Nielsen denied Boniek Garcia 1v1. Kansas City nearly took the lead in the 30th minute, but Kai Kamara couldn’t get a touch to a cross from Seth Sinovic. Two minutes later Jacob Peterson was denied by the post from the top of the penalty arch. Kansas City continued to have the better chances in the second half, but Kamara couldn’t beat Hall with his header in the 48th minute and Sapong’s shot in the 57th minute went just wide of the far post.
Dallas 0-0 San Jose
FC Dallas made it 13 straight games without a win in the week’s fourth scoreless tie against the San Jose Earthquakes. Missed and blocked chances and a goal-saving clearance by Hernan Pertuz kept the first half scoreless. The second half didn’t see much more in the way of dangerous chances, but in the 80th minute Ramiro Corrales saw red after his second booking in three minutes. In the 86th minute San Jose tried to take advantage of their extra man, but Chris Wondolowski could not beat Kevin Hartman from distance.
Salt Lake 3-0 Portland
A hat trick from Alvaro Saborio propelled Real Salt Lake past the Portland Timbers. While the Timbers failed to get a single shot on goal the entire game, Salt Lake forced Troy Perkins to make six saves. RSL also enjoyed the majority of possession, but had to wait until the second half to get their first goal. In the 60th minute Kyle Beckerman played a ball into the box where Saborio rose up to head the ball past a diving Perkins. Two minutes later Saborio got his head to a cross from Chris Wingert for his second goal of the night. Tackles turned desperate and tempers flared shortly after goal resulting in five yellow cards in three minutes. Saborio capped off his hat trick from the spot in the 75th minute after Diego Chara used his arm to keep the ball out of Portland’s goal.
Chivas USA 0-0 Vancouver
Chivas USA and the Vancouver Whitecaps played to a scoreless tie in a game that saw six cautions in the second half and only four shots on goal all game. After early tests of both keepers the Whitecaps and Chivas settled in for a midfield battle that resulted in very few chances. Vancouver had the first real shot at scoring in the 55th minute, but Davide Chiumiento put the ball over the goal from inside the penalty box. Chivas USA answered with a free kick in the 72rd minute from Juan Pablo Angel. Joe Cannon failed to keep a hold of the shot, but his defense knocked the ball out before Chivas could take advantage. Cannon was called upon to make a more difficult save on another free kick a minute later and came up big again in the dying minutes of the game to keep his clean sheet.
Seattle 2-1 Colorado
Steve Zakuani made his return to the MLS in the Seattle Sounders’ win against the Colorado Rapids. The win ended the Sounders’ 9-game winless streak. Seattle enjoyed the only dangerous chances in the first half, but had to wait until the second half to convert any. In the 52nd minute Alvaro Fernandez was given too much room in the box and headed home a corner kick from Mauro Rosales. Rosales added another assist to his night in the 64th minute with a cross that found the head of Eddie Johnson. After finding themselves trailing by two, the Colorado Rapids pressed forward and cut the lead in half when Omar Cummings beat Bryan Meredith near post with a volley from Luis Zapata’s cross. The Rapids nearly pulled level in the 85th minute when Cummings redirected a shot from Jeff Larentowicz into the net, but the linesman’s flag was up for offside.
Chicago 0-2 LA
With Landon Donovan and David Beckham missing from the starting lineup, it was up to the LA Galaxy’s third DP, Robbie Keane, to lead the Galaxy past the Chicago Fire. The Galaxy started things off early when Chad Barrett sent a shot over the bar from inside the 18 yard box, but the Fire answered with a near chance of their own two minutes later from Jalil Anibaba. In the 22nd minute Anibaba was called for a handball in the box. Keane stepped up and converted from the spot. In the 53rd minute LA looked to double their lead with some crisp passing, but the build-up was for naught when Michael Stephens’ shot went wide of the near post. Chicago got their most dangerous look in the 77th minute when Chris Rolfe sent in a quick shot from the top of the box, but Josh Saunders got down to his right to push the ball beyond the post. Keane scored his second goal in the 78th minute after being released by Landon Donovan. Keane had just Sean Johnson to beat and slipped his shot past the keeper.
Philadelphia 3-0 Toronto
The Philadelphia Union netted three against Toronto FC in the Union’s second win this week. Things started out well for the Union, who ended the game with the majority of possession and chances, when some dazzling footwork from Freddy Adu led to the first shot of the game, but the Toronto defense prevented the ball from reaching Milos Kocic. The Union continued to force defensive plays from Toronto and in the 34th minute finally found a goal after Gabriel Gomez finished off a low cross from Jack McInerney. Two minutes later Freddy Adu doubled the Union’s lead with a shot from a tight angle that slipped under Kocic’s hand. In the second half Philadelphia continued to press while Toronto was still waiting to test Zac MacMath, which finally happened in the 51st minute. The Union finished Toronto off in the 78th minute when Michael Farfan sent a through ball to Antoine Hoppenot who buried his shot far post.
New England 2-0 New York
Goals from Lee Nguyen and Jerry Bengtson led the New England Revolution past the New York Red Bulls in the Revolution’s fifth straight game without a defeat. The two teams traded chances early in the game and in the 24th minute Nguyen gave New England the lead with a driven shot through traffic from outside the box. Saer Sene nearly doubled the scoreline minutes later, but sent his shot just beyond the far post. The Revs nearly scored again in the 40th minute when New York struggled to clear the ball after A.J. Soares sent a header off the crossbar. In the 56th minute Kenny Cooper saw his own shot come off the frame of the goal after freezing Bobby Shuttleworth with a curled shot far post. After entering the game in the 60th minute, Revolution DP Bengtson scored his first goal in his first game by cleaning up a loose ball in the 84th minute.
Montreal 2-1 Columbus
The Montreal Impact needed two goals in the final 12 minutes of the game to come away with a win against the Columbus Crew despite out shooting the crew 25-9. The Crew had the only chances of the first half, but could not create anything too dangerous. The Impact responded in the second half, but could not convert their chances either. In the 64th minute the deadlock was broken when Milovan Mirosevic connected with a corner from Nemanja Vukovic. Montreal answered in the 78th minute with a driven shot from Zarek Valentin inside the box. In the 88th minute Chris Birchall was called for a foul in the box and sent Patrice Bernier to the spot. Bernier buried the PK in the lower corner to give Montreal the win.