MLS Week 17 Recap: Goal Fests in the West; KC takes over 1st in the East
In their only MLS matchup this season, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps capped off an entertaining second half with two goals in stoppage time. After Darren Mattocks looked to have given the Whitecaps a share of the points in the first minute of stoppage time, Terry Dunfield scored the game winner for Toronto in the 95th minute. The game started off slow with the first real scoring chance not coming until the 41st minute when Joe Cannon stopped Ryan Johnson’s breakaway. Five minutes later Johnson would beat Cannon, but not the post, leaving the game tied going into half. In the 50th minute Mattocks saw his first shot on goal stopped, but cleaned up the rebound. Toronto answered in the 68th minute when Luis Silva flicked a cross from Ashtone Morgan off the far post and in. Four minutes later Torsten Frings scored from long-range after settling a ball that Cannon punched out of his box. In the dying seconds of regulation Jordan Harvey sent a cross into the box where Mattocks rose above Milos Kocic and Logan Emory to get his head to the ball and send it into the empty net. Mattocks remained the hero until Dunfield answered in the final minute of stoppage time with a header of his own, putting away a corner from Frings.
Philadelphia 2-1 Montreal
Fans at PPL Park had to wait until the final ten minutes for the game between the Philadelphia Union and the Montreal Impact to come alive. After Lionard Pajoy gave the Union the lead in the 82nd minute, Philadelphia would find the back of the net two more times before the final whistle; unfortunately one of those was their own net. The first half lacked much attack with the first dangerous opportunity coming at the half hour mark when Josue Martinez chipped Donovan Ricketts from the top of the six yard box, but saw his shot cleared off the line and the assistant’s flag raised for offside. Six minutes later Justin Mapp found Felipe Martins in the box, but his header clipped the crossbar. The second half saw solid attacking play, but even better play from Ricketts and Zac MacMath to keep the game scoreless. The scoreboard finally changed when Antoine Hoppenot made a cutting run along the end line that ended with Pajoy cleaning up a mishandled ball. The Union gifted Montreal their tying goal in the 89th minute after Keon Daniel headed the ball into his own net while defending a corner kick. In the first minute of stoppage time Carlos Valdes finished off a long throw-in from Sheanon Williams to take back the lead and the game.
New England 0-1 Toronto
An early goal from Luis Silva gave Toronto FC coach Paul Mariner the win against his former team, the New England Revolution. In the 8th minute of play Silva combined with Danny Koevermans at the top of the box and slipped a shot past Bobby Shuttleworth. Six minutes later Koevermans had a chance to double Toronto’s lead on a breakaway, but he pushed his shot wide of the far post. The best chances in the second half were all New England, but the Revs failed to beat Milos Kocic, who finished the game with four saves. The Revolution did appear to tie the game in the 84th minute, but Shalrie Joseph used his hand to finish off a back heeled cross from Benny Feilhaber.
Columbus 0-2 Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City took over first place in the Eastern Conference with a win over the Columbus Crew. Kansas City scored their first goal six minutes into the game when Peterson Joseph threaded a pass through the Crew penalty box to set up Jacob Peterson with just the keeper to beat. Sporting was forced to defend for the rest of the half as Columbus pressed for the equalizer, but saves from Jimmy Nielsen and poor accuracy kept the game at 1-nil going into half. Two minutes into the second half Justin Meram saw his close range header hit off the bottom of the cross bar. In the 75th minute Tony Tchani missed a long range effort on an open net. After absorbing the Crew’s attack, Kansas City turned a poor pass into a breakaway. Kei Kamara intercepted a pass from Bernadro Anor and took off towards goal, feeding a ball to Teal Bunbury just outside the box. Bunbury took a touch into the box and slipped his shot inside the post.
Chicago 1-0 Vancouver
After going a man down in the 69th minute, the Chicago Fire held on to their one goal lead for the remaining time to finish off the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Fire struck early in the game when Pavel Pardo sent a free kick up over the wall and beyond the reach of Joe Cannon for his first goal of the season. The rest of the half did not provide much in the way of solid chances, but after Cannon failed to punch out a long throw early in the second half, Dominic Oduro failed to convert on the empty net from inside the six yard box and instead hit the far post and was called for offside. The linesman’s flag would come up again in the 53rd minute to take away Oduro’s tying goal. After earning his first caution in the 67th minute, Arne Friedrich was shown his second yellow and his walking orders for his part in stopping a breakaway for Darren Mattocks. In the 87th minute it looked as though Eric Hassli had tied it up, but an outstanding save from Sean Johnson kept his clean sheet.
Colorado 1-2 Dallas
FC Dallas ended their winless streak at 13 games thanks to the offensive play of Fabian Castillo who notched an assist and the game-winning goal in the second half against the Colorado Rapids. The Rapids had two early chances to take the lead, but neither Omar Cummings nor Jamie Castrillon could hit the target. Brek Shea missed a golden chance of his own when he skied his volley from right in front of goal. The deadlock was finally broken in the 50th minute when Conor Casey found Omar Cummings alone at the corner of the penalty box. Cummings continued into the box before slipping his shot under Kevin Hartman’s leg. Ten minutes later Carlos Rodriguez finished off a ball from Castillo with a wide open header. Cummings failed to retake Colorado’s lead in the 71st minute with a nearly identical situation as his first goal. In the 81st minute Drew Moor headed away a shot from Carlos Rodriguez, but only as far as Castillo who slammed in the game winning goal.
San Jose 5-0 Salt Lake
The meeting of the top two teams in the western conference did not disappoint with 5 goals, including a hat trick from Chris Wondolowski, scored by the San Jose Earthquakes as they shut out Real Salt Lake. The Earthquakes got on the board early when Wondolowski finished off a corner kick with a diving header at the far post in the 18th minute. Any hopes of a comeback from Salt Lake were dashed in the 57th minute when RSL captain Kyle Beckerman was shown red for his involvement in a shoving match after a hard tackle. Now playing with a man advantage, San Jose doubled their lead in the 63rd minute after Alan Gordon cleaned up a rebound off the crossbar. Wondolowski scored his second goal of the game nine minutes later by getting a toe to a near post cross from Shea Salinas. When RSL failed to deal with a San Jose corner, Simon Dawkins buried the ball into the roof of the goal in the 79th minute from the top of the six yard box. A minute later Wondolowski was fed a through ball by Khari Stephenson, freeing him to finish off his hat trick and a terrible showing by RSL.
Portland 3-5 LA
Designated Players Kris Boyd, David Beckham, and Robbie Keane all scored a brace as the Portland Timbers lost to the LA Galaxy in an eight-goal game. Portland got the scoring started early when Kris Boyd finished a near-post cross from Kalif Alhassan. David Beckham leveled the score with a wonder-strike in the 19th minute from well outside the box. Beckham scored his second five minutes later with a curling free kick that went over the wall and ended up in the lower near corner. A foul in the box from Kosuke Kimura set up Landon Donovan at the spot to tally LA’s third goal of the game in the 27th minute. Things got worse for Portland when Robbie Keane made it 4-1 a minute later thanks to a beautifully placed cross from Donovan. Kimura earned a bit of redemption when he pulled one back for the Timbers in the 34th minute by finishing a rebound given up by Josh Saunders, who couldn’t handle a free kick from Boyd. Keane scored his second goal in the 64th minute much like he scored his first, by slotting home a low cross from Sean Franklin. Not to be outdone, Kris Boyd added to his earlier tally with a low driven free kick in the 70th minute from outside the penalty arch that took a deflection before slipping in between Saunders and the post.
New York 2-2 Seattle
The New York Red Bulls and the Seattle Sounders traded goals in the first and second halves to finish with a share of the points. After Brad Evans was denied by Bill Gaudette in the 11th minute, Seattle came back four minutes later to take the lead when Alvaro Fernandez connected with a long cross from Adam Johansson. New York’s newest acquisition Sebastien Le Toux leveled the score in the 24th minute by putting back the rebound after Bryan Meredith made the initial save on a shot from Kenny Cooper. Before the half time whistle, both Eddie Johnson and Thierry Henry had chances denied by a quick hand. Johnson was denied by a diving save from Gaudette while Henry saw his chance swatted away by Osvaldo Alonso with no call for a hand ball. In the 61st minute Joel Lindpere snuck a shot between Meredith and the near post after he was released behind the Seattle defense by Brandon Barklage. Six minutes later Fredy Montero brought the game level again by slotting home a cross from Brad Evans.
Houston 4-0 DC
DC United couldn’t recover from the early ejection of starting goalkeeper Bill Hamid and eventually fell to the Houston Dynamo. In the 17th minute of play Hamid came out to close down Mac Kandji, who was released behind the Dynamo defense. Kandji took a touch past Hamid, but was clipped by Hamid’s leg. Brad Davis stepped up and converted the resulting PK, putting the ball between the hands of Joe Willis who came in for Branko Boskovic. Houston continued to press with their extra man until Luiz Camargo laid a ball off to Will Bruin, who finished in stride to double Houston’s lead. The Dynamo got their third goal of the game in the 62nd minute when Andre Hainault found Oscar Boniek Garcia at the far corner of the six yard box with a cross. While backing away from goal, Garcia got his head to the ball, beating Willis far post. DC gave Houston their final goal of the game when Danny Cruz was whistled for a foul in the box. This time Brian Ching stepped up to take the PK and sent a cheeky shot right down the middle.