- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On September 3, 2007
- 0 Comments
Very interesting weekend in the MLS. Four games, all with some sort of meaning and one game between two clubs that are pretty much playing for pride at this point in the season. The playoff race is hotter than ever as we are heading into the final stages of the season.
Chicago Fire 0 – 1 New York Red Bulls
A game I thought Chicago was in for the most part. New York came in after back-to-back losses on the road and got what they needed most, three points. Juan Pablo Angel continued to shine for the Red Bulls with his league leading 14th goal (tied with Eddie Johnson and Luciano Emilio).
But New York did a lot of things right in this one I think to earn the three points. They found a way to frustrate Blanco like no one else has done so far in the league. Bruce Arena has had plenty of practice with the Men’s National team to learn exactly how to piss him off. It seemed like every time there was a little bit of wind around Blanco he was on his butt, complaining to the official.
In the end the bounces did not go the Fire’s way as a hand-ball with under 10 minutes to go should have given the Fire a PK. But it did not and now the Fire are left sitting on the outside looking in at the playoff fold. Still only two points out of the eighth and final spot, and with a game in hand against Colorado and Columbus. This weekend a big eastern conference clash with the Crew in Columbus. A win could catapult them into the playoff scene, another loss could make it even harder to make the playoffs this season.
New York is still doing enough to hold on at the moment. Six points out of New England and DC, but I honestly don’t see anyone in the east contending with those two for the top two spots in the east this year. Big time road trip next Sunday for the Red Bulls, a trip to Carson, California to face the best home club in the league this season, Chivas USA. A win there would be huge.
DC United 4 – 0 FC Dallas
On a night that saw the return of Juan Toja and the debut of Denilson, DC dominated the pitch thanks to two Ben Olsen goals to give the United the 4-0 win and the top of the eastern conference.
Early goals are always a killer in my book and can be the toughest to come back from. Ben Olsen scored an early goal from distance and then netted another just before half. Thing was, right after the first goal Dallas dominated the play for the majority of the first half. DC sat back on their heals and took it like a champ though and found a way to score again before half. The goal before half really killed everything that Dallas had going.
Even with Denilson coming on in the second half, Dallas could never regain momentum that they had in the first half as Christian Gomez and Fred found goals in a short span to open the second half.
It was nice to see Toja back from injury but I think Dallas may have rushed Dario Sala back a bit soon from his injury. He looked sluggish out there and really never found himself between the pipes like he does when he is 100%. Dallas had their chances but couldn’t make anything of them. But give some credit to the DC backline and to Troy Perkins.
I also think Dallas might have done better without Aaron Pitchkolen in the back, his play was a bit disappointing. Only reason why I even call him out is because I have seen him play a lot from his time at my alma-mater WVU.
In the end Dallas found themselves in a hole and couldn’t escape. Things need to pick up soon though if they want to contend for the Supporter’s Shield this season. They should be able to find points this coming weekend as Toronto FC comes for a visit. They will want to avenge for an earlier loss to the Reds up in Canada.
DC still looks to be in the best of shape right now and are now probably the front runner for the Supporter’s Shield trophy again this season. We will know this for sure this week as a trip to Chivas and a visit from New England are on tap. Six points would be amazing but I think four points aren’t out of the question.
Kansas City Wizards 1 – 1 Houston Dynamo
The Wizards are another team holding on for dear life at the moment in the playoff picture. Almost stole the three points in Houston as they got an Eddie Johnson goal just before half. However Houston wouldn’t back down as Joseph Ngwenya netted his 7th of the season to give the Dynamo the draw.
KC did a lot of decent things in this one. I was pleased to see them look for Eddie Johnson a little more in this one than what they have been doing in recent weeks. Some of EJ’s first touches still seem to burn him more than anything but he played fairly well.
I didn’t see a whole lot of the game after the two goals so I don’t really know who handled the ball more in the final stages of the game. I am a bit concerned right now with the Dynamo’s play. It seems like in the past month or so that this club has hit a wall and is just playing a bit off from their form during the early summer months. They should be able to get three points this week as Real Salt Lake comes into two. But that may not even be as certain as before.
KC still needs as many points as they possibly can get. But they will have to wait a week or so until they can next play on the 15th.
Real Salt Lake 2 – 1 LA Galaxy
It seems like Eddie Pope always has a way of beating the Galaxy on a game winner. Pope lead RSL to its second straight win and fourth of the season Saturday night in LA. Salt Lake fans can rest a bit now knowing that they won’t be the league’s worst team in history, that nod may very well go to the Galaxy.
Playoffs are still out of the question for both clubs but at least RSL is playing respectable for now. Big game in Houston coming up this weekend as RSL could play a big part in the playoff race, even though they have no shot at reaching the playoffs.
LA has a visit from one of the hotter clubs this weekend, Colorado. Games at hand are starting to fade fast and points still aren’t coming. Playing for pride may be an only option at this point.
Colorado Rapids 1 – 1 Columbus Crew
A late goal by Conor Casey gives Colorado hope going into the final run of the season. I missed this game so I really have no bases of opinion on it. Both clubs needed three points but only got one, which is pretty much what I expected.
Both clubs move on to games that they can win this week too so the last playoff spot is still much up for grabs.