- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 27, 2009
- 4 Comments
- 2009 Week 6, MLS Weekend Recaps
The sixth week of the 2009 season is now in the books. A few surprises here and there including one huge blowout, one club pulling off two wins in the week and two crazy late come-from-behind victories for two other clubs.
Once the dust was settled on the week Chivas USA was still on top of everything dispite their 1-0 loss at Toronto in the midweek. And speaking of the Reds, they now sit atop the eastern standings by one point over Kansas City and Chicago.
Yeah, who would have called Chivas and Toronto to be conference leaders at this point in the season? I doubt anyone got that one right.
As always feel free to post your comments below about this past week and weekend. There sure was a lot that happened.
Twice as Nice in Toronto
As mentioned earlier, Toronto had two games this week at home and won them both by a 1-0 scoreline. Very interesting thing to have happen there for the Reds. They lose Dwayne de Rosario and look completely better for it. They need to figure out how to get DeRo into the lineup once he returns and get him back in a way that continues this offensive production and defensive intensity.
I think the big thing though for this club wasn’t just the two straight wins but the two straight shutouts. For a defense that is shaky at times they needed this for confidence building in a big way.
The second win was espeically good since manager John Carver stepped down from his coaching position at the start of the weekend. Didn’t see that move coming but it looks like he is headed back to Newcastle to help coach there.
DC Rallies Late
What can you say about DCU? They go up early and in typical fashion they let New York back in the game with to second half goals. But a funny thing happened late when the rally was on, more pressure was put on New York’s defense, which is still very weak by the way, and that pressure turned into two quick goals including a game winner by Chris Pontius.
Speaking of Pontius and fellow rookie Rodney Wallace. Are there two better playing rookies right now in MLS than these two? Sure Toronto’s Stefan Frei and Sam Cronin have a legitimate shot at the argument there but Wallace and Pontius have been very good additions to this club and DCU is all the better for them.
Back to the rally though for a moment, I think a big reason why DC is really turning things around is due to the quality of players surrounding Luciano Emilio. You look at what he had around him last year, it just didn’t work for him. Now he has an up-and-coming rookie, plus some healthy veterans in the midfield. Its funny how Christian Gomez was expected to lead this club again, well, he hasn’t had to and DC is probably better for it.
New York Drops Two
First it was the red card two minutes in on Thursady to Carlos Johnson. Then it was Jon Conway and Alfredo Pacheco not communicating enough late for two goals to DC.
What does this say? New York still stinks in the back. Maybe it will all change once Albert Cedades gets in the lineup and controls the midfield for the club better, because that is still an area of concern for this side. But in all seriousness Johnson and Pacheco are starting to turn into just two more bad international signings by Juan Carlos Osorio.
I’d probably throw Johnson under the bus a bit quicker due the amount of red cards he is getting here this year.
But let’s also look at this on the other side of the ball. Yes the offense got two goals against DC but they still aren’t controlling the pitch for 90+ minutes a game. In other words it is coming down to sloppy midfield play that is killing this side on both sides of the ball here.
Seven games in and New York has one win to go with five points.
Maybe it is Kasey Keller in net that gives Seattle it’s edge. It sure looked that way against San Jose who got nothing in the box by Seattle’s defense. Rookie Steve Zakuani continues on pace to be one of the top rookies here this season with a goal and assist to lead the Sounders at home.
Seattle did what they do best, control the pace of the game and reel off a late first half goal and an early second half goal to put the game away. San Jose never got enough quality chances on goal to really give the large home crowd any sort of scare. I will say the Quakes did look better in the second half. I don’t know if it was the lack of Ramiro Corrales or if it was just Seattle taking the foot off the pedal after the second goal.
The real story in this one though was the play of Zakuani. While San Jose keyed in on Fredy Montero and Freddie Ljungberg, it was Zakuani who showed that Seattle has a little more punch to their attack than most would want to admit.
Chicago Pulls a KC
You look at Columbus who hadn’t had a single win yet, you knew something would come after the bye-week. Everything was right on track for their first win until Brian McBride snuck in behind the defense and got Chicago back into the game late in similar fashion to what the Fire defense let KC do to them a week ago.
It was after the red card to Gino Padula that things really turned in this game for the visitors. The Crew started to run out of gas in the 80th minute and from then on the Fire started packing the pressure with the man-advantage.
Patrick Nyarko had some quality attempts but it was McBride who connected with Nyark to make it 2-1. Then second half super-sub Chris Rolfe helped pack the final push for the game-tying goal.
I don’t know what it is for the Crew, whether it be injuries (5 of 10 returning starters from last year’s MLS Cup game have been sidelined so far this year), or lack of offense, or terrible defense (second worst in the league). Something has to change for sure if this club even wants to think playoffs at this point.
Crazy Second Half in Salt Lake
Six goals? Seriously? Honestly I knew New England was in trouble defensively before this game but six goals worth of trouble? Wow. They just kept coming in the second half and really every goal was something else including that turn-the-clock-back goal from Clint Mathis. Wow.
Again, RSL looked damn good at home from start to finish. There really isn’t much else to say than just writing the score line.
Rapid-Killer in Donovan
Colorado looked to dominate the LA Galaxy once again at home but it was a rescue effort on the part of none other than Landon Donovan to get the Galaxy another road point this season.
Colin Clarks nifty goal put the homeside up midway through the second half but it was Donovan and some poor defense that lead to the equalizer for the Galaxy. I think LA got a nice boost from Edson Buddle off the bench who was returning from an injury. His long-range shot set up the game-tying goal.
Not the best game for Colorado to drop late with Seattle and Chivas winning but the Rapids are still in a good spot out west with the way other clubs are playing right now.
Chivas Remains Top Dog
Chivas may want to play FC Dallas more often this season. Two games against the Red Stripes and two wins by the same 2-0 scoreline. The AmeriGoats got on the board after another boring first half between these two sides. Chivas finally woke up offensively after not producing anything of note on Wednesday in Toronto.
Atiba Harris put the Goats on the board and from then on the homeside never looked back. Late in the game Alecko Eskandarian add some insurance with his first of the season.
Dallas played a man-down for the better part of the game is probably the reason for the loss. Dario Sala’s early red card put Dallas in a big time whole for the rest of the game. They still had their chances on goal as Chivas started to back off late in the game but no one for Dallas could connect.
Random Thoughts from the Week
Chivas improves to 5-1-1 on the year. Their current pace has them clinching a playoff spot in July. Scary part is they are starting to get healthy again here with guys like Justin Bruan coming back.
1-6-6: The combined record of last year’s MLS Cup clubs.
0-3-8: The combine record of Columbus and LA. I know I put Columbus back-to-back here but both of these clubs can’t win and don’t seem to lose often here this season.
-4: Currently we have four clubs with a goal differential of -4. Columbus, New England, New York and San Jose. Only Dallas has the worst with a -6.
Chicago the only undefeated side left at 2-0-4. In some ways though they really don’t feel like an undefeated side.