MLS Rewind: Week 18
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
If you like suspense and drama, then this was the weeekend for you in Major League Soccer. Matches around the league came down to the final moments in an action-packed weekend - and the last bye week of the year for Sounders FC.
What a wild weekend it was in Major League Soccer as 16 teams took the field in the final weekend of the month of June. Fans tuning in across the country saw late comebacks, wild red cards, and goals – plenty of goals. Twenty-five goals in seven matches on Saturday and two more in the Sunday match.
We will start with a match that featured all of the above as the San Jose Earthquakes hosted the LA Galaxy in front of a crowd of 50,028 at Stanford Stadium for the California Classico. The Galaxy looked every bit the part of defending MLS Cup champions over the first 65 minutes as goals from Marcelo Sarvas and Hector Jimenez staked Los Angeles to a 2-0 lead. They were playing textbook passes to setup the goals as Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan both logged two assists, making the victory look all the more certain. The Earthquakes pulled a goal back off the head of Alan Gordon for his first goal of the season in the 68th minute, but then a second yellow card to defender Victor Bernardez in the 77th minute left San Jose down a man and seemingly out of luck. But a team that scored nine goals in second-half stoppage time in 2012 showed that they weren’t out of magic in 2013. Shea Salinas banged in a loose ball in the second minute of stoppage time to equalize, then Gordon added his second of the match on an assist from Sam Cronin to put the exclamation point on the unlikely comeback victory for the Earthquakes, who improved to 5-7-6 on the season while the Galaxy dropped to 7-7-3 and fifth in the West.
We continue with the stoppage-time heroics in Montreal, where the Impact climbed over the Colorado Rapids 3-2 in the 72nd minute on two goals by newcomer Daniele Paponi. The Rapids stormed back, though, as rookie forward Deshorn Brown notched his fourth goal of the year in the 77th minute to equalize, then Tony Cascio netted the stunner in the 96th minute, hitting a deflected shot from 20-yards out to give the Rapids the 4-3 victory. Colorado jumped into the sixth spot in the West at 6-7-5 while the Impact remain atop the East, now at 9-4-2.
That wasn’t even the latest goal of the weekend though. That honor goes to Blas Perez, who scored a 97th minute equalizer against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. The two teams traded headed goals in the first half, then Philadelphia was given the man-advantage when Dallas midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson was shown a second yellow card and was ejected from the match in the 68th minute. Philadelphia cracked a 2-1 lead with an 87th minute goal by newcomer Aaron Wheeler, but they couldn’t hold the lead as stoppage time extended the match by seven minutes. On virtually the final ball, a long free kick by Dallas bounced around in the box until Perez headed it into the net for his sixth goal of the season, getting a point for Dallas out of the match. The draw moves FC Dallas to second in the West at 8-3-6 while Philadelphia is now third in the East at 7-5-5.
At RFK Stadium, there was plenty of suspense at the end of the match as DC United hosted the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Camilo Sanvezzo converted an early second-half penalty for his ninth goal of the season, but DC pressed for the equalizer on their home turf. The teams combined for 39 shots and in the waning moments of the match, DC was calling for a penalty of their own when goalkeeper Bill Hamid pressed forward into the box and headed down a ball from the right side. It appeared to hit the hand of Brad Rusin but no whistle was blown and DC was left on the losing side as they prepare to face Sounders FC on Wednesday at CenturyLink Field. DC fell to 2-12-3 while Vancouver, who hosts Seattle on Saturday, jumped to fourth in the West at 7-5-4.
At Sporting Park, Kansas City kept taking leads and the Columbus Crew kept bouncing back. Kei Kamara got SKC out to a 1-0 first-half lead, then over a five-minute stretch in the second half, Columbus equalized, then fell behind, then equalized again and it was 2-2 into the final ten minutes. That’s when Kamara scored again to put SKC up 3-2 and time ran out on a Columbus comeback. The win pushed Kansas City to fourth in the East at 7-5-5 and Columbus dropped to seventh at 5-7-5.
On Sunday, the New York Red Bulls got two goals in the final 30 minutes to earn a 2-0 home victory over the Houston Dynamo and jump to second in the East at 8-6-4. Houston, meanwhile, is now winless in their last seven matches, having scored just two goals in that span. They still remain fifth in the East at 6-6-5.
In other Saturday action, Real Salt Lake topped Toronto FC 1-0 on a goal by Yordany Alvarez – his first MLS goal. The game was marred by a pair of red cards as Salt Lake's Tony Beltran and Toronto’s Doneil Henry were both sent off for a scuffle in the 79th minute. Salt Lake furthered their standing atop the West at 10-5-3 while Toronto is ninth in the East at 2-8-6. And finally Chivas USA got out to an early 1-0 lead only to settle for a draw when Chad Barrett scored an 88th minute equalizer for the New England Revolution. The Revs remain in the hunt in the East at 5-5-6 while Chivas remains anchored to the bottom of the West at 3-10-3.