Kick Off: Columbus Crew & FC Dallas on high, while Toronto FC brought back to earth
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. LAST-SECOND GOAL KEEPS CREW PERFECT
The Columbus Crew are the only perfect team left in MLS. Yes, the Crew. This weekend they eked out a big 2-1 win at the Seattle Sounders thanks to Justin Meram's curler in the 94th minute (HIGHLIGHTS). Yet, while the Crew cite a strong mentality and good team relationships for their comeback, the Sounders claim they were distracted by the referee in the build-up to the game-winning goal. There was some good news for Sounders fans though, as the club has officially signed striker Kevin Parsemain.
2. TORONTO UNDONE IN UTAH
Toronto FC were all the rage heading into the weekend. Then they went to Utah. On Saturday, Real Salt Lake brought TFC back to reality with a 3-0 (HIGHLIGHTS) thumping fuelled by two goals from Alvaro Saborio. On the TFC side, the defeat was made even worse by the fact that Jermain Defoe limped off during the match, and goalkeeeper Julio Cesar's knee "looked like a grapefruit" after the match.
3. IMPRESSING THE BIG MAN
US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann was in attendance for RSL-Toronto. RSL goalscorer Luis Gil didn't seem all that stressed out about it. Neither was Tony Beltran, who obviously did enough to convince Klinsmann that he deserved to get the call to replace the injured Brad Evans.
4. UNION & IMPACT SPLIT THE POINTS
The Montreal Impact picked up a point in a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park (HIGHLIGHTS). It was Marco Di Vaio, in his first game back for the Impact, who rescued the result and Frank Klopas was full of praise for his forward. And news emerged that Di Vaio & Co. might have some more help soon, as the Impact appear to be closing in on an "electrifying" Argentine winger. For the Union, despite some nice play, they were left to rue conceding another late equalizer on Saturday. MLSsoccer.com's Matt "Armchair Analyst" Doyle would like to see more from one Union player, in particular.
5. SPORTING CHANCE
The Colorado Rapids’ recently re-signed defensive players came undone at home late on Saturday as a Sporting KC's Dom Dwyer slammed home a stoppage-time goal to give the visitors a 3-2 win (HIGHLIGHTS). For the second week running, both Colorado goals resulted from penalties and while Vincente Sanchez didn’t waste either of those opportunities, he did feel the side “lacked a little bit on the finishing end.” No such worries for Sporting, as coach Peter Vermes praised his side despite their not "firing on all cylinders." Benny Feilhaber has been huge for SKC this season, so why isn't he bothered about his recent US national team snub?
6. WHITECAPS HAPPY AT HOME
The Vancouver Whitecaps kept their undefeated start going with a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo (HIGHLIGHTS). Kenny Miller had to retake a penalty but kept his nerve to score what would prove to be the game-winner. Yet the Dynamo had chances to earn a draw and, according to Houston Dynamo captain Brad Davis, “We put ourselves into a little bit of a hole but were close to digging out of it as well.”
7. TIMBERS TUMBLE AGAIN
The Portland Timbers slow start to the season continued with a 2-1 loss at FC Dallas (HIGHLIGHTS). Both teams had a player sent off in the first half, and FC Dallas’s culprit, Je-Vaughn Watson, was adamant after the match regarding his innocence. Despite the result, Portland coach Caleb Porter felt his team played well. That may be true, but then just why are the Timbers struggling so far?
8. TWO GOALS SHOULD BE ENOUGH, RIGHT?
D.C. United and the Chicago Fire battled it out to a 2-2 draw on Saturday (HIGHLIGHTS). There were definite signs of progress for United but coach Ben Olsen summed up his club's situation best: “We should win games that we score two goals in.” United certainly kept Sean Johnson busy for much of the 90 minutes, and, much like Olsen, the Fire goalkeeper felt aggrieved not to come away with all three points.
9. THE REVOLUTION GET STARTED
Not only did the New England Revolution finally score a goal, they also scored a second and won their first game, beating the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS). It was a last-gasp goal from Lee Nguyen that won it, but the Revs put their success down to a tactical adjustment. Meanwhile the Earthquakes were left to rue another slow start start. Defender Clarence Goodson didn't hold back, calling the first half " a disgrace.”
10. RED BULLS LEAVE IT LATE
Thanks to some amazing work by goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, Chivas USA kept the New York Red Bulls at bay for 94-and-a-half minutes on Sunday. But that final half minute of stoppage time proved too much, as Peguy Luyindula banged home a corner kick to salvage a 1-1 draw for the home side (HIGHLIGHTS). Needless to say, the Goats were disappointed about conceding such a late goal, but New York head coach Mike Petke was equally displeased with his own team. To make matters worse for the Red Bulls, Tim Cahill left the game early with a hamstring problem.
11. FROM ONE GALAXY TO ANOTHER
The LA Galaxy had the weekend off but the club's USL PRO side, LA Galaxy II, played to a 1-1 draw with Sacramento Republic FC. Ahead of that game the Galaxy sent several players on loan to their lower-division team, while San Jose's Mike Fucito joined the Republic, their USL PRO affiliate, to get some game time as he continues his recovery from injury. In the end, though, it was a former MLSer who grabbed the headlines for the Republic.
12. TIME FOR USA-MEXICO
With the MLS weekend done, time to turn our attention to Phoenix, where the US national team and Mexico will renew their age-old bitter rivalry (Wednesday, 11 pm ET, ESPN, UniMas). Already, more than 50,000 tickets have been sold. In the USMNT camp, in addition to the aforementioned Beltran call-up Klinsmann made some broader changes over the weekend, reshuffling his coaching staff to bring in a German World Cup winner. And speaking of the World Cup, this Mashable article explains why you need to "start following MLS now, because World Cup..."
13. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ROLLS ON
Klinsmann was as disappointed as everyone else in the MLS clubs' CONCACAF Champions League struggles. His solution: Start the league earlier. That's not so easy given North American weather patterns, but there's no doubt that the scheduling was a big reason Liga MX clubs eliminated MLS clubs to reach the semifinals. Speaking of, the first legs of the CCL semis take place on Tuesday, with Alajuelense hosting Toluca and Tijuana hosting Cruz Azul. Unfortunately for all the Yanks on the roster, the Xolos head into the tie on bad form.
14. BOB OFF TO A GOOD START IN NORWAY
Bob Bradley kicked off his life as a European coach better than he could've hoped for, as his Stabaek side earned a 3-0 win over Sogndal. "We are not after just one win," he told reporters after the game.
15. OH, AND KAKÁ
Time for your regularly scheduled Kaká-to-Orlando-City report. First, the AC Milan star told an Italian newspaper, “If it turns out I need to move, I will chose MLS.” That was followed by a report from a Spanish paper that suggested a verbal agreement is already in place between the Brazilian and Orlando.
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