Kick Off: Five minutes no one will forget at RFK Stadium
Many are still trying to get their heads around this one.
The end of Sunday’s 1-1 draw between D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union on NBC Sports Network had one of the wildest and most controversial finishes of any game in recent memory. Here’s what happened after minute 90: A PK was taken twice, three red cards were shown, there was a dustup between the two teams and D.C. teammates exchanged words.
"It was a pretty eventful game," D.C. manager Ben Olsen joked after the match. "The fans certainly got their money's worth."
Referee Mark Geiger was the subject of the most pointed commentary after the match in D.C. United circles. The Olympic and FIFA referee disallowed a D.C. goal early in the second half before making Dwayne De Rosario retake his 90th-minute PK (watch the highlights here).
“He had a very poor night, not just on one call but on multiple calls,” D.C. president Kevin Payne told The Washington Post. “The call on the penalty is like a high school call. … He is just back from the Olympics. He likes to be on NBC Sports, apparently. He was on it a lot today.”
The Portland Timbers argued a referee call at the end of the first half as they watched their 2-0 lead on the road at Red Bull Arena disappear when DP Tim Cahill equalized for the Red Bulls en route to a 3-2 NY victory (watch the highlights here).
Although the Timbers say that referee Jasen Anno blew the whistle before Cahill’s goal for a presumed hand-ball offence in the box, the official clarified that he only blew his whistle “when the ball entered the goal."
Ultimately, the three points did nothing to console Red Bulls star Thierry Henry, who sat in the locker with a towel over his head and refused to address the media.
Cahill, on the other hand, saw the brighter side: “It was a difficult game. We didn’t start off well, but this is football. When you play bad and win, it shows a sign of a good football team.”
Another discussion point from the match: Timbers owner Merritt Paulson defends his interim manager Gavin Wilkinson against the critics using Twitter.
There was some good tifo in New York on Sunday (see photo here), but Seattle Sounders fans didn’t disappoint with another tifo for the ages in the club’s 2-0 Cascadia Cup triumph over the Vancouver Whitecaps (watch video here).
But there was no tifo that was going to brighten up Vancouver’s day after they learned of the suspension to Designated Player Barry Robson. The Scotsman didn’t take the timing of the suspension too well.
It was a Cascadia Cup match involving Seattle, so obviously Fredy Montero scored in front of 55,718 fans (watch the highlights here) to go along with Eddie Johnson’s insurance tally: “When you start adding it up now, they're starting to get to a place where they're probably one of the best three, four combinations in the league in terms of goal production,” said Sounders manager Sigi Schmid.
But there is still one unanswered question about that Sounders victory. Exactly what was defender Jeff Parke doing in that sequence that was caught on TV? (VIDEO)
The US Open Cup loss is now a distant memory in Seattle and things are looking up, especially after Steve Zakuani scored two goals in a Reserve League match on Sunday.
The Sounders gained ground in the Supporters’ Shield lead after the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes lost to upstart Montreal 3-1 on Saturday (watch the highlights here). That game was marked by a controversial referee call as San Jose’s Steven Lenhart and Montreal’s Hassoun Camara were sent off after just 20 minutes: "I'm not sure why Lenhart was sent off," Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop told the San Jose Mercury News. "He seems to be singled out every game we play. It's starting to get to me now."
Sporting Kansas City also took advantage of San Jose’s slip-up and moved to within a point of the league lead with a big 1-0 win at Toronto FC on a late goal by Kei Kamara. “The way he hit it, it had a little whisper,” said SKC manager Peter Vermes. Watch it for yourself here.
The Houston Dynamo could soon be making a serious case for the Supporters’ Shield after they extended their home unbeaten streak to 20 matches on Sunday (watch the highlights here).
But the Orange needed the help of Columbus Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, whose gaffe on Adam Moffat’s late blast helped the Dynamo equalize 2-2: “I texted him before the game and said I was going to hit a bomb on him. And he said, 'I'm waiting for it,'" Moffat said after the match.
The story of the match, however, was the debut of Crew DP Federico Higuaín, who made an immediate impact in his debut, assisting on the Crew’s second goal. “When you have a guy who can combine like that and has really good vision, it adds another dimension. Hopefully, we can learn to play with him and his strengths,” said the other Crew goalscorer on the night, Cole Grossman.
Another DP came through for his team as the Chicago Fire’s Sherjill MacDonald scored his first MLS goal. It proved to be the game-winner against the New England Revolution in a 2-1 victory as the Fire continued to rack up points in the East (watch the highlights here).
MacDonald’s partnership with Chris Rolfe is paying dividends: "We're playing really well together and it's only going to get better," Rolfe said.
There may be no more influential player than David Ferreira, however. The Colombian seems to be back in MVP form for FC Dallas, scoring a sizzling stoppage time game-winner vs. Real Salt Lake to lead his team to its third straight victory, while RSL lost their third league match in a row (watch the highlights here).
"Now we're at a precipice of what we do from here because this could be a real emotional heartbreaker for us,” said RSL manager Jason Kreis, who admitted resting players ahead of a critical Champions League match on Tuesday.
The Colorado Rapids and Chivas USA could use a Ferreira-type performance from anybody after a 1-1 draw, which does little for their playoff hopes. Colorado once again failed to hold onto a lead as the Goats equalized on one of their only meaningful attacks of the match (watch the highlights here).
Here’s some consolation for Rapids fans: The reported deal to bring ex-EPL midfielder Hendry Thomas to the club is said to be a done deal in Honduras. Here he is in Rapids colors. (PHOTO)
Speaking of the EPL, although there’s no end in sight in the Clint Dempsey saga – Fulham fans were chanting, “Are you watching, Clint Dempsey?” in their 5-0 weekend win – US fans get to watch American ‘keeper Tim Howard when Everton host Manchester United and Robin van Persie in the Toffees’ EPL opener (3 pm ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes).
Howard will have his work cut out for him if he wants to match what other Americans based abroad have accomplished this weekend. For starters, Jozy Altidore scored twice again in the Netherlands, Alejandro Bedoya hit the net on a bicycle kick in his Helsingborgs debut (watch it here) and former MLS player Matt Taylor scored a hat trick to oust Werder Bremen from the German DfB Pokal Cup.
Who’s the next Jozy Altidore in MLS? Have your say in determining the ultimate list of the top young players in the league when voting for MLSsoccer.com’s third annual 24 Under 24 beginning today.
But when it comes to Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli, the Italian star is pretty unique. Watch his latest prank in this video, which leaves one cameraperson a tad frustrated. (VIDEO)
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