ICYMI: Your one-stop shop for the absolute best MLS Week 6 had to offer
You probably didn't get to watch every MLS match this weekend. That's what we're here for. Here's what you missed, while you were doing who knows what.
NO ONE'S RUNNING AWAY: The Columbus Crew have come back to the pack in the East with one point in their past two matches. And after league-leaders FC Dallas suffered their first loss of the season, that leaves Real Salt Lake as the only undefeated team left standing.
Here's the scary thing for the rest of MLS: RSL boss Jeff Cassar says the team isn't even playing well. And yet they could easily be top of the league right now if not for conceding two stoppage-time equalizers to San Jose and Philadelphia.
The team on the worst slide? The Houston Dynamo have lost three straight.
MCINERNEY vs. WENGER: Only eight days since the trade that saw them swapped for one another, it was somewhat surreal to see the two young forwards make their first start at exactly the same time. And they nearly got their first goals in their new jerseys at the same time. Montreal's Jack McInerney, who showed remarkable understanding with Marco Di Vaio, got his in the 43rd minute (WATCH IT HERE), while Philly's Andrew Wenger followed up shortly after halftime (WATCH IT HERE).
But while Wenger also hit the crossbar and was serenaded by his hometown fans, McInerney was surprisingly shifted to the left wing in the second half of his game, and he subsequently disappeared from the match. BTW, Klopas switched out his entire left side of the field at halftime with Heath Pearce and Andres Romero getting the hook at the break.
NO ONE'S HOTTER THAN DEUCE: Not even the gremlins at Toyota Stadium could stop Seattle's Clint Dempsey from scoring. The two he scored against FC Dallas in front of family and friends from nearby Nacogdoches made for five tallies in two matches and a league-leading six goals on the season. But he still wasn't happy.
"It's great but at the same time we're disappointed with our play," he said in a postgame TV interview. "We didn't play well tonight. We won ugly … We've got to be better."
Those comments are always easier to digest than ones from losing teams who say they should've won like New York and Toronto FC did this weekend.
— Tim Hamilton (@muffintopmodel) April 13, 2014
SNIPERS IN SAN JOSE: That's the only way to explain Columbus Crew centerback Giancarlo Gonzalez going down as hard as he did when Chris Wondolowski confronted him. Click here to see it, although fair warning: you'll be watching this GIF over and over.
GIVE HIM A BREAK: That's probably what New England Revolution forward Teal Bunbury needs -- a break from the starting lineup. He knows the big shoes he's filling -- ex-Rev Juan Agudelo scored for Utrecht on Sunday, by the way -- and it feels like he's pressing. Whether he was backheeling the ball instead of shooting (53rd minute), forcing a play (62nd minute) or being indecisive on the break (90th minute), something's off with him.
THE MAGIC OF PLAID: Revolution assistant coach Tom Soehn had an interesting choice of wardrobe ahead of his fill-in appearance for the suspended Jay Heaps. While some were calling for a suit, he went in an unconventional direction (see right). The superstitious will say that Heaps should keep the look going.
— Christopher Camille (@chris_camille) April 12, 2014
WATCH YOUR STEP: A harsh winter meant the BMO Field surface wasn't up to snuff for the season opener on March 22 and it still wasn't perfect for its second showing on Saturday. That may have been one reason why there were only two shots on goal the entire first half and only seven for the match between Toronto and Colorado.
#TFClive grounds crew walked the field during the half to repair some divots on the field. Playing surface is struggling a bit.
— David Lindholm (@Lindholm) April 12, 2014
LAST YEAR'S CONFERENCE LEADERS: Another weekend and Portland and New York are still winless. Why? While Mike Petke made debatable lineup choices on Saturday, the fact is the Red Bulls don't have a dependable goal scorer and all those aimless crosses vs. DC that were begging for a target are proof.
It's a similar story in Portland, but there's perhaps more at play. There's a different air about this team compared to 2013. Perhaps it's self-doubt creeping in, because last year's Timbers would never have been outplayed at home by Chivas USA like they were on Saturday (outshot 13-8, out possessed 52%-47%). Tip of the cap to Wilmer Cabrera and this year's new breed of Goat.
SHOEGATE - PART 2: You'd think that MLS players would learn their lesson about leaving the field of play to change their shoes. As San Jose's Alan Gordon and Victor Bernardez taught us last year (READ: Quakes' 2013 ShoeGate), you're not allowed back on until the next stoppage in play. Unfortunately for Chivas USA, Carlos Bocanegra, who had stepped out for a shoe change early in the game in Portland, he wasn't allowed back on until Portland's Will Johnson scored the opening goal, knifing through an area that the Chivas captain probably would have occupied.
TAKE A BACK SEAT, DP: How many second-year pros would have dared pull off what Kyle Bekker did on Saturday? It was crunch time -- second-half stoppage time with Toronto down 1-0 -- when an inviting free kick opportunity presented itself. Bekker waved off his teammate, Designated Player Gilberto, making it clear he would be taking charge. The Brazilian lined up to take it, but Bekker was insistent and he hit the post with his attempt for the second time in the game. We may be looking at the next MLS set-piece specialist.
PENEDO'S PAIN: We're still in the dark about what exactly prompted this emotional response from LA Galaxy Panamanian 'keeper Jaime Penedo after the final whistle of his team's 1-0 shutout of the Vancouver Whitecaps. He was named Man of the Match by the LA broadcast and the cameras were fixed on him when this happened:
A DIAMOND A DOZEN: That's what it feels like in MLS, where the narrow diamond midfield formation has become an MLS coach's best friend. The Galaxy stuck with it for the third straight week (they're still undefeated with it) and even the Montreal Impact got in on the act, using it in the first half of their 1-1 tie vs. Chicago. It didn't have the same effect, as lone holding midfielder Collen Warner was overwhelmed by the numbers the Fire threw at him.
No question you have to have the right deep mid to pull it off. Vancouver were missing Matias Laba due to suspension and didn't bother. Manager Carl Robinson went back to the 4-2-3-1 vs. LA.
WHOSE GOAL IS IT, ANYWAY?: In case there were still any doubts as to whether Seattle's 22nd-minute goal belonged to Clint Dempsey or Obafemi Martins, we have the answer from the referee himself, Juan Guzman. According to PRO, Guzman says the goal was awarded on the initial shot by Deuce (WATCH IT HERE). The post-goal celebration? That's definitely all Deuce (WATCH IT HERE).
WINDY CITY: It was Frisco, Tex. on Saturday. Both sides claimed that the wind had a major impact, but was it to blame for the goalkeeper gaffe on the first Dallas goal (WATCH IT HERE)? Strangely, there was a similar play that occurred to a Colorado goalkeeper last year, also at Toyota Stadium (WATCH IT HERE).
'KEEPER ADVENTURES: And if you thought Seattle's Stefan Frei had it bad, he wasn't the only netminder in trouble this weekend. Look what happened to Houston's Tally Hall, who now has the distinction of gifting Jerry Bengtson his first MLS goal in over a year (March 9, 2013) ... WATCH IT HERE.
INJURY CRISES: That's plural, because Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls are going through similar rough patches as far as their infirmary lists. But Toronto clearly have it worse: They gave a debut to academy forward Jordan Hamilton and they also had the injured Ashtone Morgan on the bench just to make up the numbers. And you can add Dwayne De Rosario to the list with a muscle injury he suffered in the game.
Haft time analysis: meh, occasionally yikes. Michael Bradley's never looked better. #PartyLikeIts2013
— Duncan Fletcher (@DuncanDFletcher) April 12, 2014
EDU vs. BECKERMAN: It was the game within the game at PPL Park. It would seem unlikely that USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann will take both deep mids to Brazil. But he won't have made up his mind watching the head-to-head battle on Saturday. Both scored goals (WATCH EDU HEADER / WATCH BECKERMAN'S SHOT), but Edu may have had a slightly greater impact on the game.
REVENGE IS SWEET: Did the Chicago-Montreal Klopas Cup mean more to ex-Fire boss Frank Klopas or current Fire forward Quincy Amarikwa? We'll go with the second, who stated in a pregame interview that: "Will it feel good to beat the coach who didn't play me as much as I'd have liked to play? Of course."
He scored and he reveled in the goal (WATCH IT HERE).
— Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) April 12, 2014
EJ vs. WONDO: Here's another likely USMNT battle we'll be witnessing over the next month. And after another week of the 2014 MLS season, the San Jose captain is winning, while EJ continues to look out of sorts for DC. It doesn't help him that his DC team spent 86 minutes defending after going up vs. NY at RFK.
It even had manager Ben Olsen hiding his face after the full-time whistle (see right). And yet there was reason to celebrate: DC have now won back-to-back matches for the first time since October 2012. Heck, they're one win away from tying last year's grand win total of three wins.
BRAZIL MOVES FARTHER AWAY: For Seattle's DeAndre Yedlin, whose performance against FC Dallas was not of a player ready to join the world's elite. Fabian Castillo exposed him on countless runs and Yedlin's frustrations boiled over when he triggered a penalty kick with a mindless shove in the box (WATCH IT HERE).
AND IT'S OUTTA HERE!: There are a handful of players that would love some do-overs on shots that they hoped would end in goals -- NY's Loyd Sam and Jonny Steele, the Impact's Di Vaio early in the second half, Chicago's Jeff Larentowicz and Seattle's Obafemi Martins (59th min. vs. Dallas).
But none of those will be as memorable as Alvaro Saborio's sky rocket in the 28th minute at PPL Park. When the ball lands in water, you know your kick has really gone awry (WATCH IT HERE).
27' That ball on the roof of the River End courtesy of Saborio is a @PPLPark first.
— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr) April 12, 2014
ALEX THE ENERGETIC: Amarikwa played well for Chicago, but no one on the Fire outdid Brazilian Alex, who looked anonymous and disinterested in two seasons under Klopas. On Saturday he was omnipresent and determined, tracking back to allow Jeff Larentowicz to push up plenty more. Alex's performance inspired the Fire's play-by-play man to coin a new nickname for him "Alex The Energetic."
DID THE REF OVERSTEP?: Philadelphia right back Sheanon Williams seemed to take objection with assistant referee Brian Dunn, who was very direct in the language he used which was picked up by the boom microphone in the 31st minute:
WATCH AND LEARN: RSL newcomer Luke Mulholland is coming up with a new way of approaching PKs. And it paid off in Philly when Alvaro Saborio saw his shot saved. But he had to time it just right (WATCH IT HERE).
PK CELEBRATION?: Dear Michel -- Are you really celebrating this hard after a penalty kick (WATCH THE PK HERE)?
SPANKING THE WOODWORK: Are the Timbers still winless because they're snakebitten? According to the Timbers' broadcast, they have hit the post a league-high seven times. Contrast that with how the woodwork is treating Real Salt Lake:
That's the fifth time this season an RSL opponent has hit the frame, with none of the five deflecting into the goal. #LuckOTheRoyals
— Heath Waddingham (@RSLTotalMLS) April 12, 2014
BITCHY PREGAME RITUAL: As in the name of the hawk (Bitchy) that is now a fixture of Toronto FC's official pre-match ceremonies starting last year. We're told it sits atop BMO to keep the seagulls and other birds away.
— Kurtis Larson (@KurtLarSUN) April 12, 2014
NUMBERS GAME: The number anyone cared about this weekend was 135. But Landon Donovan couldn't get the goal he needed to set the new all-time MLS goal-scoring mark. Next chance for him to do it at home? May 21. Next four Galaxy games are on the road.
Some other interesting ones: The Fire have the MLS record for most draws in a season (16 in 2011) and they're already up to five in six matches this season. Oh, and Darlington Nagbe committed a foul! This is news because apparently someone was keeping track: He'd gone 927 minutes without one.
You think that's a long streak? Try the number of matches without a draw for the Columbus Crew. According to The Dispatch's Adam Jardy, they hit 25 before Sunday's 1-1 tie in San Jose. No ties since June 1, 2013.
Think 25 games is a long time? Ask the Philadelphia Union, who apparently haven't been awarded a penalty kick in 41 matches and counting.
SUB OF THE WEEK: Rapids manager Pablo Mastroeni is showing a knack for making the right subs. At BMO Field in a match that was going nowhere, he brought in Dillon Serna and three minutes later, Serna has a hand in the game-winning goal by Edson Buddle, his 99th career MLS goal (the Rapids are 5-0-1 all-time when Buddle scores). They were the Rapids' first points ever away to Toronto FC, although the club won its only MLS Cup at BMO Field (against FC Dallas in 2010).
TOUCH OF THE WEEK: Why not! The LA Galaxy game-winner by Robbie Keane is being praised for the Stefan Ishizaki cross. But even more exquisite was Ishizaki's first touch to settle the ball out of the air BEFORE the cross (WATCH IT HERE).
Ishizaki's emergence as the creative force for the LA Galaxy continues a theme of the 2014 season: The rise of a new group of technically advanced, inventive playmakers: Ishizaki, Vincent Nogueira (Philadelphia), Pedro Morales (Vancouver), Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas), Harry Shipp (Chicago) and Michael Bradley (Toronto).
NAME THAT TUNE: Real Salt Lake know how to play that game too well, enough to outdo the disc jockey of Philadelphia's PPL Park.
So much Drake on the PPL playlist we’re looking for the Kentucky student section
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) April 12, 2014
NAME THAT BAND: The Seattle Sounders aren't the only team with live in-game music. On Saturday, the Virginia Commonwealth University band performed to rave reviews.
— Pedro Aida (@PedroAidaRVA) April 13, 2014
INJURY WATCH: Revs fans are sweating it out over the right quad injury that knocked out captain and reigning MLS Defender of the Year Jose Goncalves. Equally alarming was oft-injured Dallas midfielder Peter Luccin abandoning a sub appearance as well as Chivas USA rookie Thomas McNamara gripping his knee before leaving on a stretcher in a non-contact injury.
TALKING TIFO: DC United supporters take the cake this weekend:
— World Cup Art (@WorldCupArt) April 12, 2014
BROADCAST GEMS: The first one goes to Dan Kelly's call of the Quincy Amarikwa goal vs. the Impact: "Montreal, welcome to Amarikwa!" And then Colorado Rapids play-by-play man Richard Fleming offered us one that we'll probably be recalling whenever a player is floored by a ball to the midsection. "I think it's one of those occasions when a gentleman just needs a moment," he said when TFC 'keeper Julio Cesar took a low blow.
— Irish Joe (@JoeMaskivish) April 12, 2014
NFLers DO MLS: Former New England Patriots lineman Joe Andruzzi was part of the Revolution's pregame ceremonies to remember the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy. And a current NFL player, 49ers linebacker Dan Skuta, is buddies with Quakes left back Jordan Stewart and did an in-game interview for the San Jose Earthquakes broadcast. Either it was really warm, he sweats easily or he was very nervous.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK: Our favorites from this weekend:
DC United now with more wins than New York, Chicago, Montreal, and Philadelphia combined.
— Kevin Kinkead (@PhilUnionKevinK) April 13, 2014
Another obdurate away performance (most appropriate word). We'll take three points through customs again. Whole team was fantastic. #COYR
— Clint Irwin (@ClintIrwin) April 13, 2014
JUSTICE FOR 96: They were also remembering the Hillsborough tragedy thousands of miles away from Anfield Road this weekend. Here's how MLS supporters did it:
— Kyle Branson (@Kyle_SoB) April 13, 2014
— Kyle Branson (@Kyle_SoB) April 13, 2014
THEY'RE NOT JUST SOCCER PLAYERS: These MLS guys - they're also good people. Especially Chris Wondolowski, who helped a high schooler clinch a prom date after putting in a full 90 vs. Columbus.
— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) April 13, 2014
— Erika Cook (@ErikaRyanCook) April 13, 2014