There was plenty to celebrate this past weekend as the curtain dropped on the first month of the 2013 season.
Landon Donovan made his expected return to the LA Galaxy camp, along with an unexpected appearance in a game. Houston tied the MLS record for longest home unbeaten streak. There were sweet goals in all eight games, and several matches produced dramatic, late twists. There were also important contributions from four US Under-20 national team players.
In short, Week 5 was another exciting round of MLS action, filled with quality play and thrilling endings. But given the date, today’s Monday Postgame is skipping the perfect line readings and going with the blooper reel: We’re taking a couple of the week’s bonehead plays, and seeing where they fit among the gaffes of the year so far. In other words, we’re looking for the MLSer who has best played the fool in 2013.
The nominees are…
FC Dallas created a number of chances against New England on Saturday, with nothing to show for it as the game clock approached 87 minutes in a 0-0 match at Gillette Stadium.
Fortunately for the visitors, striker Blas Pérez found the net in the 87th minute, nodding home David Ferreira’s beautifully lofted cross to win the game for FCD and keep them in sole possession of first place in the West.
But if the big Panamanian hadn’t pipped in that late winner, there would have been several Dallas players ruing blown chances – but none more than Jackson, who started the trend of missed opportunities with the most glaring one of all in the 14th minute.
After Kenny Cooper got free on the right side of the area and sent a bouncing cross through the six-yard box, Jackson surged to the far post to meet it, and, with the goal gaping in front of him … let the ball slip between his legs and roll harmlessly over the endline.
WATCH: Jackson misses on the doorstep
Trailing Houston 2-0 in the 68th minute at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night, the San Jose Earthquakes generated a sequence similar to the one that created Jackson’s gaffe, only in this case, they had the man you’d want on the end of the final pass, probably more than any other player in the league.
That would be reigning Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski, who finishes those kinds of plays in his sleep. But this time, when Cordell Cato’s driven cross zipped through the box to his feet, five yards in front of an open net, Wondo … pulled a Jackson, and completely missed the point-blank chance.
Wondo later hit the post with a header, and Houston held on for a 2-0 win, extending their home unbeaten streak to a record-tying 34 games.
Where do those bouts of foolishness rank with the previous leading bonehead plays of the young season…?
WATCH: Wondolowski with a rare miss
Earnshaw has made some early hay this year by pouncing on errors by defenders. In Toronto’s home opener against Sporting KC in Week 2, the Welshman swooped in on a careless square ball in the back by Sporting center back Matt Belser to score TFC’s opener in an eventual 2-1 win.
That dangerous pass in a dangerous area was a Top 5 gaffe from the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year.
WATCH: Besler's gaffe leads to Earnshaw goal
Besler’s counterpart in Columbus, Brazilian center back Gláuber, may have outdone the SKC man in the howler department that week. The Crew were tied 1-1 with the Whitecaps in the 57th minute of their Week 2 meeting in Vancouver when Gláuber received a pass from his goalkeeper, Andy Gruenebaum, and immediately coughed up the ball to Whitecaps striker Kenny Miller.
The Scotsman steamed in and scored what turned out to be the gamewinner. The new Crew defender made amends in Columbus’ home opener the following week, scoring his team’s goal (on a diving header) in a 1-1 tie with San Jose.
WATCH: Gláuber's giveaway leads to Miller's finish
As glaring as the above gaffes were, the early leader for mistake of the year remains the pacesetter by Colorado backup keeper Steward Ceus, whose misadventure in Week 1 against FC Dallas will be hard to beat.
Looking to snuff out a long ball over the top from Dallas midfielder David Ferreira, Ceus got it all wrong, straying outside his area, misjudging the ball’s bounce and missing his attempt at a headed clearance.
As he flailed forward, FCD’s Jackson slipped in and scored the game’s only goal into an empty net, delivering a season-opening three points to Dallas.
WATCH: Ceus misses clearance, Jackson pounces
Week 5 Honorable Mentions
There were some other noteworthy lapses this week: In Toronto, Galaxy keeper Carlo Cudicini hooked up with defender Leonardo to hand a goal to Toronto FC striker Robert Earnshaw in the 29th minute of the teams’ 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon.
After Leonardo under-hit a backpass, Cudicini decided to come charging off his line to recover the ball – even though the ball was roughly 30 yards away, and LA had decent cover on the play in Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo. It didn’t end well for Cudicini.
Speaking of untidy endings, Montreal coach Marco Schällibaum punctuated his team’s loss to Kansas City – which ended the Impact’s perfect start to the season – by reportedly dousing the fourth official with water from a nearby squeeze bottle following Graham Zusi’s 79th-minute goal that made it 2-0.