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Kick Off - Michael Farfan (July 4, 2012)
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Kick Off: Union take care of the fireworks show on July 4

Who needs fireworks on July 4 with this kind of action.

If the shock return of Omar Gonzalez and the sighting of Frank Lampard in the stands wasn’t enough to get your attention on July 4 in LA, the Philadelphia Union took care of the rest. Superb goals at the end of each half by Jack McInerney and Michael Farfan were enough for the Union to shock the defending champion LA Galaxy (watch the highlights here).

"It's a season-changer," said McInerney, who scored a stunning back heel goal to the far post. "We have a couple of home games, and if we can build off this, if we can string a couple of wins together, we're right back in the playoff race."

LA’s Robbie Keane had multiple opportunities in the first half but a combination of poor finishing and great goalkeeping from Philly's Zac MacMath kept the Galaxy off the board in that first half: “We gave a game away,” LA manager Bruce Arena said. “We have people in position to get us results and we don’t get it done.”

“We should be five wins in a row right now,” bemoaned Galaxy captain Landon Donovan. Perhaps they need a “Superman.” That’s what Philly manager John Hackworth called Farfan on the night.

Maybe that “Superman” is Lampard? The Chelsea midfielder was watching the match from a suite with suspended Galaxy star and compatriot David Beckham. (PHOTOS)

In addition to Gonzalez’s return in LA, former MLS MVP David Ferreira finally made his first league appearance since April 2011 for FC Dallas in their 1-1 tie with Toronto FC (watch the highlights here). Even the opposing manager was happy to see the Colombian.

But the bigger story was Dutchman Danny Koevermans scoring his ninth goal in nine games as Toronto FC came back for the road tie and registered their fifth positive result in a row under new manager Paul Mariner. “If we keep this work up, maybe we still have a chance for the playoffs," said TFC goalkeeper Milos Kocic.

FC Dallas, who haven’t won a game since April 14, will have their work cut out for them against San Jose on Saturday. They should get a boost when Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant scarves the Lamar Hunt statue on that day.

It also seems like an eternity since the Seattle Sounders won a league game, specifically nine matches and nearly two months. So it may be somewhat surprising that they felt as good as they did about last night’s 0-0 draw at RSL (watch the highlights here): "We're happy with the result," manager Sigi Schmid said. "We're happy that we played to a shutout. That was one of the things we wanted to concentrate on today."

Real Salt Lake also earned a shutout despite the fact that manager Jason Kreis decided to give two defenders – Kenny Mansally and Kwame Watson-Siriboe – their very first starts for the club.

RSL’s Will Johnson accused the Sounders of going to Rio Tinto Stadium and contributing to a “boring game.” Said Johnson: "They came and parked the bus and tried to hit us on the counter. If you don’t get a goal on them, then they’re allowed to do that for the full 90 minutes, which makes for a boring game."

In the end, it was a scoreless draw that left both teams happy. Here’s the assessment of RSL captain Kyle Beckerman, who saw his club garner a point after three straight losses: “The good news is we're playing good soccer and there aren't a ton of teams that can say that," he said.

There aren’t a ton of teams that go into Colorado and win, especially on July 4. But the Vancouver Whitecaps, who saw DP Barry Robson make his debut, pulled it off with a goal from rookie forward Darren Mattocks (watch the highlights here).

Did you know that Mattocks, who apparently has earned the nickname “Pavel Bure of MLS,” chose to play in MLS after declining a deal from Brondby in Denmark? “I thought MLS would be a good starting point for my career,” Mattocks said. “It was a better offer and it was closer to home. Denmark is so far away from Jamaica.”

Something that caught the eye of many fans from the match: Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon’s decision to go with really short shorts to combat the humidity. “Oh man, I was dying even before warmup,” Cannon said after the match. “It seemed sticky – it was really hot tonight so I just decided to wear some shorts tonight and give my legs a little breather, and luckily it worked out because otherwise, I would have passed out.”

There was plenty of controversy in Montreal after the referee whistled two penalty kicks in favor of visiting Sporting Kansas City, helping them overturn a 1-0 deficit and beat the Impact 3-1 (watch the highlights here). SKC manager Peter Vermes admitted that this was revenge for his club: “Absolutely, we talked a lot about that word ‘revenge.’”

Manager Jesse Marsch didn’t want to get fined again for postgame referee comments, so captain Davy Arnaud did the talking. But Sporting say the penalty kicks were legitimate calls.

Help is on the way for Montreal fans. Reports are that the Impact are set to sign Italian defender Alessandro Nesta, who was pictured with Montreal owner Joey Saputo in a suite last night. (PHOTO)

MLS clubs looking to dip their toes in the DP market may be looking at 2010 World Cup star Diego Forlán, who will be available on a free transfer this summer, according to an agreement reached with Inter Milan.

San Jose Earthquakes fans have reason to celebrate: Your fellow Quakes supporter Joey Chestnut won the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. (PHOTO)

The Red Bulls didn’t play this midweek but here’s something that will give them their fill: NYRB president Chris Heck spoke to Red Bulls podcast Seeing Red. (AUDIO)

Here’s a first: You can’t even spot the United States national team in the latest FIFA world rankings. Unless you go to the expanded table, that is.

In other international soccer news, Corinthians were crowned Copa Libertadores champions and that made one MLS player very, very happy. (VIDEO)

Lastly, according to Sky Italia’s Mario Giunta in Italy, Michael Bradley has already completed his medical with AS Roma ahead of an announcement revealing his move to the American-owned Serie A giants.

But Roma want to make sure that it’s clear that the Bradley acquisition is not some marketing ploy.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

Anatomy of a Goal: Total football by San Jose Earthquakes

March to the Match: Midseason award tour

The Sideline: Steps taken for joint Copa América


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