Impressive wins on the road was one of the biggest themes of the weekend in Major League Soccer, punctuated by Sporting Kansas City’s cathartic win in Houston that snapped the Dynamo’s 36-game home unbeaten streak on the one-year anniversary of BBVA Compass Stadium’s opening.
SKC have been arguably the best road team in the league this year, averaging 1.66 points per game on the road (3-2-1), with a plus-one goal differential. The Philadelphia Union aren’t far behind (3-2-1, with an even goal differential) and the Portland Timbers are the only team with an unbeaten record away from home (1-0-4).
The worst? It’s a three-horse between D.C. United (0-4-1, minus-seven goal differential), the Vancouver Whitecaps (0-4-1, minus-six goal differential) and Toronto FC (0-4-1, minus-four goal differential), but the defending Supporters’ Shield champion San Jose Earthquakes (0-3-2, minus-seven goal differential) and playoff hopefuls Chicago Fire (0-3-1, minus-seven goal differential) are still both winless on the road this season.
As for the matches themselves, five stick out as the biggest road wins of the young season. Here’s a look at the best.
5. LA Galaxy 2, Real Salt Lake 0 – April 27
RSL fans will immediately point to the fact that the club played without striker Alvaro Saborio and defender Chris Wingert, but the Galaxy were the short-handed ones. No Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane or Carlo Cudicini, and Bruce Arena’s guys still came away with a win on the back of goals from Mike Magee and rookie Charlie Rugg. This one woke the league up about what’s lurking on the Galaxy bench.
4. Montreal Impact 1, Seattle Sounders 0 – March 2
Montreal’s impressive second season in MLS got its start at one of the league’s most daunting venues. But a goal from Davy Arnaud in the 35th minute and a solid outing from the Impact defense were good enough to stun the Sounders in the season opener. The Impact proved it was no fluke a week later, with a 2-1 win in Portland.
3. Portland Timbers 3, Sporting Kansas City 2 – April 27
Sporting Park has never really been a true fortress (SKC lost there three times in 2012 and twice already this year), but this was a statement win for the Timbers. For a team that struggled so mightily on the road each of its first two seasons, they looked completely composed in this one, even after they fell behind – twice. Rodney Wallace – who has been arguably the biggest revelation of any player this season – got the game winner.
2. Houston Dynamo 1, LA Galaxy 0 – May 5
The Home Depot Center has traditionally been a house of horrors for the Dynamo, who hadn’t beaten the Galaxy on their home turf since September 2007. The span included four regular-season games and three in the postseason – including each of the past two MLS Cups – before Landon Donovan missed a crucial first-half penalty kick and Andrew Driver scored the second-half winner.
1. Sporting Kansas City 1, Houston Dynamo – May 12
Top of the list for two reasons. Not only did it snap Houston’s MLS-record unbeaten streak at BBVA, but it also gave SKC a moment in the sun after falling to the Dynamo each of the past two years in the postseason, and could provide the psychological edge if they meet in the playoffs again this fall. Bobby Boswell may have called Aurélien Collin’s goal a fluke, but the win? Quite real, indeed.