By Kevin Kocwara
The Los Angeles Galaxy proved to all of Major League Soccer that they are the best team in the league this weekend by thumping the struggling, but talented, Seattle Sounders, 4-0, on Saturday. The Galaxy’s (7-0-1, 22 pts.) drumming of the Sounders (2-3-3, 9 pts.) prompted Seattle’s ownership to refund the fans that attended because of the poor product that showed up on the pitch.
The win is the eighth for the Galaxy, most in the league, and kept their unbeaten record in tact. Along with having an impeccable 22 points in the MLS (closest points total is the New York Red Bulls with 15), the Galaxy have the stingiest defense in the MLS. The West Coasters have conceded only two goals in eight games, an impressive feat in any league in the world.
As for Seattle, it has been a rough start to their sophomore campaign. After so much promise last year in their inaugural season, the Sounders have yet to find their form this year. Currently they are in the bottom of the Western Conference with eight points, which would see them in the top half of the Eastern Conference table, but is not good enough in the dominant West.
The Sounders were a preseason favorite to contend for the MLS title, but now they look as though they may be lucky to even make the postseason in the tight and talented Western Conference.
Week of firsts
FC Dallas won their first two games of the season last week. They beat in-state rivals Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night and then they squared off against another struggling side, D.C. United, on Saturday night.
United (1-6-0, 3 pts.) won their first game of the season as well during the mid-week with a win over Kansas City Wizards 2-1. Both sides needed this victory to bring them out of the doldrums of their respected conferences. But Jeff Cunningham would get his first goal from the run of play to help push FC Dallas (2-1-4, 10 pts.) past the inept D.C. United with a 1-0 win.
For Dallas, the win put them in a four-way tie in the Western Conference for fourth place, and the loss for D.C. continued their streak of poor performances thus far this season. D.C. is tied with expansion team Philadelphia Union for the worst record in the MLS and on points, but United’s goal differential of minus-11, leaves them at the bottom of the league.
The San Jose Earthquakes thumped the New York Red Bulls, 4-0, in San Jose on Saturday, giving the resurrected Red Bulls only their second loss of the year. When Red Bull defender Luke Sassano was sent off early in the game for a poor challenge on Bobby Convey 13 minutes into play, the humiliation for the Red Bulls began.
Ryan Johnson opened the score sheet just before half at the 44th minute and the Earthquakes (4-2-0, 12 pts.) never looked back. They would add goals from Joey Gjertsen, Chris Wondolowski, and Bobby Burling, all in the second half. The four goals the Earthquake scored was as many as the Red Bulls had given up in their previous in six games.
New York (5-2-0, 15 pts.) still retains the top-spot in the East but that could soon be in jeopardy as they are only a four points ahead of Columbus Crew who have two games in hand as of last weekend.
Heartbreaker for New England
The Columbus Crew narrowly edged out the struggling New England Revolution, 3-2, with a stoppage time goal from Robbie Rodgers, his first since last August. The Crew kept their unbeaten record intact (3-0-2, 11 pts.) while New England lost its fourth straight game and is winless in it’s last five (2-5-1, 7 pts.).
The Revolution have been dealt a tough hand so far this year. Injuries and untimely suspensions have been the team’s fatal flaw and Saturday night’s defeat was no different for the Revs. They traveled light, not able to bring the full compliment of players allowed by the league. Kevin Allston and Edgar Jankauskas were added to the list of players unable to play on Saturday forcing manager Steve Nicol to shift things around a bit in Columbus.
The Revolution started left-midfielder Khano Smith at left back and left-back Seth Sinovic at right back because of the injuries. Chris Tierney was again pushed from his comfortable left-midfield role into the middle of the midfield to try and sure up the middle of the field for the Revolution.
A pleasant surprise for the Revs came from rookie forward Zak Boggs, who got his first start in a Revolution shirt on the left side of the midfield. Boggs would score both of the Revs’s goals in the 29th and 40th minutes.
But the rookie’s two goals wouldn’t be enough as the Crew surged in the second half, attacking the Revolution goal at every opportunity. The Revolution’s goalkeeper, Preston Burpo, and the net’s framework would do all they could to stop the Crew from scoring a winner, but in the end they were overrun by the Crew’s siege and desire in the end. Rodgers scored the game winner in stoppage time as Burpo and the Revolution were scrambling to clear the ball from the box after Darrius Barnes headed the ball off of the goal line. Rodgers went straight for the top netting to finish of the Revolution and get the Crew a much deserved three points.
RSL Unbeatable at Home
Real Salt Lake got back to their winning ways at home at the expense of the struggling Philadelphia Union to the score of 3-0. Real dominated play for most of the game and showed why they were MLS Cup champions last year.
RSL (3-3-1, 10 pts.) capitalized on rookie mistakes Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz and defender Christian Arrieta for two of RSL’s two goals. The Union (1-5-0, 3 pts.) have struggled with giveaways int heir own end and if they can’t clean it up soon they will be looking up at even the struggling D.C. United.
RSL has now won back-to-back games and are unbeaten at home. For Philadelphia it was their third-straight defeat, all on the road.
Dynamo Make Quick Recovery
The Houston Dynamo recovered nicely from a midweek loss to in-stat rivals FC Dallas by blanking Chivas USA 2-0.
The Dynamo (4-3-1, 13 pts.) struck early with a goal in the fourth minute from Brad Davis and then another goal in seventh minute by Dynamo defender Adrian Serioux. Chivas (3-4-1, 10 pts.) was never able to recover. The loss was their first in three games and comes on the heels of a 4-0 thrashing of the Revolution.
The win pushed Houston into second in the Western Conference with 13, while Chivas stayed put at 10 points and is now tied with four other teams for the coveted fourth place in the West.
Kevin Koczwara is a contributing writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.