This week we have had another round of Western Conference dominance, with a few heartbreakers along the way. Highlights ahead!
We start off with the New York Red Bulls, who earned three points in their match against the New England Revolution, but at a high cost. After Thierry Henry chipped a beautiful shot over goalkeeper Matt Reis, the Red Bulls continued attacking; the first minutes were a constant barrage of shots that New England could barely defend. However, during a counter-attack Thierry Henry fell down as though shot, clutching at the back of his leg and not moving from the floor. The signs of a pulled hamstring were clear to any sports fan, and New York held its collective breath. Henry needed help to limp off the field, which he did while clearly in a lot of pain.
The news is sad for all soccer fans, as watching Henry play in MLS is a pretty incredible thing. He simply operates at a skill level few if any players in our league have, and while I'm no fan of New York, I am a fan of good football. Here's to hoping Henry gets well soon, for New York's sake if nothing else. I'm not sure they could do much without him. The second half of the match was a bunkering drill that, while well-executed, hardly plays to the Red Bulls' strength. It is important to note that former FCD man Dax McCarty had one hell of a game. He cut off passes, fought for every loose ball like a lion and generally made himself a pain in New England's butt. The man of the match however was rookie keeper Ryan Meara, who put up some pretty great saves to earn his first clean sheet in front of his friends and family.
In our Nation's capital, D.C. United put on a good show against the Houston Dynamo, winning by a scoreline of 3-2. Throughout the match DC proved to be the better team I thought, outhustling and outplaying the Dynamo at every turn, especially at midfield. Despite their performance going forward, silly defensive lapses allowed Houston back into the game twice before United were finally able to put the game away. Dwayne DeRosario played like a man possessed, putting in his best match of the year so far.
Toronto FC is cursed. There is an ancient hex hanging over the Canadian club, one that forbids them any joy this year of any sort; even a tie is too much for the soccer gods to concede to the poor Reds. Toronto FC dropped a 3-2 result to Real Salt Lake this weekend, with Johnny Steele (greatest name ever) driving the dagger through Toronto's heart very late in the match. It can be argued that Toronto did not deserve the tie, but TFC played with a lot of heart and were testing Nick Rimando even in the late goings of the match. To not even escape with a point out of Rio Tinto is not only bad for FC Dallas, it feels unfair to Toronto but that's how soccer go.
Colorado had a great deal of pent up anger from their previous frustrating losses and brought out the big guns against poor Chivas USA in a soccer version of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Rookie Tony Cascio continues to impress the Rapids faithful, scoring the game-winner and netting an assist while the Goats continue their trend of "not scoring at all", leading to them being shut out for the fifth time this season. Yikes. Their valiant defense put together a good performance right up until the halftime whistle, but I guess the defense decided to stay in the locker room as all of Colorado's goals came in the second half.
With every single western conference opponent except Chivas picking up points, it was a bad day for FC Dallas to blow the lead late against LA. If you told me however at the beginning of the week that we would draw Real Salt Lake and LA, I would have taken it. Denying the defending champions full points at their home is nothing to scoff at, and an easier part of the schedule awaits our Toros as the first quarter of the season ends.
Questions from Week 8:
1) How do you feel about FC Dallas' performance up to this point? Good, bad, mediocre?
2) Do you believe DC United is for real, or is this the result of them playing a weaker conference?
3) Did FC Dallas show that the Galaxy are not the team they were last season, or was the performance a testament to FCD's improvement?
4) Is Toronto as bad as 0-7 indicate?