White-clad bodies float sadly in the Charles River, the remains of a gruesome scene at Gillette Stadium yesterday afternoon.
The New England Revolution blew away the LA Galaxy 5-0 in a glorious thumping, stealing three points from our conference rivals and allowing soccer writers the pleasure of penman's Schadenfreude at the Champions' expense.
The Revs held a lead at halftime due to Saer Sene's lovely goal to open the proceedings. Taking the lead would have been nice enough, but in case you hadn't heard, this was Sene's first goal since returning from major surgery. Opening your season goal account is always nice, but doing so after recovering from a big injury is a massive boost to any strikers' confidence.
Imagine then the joy of Revs fans, who not only saw their team pick apart LA like so much cooked chicken, but who also are seeing a lineup that has begun to put it all together and have won three in a row. If Sene can build upon his good first outing, the Revs might have something to say after all in the Eastern Conference race.
The Galaxy were simply woeful. They had a few good looks on goal, and failed to put them away. Much like Germany, they went on to rue their missed chances. Once the Revs got their go-ahead goal, the Galaxy seemed to lose belief and stopped playing proper soccer. Had Bruce Arena suited up and replaced one of his players, it might have been an improvement.
There was a moment of controversy though regarding a free kick. The Revs didn't allow the Galaxy time to set a wall before continuing the run of play, which surprised the Galaxy and allowed the Revs to score a goal
Was this really the LA Galaxy side that took down Seattle so convincingly last week?
The Vancouver Whitecaps finally got some respite from the incessant criticism, as they downed the New York Red Bulls 2-1 away at Red Bull Arena on Saturday. Oddly enough, the Red Bulls didn't personally score any of the goals on the scoreboard, as their opening tally against the Whitecaps came at the hands (feet?) of Caps defender Greg Klazura.
The game saw a red card handed out to Jamison Olave, who earned a dubious second yellow card for a tackle on game-winning goal scorer Kenny Miller. Mike Petke kept his mouth from getting him into serious trouble this time however, though now he knows that should he wish it, the fans have his back (insert Link). Whether you agree with Petke or not (personally, I believe silence is best observed), it's pretty neat to see the fans backing their manager in such a public manner. That (fans backing the manager) is not something that the Red Bulls have had a whole lot of recently.
The loss puts the Whitecaps at 4-4-4 on the season. There have been so many false-starts for the Caps (remember how the draw against Dallas was supposed to be the jumping point?) that even Flozell Adams is getting jealous, so its best to wait before anointing this the part where they finally turn it around. New York though can write this one off. Even great teams stumble.
Goonie magic? More like Goonie curse. The San Jose Earthquakes lost yet again, this time to Real Salt Lake, by an unflattering 3-0 margin. Frank Yallop is running out of ideas, but two things have been hindering his team.
One, their opponents they have met up with have all been playing some pretty good soccer. In this case, Javier Morales and Robbie Findley played at their 2009 levels, while the rest of the Salt Lake team pressed and possessed in the way the team does when it's in form. The players hustled, the defense was solid, and the midfield smothered rookie Adam Jahn to the point where he was completely ineffective. Whether Jahn's invisibility is due to RSL's midfield dominance, or his own inexperience playing in MLS midfields is up for debate.
Two, the Earthquakes just can't seem to stop getting themselves suspended. In a season where San Jose began with an injury list that kept key players out of games, Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart have seen fit to get themselves retroactively ejected as much as possible. Now Victor Bernardez can add himself to that list. While the Quakes have been far from "abysmal", they have not been good. Fielding the same starting XI week in and week out could do a massive favor for their team. Unfortunately for both Yallop and Quakes fans, certain players on the roster seem to be more interested in hitting people in various forms rather than focusing on the soccer being played. Where could the Quakes be in the standings if they had kept themselves out of trouble?
In a game that shocked the entire membership of the International Society of Cave Dwellers, the Seattle Sounders handily beat Chivas USA 2-0, and hardly broke a sweat doing so. It's a very fortunate thing for the Goats that ter Stegen of Germany scored the funniest own goal I've ever seen, because otherwise Mario de Luna would be on the lips of every pundit in North America. How bad was the own goal?
It's almost as if, in a form of protest at his team's ownership, de Luna aims at his own net and seals the victory for Seattle. But that would be crazy to suggest, wouldn't it?
But, what if...? I mean, it is a pretty good own goal. If you're going to score one, you might as well do so in style.
The Monreal Impact can no longer be denied any credibility whatsoever. They went into Sporting Park and took the scalp of media-darlings Sporting Kansas City, winning 2-1.
Of course, Montreal Head Coach Marco Schällibaum wasn't around to witness the final victory of his own team, having been ejected from yet another game against the Kansas City outfit. He's now a perfect 2-2 in ejections in his games against Sporting, and given his fiery temper, I wouldn't put it past him to make it an ejection hat-trick later in the season.
After a penalty kick goal put the hosts up 1-0 at the half, Schällibaum's changes (if he made any himself, seeing as he was senf off at the break) made an immediate impact, and within 8 minutes of the second half the Impact held the lead, courtesy of goals from Collen Warner and Sanna Nyassi.
It wasn't all easy though. Once Marco "Touchline-ban" Schällibaum was out of the picture, the team lost another squad anchor in Alessandro Nesta, who was ejected in the 74th minute for (and you thought the French had this market cornered) headbutting Claudio Bieler.
I can't say that I think less of Nesta for headbutting Bieler. While that sort of physical violence should never take place in a game, there are few players more deserving of a good head-butting than Bieler. In his short time in our league, Mr. Bieler has made a name for his off the ball antics. Whether he's insulting players, slapping them when the referee isn't looking, or throwing a pointless elbow into someone's ribs, he has qiuckly become hated across the Eastern Conference.
I'm not one to condone physical aggression, but it's hard to begrudge the Italian bowling over Bieler. Perhaps Bieler will learn that there are those who will not take his bullying in stride.
According to Montreal sports writer Dave Lévesque, Peter Vermes refused to shake hands with Mauro Biello, the Assistant Coach for the Impact. He supposedly look at him and said "F*** off, you guys are classless."
He might have a point, but to me that's the sign of a sore loser. Vermes has never struck me as a man who takes losing well, and it's the height of hypocrisy coming from a man whose team's physicality is well known around the league.
MLS Quick Hits:
- Toronto blew another lead. I'm just going to start copying and pasting this sentence into every Around MLS bit I write from here on out.
- The Houston Dynamo aren't quite out of their funk, though drawing at Columbus isn't a terrible result. Columbus needs to start winning at home if they are going to be taken as seriously as they were in the beginning of the season. At the moment they're just "meh".
- Go USA! There was some sweet vengeance for my Ecuador this Sunday, and I reveled in every goal scored against Germany. Loudly.
Food For Thought
- Do you think less of Nesta after his Zidane-esque strike on Claudio Bieler?
- Snap judgements are what speculation is all about: Will New England make the playoffs?
- Does Peter Vermes deserve a reprieve for his comments against Mauro Biello?
- International week: Do you watch anything besides the USA?