It's somewhat fitting that the referees are again the center of attention, though mostly in a good way for once. This week was fun for neutral MLS observers with lots of drama and entertaining moments. The USMNT played a great game to boot.
The Colorado Rapids did FCD a big favor by keeping the Sounders at bay, earning a big road draw away at the CLink 1-1. It was a huge result for the Rapids, who were carrying an unsightly seven match losing streak against Seattle. Drew Moor, FCD favorite, got the header in to help make the draw a possibility. The truth is that Colorado wasn't really much of a threat all match long, but they made their chance count.
Again, Seattle disappointed in front of their home fans. There are many reasons for this, starting from the fact that their attack was a bit unlucky. They had decent movement, and came close to scoring the winner a few times later in the game. Osvaldo Alonso did a bit to help, but my lasting impression from the game was that Seattle's midfield was a bit toothless. They weren't as disheveled as FCD, but they definitely did not look like a force to be reckoned with. When DeAndre Yedlin is scoring your goals for you when you have Mauro Rosales and Obafemi Martins, it's a sign that something has gone a bit awry.
Not Lamar Neagle though. That man had a few incredible moments where he closely resembled a soccer playing Michael Flatley.
I "ooooohh"ed at the TV while watching a few of his moves. I don't remember Neagle being all that brilliant before this season, but maybe it's because I wasn't paying as much attention. He certainly has looked like quite the player this year even if he is regressing a bit. He wasn't quite so great this past game outside of his moments, but that's all fine and well. He can't be an earthshatterer every time he takes he field.
Dallas fans didn't have many expectations this season beyond making the playoffs, but Seattle? That team started out with (and still has) MLS Cup ambitions, and they just don't look like that impressive a team. Up and down, brilliant and blah. What to make of these Sounders, I don't know.
The Chicago Fire smashed DC United into a fine paste, 4-1 at Toyota Park. Joel Lindpere had a heck of a game, and despite it only being DC, the Fire can take pride in the fact that they scored four goals against them. In their last nine matches, DC hadn't allowed more than two goals, but the Fire had a commanding 3-0 lead at the half and it wasn't particularly misleading. The Fire defense held firm for the most part, and DC had little to threaten with when they did get close.
It wasn't all bad news for DC (though given the scoreline you can be forgiven for thinking that), as newly acquired Luis Silva scored one heck of a goal.
It was a beauty, but not enough to save DC from the jaws of humiliation.
The Portland Timbers were held to a scoreless draw against the Philadelphia Union away at PPL Park. The Timbers are quickly approaching the league record for draws in a season, and there's no getting around that. Many are quick to praise the Timbers this year, with their lack of losses being the point frequently brought up alongside their style.
The thing is, they're not winning a whole lot either. That "never losing" argument cuts both ways. They couldn't find a way to score on the Union, a team they should have been able to at least score a single goal against. The Union's defense had been a bit more solid the two games preceeding it, letting in only one goal, but that was also against the tepid duo of Houston and Chivas.
For all the love that Portland gets, why is no one focusing on their inability to put other, smaller teams to the sword? For me, that's what keeps them from being labeled as the best in the league.
The New England Revolution bounced back from their heartbreaking loss by breaking another set of hearts in Ohio, defeating the Columbus Crew 2-0. The Crew have to be the team that has disappointed me the most this seasons, as they started out with so much promise and workable talent on the roster. Sadly they have failed to do much of anything with it, and are now effectively done for the season, playing for pride and not much else.
The Revs on the other hand keep chugging along, and if you're a Revs fan this season has to be a nice change of pace. Things really are looking up for New England, as for a few years running now they have been the laughingstock of the east alongside Toronto. This year though things are changing, and Heaps is doing a decent job given the budget constraints placed on his team. His best trick might have been getting rid of Benny Feilhaber.
It also helps to have Jose Goncalves. That man is some defender.
Sporting Kansas City took down Real Salt Lake 2-1 in the game the got the biggest amount of attention from the referee hating crowd. I want to hear no complaints about the red card issued to Chris Wingert. Despite it being a second yellow, he could easily have been sent straight off the field for that or even his earlier tackle that got him his first booking.
I have seen claims that RSL outplayed Sporting and were thus unfairly denied points because of the officiating.
It was a closely contested match, and there's nothing to suggest RSL was the clearly better team. They had some great moments, but so did SKC. If RSL was better at defending set pieces they would not have lost. Wingert had no business being on the field after both his challenges, and Salt Lake is lucky he didn't see a straight red which would have resulted in additional suspensions. Real have been on fire lately, but Sporting are a good team and can beat anyone when they're on their game. To blame this loss on the referee cheats Sporting fans out of the pride they should rightly feel about their teams' big win.
Toronto FC played the New York Red Bulls and didn't lose. That should make some sort of news, right?
Food For Thought:
- Which result surprised you more? Sporting beating RSL, or Colorado drawing Seattle?
- What were your thoughts on the USMNT yesterday?
- Chris Wingert: Should he have seen a straight red?