Now that Dallas has dispatched New England, courtesy of Blas Perez, we can rest easy knowing that FC Dallas sit comfortably at the top of the Western Conference for at least one more week.
Consider us fortunate, as fans of some other teams cannot say the same thing, specifically Seattle.
The Seattle Sounders looked listless in a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. While any visiting team is granted a bit of leeway as far as results are concered, it's a different story when said team looks lost and disoriented most of the match. At no point did Seattle really look capable of staging a comeback, and the scoreline flatters their performence.
If not for Michael Gspurning performing magic tricks the score could have been 4-0 at the half. Seattle only has one competitor for "Worst Half of the Weekend", Montreal, and it could have been much worse. Gspurning will likely be up for save of the week for (take your pick) one of his stops in the 34th minute. While not acrobatic feats of wonder, his positioning is perfect and he closes down the Sandoval's angle so quickly that it merits some considering. None of his saves were of the eye-popping variety, but the lack of diving saves hides the fact that he had maybe the best performance out of any goalkeeper this weekend.
Sigi Schmid is coming under considerable pressure to fix his squad, and with a match against Liga MX powerhouse Santos Laguna coming up, things could get ugly in a hurry.
RSL on the other hand should be commended, since again their lineup was lacking due to injury, and yet they easily handled the Sounders. Losing Robbie Findley to injury early on cannot be easy, but when you can bring on Joao Plata to cover for him, your team isn't in bad shape. Luis Gil has also had a good few weeks with his team.
Another team that looked lost was the Montreal Impact. Montreal never looked like they would do so much as inconvenience Sporting Kansas City, and losing 2-0 in a rather convincing fashion. They are no longer perfect, and Sporting the controlled the game so thoroughly that talk of "the best team in MLS" will be significantly tempered this week.
There isn't really much to say about the game other than Sporting did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. In the fifth minute Claudio Bieler scored a nice goal from right outside the box and from then on it was one way traffic. Montreal was left scrambling for what little scraps of possession they could muster, and while they tried quite hard to move the momentum in their favor, Sporting snuffed it all out rather quickly. The best you could say about the Quebecian team is that the Impact never quit, which speaks well for their motivation. They will likely dust themselves off and be ready for their next game.
Chivas USA continued its march to shut up critics of its personnel choices (read: me) by keeping pace with FC Dallas for the Western Conference lead. The match was well contested, but the Vancouver Whitecaps did not have enough in them to beat the Goats on their home turf.
Let's pass by a match description and move on to discuss something a bit more troubling: Chivas don't suck, and they haven't been lucky. Their movement off the ball is quick and last night there were long stretches where the entire team looked perfectly in sync. I've said before that Chivas USA, man to man, are not a particularly impressive outfit. None of that matters though when they understand each other on the field so well.
It is not fair to Vancouver to say that Chivas dominated them, but the Goats definitely earned their three points in a firm manner, and have looked consistent, if not excellent, in all their matches thus far. It's a shame all of 12 fans showed up yet again last night at the Home Depot Center.
Who ever thought at the beginning of the season that FC Dallas fans would be troubled by Chivas?
New York finally won for the first time in five games, dispatching the Philadelphia Union 2-1. The goals came from Dax McCarty, who scored a hockey-style goal that deflected off his foot and into the net, and from Thierry Henry. Henry performed as well as you could possibly ask any bench player to, and his missed bicycle kick attempt is being talked about almost as much as his goal.
I would link his goal here, but this is a bit more impressive in my opinion, even if it's a missed shot.
Food For Thought:
- What is going on with Seattle, and how hard will it be to fix? "Fire Sigi" has already started popping up as a solution. That is usually a rash accusation, but it finally merits some consideration. His team does not look motivated or prepared.
- Are you surprised by Toronto FC's recent efforts? They only have four points, but that's already far more than last year at this time (I believe they had zero points). They had LA on the ropes just before the equalizer. They look a much improved group from last year.
- Do you fear Chivas USA?
- Who is the best club in MLS 5 weeks in?