MLS Saturday Wrap: Goals, Recaps and Interesting Stats
There were 22 goals in eight total games in MLS this weekend. Two of them ended in 2-2 draws: the Los Angeles Galaxy against Toronto FC and the Colorado Rapids against the Portland, which were also the highest scoring affairs of the weekend.
FC Dallas was the only road team to gather all three points in their 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution.
Mike Magee tallied once again for the Galaxy and continues to lead the league with five goals. Toronto FC striker Robert Earnshaw also scored in the match for his fourth of the season. He is one behind Magee in the race for the Golden Boot.
The Montreal Impact dropped their first points of the season on the road against Sporting Kansas City.
It continues to be a week to remember for Graham Zusi, who scored his club's second goal after returning from international duty with the U.S. national team.
Thierry Henry got his first goal of the season. Coincidentally, or perhaps not so much, New York also picked up its first win of the season. His 21 shots lead MLS.
The New England Revolution remained stuck on just one goal this season.
Chivas USA posted another win as well. The Goats are the first MLS team to score 10 goals this season and average two per game. They have done so with 20 shots on target.
It was a very busy weekend in which every storyline was trumped by the return of arguably the greatest player in the history of the league, Landon Donovan, for the Galaxy. The league legend played about 30 minutes in the second half and nearly scored just after entering.
Welcome back, Donovan.
Here are the goals, recaps and interesting stats from all the games.
Toronto FC 2-2 Los Angeles Galaxy
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Landon Donovan returned to the Los Angeles Galaxy in a substitute appearance and helped his team secure a 2-2 draw on the road against Toronto FC.
The Galaxy opened the scoring with a close far-post finish by Magee, the leading goal scorer in MLS with five. TFC striker Earnshaw calmly evened the score, chipping an effort from outside the box into an open net following a poor defensive-third pass from Galaxy back Leonardo.
Donovan had an excellent chance to score upon entering the match in the second half. His touch was slightly off.
Toronto looked as if they would take the lead for good after Luis Silva dished a dangerous ball in for Osorio to finish from inside the six-yard-box.
It was Galaxy teenager Villarreal who stole the show. His extra-time volley was good enough to even the score and is a lock for an MLS Goal of the Week nominee.
Every single one of Donovan's 15 passes took place in the attack half of the pitch. He completed nine. Six passes did not find a Galaxy player. He was dispossessed once in his 29 minutes of play.
The LA Galaxy host Mexican club Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League. Toronto FC will welcome FC Dallas to Canada with a home match in MLS next weekend.
New York Red Bulls 2-1 Philadelphia Union
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The New York Red Bulls were winners for the first time this season, 2-1 over the Philadelphia Union thanks to a game-winning goal from designated player Thierry Henry.
Midfielder Dax McCarty tallied his first goal of the year 10 minutes into the second half with a right-footed shot following a corner kick. Union striker Conor Casey scored with his first touch of the match off a header from a Sheanon Williams throw in to tie the score just a scant few minutes later.
New York controlled the tempo and pace of the contest. When Henry entered in the 59th minute, the side looked particularly dangerous. The Frenchman nearly scored a brilliant bicycle kick goal soon after joining the game.
It was Henry's brilliance that sealed the victory for the Red Bulls. The captain received a chipped pass into the 18-yard box from countryman Peguy Luyindula. Henry was collected in his volley: vintage skill for the left-footed volley finish.
Red Bull back Jamison Olave was active and accurate. He recovered possession eight times for New York and completed 51 of his 58 passes. All but five of these attempts took place in the defensive half of the pitch.
Both teams are on the road in MLS next weekend. The Red Bulls head Chicago for a test against the Fire. The Union are in Columbus and face the Crew.
New England Revolution 0-1 FC Dallas
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FC Dallas: Blas Perez 87'.
Despite the return of Honduran striker Jerry Bengston, the New England Revolution continued their offensive struggles and lost 1-0 to FC Dallas, which scored via Blas Perez late in the match.
Dallas controlled the territory and possession game in the first half. They missed a few opportunities to take an early lead.
The Revolution committed numbers forward in the second half with the intention of winning the match. They created more soccer this way, but were incapable of finding the back of the net.
Perez received an accurate cross from midfielder David Ferreira in the 87th minute and nodded a header off the post and in. Fresh off duty with Panama, Perez was the hero for Dallas. It was all they needed for three points.
New England remains stuck on only one goal this season. Dallas continues to collect points.
More than 50 percent of New England's nine shots came from outside the 18-yard box, five total. Of the five, three were struck by midfielder Lee Nguyen from the right side of the pitch.
New England will take the week off and head to Seattle to face the Sounders the following weekend. FC Dallas head north to Toronto next weekend and face Toronto FC.
Colorado Rapids 2-2 Portland Timbers
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The Portland Timbers rallied from a second-half deficit of two goals to earn a road point against the Colorado Rapids.
Will Johnson scored on a close header with 19 minutes to go to tie the game. The penalty he converted just a few minutes earlier cut Colorado's lead in half.
Colorado midfielder Dillion Powers opened the scoring for the Rapids with a screaming strike from beyond the 18-yard box. Hendry Thomas converted a penalty to give the home side a 2-0 lead.
This was an even game in terms of possession. Colorado had many more chances, but will rue poor shot accuracy.
Speaking of accuracy, the Rapids were ineffective at putting their shots on target. Of their 18 total shots, only three managed to find the frame. Ten missed completely and five were blocked. Six of their misses came from outside the 18-yard box.
Both teams are home next weekend in MLS. The Colorado Rapids face rivals Real Salt Lake, while the Timbers face the Houston Dynamo.
Houston Dynamo 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes
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The Houston Dynamo once again reminded the league why they are so tough at home in a dominating 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes. Two first-half goals from Will Bruin and Giles Barnes secured the victory for Houston.
This was an even game in terms of a few metrics. The Dynamo had possession for 51 percent of the match. Each team also won the same amount of individual duels.
San Jose, however, struggled to test Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall. Of their 10 total shots, only one was put on target. Five shots missed the goal completely, and four were blocked.
Bruin got his first goal of the season with a one-touch finish well inside the 18-yard box. Barnes buried an inch perfect cross from teammate Brad Davis with his head for the insurance goal.
More evidence of just how dangerous Houston is this season.
San Jose left back Justin Morrow led the game in touches. Of his 20 attempted passes in the defensive half of the pitch, Morrow connected 16.
Opposing left back Corey Ashe had the second-most touches of anyone in the game. He had one less than Morrow.
Houston host the Portland Timbers this coming Saturday, and San Jose is home to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Sporting Kansas City 2-0 Montreal Impact
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Sporting Kansas City ended the Montreal Impact's perfect season by winning 2-0 in a game they dominated.
Claudio Bieler opened the scoring just five minutes into the match by perfectly placing a right-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net from outside the 18-yard-box.
Back from two huge matches with U.S. national team, Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi ensured the victory with a well-taken finish following a Benny Feilhaber through ball. Feilhaber also assisted the first goal.
The usually efficient Montreal offensive struggled to create quality chances. Only one shot on target is something they will hope to soon forget.
The match was almost even in regards to possession, just about 52 percent in favor for Sporting Kansas City.
Overall, the home side had solid defending and a good showing.
Feilhaber was in a giving mood during this match. The American created seven total chances, including two assists, throughout the match. Both assists originated on the left side of the pitch in the attacking half, close to the midfield circle.
Sporting Kansas City is home against DC United next weekend. The Montreal Impact have a break until the following weekend when they host the Columbus Crew.
Real Salt Lake 2-1 Seattle Sounders
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The Seattle Sounders will need to wait even longer for their first MLS win of the season after losing at the hands of Real Salt Lake Saturday, 2-1.
For Salt Lake, it was the first time this during this campaign that someone other than Alvaro Saborio has scored a goal. Robbie Findley tallied in the eighth minute after a broken play in the box and a close finish. Luis Gil gave the team a second goal with his head from a corner kick later in the first half.
Brad Evans brought Seattle within a goal in the early stages of the second half with his finish off the post. It would be the only goal for the Sounders.
Even in terms of possession, Real Salt Lake were far superior in terms of chance creation.
Obafemi Martins got his first start for the Sounders. Michael Gspurning was particularly impressive in goal as Seattle tried to get back into the match.
Overall, a high-quality soccer match.
DeAndre Yedlin touched the ball more than anyone else in this match. He completed 19 of his 24 pass attempts in the attacking half of the field.
Real Salt Lake travels to face rivals Colorado. The Seattle Sounders host Mexican club Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions league.
Chivas USA 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
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Another victory for the surprising Chivas USA keeps them second in the Western Conference table after beating the Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-1, in Los Angeles.
Rookie Alvarez helped get the Goats on the board when his shot deflected off of a Vancouver defender and into the back of the net in the 11th minute. Avila got the game-winner thanks to a well-timed volley inside the 18-yard box just 10 minutes after halftime.
Kenny Miller brought one back for the Whitecaps nine minutes later with a headed goal following a rebound from a hard shot. It would be the only goal on the afternoon for Vancouver.
The away side had the better of play in a few critical statistical categories, including shots, possession, crosses and passes. Ultimately, their efforts were unsuccessful despite some beautiful combination play at times.
Chivas USA subbed out the dynamic Juan Agudelo due to injury just 34 minutes into the match.
Bobby Burling defender led Chivas USA in clearances with nine. Only one took place inside his own 18-yard-box.
Another road test for the Vancouver Whitecaps next weekend as they head to San Jose to face the Earthquakes. Chivas USA is off from MLS play until the following weekend when they face the Colorado Rapids at home.