MLS Weekend Wrap: Goals, Recaps and Stats
Week 8 of Major League Soccer was book-ended by two 1-1 draws in which a late goal earned a point for the San Jose Earthquakes and the Houston Dynamo.
None of the other matches ended in a draw.
The New York Red Bulls scored the most goals and had the largest margin of victory of any team in Week 8 with their 4-1 drubbing of the New England Revolution.
Landon Donovan, the legend, opened his 2013 scoring and assisting accounts by setting up the game-winner for LA in the first half and finishing with an insurance goal late in the match. Welcome back, Donovan.
FC Dallas continued to roll with another victory over a Western Conference opponent.
Obafemi Martins scored his first Major League Soccer goal and helped the Sounders collect three points for the first time during the 2013 MLS campaign.
Philadelphia's Jack McInerney netted two in a Union road victory against D.C. United. That makes it six on the season for the young American. He now leads MLS.
There was plenty of drama to speak of. All that and more in this weeks' edition of the MLS Weekend Wrap.
Toronto FC 1-1 Houston Dynamo
Toronto FC was seconds away from securing its first home victory since July 18 of last season; however, it was the Dynamo's Warren Creavalle playing the spoiler role for Houston.
Creavalle's 94th-minute finish evened the score at 1-1 and secured a critical road point for Eastern Conference contenders the Houston Dynamo.
Houston was forced to play with 10 men after Jermaine Taylor was shown red for a foul on Toronto FC strker Robert Earnshaw.
The Reds opened the scoring in the middle of the second half when Jeremy Hall created space outside the box with a beautiful Cruyff-style cut. His brilliant right-footed strike was true and torched the back of the net.
Creavalle's late header right in front of the goal ensured shared spoils on the day.
Toronto more than doubled Houston in total shots: 16 for the latter and 7 for the former.
The home side attempted only five shots from outside the box. Of the five, only one reached the target: Creavalle's screamer. The other four were either blocked (two) or missed the target entirely (two).
Both teams are home next weekend in MLS. Toronto FC host the Red Bulls while the Houston Dynamo welcome the Colorado Rapids.
Toronto FC also have a midweek test at home in the Canadian Championship against the Montreal Impact.
Colorado Rapids 0-1 Seattle Sounders
Seattle: Obafemi Martins 27'.
The Seattle Sounders are no longer winless in Major League Soccer this season thanks to a 1-0 road victory in Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Colorado against the Rapids. Designated Player Obafemi Martins opened his MLS scoring account for Seattle.
The 27th-minute tally was the result of a rebound following a Shalrie Joseph attempt that was subsequently parried into a dangerous area right in front of the 6-yard-box. Martins calmly finished.
Colorado threatened and nearly equalized on a few occasions. Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning was up to the task on every attack and claimed a clean sheet for his efforts.
The Colorado Rapids had a distinct advantage in terms of ball recoveries in the midfield third. Their 42 ball recoveries in the middle of the park was 15 better than Seatte's 27.
There were 109 total ball recoveries in the match.
Colorado is on the road against the Houston Dynamo next weekend in MLS. Seattle has this week off from Major League Soccer and head to Philadelphia the following weekend.
New York Red Bulls 4-1 New England Revolution
The New York Red Bulls scored the most goals of any team in MLS this weekend, putting up four on the usually bullish New England defense.
This was a wild affair that saw three goals within the first eight minutes of the match.
Dax McCarty started a prolific day for New York with a strike from outside the box with his left foot within four minutes of the opening whistle. Two minutes later, the Revolution equalized thanks to an ugly own goal from Brandon Barklage.
Fabian Espindola put New York up for a good with a clinical finish another scant two minutes later.
Henry and Jonny Steele added insurance goals for good measure during a match in which they thoroughly dominated in all phases of play.
The Red Bulls were extremely precise in shooting in this match. New York peppered the New England target with 11 shots, of which all but four were on target.
Only three of their shots came from outside the box. All of their shots were in or just around the center of the field.
The New York Red Bulls travel to Canada to face Toronto FC next weekend in an MLS fixture. New England will look to adjust with a home match against the Philadelphia Union.
FC Dallas 2-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
It was another victory for the Western Conference leaders FC Dallas, 2-0 over the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps.
They continue to affirm their potency.
A poor clearance by Brad Rusin for Vancouver lead to a game-winning own goal for Dallas. Blas Perez put the game on ice with a close header in which he found space between the Vancouver backs.
His finish was tidy and his movement was intelligent.
More questions for the Whitecaps here as they leave Dallas without a goal or a point.
FC Dallas utilized the right wing more so than the left. Eighteen of their 29 crosses originated from the latter. They managed seven less, 11, on the left.
Vancouver will hope to revenge this loss in a rematch with Dallas next weekend in Canada. Before that, though, they have a Canadian Championship match scheduled with lower division side FC Edmonton.
Chicago Fire 1-0 Columbus Crew
Chicago: Jeff Larentowicz 83'.
Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz opened his Chicago Fire scoring account with a late goal with his head to earn his team their second win of the early MLS season.
It was a busy day for Andy Gruenebaum as the Fire smashed 21 total shots. For the Crew it was a listless offensive display as they created only six shots, none of which hit the target.
Former Fire player Dominic Oduro returned to Chicago only to see his Crew leave without any points.
Each team committed 15 fouls. All but seven of the 30 total fouls occurred in the midfield third of the pitch.
The Chicago Fire head north to face the Montreal Impact in Canada. The Columbus Crew are home against DC United.
Real Salt Lake 1-0 Chivas USA
Real Salt Lake: Javier Morales 53'.
In a physical match that saw five yellow cards and one red card, Real Salt Lake edged out a 1-0 victory against Chivas USA. Javier Morales scored the lone goal early in the second half.
Morales' header was well-timed and came via a sublime cross from striker Alvaro Saborio.
Chivas had a chance to take a lead after they were awarded a penalty for a handball on RSL defender Ned Grabavoy. However, Edgar Mejia's penalty attempt was critically saved by Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
It was an eventful day for Mejia, who was handed a red card in the 94th minute for clocking Grabavoy with his forearm.
Nick Rimando attempted 32 total passes and all but two landed in the opposition's half of the field.
Both teams are home next weekend. Real Salt Lake face the Los Angeles Galaxy while Chivas USA welcomes the San Jose Earthquakes.
Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 Sporting Kansas City
It was all about Landon Donovan in the Los Angeles Galaxy's 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City.
The American international contributed his first assist and first goal of 2013 for the Galaxy. Both were vintage Donovan-style plays.
His centering pass ended up assisting the game-winning goal for Marcelo Sarvas, who slotted the ball home from very close range.
The Galaxy's second goal came in the middle of the second half when Robbie Keane gifted Donovan a massive chance. The most prolific goalscorer in U.S. national team history calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net with the side of his foot.
It was a big win in a possible MLS Cup final preview between two tactically sound sides.
Landon Donovan affected the match in nearly every area of the field. He had the second most touches of any player on the Galaxy and contributed 10 ball recoveries in the effort, 15 percent of his team's 65 total.
The Galaxy are on the road against Real Salt Lake in MLS next weekend. Sporting Kansas City are home for the Portland Timbers.
D.C. United 2-3 Philadelphia Union
The Philadelphia Union edged out a road victory, 3-2, thanks to Jack McInerney's two first-half goals.
He now leads MLS with six so far in 2013.
The away side started the match with an early two-goal lead with tallies coming within four minutes of each other by Jack McInerney and Conor Casey.
D.C. was defiant, though, storming back within a goal twice after Perry Kitchen scored from a De Rosario pulled-back pass to make the score 2-1 and Leonard Pajoy's close header to make it 3-2. Jack McInerney's second goal held up as the winner.
No such luck for D.C., who had not allowed more than two goals in a game so far this season prior to the match.
There was a difference of seven ball recoveries between the two teams in this match. D.C. was superior here, picking up 57 to Philadelphia's 50. A good majority, 71, occurred in the middle third of the pitch.
Both sides will travel next week in Major League Soccer action. The Union go up against the Revolution. D.C. United will face the Columbus Crew.
San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 Portland Timbers
San Jose rookie Adam Jahn is the newest Earthquake to get in on all the late-game scoring action that's been going on for Frank Yallop and Co. as of late. Jahn's late game-tying goal rescued a point in the rematch of last weekend's 1-0 win for Portland.
Valeri finished a close effort to give the Timbers a one-goal lead at Buck Shaw Stadium.
And then the Quakes did what they seem to always do: Score a dramatic late goal.
Portland finishes the home-and-home with four points while the Earthquakes will have to settle for their lone point.
Steven Lenhart had the most touches in the match but the next closest came in the form of opposing right and left fullbacks Jack Jewsbury and Dwight Morrow.
They combined to connect three out of their four total midfield third pass attempts. Jewsbury completed 39 and misplaced 13 in said area as Morrow synced 27 and turned over eight.
Both teams are on the road next weekend in Major League Soccer action. The Quakes face Chivas USA and the Timbers visit Sporting Kansas City.