MLS Saturday Wrap: Goals, Recaps and Key Stats from MLS Weekend
Despite an international fixture weekend, Week 4 of MLS is in full swing with seven games on Saturday and one game on Sunday.
There are many interesting matches to discuss. Here are a few of the more notable contests.
The Montreal Impact test their perfect campaign against a Red Bull side missing the services of Thierry Henry (injury) and Tim Cahill (international duty).
Down in the nation's capital, D.C. United and their tight defense welcome the offensively gifted Columbus Crew.
Out west, the San Jose Earthquakes host the Seattle Sounders. Will Obafemi Martins get the start for Seattle after a week of training?
Two-time reigning MLS Cup champions, the Los Angeles Galaxy look to get back on track after last week's draw with Chivas USA. They face the Colorado Rapids.
Colorado's head coach Oscar Pareja is looking for his first win of the season.
Nearly a month into MLS, the results this weekend will help shed light regarding the most in-form sides.
However, it must also be noted that many of the league's best players will be missing due to commitments with national teams.
First up: D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew.
All data comes from MLSSoccer.com, powered by Opta.
D.C. United 1-2 Columbus Crew
The Columbus crew capitalized on two set-piece opportunities to earn three points on the road against an Eastern Conference foe, D.C. United.
Crew defender Josh Williams gave Columbus an early lead with a strong header. His goal was quickly answered from a very long-range effort from United's debutant, Rafael.
The Brazilian's introduction to MLS is surely one he will never forget, a brilliant hit from well beyond the 18-yard box.
Columbus Crew midfielder Ben Speas notched the game-winner with a powerful, laces-led strike from just outside the 18-yard box. Speas' hit was as true as it gets. Just an absolutely screamer.
No answer came from United. Head coach Ben Olsen will rue D.C.'s ineffectiveness in the final third despite maintaining just under 60 percent of possession.
Overall, it was an entertaining, high-action match.
The shot discrepancy tells the story here. The home side only managed nine total shots (five on target). The Crew were far better at unleashing efforts toward goal. They cracked 17 total and found the frame nine times, which was quite the workload for D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
Both teams are off from MLS play next week. The following week, D.C. United are on the road against Sporting Kansas City, and the Columbus Crew will host the Philadelphia Union.
New England Revolution 0-0 Sporting Kansas City
The New England Revolution's home-opener ended in a nil-nil draw against Sporting Kansas City. Not too much beautiful soccer to speak of here. Both sides were poor offensively.
Notably missing from the game were New England striker Jerry Bengtson and Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi. Both are representing their country in CONCACAF play.
The Revolution did not put one shot on target and only mustered up three total.
Their passing was also less than impressive at only a 58-percent accuracy rate. And their wide play was scarce; they pumped in a scant six crosses.
Sporting Kansas City were not much better, managing only to complete 56 percent of their passes. They did get a bit of pressure on the New England goal: 13 total shots with five on target.
This is a game both teams will hope to forget in terms of creative productivity. The prolific amount of giveaways led to a match where the ball was frequently out of play.
The New England Revolution had zero shots on target. Connection was minimal between the midfielder and forward corps.
Both teams are home next week. The New England Revolution will welcome FC Dallas. Sporting Kansas City face a massive test against the perfect Montreal Impact.
Montreal Impact 1-0 New York Red Bulls
Montreal: Marco Di Vaio 14'.
The Montreal Impact remained perfect this MLS season by besting the New York Red Bulls thanks to an early goal from Italian striker Marco Di Vaio.
Di Vaio's movement and penetration gave the New York backs fits all afternoon long. He might have scored at least one more goal had his touch not failed him on a few occasions.
New York's Brandon Barklage received two yellow cards and forced the Red Bulls to play with 10 men for part of the second half. Newly inked French striker Peguy Luyindula had some opportunities to tie the match in his debut performance but was also let down by some misplaced touches.
His first performance was a solid one. This first look suggests he will be a nice addition for head coach Mike Petke.
Both teams were able to threaten the target, but ultimately Montreal's early goal was enough to earn three points. They continue to put the league on notice with their highly tactical, highly cerebral style.
Marco Di Vaio had five shots, many of which were in very dangerous areas. He is a lock to compete for the Golden Boot.
The New York Red Bulls host the Philadelphia Union next week. The Montreal Impact travel to Kansas City for a big match against Sporting Kansas City.
Houston Dynamo 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
The Houston Dynamo came back from a goal down to earn three points against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Darren Mattocks’ first-half goal is a definite contender for MLS Goal of the Year.
The Jamaican International controlled a weighted vertical pass after perfectly finding a gap between the Houston center backs. A quick off-balanced cut and dismissal of a Houston defender and Mattocks curled a beautiful ball past Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.
Houston fought back with two second-half responses just about seven minutes apart.
Barnes headed home a pass that originated within the 18-yard-box from teammate Adam Moffat. They would take the lead permanently with Creavalle’s close finish.
Both sides looked dangerous. This was a technically enjoyable match.
The Houston Dynamo was precise with the ball in the midfield. They utilized quick, pinpoint passes against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Dynamo established an accurate passing game through the midfield third. Dominic Kinnear’s team completed 68 percent of their 290 total passes in the aforementioned area.
This is clearly a side confident in its ability to connect in contested areas.
Both teams are on the MLS schedule next weekend. The Houston Dynamo hosts the San Jose Earthquakes. The Vancouver Whitecaps travel to Los Angeles to face Chivas USA.
FC Dallas 2-0 Real Salt Lake
FC Dallas took advantage of a depleted Real Salt Lake and gained three points in this Western Conference contest.
Fabian Castillo opened the scoring with an inspired individual effort and finish. Jackson provided the insurance dispossessing Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Josh Saunders and finding the back of the net.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Yordany Alvarez received a second yellow card for a dive very late in the match.
Salt Lake was missing its tempo-setter in Kyle Beckerman, its best finisher in Alvaro Saborio and its goalkeeper, Nick Rimando. There were rhythm issues as a result.
The old adage that recovering the ball in midfield is critical in victory holds true in this match.
There were 79 total ball recoveries on the midfield third of the pitch. FC Dallas won back possession on 11 more occasions than did Real Salt Lake in said location. The former won the ball in the midfield third of the pitch 45 times. The latter did so 34 times.
Only Real Salt Lake plays next weekend in MLS. They host the Seattle Sounders. FC Dallas travels to face Toronto FC the following weekend.
San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 Seattle Sounders
San Jose: Chris Wondolowski 46’.
Wondolowski's late first-half strike from beyond the 18-yard box was perfectly placed with the inside of his right foot.
It was all the San Jose Earthquakes would need against the Seattle Sounders.
Seattle was able to maintain some quality possession and got into the attack on a consistent basis. Despite knocking the ball around for a nice majority of the match, Seattle’s 16 attempts only led to four shots that reached the target.
This was a back-and-forth contest, and a quick game to boot. There was a high volume of passes, particularly for the Sounders.
Shea Salinas put in a nice shift on the right side of the park. The San Jose winger was all over the pitch, filling up his Opta Chalkboard with appealing numbers in numerous categories.
His flank play has been quality all season. Against Seattle, he served 12 total crosses and connected four. Salinas was dependable throughout.
Both teams are on the road next weekend in MLS. The Seattle Sounders travel to Real Salt Lake. The San Jose Earthquakes are in Houston for a match against the Dynamo
Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 Colorado Rapids
Los Angeles: Mike Magee 50’.
Magee’s professionally converted penalty kick early in the second half gave the Los Angeles Galaxy the advantage they needed to earn the full three points against the Colorado Rapids.
Colorado were forced to play with 10 men after captain Drew Moor received a red card for an elbow to the head of a Los Angeles player just a few minutes into the second half.
The Rapids struggled to manufacture soccer. The Galaxy continued their recent form, bossing the match from start to finish.
Not much to be impressed by in terms of Colorado and cross creation. The Rapids only managed three total crosses. The Galaxy beat that figure by a terrific amount; they served 21 crosses.
Colorado’s inefficiencies suggest they need to reconsider how they want to and play.
Both teams have MLS matches next week. The Los Angeles Galaxy hit the road for a battle with Toronto FC. The Colorado Rapids are home against the Portland Timbers.
Chicago Fire 1-4 Chivas USA
Quick Recap: Chivas USA scored four goals in a rout of the scarcely dangerous Chicago Fire.
After another positive result for Chivas and another negative result for the Fire, here are two clubs clearly going in different directions.
All of the scoring took place in the second half of the match. Mejia put Chivas ahead; however it was Chicago’s Nyarko, registering the first goal of the season for the Fire, who equalized the score.
Velazquez, back after getting a red card rescinded last week, notched the game winner for Chivas USA with a floating header. Agudelo got his second of the season, showing his strength in the process to make the score 3-1.
Chicago did a better job of creating chances than they have so far this season but still have yet to win a match. They will rue missed opportunities and poor finishing.
Chivas continue to surprise the league with their unique brand of soccer.
Have a look at Agudelo’s effort during this match. The young American put his stamp on the outcome, involving himself on many different areas of the pitch.
His willingness to get contribute was tremendous: 26 successful passes and an overall highly-active pursuit from Agudelo.
Chivas USA hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps next weekend. The Chicago Fire has a break from play for the next two weeks. They then host the New York Red Bulls the following weekend.