MLS Weekend Wrap: Goals, Recaps and Interesting Stats
There were seven total games played in Week 6 of Major League Soccer this weekend.
Of the seven three ended in shared spoils while three teams gained a win for the first time this season.
There were 16 total goals scored by 14 different players for an average of over two goals per game.
Ryan Johnson and Maicon Santos led the weekend in goals with two each.
Johnson's brace was enough to help the Portland Timbers earn their first three points of the season over a physical Houston Dynamo side.
Chicago, too, got their first victory of the year.
One of the better back-to-goal strikers in the league, the forever controversial Steven Lenhart, took the pitch for the first time this season in San Jose's 1-1 draw at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Vancouver utilized a lineup switch in which stars Kenny Miller and Darren Mattocks were not in the starting 11.
The Colorado Rapids also got their first win of the season against rivals Real Salt Lake in the second edition of this campaign's Rocky Mountain Cup. They are now in the drivers seat to win the regional competition with just one match left between the two clubs.
Here are more details about each of the games played so far.
All data is gathered through MLS Soccer.
Sporting Kansas City 1-0 DC United
Sporting Kansas City: Bieler 89'.
Sporting Kansas City topped DC United at home, thanks to a late goal from Claudio Bieler to secure a 1-0 victory. It was Bieler's fourth goal of the season.
United continued to struggle offensively, only managing four shots (one on target). They were outplayed in every phase of the match, be it in the individual battles (35-percent duel-winning percentage) or passing accuracy (66 percent). There are many questions for head coach Ben Olsen to ponder after this loss.
This was, at times, an ugly affair. Consider this: The teams combined for only three shots on target and five yellow cards.
Sporting Kansas City took advantage of quality pressure on the DC United defensive third of the pitch to pick up a ball off a turnover and score. Soony Saad managed to beat a United defender and serve an excellent cross deep into the United box. Bieler's finish was struck with pace and accuracy and found the bottom-right corner of the net.
Two wins in a row for Sporting Kansas City, a team clearly starting to figure out just how dangerous they can be.
Known as a high-pressure club, Sporting Kansas City was active in the middle third of the pitch.
Particularly impressive was the team's ability to disrupt the United passing game in this area. As a unit, Kansas City intercepted 26 total passes in the midfield.
Kansas City also dominated in terms of recovering the ball in the aforementioned third, recording 40 ball recoveries to United's 22 in the midfield.
They also won nine tackles. This was a highly active 90 minutes from the home side.
United face rivals the New York Red Bulls next weekend in MLS play. Sporting Kansas City have a bye. Their next match is also against the New York Red Bulls, a midweek clash on the road.
Toronto FC 2-2 FC Dallas
Toronto FC mounted a remarkable comeback, netting two goals after the 85th minute of the match to tie the score 2-2 against Western Conference leaders, FC Dallas.
Dallas will rue leaving with only one point after being superior for the majority of the 90 minutes. Toronto remain unbeaten at home.
Andrew Jacobson's goal was a close finish following a scramble on a set piece. Blas Perez, retuning to Dallas after international duty with Panama, put the away side up 2-0 with a collected effort after Jackson placed a beautiful long ball on his foot.
TFC got one back when Justin Braun headed in a misplaced punch by the Dallas goalkeeper. Darel Russell's game-tying goal was a cracker from beyond the eighteen yard box, off the far post and in. In short, it was glorious.
Even in terms of the individual battles, Toronto FC held more of the ball, maintaining 54 percent of possession. They deserve credit for their efforts to continue working late in the game, despite being down two goals.
Of the 21 combined total shots, nine were uncorked from outside the box. Of those nine, three missed the target, two were saved, two were blocked, one hit the post and one scored. The three misses all came from the left side of the field.
Toronto FC travel to Philadelphia to face the Union next weekend in MLS play. FC Dallas are also in action, as they host the defending champion LA Galaxy.
Columbus Crew 1-1 Philadelphia Union
The Columbus Crew denied the Philadelphia Union its first-ever win at Crew stadium when Dominic Oduro equalized about midway through the second half, saving the Crew a home point.
This was an even battle overall. Both teams had quality chances to score more than their one goal each. However, inaccuracy was a prevalent theme on the day.
The Union out-shot the Crew 15 to 10 and put more of its efforts on target, too: five on target for Philadelphia and three on target for Columbus.
McInernery's first-half goal was the result of a beautiful flick from teammate Danny Cruz that unlocked the Columbus defense. The result was was three Philadelphia attackers gifted a clear path to goal with little resistance. McInerney finished his big chance with professionalism.
Oduro saved the draw with a shot from inside the box from a tight angle that was hit with pace. It was a pure strike from the Ghanian.
In terms of ball recoveries in the midfield third, this match was about as even as the scoreline.
Of the 100 ball recoveries in this match, 63 were won in the midfield. The Columbus Crew won 31, while the Philadelphia Union won 32.
Both teams are in action in MLS next weekend. The Columbus Crew are on the road in Montreal against the Impact. The Philadelphia Union host Toronto FC.
Colorado Rapids 1-1 Real Salt Lake
Colorado: Atiba Harris 5'.
The Colorado Rapids nabbed their first win of the season, thanks to an early goal from Atiba Harris, in this season's second version of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
Colorado's rookie goalkeeper Clinton Irwin was critical in the win and clean sheet, recording three total saves including an early save on an Alvaro Saborio penalty kick attempt drawn by midfielder Kyle Beckerman right after the Rapids scored.
Irwin becomes the first goalkeeper in the history of MLS to face a penalty in each of his first three starts. The first two were converted. Not so this time around.
RSL maintained the majority of the ball (60 percent), but Colorado worked to stifle much of the Salt Lake creativity.
Saborio nearly tied the match with a late header two minutes into stoppage time. His effort was slightly off-target.
The win gives Colorado an excellent chance at securing the Rocky Mountain Cup this season. It would be their first time doing so since 2006. These teams meet once more this season.
This was a game that trended mostly towards the flanks, particularly the right side for Colorado in Brian Mullan and the left side for Real Salt Lake in Kenny Mansally.
These two easily had the most touches in the game. No other players even came close.
When the ball did find the middle of the park, Kyle Beckerman was accurate. The American completed 56 of 61 midfield pass attempts.
Both teams are on the road next weekend in MLS. Colorado will face Chivas USA. Salt Lake head to Canada for a test against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Portland Timbers 2-0 Houston Dynamo
The Portland Timbers have Ryan Johnson's second-half brace to thank for securing its first win of the season. The three points also marked the first victory for debutant MLS head coach Caleb Porter.
This was a physical affair that saw two Timbers' players, David Horst and Diego Valeri, leave the match due to injury.
After a scoreless first half, the home side seemed driven by their fallen compatriots. They were energized and focused in the second stanza.
Johnson's first goal came 10 minutes into the second half, after teammate Diego Chara whipped a nice cross into the box. The Jamaican was able to finish with his favored left foot.
His second effort was a result of a another artistic pass, this time from Darlington Nagbe. Poor positioning by the Houston back four allowed Johnson the space he needed to score his second on of the match.
This was a solid day at the office for Portland, who earned a much-deserved win over a Dynamo side that many believe to be a favorite to win MLS Cup.
This was a night to remember for Ryan Johnson. He only took two shots in the 90 minutes. Both were goals. He also played a major part in Portland's holdup play, completing eight successful lay-offs. All but one were in the attacking half of the field.
Both sides are home next week in MLS action. The Timbers host the San Jose Earthquakes. The Dynamo welcome the Chicago Fire.
San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
The Vancouver Whitecaps scored a second-half game-tying goal during a bizarre scenario in which two San Jose Earthquake players were sidelined while changing their cleats.
Baffled by the decision of the officials, both Alan Gordon and Victor Bernardez were forced to watch as Corey Hertzog secured a critical road point against a Western Conference foe.
It was the reigning MLS MVP, Chris Wondolowski, who scored the opening goal. The American took advantage of a defensive third giveaway from the Whitecaps to blast home a solid finish.
Six combined yellow cards defined this contentious affair.
The good news for San Jose is that they welcomed back their mercurial striker Steven Lenhart. He did not take very long to get back to his agitating ways, receiving a yellow card during his 21 minutes on the pitch.
Overall, an intriguing game to take in.
Alain Rochat was on the ball quite frequently for the Vancouver Whitecaps. He completed a team-high 60 passes. Or, in other words, a pass two out of every three minutes.
The majority of Rochat's completed passes were in the midfield third—43 to be exact.
The San Jose Earthquakes are on the road against Portland next week in MLS play. The Vancouver Whitecaps host Real Salt Lake.
Chicago Fire 3-1 New York Red Bulls
The Chicago Fire nabbed its first win of the season after going down a goal to the Red Bulls in the first half.
Fire head coach Frank Klopas will certainly be pleased with his team's offensive output in scoring three goals. Prior to the match, his side had only one goal on the season.
Red bulls manager Mike Petke witnessed another road match in which his team grabbed an early lead, only to see it slip away with defensive errors and a leaky back line.
Jamison Olave opened the scoring with a close effort during a corner kick situation. The Fire nearly equalized minutes later after Red Bull midfielder Johnny Steele conceded a penalty due to a handball. Luckily for Steele, Chris Rolfe's attempt missed the target entirely.
Chicago evened the score just before halftime thanks to Daniel Paladini beating New York's goalkeeper to a cross with his head. Klopas and company took the lead for good thanks to a skillful individual effort from Maicon Santos after coming on as a sub in the second half.
Santos added another goal in the dying embers of regulation to secure a brace for the evening.
New York's Thierry Henry entered the match with thirty minutes to play. He hit the cross bar with a strike from distance but was not so dangerous otherwise.
Maicon Santos was in the mood to make a difference upon entering the match. In his 27 minutes of play he scored two goals on four total shots. Three of his shots were inside the box, with one coming inside the six.
Both teams are on the road next weekend. The Fire are in Texas against the Houston Dynamo. The Red Bulls head to the nation's capital for another road contest with D.C. United.