Best and Worst from MLS Week 28: Jair Benitez, Segares' Own-Goal and More
The best action in MLS Week 28 was highlighted by the Portland Timbers, Edson Buddle and Jair Benitez, but what about the worst?
D.C. United is a contender after suffering another road loss on Sunday. But there's nothing new nor noteworthy there. The club is 0-10-3 on the road this season. The Philadelphia Union followed suit with a 1-0 loss of their own.
They won't be featured, either.
Some tough competition also kept Sporting Kansas City from making the list of best and worst from MLS Week 28.
Read on to find out why.
Best: Jair Benitez from 50
Not much argument can be had with this selection.
In fact, no argument can be had with this selection.
The Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Dallas entered Week 28 desperate for a win. Both clubs were two points behind the playoff pace in the Western Conference. A loss in Frisco, Texas would only complicate an already murky situation.
Destined for a 1-1 draw, the match quickly changed its storyline after an impressive finish from Mauro Diaz in the 87th minute.
Then, Jair Benitez happened.
There's no need to describe it. Just watch the video above.
The Hoops went on to capture a much-needed 3-1 victory.
For Benitez, the 50-yard bomb was his first goal of the season. Not a bad way to open your 2013 account. But more importantly, it's not a bad way to seal three pivotal points.
Worst: New England's Blunders Inside the Box
The New England Revolution faithful will feel wronged after Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Montreal Impact.
But referee Sorin Stoica made a pair of correct calls in Week 28.
They just didn't work out in New England's favor.
The first was a red-carded offense that handed Montreal a penalty. After a comical whiff on the ball from Marco Di Vaio, Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis trips the Italian and denies him a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
The penalty was justified.
By the letter of the law, so was the red card. Di Vaio has a clear opportunity of burying his own error if not for Reis' trip.
The second offense came in the 31st minute. No red card was issued, but another penalty was awarded. This time it was defender Jose Goncalves who was whistled as the culprit. A reckless challenge by the 27-year-old forced Felipe Martins down inside the area.
The contact was all player.
Stoica had no choice but to point to the spot.
As for New England, the club remains above the dreaded red line by the slimmest of margins.
Best: Edson Buddle Befuddles the Galaxy
This slide should be prefaced with the knowledge that Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez weren't on hand for the Los Angeles Galaxy this weekend. The trio missed action due to international duty.
But Edson Buddle will be hearing none of that today.
Especially after his game-winner in a 1-0 victory for the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
According to the club's official website, head coach Oscar Pareja had high praise for his No. 9 following the match:
I'm very happy and all the players are as well. Happy for the result, happy for the group but mostly happy for Edson, who has been training very hard and I know what this game meant for him and to come and give us the three points with such a great goal is outstanding. I'm very happy with the person he has been, he's been nothing but a full professional.
Buddle spent five previous seasons with the Galaxy, aiding the club in lifting an MLS trophy and a Supporters' Shield in the process. He reveled in the opportunity of playing in the city he once called home.
His comments were posted on MLS' official website:
Not only do I like playing [in LA], I like just coming here in general, it's a great city. Even before I got [in LA], I always liked playing here. To play here and come back, it's still the same feeling. It's been a lot of ups and downs, and just to get going is great. To do it on the road in this place is not easy and we just have to build on this and keep going.
The Rapids are the ones "building" out West. The win was the club's 11th of the season.
Worst: The Ball Goes in the Net, Will Bruin
Will the real Will Bruin please stand up?
The New York Red Bulls defeated the Houston Dynamo 4-1 on Sunday. Sensational strikes from Eric Alexander, Thierry Henry, Johnny Steele and Lloyd Sam allowed the Red Bulls to keep pace with the Eastern Conference elites. The club now sits tied atop the conference with 45 points.
But it's Bruin's lack of form that is of concern moving forward.
The 23-year-old missed two clear-cut chances in the first half on Sunday. One was missed so horrendously bad that it probably hasn't even landed yet. View the video above for a visual. The Dynamo had their chances to enter the half with an all-important lead, but they failed to capitalize.
Bruin failed to capitalize.
After his performance on Sunday, it's easy to see why.
Best: Portland Returns to Form
There's no better way to describe the performance at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday.
The Portland Timbers returned to form in Week 28. The 4-0 demolition of Toronto FC snapped Portland's three-game winless streak and allowed the club to retain the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
But the manner in which the Timbers captured the victory was artistic in and of itself.
According to the statisticians at WhoScored, Portland connected a total of 566 passes with an average pass streak of six. The majority of them (461) were of the short variety. Couple that cohesion with 66 percent possession and you have the recipe for a dominant performance.
And that it was.
Toronto was out-shot 21-13 on the night.
But no strike was more indicative of the attractive brand the Timbers play than Will Johnson's dagger in the 87th minute.
Witness the creativity from the midfield to spring the opportunity. Appreciate the vision from Jose Valencia to find his captain. Bask in the finish from Johnson's right foot.
Look for Portland to build on this performance with a trip to Chivas USA next Saturday.
Worst: Your Goal's the Other Way, Segares!
There's no better feeling than scoring a game-winner late in the match.
Just make sure you do it for the right club.
A more controllable crowd of 38,503 packed CenturyLink Field to witness a 2-1 victory for the Seattle Sounders on Saturday. There's no doubt the Emerald faithful walked away satisfied with the result.
But it didn't come easy.
After trading goals in the first half, both clubs saw their attacking prowess neutralized in the second. According to Sounders Matchday, Seattle and the Chicago Fire each finished the first 45 minutes with three shots on goal.
Only two more came in the entire second half. Both belonged to Rave Green. Neither found the back of the net.
Gonzalo Segares took care of that for the Sounders.
In the closing minutes of the match, a centered ball from Zach Scott failed to connect with Andy Rose inside the area. Unfortunately for Segares, the cross landed at his feet with enough pace to sneak it past his own goalkeeper. The own-goal in the 89th minute was enough to secure the 2-1 victory for Seattle.
That's not the way you want to end your night.
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