Winners and Losers for MLS Matches from October 2-5

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 6, 2014

Winners and Losers for MLS Matches from October 2-5

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    Entering Week 30 in Major League Soccer, we had an idea of who would leave the first weekend in October as winners, but there was no indication as to who would end up the losers. 

    After four days of play across North America, there was a clear distinction between the two groups. 

    A few stars of the league, and an unexpected club, found themselves in the winners category thanks to record-breaking performances and game-winning goals. 

    As for the losers, there are countless players listed in that category because of defensive blunders, which we saw a massive amount of this weekend. 

    Continue reading on for a look at the biggest winners and losers from MLS Week 30. 

Winner: Landon Donovan

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    By the time Landon Donovan retires, he may be the holder of every major record in league history. 

    Donovan added to his storied career Saturday night with his 136th career assist, which moved him past Steve Ralston for the all-time lead. 

    The pass was a secondary assist on Robbie Keane's 25th-minute goal, as Donovan fed A.J. DeLaGarza on the right wing before the defender found Keane in the box. 

Loser: Rais MBolhi

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    Two days before Donovan put his name in the record book once again, Rais MBolhi put the crowd at PPL Park into dead silence with his mistake in the final minute against Chicago.

    The Algerian goalkeeper's mishit clearance went right to Robert Earnshaw, who chipped the ball over MBolhi to equalize a must-win match for the Union.

    After the blunder from the summer acquisition, Philadelphia basically has to win out to control its own destiny and earn a playoff spot. 

Winner: Jermaine Jones

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    While we're on the topic of big-name summer signings, Jermaine Jones contributed yet another big goal for the Revolution in Week 30. 

    This time around, Jones nodded in the game-winning goal against Columbus in the 67th minute of the Revolution's 2-1 victory. 

    The goal came a week after Jones hit a stunning strike to take down Sporting Kansas City on the road. 

    The win helped New England gain ground on D.C. in the race for home-field advantage in the Eastern Conference, as it now sits four points back with three matches to go for both sides. 

Loser: Tim Cahill

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    Tim Cahill entered the match at Red Bull Arena in the 85th minute as a late substitute in place of Eric Alexander. 

    Three minutes later, Cahill was given his marching orders by referee Jair Marrufo for a hard challenge on Boniek Garcia.

    Since he already planned to miss New York's next game against Toronto because of international duty, Cahill will be suspended for the match against Columbus on October 19, per Fox Sports' Kyle McCarthy

    The earliest Cahill will be eligible to play again is the season finale against Sporting Kansas City on October 26. 

Winner: Chivas USA

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    If we are actually witnessing the Chivas USA farewell tour, we learned Sunday that the Goats are looking to go out with a bang. 

    The club, whose 2015 playing status is up in the air, took down Real Salt Lake 1-0 in front of yet another small crowd at StubHub Center. 

    Felix Borja, who has linked up well with Erick Torres up front recently, scored on a rebound in the 47th minute to send a few shockwaves across the league. 

    The two sides will meet one more time this season on October 22, with Colorado and San Jose being the other opponents left on the schedule for the Goats. 

Loser: Rich Balchan

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    The play of Real Lake substitute Rich Balchan was one of the reasons why Chivas USA was able to spring the upset. 

    Balchan entered for Chris Schuler in the 39th minute after the normal starter at center-back suffered a facial contusion, per Real Salt Lake's official Twitter account. 

    On the lone goal of the match, Balchan gave the ball away on an errant pass, and then he made matters worse by watching Felix Borja race past him to beat Nick Rimando.

    Balchan's day only got worse in the 62nd minute, when he took down Torres in the box. 

    Luckily for Balchan, he has Nick Rimando as a teammate, and he rescued the defender from further ridicule by saving Torres' penalty. 

Loser: Marvell Wynne

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    Before Balchan ran away with the title of "Worst Defender of the Week," Marvell Wynne was the front-runner to take home the award. 

    Wynne paid for spreading his arms out like a long jumper in the 10th minute, as he conceded a penalty due to a handball. 

    Believe it or not, that was not Wynne's worst blunder of the day, as he topped it in 28th minute with a lack of hustle on Obafemi Martins' goal. 

    Wynne failed to try and cut off the run of Martins, and he followed that up by jogging toward the goal instead of hustling to deflect the ball out of play.

    Before the second half began, Wynne was sent to the bench in favor of new acquisition Zat Knight. 

Loser: Houston's Defensive Marking

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    You absolutely can't leave Thierry Henry unmarked at any time in the match. 

    The Houston Dynamo learned this lesson the hard way in the 47th minute at Red Bull Arena, as Henry was allowed to run freely from the left wing to knock home the lone goal of the game. 

    Thanks to this mishap in simple defending, the Dynamo left Red Bull Arena without a point and without much hope in regard to their status as a playoff contender. 

    With three weeks left in the season, Houston sits seven points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Winner: Rodney Wallace's Face

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    Rodney Wallace used his face to score the game-winning goal for the Timbers in their 2-1 win over San Jose. 

    Three minutes after he scored the first goal of the match, Wallace saw Liam Ridgewell's header deflect off his face for a 74th-minute goal. 

    Had he not been in the right place at the right time, Wallace and the Timbers may have made the trip back north to Oregon without all three points, which would have been unacceptable in the close race for fifth in the West. 

Winner: D.C. United

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    Despite failing to score in a 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City, D.C. United left the pitch at RFK Stadium with plenty to celebrate. 

    The point at home clinched a playoff spot for Ben Olsen's side, who were the worst team in the league a year ago. 

    The worst-to-first transformation has been one of the best stories of the season, and now United have a chance to show just how good they are when the playoffs begin in a few weeks. 

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90. 

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