Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Football Americana Week 25: Crew burned in shock Blaise

So, welcome back at long last to Football Americana, your one-stop shop for all the weekly action from Major League Soccer every single week (apart from about eight of them) of the season. Yes it's good to be back, so without further ado here are all the doings from week 25.

Week 25's first match took place at Buck Shaw Stadium where a reliable face bagged the goal that took San Jose Earthquakes to three points over the Philadelphia Union. Chris Wondolowski rose higher than anyone else to head in Arturo Alvarez's 68th minute cross to give the Quakes a 1-0 win with his ninth goal of the season. Jon Busch had a great night in the San Jose goal.

FC Dallas and New York Red Bulls split four goals evenly on a dramatic night in Frisco, Texas. Milton Rodriguez gave FCD the lead with a header from Eric Alexander's knock-down but Dallas blew their lead through an awful and unnecessary challenge by promising youngster Brek Shea (pictured) on Chris Albright. Shea was dismissed and Mehdi Ballouchy, a new RBNY signing, tapped in an equaliser on his debut in first half stoppage time.

Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was injured in the aftermath when Thierry Henry, as we've seen him do many times, went to thump the ball back into the net. Unfortunately, Hartman's leg was in the way.

Rookie Eric Alexander put in a dazzling performance, hitting the post early in the second half, and capped his night with a lovely run and finish for 2-1. It wasn't such a good evening for Jair Benitez, the FCD defender who headed into his own net under pressure from New York sub Juan Pablo Angel.

High-flying Real Salt Lake continued to strengthen their position with a 1-0 win over Chicago Fire, but it wasn't easy. Wilman Conde brought down Ned Grabavoy in the box in the 44th minute and got the worst punishment possible: he was given his second yellow card, Alvaro Saborio buried the spot kick and RSL secured the points.

There was a surprise result at Crew Stadium, where Seattle Sounders thumped Columbus Crew by an impressive 4-0 scoreline. Blaise N'Kufo (pictured) took just over three minutes to scramble in his first Sounders goal and that was just the beginning. His second came before half time and was superbly taken. Nathan Sturgis gave the Sounders a 3-0 advantage at half time with their first ever successful MLS penalty.

N'Kufo's third was simply brilliant. He started the move himself on the halfway line, set Steve Zakuani to bomb past Frankie Hejduk down the left wing and then placed the winger's drag-back into the top corner.

Toronto FC's owners MLSE dismissed coach Preki and director of soccer Mo Johnston at the beginning of last week, and TFC stand-in coach Nick Dasovic guided the Reds to their first win in seven MLS games. It was hard work, though; they had to come back from a goal down at Houston Dynamo.

Brian Ching headed the Dynamo into a 19th-minute lead but former Houston star Dwayne De Rosario equalised on the hour with a thumping drive from a well-worked free kick. The winner came deep into stoppage time and was absolutely identical to De Ro's first. Are TFC back in business?

Colorado Rapids enjoyed a walk in Dick's Sporting Goods Park against New England Revolution, easing to a 3-0 win. Omar Cummings' tenth goal of the season made it 1-0 in the fifth miute and Conor Casey doubled the lead half an hour later. Wells Thompson squeezed in the third late on against his old club.

There was more heartbreak on the menu for DC United, who thought they were in with a shout of beating LA Galaxy in Carson when the supremely talented teenager Andy Najar put them in front after an hour. The young Honduran created the chance himself and finished neatly when the ball ricocheted back in his direction to make it 1-0.

Landon Donovan killed DC's hopes of a win with two late goals. The first was all of DC's making but his second was a lovely back post header. LA are gearing up nicely for the playoffs after a brief dip in form at the end of the summer.

The final game of the weekend took place on Sunday night, when two second half goals saw Kansas City Wizards to a 2-0 win at Chivas USA. Chivas had a goal disallowed before Kei Kamara broke the deadlock to kill the hosts' season. A thumping finish by Teal Bunbury sealed the points for the Wizards.

LA are beginning to edge away from Columbus once again and conference-buddies Salt Lake now have more points than the Crew as well. Wins for the Rapids, the Earthquakes and the Sounders mean that the current playoff picture has the West taking up all four wildcard spots along with LA and RSL, leaving just Columbus and New York representing the East.

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