Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Football Americana Week 3: Whitecaps comeback stuns SKC

It was another dramatic weekend in Major League Soccer, with some high-scoring matches and a few controversial red cards.

Columbus Crew got the action underway with a 2-0 win over FC Dallas at Crew Stadium. Two second half goals did the trick after the first half sending off of FCD's Jackson, who picked up yellow cards for a high tackle followed instantly by a stupid trip on Eddie Gaven. George John brought down Emmanuel Epko in the 53rd minute, allowing Andres Mendoza to make Dallas pay from the spot. Gaven added the second in stoppage time with a lovely curled finish.

Toronto FC and Chivas USA split the points at BMO Field thanks to a 1-1 draw. Alejandro Moreno got Chivas off the mark after just 111 seconds but the LA club had to settle for a single point after they were punished for missing early chances by a former team-mate. Alan Gordon had already headed against the post by the time he found Toronto's equaliser, a glancing header from a deep free kick. TFC had a second goal disallowed before half time and missed a real sitter with 25 minutes to go.

The game of the week once again featured Vancouver Whitecaps, who hosted Sporting Kansas City in a rip-roaring encounter at Empire Field. The Whitecaps had some good first half chances but it was KC who took the lead before half time through Teal Bunbury's finish from the edge of the box. He got his second with a superb turn and finish before Sporting made it 3-0 with Kei Kamara's controlled shot.

Amazingly, Vancouver went on to take a point from the game. Atiba Harris nudged in their first with just over quarter of an hour to go but the Whitecaps entered injury time two goals behind. Davide Chiumiento turned the ball inside for Camilo (pictured) to poke in their second, and the Brazilian lifted the roof of the stadium with an unstoppable diving header a minute later.

It was 1-1 when New England Revolution met Portland Timbers, both goals coming in the first half at Gillette Stadium. Stephen McCarthy gave the Revs the lead - and opened his MLS account - halfway through the first half with a volley that should have been stopped by the goalkeeper. Timbers skipper Jack Jewsbury equalised with a powerful shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

The same score failed to differentiate between Houston Dynamo and New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena as the fancied Red Bulls again failed to take maximum points. The second half started brightly for them, Dane Richards finishing coolly after a defence-splitting pass from new Red Bulls signing and former Dynamo player Dwayne DeRosario. Cam Weaver's equaliser just minutes later was a composed lob over Bouna Coundoul.

In California, LA Galaxy edged out Philadelphia Union with a 1-0 victory courtesy of Leonardo's first half header past Faryd Mondragon. It was Leonardo's first MLS goal, and was an easy finish after he'd been left wide open from a David Beckham free kick. That was that for the scoring, but the second half was a story of two dismissals. Chris Birchall went first, leaving the Galaxy to defend their lead for 40 minutes. The Trinidad & Tobago international walked for his involvement in an off-the-ball incident with Carlos Ruiz. The Union's red came deep into stoppage time when Jack McInerney was sent off for raising his hands to Chad Barrett after a thumping challenge by the LA substitute.

Four goals were shared down the middle by San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders, who are yet to win this season despite being tipped for success. Brad Evans opened the scoring for the Sounders, poking in after quarter of an hour, only for Simon Dawkins to level it for the Quakes with a neat finish. Seattle went in ahead at half time thanks to O'Brian White's header, but Khari Stephenson equalised early in the second period with a wonderful strike in off the bar from distance. The goal came shortly after Ryan Johnson had been fouled by Jeff Parke but no penalty was given.

A late assault by Colorado Rapids turned 1-1 into 4-1 at home against DC United at a snowy Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Under-strength DC went behind through Caleb Folan's first goal for the Rapids, scored thanks in large part to appalling defending. United equalised with 20 minutes left, Santino Quaranta volleying home from a superb cross by rookie Chris Korb. Jamie Smith put the Rapids right back into the lead and from there it was all Colorado. Folan (pictured) got his second with a header that Pat Onstad should have dealt with, and the fourth was scored by substitute Omar Cummings who nodded home after Pablo Mastroeni's pass ricocheted up to him on six yards.

So that's Week 3 down, and it's time to have our first look at the tables. Philly continue to lead the East and are the only team in the conference with two wins under their belts. New England, New York and Chicago remain unbeaten. In the West, the Rapids are three for three and lead the conference ahead of LA and Real Salt Lake. You can see all the action at

While we're on the subject, huge congratulations to RSL for eliminating Deportivo Saprissa to reach the CONCACAF Champions League final, where they'll play Cruz Azul or Monterrey over two legs at the end of the month.

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