MLS Wins and Losses: Week 13
In the words of noted student of the game Gregory J Vanney, MLS is all about streaks and that’s the theme running right through this week’s results in another busy week for MLS that saw pretty much all the Eastern Conference playoff contenders shit the bed and Baldomero Toledo really get his game going for the first time this year.
We’ll start at the top of the East, where DC’s win over Chicago on Wednesday was the only points any of the top teams outside of Toronto got, Fabian Espindola making his return from injury to inspire a 3 goal second half comeback that saw them get up to 28 points, still 7 clear even after losing on Saturday, ending their home unbeaten streak at 20 games.
Second place New England went to Portland and got to the 85th minute at 0-0 before two Fanendo Adi goals saw them lose 2-0, that’s a 6 game winless streak now for the tea terrorists while Portland have won 3 straight for the first time in the MLS version of their existence and all of a sudden they’re up to 4th in the West.
3rd place was New Jersey, but they went to Houston and lost 4-2 and after a hot start are looking more like the team I expected them to be, winless in 4 straight now.
We’ve heard all about TFC so moving on and we get to the real big losers of the week, Columbus. They got hammered 3-0 in Philadelphia midweek but they’ve been crap away from home all year, the real shocker was on Saturday when they lost 2-1 at home to Montreal. Montreal! Who hadn’t won away since September of 2013! Since before Frank Klopas came along! Since 25 league games ago! That Montreal! The Crew are now winless in 5 and down to 6th place and the fun keeps on coming. Austrian defender Emmanuel Pogatetz was dropped to the bench for that game and got all emo about it, putting out a statement on facebook detailing his frustration at being rested, saying “When I joined the Crew I thought they would value and respect my experience I gained over the last 10 years playing in the best leagues around the world and that I could help the team to improve and being successful. Sitting on the bench and not able to help the team in a game like yesterday breaks my heart.”
Montreal were the big winners of the week, the only team to get 6 points as they also beat Vancouver in midweek, their first win and indeed first goal in MLS action against the Whitecaps.
L’Impact are now on 14 points leapfrogging Chicago in the standings after the Fire lost twice, 3-1 to DC and then 3-2 to Orlando, both times throwing away winning positions. The highlights of the Orlando game are well worth watching, with 3 very nice goals and also the Fire’s Brazilian defender Adailton becoming the first MLS player ever to score 2 own goals in a game. Well done sir! Frank Yallop’s getting frustrated and deja vuey “I’m kind of stunned and shocked with the result, it felt pretty similar to last year to be honest.” “We’ve lost seven matches, I don’t know how many we lost last year, but it’s getting close to that and we weren’t very good last year.” He also appears to be confused by synonyms, as he added “In the last two games, in certain important moments in the game we didn’t collectively defend at all. I wouldn’t call it mistakes it’s just a catalog of errors that cost us”. On the plus side, Mike Magee made his first appearance of the season, coming off the bench.
Orlando meanwhile are now unbeaten in 4 and up to 4th in the table. Adrian Heath’s happy with his team – “One of the most pleasing things was that we didn’t get desperate and start playing the ball long. We kept probing away and kept playing and got our just desserts…..I told them ‘Nothing comes easy. Anything that’s worth fighting for is hard’.”
On to Philadelphia and that win against Columbus was their 3rd win in 4 games and they’re starting to get confident, Jim Curtin saying after the game “I think something special is starting to happen. It’s only four good games we’ve put together. We need to keep going. In a lot of ways, it’s a good thing to have a quick turnaround and get New York City. We’re in a good way right now.” Then they went to New York and lost 2-1, only City’s second win of the season, ending an 11 game winless streak and Curtin was a little more bleak. “After a run of good performances, I actually think was a good game but one we’re disappointed to leave with no points. It’s an empty feeling right now.”
So all of a sudden the East is looking a lot more competitive with only 3 points separating 4th place from 9th, let’s move on to the West. Seattle, very undermanned with Chad Barrett one of many important players out, lost to the Sporks for the first time in 9 matches, since 2009, after a very dodgy penalty called against Stefan Frei after he challenged Dom Dwyer and seemed to punch the ball cleanly – Sigi Schmid said: “That’s never a penalty. I’m sorry. Our goalkeeper comes out, punches the ball. That’s never a penalty. But those are the way things go.” while Peter Vermes went with the classic ‘I didn’t see it’ excuse, saying only “All I know is that I watched Benny shoot it and score and it was a good PK,”.
Vancouver meanwhile bounced back from defeat in Montreal by going to LA and beat the Galaxy, ending a 29 game home unbeaten in all competitions, and holding without a shot on goal for only the 3rd time in their history. Bruce Arena managed to pinpoint what went wrong “You saw the game, we didn’t have a shot on goal, we should have shot a few more times, but they did a good job.” Meanwhile Robbie Keane is all about the perspective. “This was always going to happen. That’s just the way it is. I’ve played over 500 games, I’ve been through this. I’m not going to start crying”.
We got the first game of the Rocky Mountain Cup, as we all know the urn containing John Denver’s ashes, between Real Salt Lake and Colorado, and it was a dull 0-0, notable mainly for Nick Rimando dumping the US national team and flying back from the Netherlands to come back and play and seeing Dillon Powers miss a last minute penalty.
The week ended with Toledo time, as San Jose and Dallas ended 0-0 after 3 red cards. The 3rd one, sure, that was bit nasty, the second one was maybe worth a yellow, but the first was mere clumisness as Mark Sherrod tried and failed to jump over Dan Kennedy who’d dived at his feet to c0llect a ball. San Jose aren’t happy, Dominic Kinnear calling it incidental and accidental and ‘not a red card’ and are planning to appeal. Toledo said it was given for violent conduct, and when asked if it was intentional, said simply ‘yes’. Good to have you back Baldomero.