Sunday nights seem to be the night for soccer in Major League Soccer. For the third consecutive week the 5pm ET game is my featured match of the week. The new structured TV times on Sunday nights have been great for the league and the players seem to be up for putting on a show too. I have certainly enjoyed them. I hope you have too.
San Jose Earthquakes 2 – 1 Chicago Fire
If you are a long time fan of MLS, you know the story of San Jose. A team that was rebranded, dissolved, and repurchased while searching for a permanent stadium in central California. The opening match at Avaya Stadium was momentous for the Earthquakes and was a time of great ‘firsts’ for many players. The Quakes took an early lead and held on to secure the 3 points for head coach Dominic Kinnear.
Avaya Stadium’s nets were broken in during the 5th minute. A corner kick from Matias Perez was headed on twice before Fatai Alashe redirected the ball into the goal. Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson left the goal exposed when he came out for the initial corner. It was the first professional goal for the rookie Alashe and the first competitive goal scored inside Avaya Stadium.
Chicago enjoyed the most of the possession throughout the match, but could not catch up with San Jose once they held onto the lead. The Fire had a couple chances to draw even after conceding the opener.
Harry Shipp struck a ball well from 25 yards straight back to San Jose keeper David Bingham, after a deflected clearance from Bingham came his way. A Shawn Maloney free kick outside the goal area dipped in on frame, but was also comfortably taken by Bingham.
San Jose pounced on another loose ball off of a set piece in the 21st minute. Johnson could not hold onto the shot from Clarence Goodson. Ty Harden held off his defender to desperately toe-poked the ball into the corner. It was Harden’s first goal in MLS on his 100th league appearance.
Shipp was able to get a goal back for the Fire before halftime. Joevin Jones assisted Shipp with a perfectly placed through ball into the 18-yard area. This was Chicago’s first goal of the season after being shutout in their first two matches of the season. Chicago is the only team after the 3rd week without a point.
Congratulations to the hardworking staff in San Jose. I cannot wait to visit.
Next week: San Jose away to New England & Chicago host Philadelphia
New York Red Bulls 2 – 0 DC United
New York and DC have had many battles in the playoffs. The regular season matchups mean just the same to these two teams as they both chase for the Supporter’s Shield, but only one team was walking away with all 3 points.
DC was hampered into defending New York for most of the game. New York’s play through midfield was well worked, but left you wanting more once it was played into the final third. The Red Bulls played 28 crosses throughout the match, but only 3 of them were successful.
Bradley Wright-Philips scored his opening goal of season in the 25th minute. Philips brought down a lofted route-1 ball from Dax McCarty, touched it over the passing DC United defender Steve Birnbaum and slotted it past Bill Hamid for the opener.
Chris Rolfe was the most dangerous player for DC United from the run of play. He had three shots on goal, including a shot from inside the 6-yard area in the 77th minute, but could not beat Luis Robles on the night.
Llyod Sam cemented the win for the Red Bulls in the 71st minute. Felipe Martins made a tackle on Davy Arnaud at midfield that sprung Wright-Philips on the attack. A simple ball wide into the goal area spread the defense. Sam struck a laser to the near post and past Bill Hamid for the second goal.
DC United was awarded a penalty kick in the 91st minute. Homegrown product Matt Miazga brought down the veteran Arnaud. Chris Pontius could not convert the penalty for United as they took home their first loss of the season.
Next week: NY Red Bulls away to Columbus & DC United host LA Galaxy
Philadelphia Union 0 – 2 FC Dallas
Philadelphia had to wait a day to host FC Dallas at PPL Park. Originally scheduled for Friday night, a snowfall prevented the match from taking place. Entering the game, the Union drew both of their first games and Dallas had won both of theirs.
The game was a tight affair and took a disappointing turn in the 41st minute when Zach Pfeffer was sent off for an elbow to the face of Dallas’ Mauro Diaz. This was only Pfeffer’s 4th career start in MLS. Pfeffer could face further discipline from the league later this week.
2014 MLS Rookie of the Year, Tesho Ankindele quickly took advantage of 10-man Philadelphia when he pressured Fabinho in the 49th minute. Ankindele blocked Fabinho’s distribution, corralled the ball into the goal area and finished past a hopeless Rais M’bolhi. Fabinho replace Shannon Williams in the 22nd minutes because of hamstring tightness.
FC Dallas doubled their lead in the 59th minute on a well-placed shot by substitute Ryan Hollingshead.
Chris Seitz held onto the shut out for the perfect FC Dallas team. The Union’s leading goal scorer Fernando Aristeguieta had three shots on goal in the second half, but did not trouble Seitz. Seitz is now the co-league leader in goals against average (.33).
Next week: Philadelphia away to Chicago & FC Dallas host Seattle
MLS Week 3 Scores:
New England 0 – 0 Montreal
Colorado 0 – 0 New York City FC
Orlando City 0 – 1 Vancouver
Sporting Kansas City 0 – 0 Portland
LA Galaxy 1 – 1 Houston
Take your pick for Goal of the Week. I wasn’t too impressed with some of the goals this week. My favorite has to go to Octavio Rivero (Vancouver) for his game-winning diving header. Some good finishes, but when you have three 0-0 draws in a weekend you don’t have much to choose from.