Major League Soccer provided plenty of entertainment this weekend. If you spent too much of your afternoon watching horses on TV, or waited in a long line to see a new superhero movie, or if you watched that fight, that apparently wasn’t very entertaining in the end; this is for you.
Houston Dynamo 1 – 4 FC Dallas
The Texas Derby was the first match this weekend. Over the offseason, Houston made the jump to the Western Conference after the arrival of two East Coast expansion franchises (Orlando City & New York City FC). On a cool Texas evening, the two Lone Star teams played their first of three regular season matches.
Dallas continued their success with their counter-attacking style of play with a win against Houston. That style has been led by the speedy 22-year-old winger, Fabian Castillo. The Colombian recorded a goal and two assists on the night.
It was Castillo that helped open the scoring for the night. A nice outside of the boot flick-on freed up Ryan Hollingshead to make a 30-yard run towards the Houston goal. Hollingshead was given space to shoot and capitalized on that opportunity.
Dallas doubled their advantage in the 21st minute. Houston was caught again defending in transition and paid for it. A well placed ball into space from Mauro Diaz gave Castillo enough time to pick out David Texeira’s run for the goal.
Houston supporters were given some hope to take into the halftime break. Giles Barnes continued his fantastic start to the season with a looping free kick that Dan Kennedy could only get a hand to.
The Dynamo’s hope was extinguished in the second half as Diaz scored his second in as many games. After spending about 4 weeks away from the first team because of reoccurring injuries, it seems that the young player is finally back to firing on all cylinders.
To make matters worse for the Dynamo, Castillo scored a fourth goal on Houston only three minutes later. Castillo’s unsuspecting strike is a contender for Goal of the Week.
Houston has given up eight goals in the past two weekends after only conceding four goals in their first seven matches. Coach Owen Coyle will be looking to tighten up that defense quickly with an early midweek match against San Jose on Tuesday evening.
Dallas may miss Matt Hedges this weekend with an abductor strain that made him pull up lame in the 91st minute after blocking a shot. Hedges had issues with the same groin in 2013.
Next week: Houston host San Jose & FC Dallas host LA Galaxy
New York City FC 1 – 3 Seattle Sounders
New York City FC have not won a game since the second week of the season. Seattle meanwhile have put together one of the most attractive playing styles in MLS, while winning games.
Right off the bat (couldn’t help myself) New York City was pushing at the Seattle Sounders defense. After six shots in the opening 20 minutes, three on target, City was not able to benefit from their production.
Obafemi Martins earned Team of the Week with his two-goal performance against New York City. Martins’ used his speed to beat the back line thanks to a Marco Pappa through ball in the 23rd minute. The finish was calm and the backflip celebration always receives high scores from the traveling Seattle supporters.
Mehdi Ballouchy seems to have found a place in the New York City midfield, but it always seems to come with a caveat. Ballouchy scored the equalizing goal in the 54th minute, just before being substituted for David Villa. Villa made his much need return to the front lines of NYCFC after a month of recovering from another lingering hamstring issue.
It would be US men’s national team captain Clint Dempsey that would bring the Sounders the lead again. Dempsey finished a slow roller into the bottom corner from inside the goal area to make it 2-1.
Dempsey and Martins continued their MLS highlight show in the 66th minute. Seattle pieced together an eighteen-pass goal sequence that brought a wonderful back heel assist from Dempsey and a clinical finish from the early MLS Golden Boot leader Martins.
David Villa wanted a penalty called in his favor in the 88th minutes. The Spaniard was taken down by the reigning Defend of the Year Chad Marshall who appeared to make contact with the ball first. After rewatching the play it looks as if Villa accepted the challenge and went down easily to win a penalty call.
Villa attempted a half volley from the top of the penalty area in extra time. The well struck ball went only as far as Stefan Frei, who recorded eight saves from NYCFC’s nine shots on target.
Another sore note for New York City was the loss of Kwame Watson-Siriboe to a needless second yellow card in the final minutes of the game. NYCFC has finished the past two games with only ten men.
Next week: New York City visit NY Red Bull & Seattle visit Columbus
New England 2 – 1 NY Red Bulls
Coming into this Saturday evening match, New York was the only remaing unbeaten team left in MLS. The Red Bulls traveled to meet the Revolution in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Final. The Revolution won that two-legged affair 4-3 and it would be the Revolution that would again have the last laugh.
London Woodberry continues his fine return to the starting lineup for New England. The right back provided an inch perfect cross for Charlie Davies to head home for the first goal of the evening.
New England have Dax McCarty’s misplaced midfield back heel to thank for the win. Scott Caldwell quickly pounced on the loose ball and feed it to an on rushing attack of Lee Nyguen, Davies, Juan Aguedelo, and Teal Bunbury. A quick six-pass sequence in the final third lead to a lay off for Bunbury to hammer past Luis Robles for the 2-0 lead.
New York’s two major offensive contributors this season, Bradley Wright-Philips and Lloyd Sam, did not start, but made substitution appearances after the Bunbury goal.
Davies come close to scoring his second of the evening at the 70th minute mark. Davies picked up a loose ball following a Red Bulls corner kick and just pushed his early effort wide right.
Sasha Kljestan managed to pull a goal back for the visiting side after escaping Bobby Shuttleworth for a 50/50 ball inside the area. The former Chivas USA player calmly passed the ball into an empty net.
Red Bulls fans should take this loss with a pinch of salt. They were not at full strength and ran into a strong Revolution side that now owns a seven-game unbeaten streak.
These two teams did not leave the field peaceably. A few verbal confrontations occurred post-match before the teams headed into the locker room. These teams will face each other two more times before potentially meeting again during the MLS Playoffs.
Next week: New England visit Orlando & NY Red Bull host New York City FC
Other scores in MLS Week 9:
NY Red Bulls 1 – Colorado 1
Real Salt Lake 1 – San Jose 1
DC United 2 – Columbus 0
Philadelphia 0 – Toronto FC 1
LA Galaxy 1 – Colorado 1
Portland 0 – Vancouver 0
Kansas City 1 – Chicago 0
The Emerald City Supporters sing a song that is perfect for this week’s goal of the week. It goes:
(Oba) Oba, (Oba) Oba, Obafemi Martins, Seattle Sounders number 9, Obafemi Martins!