Miscues & set pieces was the tale this week in Major League Soccer. Brad Davis pick-pocketed 3 points from Toronto FC with his first goal for Sporting Kansas City. Seattle dropped another game, this time in controversial fashion against Cascadia foes Vancouver. Orlando City went to Yankee Stadium and gave New York City FC their first home loss of the season. Philadelphia showed that they may have more bite in the attack with their second straight Eastern Conference win. DC United remains winless after a draw with Colorado, who continues to build their squad for a fall playoff run.
New York Red Bulls 4 – Houston Dynamo 3
After two shutout losses to start the season, New York Red Bulls came from behind twice on Saturday to beat the Houston Dynamo thanks to two fantastic curlers from Felipe.
Four whiffed clearances from defenders lead to the first four goals of the game. Sacha Kljestan scored after DeMarcus Beasley toe poked the ball away from himself. The Red Bull midfielder slotted the ball past Joe Willis from a difficult angle.
Will Bruin scored twice in six minutes to give the Dynamo a 2-1 lead at the break. The first was a cool lob over Luis Robles after a route 1 ball from Boniek Garcia skipped by the missed karate-kick clearance of Kemar Lawrence.
Fortune fell again for Bruin in the 41st minute. Ronald Zubar’s first time defence of Jalil Anibaba’s in swinging cross skipped under his feet and into the path of Bruin who finished it calmly.
David Horst was unlucky to have his goal line clearance redirected into his own goal by New York’s Mike Grella. Joe Willis palmed a driven Filipe shot into the 6-yard area where the Red Bull forward continued to follow into. Grella’s redirection goal was his first as a substitute.
Houston got back on the front foot of the scoreline with a tight strike by midfielder Alex. Garcia recorded his second assist of the day after playing the Brazilian at the top of the goal area. Alex took two steps and launched a shot into the lower right hand corner of the goal.
Anything you can do, Felipe says he can do better. In the 77th minute the Red Bulls midfielder received the ball with his back to goal, turned, stepped towards goal to reset his hips and launched a delicate curling ball into the far side netting to equalize the game at 3-3.
6 minutes later Felipe scored what would be the game winner. A super free kick from 24 yards away. The velocity and accuracy of the dead ball over the wall surprised a helpless Joe Willis.
New York overcame three hamstring injuries in their first victory of the young season. Gonzalo Veron, Gideon Baah and Zubar all had to be substituted before the hour mark after pulling up lame.
Next week: New York visits New England & Houston visits Vancouver
LA Galaxy 3 – San Jose Earthquakes 1
The California Clasico returned to LA where the Galaxy took care of business against San Jose. Gyasi Zardes put away two second half chances served on a silver platter by the short-handed Earthquakes.
Zardes ended his nine-game regular season goalless streak with a brace in the 3-1 victory on Saturday night. The first coming from a downward Jelle Van Damme header across goal. The ball skipped past a reactionary swing of the foot by Chris Wondolowski and Zardes was in position to pounce on the loose ball.
Six minutes later Van Damme’s long direct ball to Mike Magee was scuffed away in the path of Zardes. USMNT call up David Bingham rushed out for the first ball and left the goal vulnerable. A bouncing side-footed volley was all Zardes needed to get the ball into the goal at that point.
Captain Wondolowski continued his quest to the top of the MLS all-time scoring chart with a late goal for San Jose. The new look Galaxy back four is still working out all the kinks. Marvell Wynne’s deep run opened up space for Wondolowski to come up the middle and finish off his 3rd goal in 3 games.
Robbie Keane always manages to get his name on the score sheet – one way or another. This week Keane drew and scored a penalty in second half added time. Victor Bernardez made a lazy tackle on the Irish striker who seemed confused by the challenge.
Misconduct is the middle name of the California Clasico. Eight cards were shown on the night, four for each team. Simon Dawkins saw the brightest of the cards when he was set off in added time of the second half. The English designated player tackled Sebastian Lletget from behind and endangered the safety of his opponent by following through with his trailing leg.
Both teams are entering Week 4 with six points apiece. Look for these two Golden State foes to battle twice more this season. This fixture always produces goals and/or late comebacks; averaging over 3 a game in their previous six encounters.
Next week: LA visits Vancouver & San Jose hosts DC
Portland Timbers 2 – Real Salt Lake 2
Real Salt Lake led 2-0 but could not recover from going down to nine men on the road against the reigning MLS Cup Champions. Fanendo Adi’s second half brace secured a point for Portland Timbers.
Joao Plata scored his 3rd goal of the season after his free kick routine with Javier Morales stunned Adam Kwarasey in goal. Plata received many accolades coming into the 2016 season and is out to prove those that he can reach his potential after a breakout season in 2014 was muted by a fifth-metatarsal fracture in 2015.
In the 31st minute Kyle Beckerman was sent off for his tackle on Fanendo Adi with his cleats exposed.
Even with a man down, Real Salt Lake added a second goal after 58 minutes. Yura Movsisyan used his breakout pace to separate himself from former RSL teammate Nat Borchers and finish past Kwarasey.
Portland made a double substitution to continue to apply pressure on the RSL midfield with a man advantage. Jack McInerney continues to put himself in goal scoring positions, but is not having the luck Fanendo Adi is.
Adi turned in his first goal of the game after a Dairon Asprilla shot rebounded off the cross bar and onto his favored right foot for the finish.
Minutes later, Adi found himself laying on the ground in the goal area. Jamison Olave was sent off for a flailing hand that made contact with the face of the Timber’s center forward. Referee Hilario Grajeda quickly conversed with his assistant referee and the red card was shown and awarded a penalty to the Timbers. Adi sent Nick Rimando to his left and passed his kick down the middle to draw the game level.
Real Salt Lake could have ended the game with 8 men after a dangerous challenge by Juan Martinez caused Darlington Nagbe to limp off the field. Martinez did receive a yellow for the foul and may receive further sanctioning by the Disciplinary Committee this week.
McInerney had a few more chances to help the Timbers grab three points, including an 88th minute point blank strike that went into the chest of Rimando.
Next week: Portland visits Orlando & Salt Lake visits Kansas City
Other scores in MLS Week 3:
New York City FC 0 – Orlando City SC 1
Chicago Fire 0 – Columbus Crew SC 0
FC Dallas 2 – Montreal Impact 0
Seattle Sounders 1 – Vancouver Whitecaps 2
Philadelphia Union 3 – New England Revolution 0
DC United 1 – Colorado Rapids 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 – Toronto FC 0