A week ago, league-leading FC Dallas was able to sneak away with a win over D.C. United despite missing some important starters.
Suffice to say, a home match against down-and-out D.C. United is hardly comparable to a road match in Seattle, where Sigi Schmid has his men are playing so well lately. So perhaps Saturday’s result from downtown Seattle shouldn’t be so surprising.
In a contest that was wildly wide open, the Sounders exploited an FCD back line that looked painfully naïve at times, executing good runs to get behind the Western Conference leaders and generally carve up Dallas in a 4-2 win CenturyLink Field.
A match that flew up and down the field included:
- Two goals from U.S. international Eddie Johnson. That doubles his total for 2012.
- A second goal in two matches from new Sounders DP striker Obafemi Martins.
- Important Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso leaving the field before intermission with an undetermined injury. That’s hardly good news as Seattle merges into its busy summer schedule.
- A rare goal scored directly off a corner kick, this one by Dallas’ Brazilian midfielder Michel. It happened a couple of times last year, once against Seattle and once by New York’s Thierry Henry.
- Two teams that combined for 17 shots on goal, above average in the league.
- An ejection that seemed on the harsh side; Dallas’ Blas Perez got his elbow up on Seattle left back Leo Gonzalez, but we see worse fouls every week in MLS that are not a caution, much less a red card.
- A 2-0 lead for Seattle that evaporated as the visitors rallied for the draw, followed quickly by Johnson’s game-winner during a particularly helter-skelter stretch of the match. Johnson was bright and alert all night, doing almost everything he wanted against London Woodberry, the rookie center back filling in for George John.
- Dallas playing a high defensive line – and never quite figuring out that they shouldn’t be. Seattle got behind it time and again.
- The Sounders scoring their 8th goal in two matches.
- The Sounders winning their third consecutive match; that’s the first time it has happened in two years.
Full highlights from a high-scoring Saturday night at CenturyLink Field:
Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.
[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]
Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City
Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.
Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth
The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.
But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.
Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace
Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a
Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland
Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.
One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.
Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.
The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.
[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]
That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.
“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”
A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?
Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.
Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.
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A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.
Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.
Click play on the video above to watch it.
There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.
So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.
[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]
On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.
That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.
Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.