Higuain 5

San Jose, Columbus rebound with draw at Buck Shaw (video)

Leave a comment

When we last saw San Jose, the Earthquakes were having their 21-game home unbeaten streaked snapped by a Lee Nguyen stoppage time counter. And when we last saw Columbus, Michael Bradley and Toronto FC were scraping the first blemish into the Crew’s perfect start. Ahead of today’s meeting at Buck Shaw Stadium, both teams were in need of a rebound.

Despite the 1-1 result, that’s exactly what each team got, with 90 minutes in Santa Clara leaving what appear to be two quality teams deadlocked. Columbus, unable to sustain its desired control of the game, went up before halftime through Federico Higuaín, a goal that was pulled back after intermission by Chris Wondolowski. After a Goonie-free final 39 minutes, the teams were left on even footing, a fair result from a match that saw each side try 20 shots.

Despite that prolific total, the game was relatively free of clear cut chances, with the times combing for only eight shots on target. Columbus’s best came on Higuaín’s score, with a ball played in from the left finding Higuaín near the spot. San Jose’s goal came from a corner kick, with Shea Salinas finding an unmarked Wondolowski just outside Steve Clark’s six-yard box.

For San Jose, the performance can be seen as encouraging, particularly after the New England loss. But the result also prolongs opening run where the team’s fail to crack the win column. Though their opening schedule has been difficult — with two Champions League matches against Toluca complicating meetings with Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City, and East-leading Columbus — the Earthquakes’ only loss of the season came in its easiest game.

Had Mark Watson’s team taken care of business against New England, we’d be wondering how close the team is to its 2012 self. A loss to the Revs, however, forces us to ask whether the Earthquakes winless stretch is a better indicator of their quality.

For Columbus, there’s nothing but positives to take from the performance. Okay, that’s not entirely true, since I’m sure Gregg Berhalter would have liked his team to mark better on Salinas’s second half corner. But I’m also sure the new Crew boss will keep this result in perspective. A point at Buck Shaw is a good one.

Through five games, Columbus is now 3-1-1 and sit alone atop the Eastern Conference. Against a team that took Toluca to penalty kicks in CONCACAF Champions League, the Crew snared a point, scoring first while doing so. If that can’t be met with a sense of accomplishment, expectations for Columbus have grown too quickly.

Sunday’s result may have only gotten one point from a winless side, but the bigger picture says it’s a  valuable one. Columbus’s strong start continues.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)