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.
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.
Hall confirmed the trade to MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday.
“I came to Houston six years ago as an unknown, and Houston’s where I was given a chance to make a name for myself,” Hall told MLSsoccer.com. “Now I leave Houston humbled by support and love from the organization and fans as a whole. I leave with a heavy heart, but at the same time I’m very much looking forward to what Orlando has with the opportunity to be with a team for their inaugural season is extremely exciting for me. And I can’t wait to get ingrained with the community and organization and start winning games for Orlando.”
Houston No. 2 goalkeeper Tyler Deric was the star of several games down the stretch for the Dynamo, as Hall has been recovering from an ACL tear since early August. MLS writer Darrell Lovell says the club had decided to part ways with Hall even before Dominic Kinnear left to take the manager’s gig in San Jose.
Houston’s quest to return to the postseason will continue without the team’s starting goalkeeper. After suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament on Friday in Kansas City, Dynamo number one Tally Hall will miss the rest of the regular season, vaulting Tyler Deric into the team’s starting lineup.
As reported on the league’s web site, Hall felt the problem during the team’s visit to Sporting Park, eventually leaving Friday’s game in the 80th minute. Scheduled to undergo surgery this Friday, Hall is set to be sidelined until at least the start of the 2015 season, with his recovery time currently estimated at 6-9 months.
“I go down and it’s kind of funny because the first thing I do is hold my knee and I’m thinking ‘Try to move it, try to stand on it’ which isn’t recommended by any doctor,” Hall told MLSsoccer.com. “Brad [Davis] was there and he said, ‘Stay down.’ I looked at him and said, ‘It could be serious’ and he said ‘That’s why you should stay down.’
“You’re in the game and you want to do everything to stay in the game and keep fighting,” Hall added. “I went to plant off it and go forward, and my knee felt like it had enough.”
Twenty-nine years old, Hall has held down the team’s starting spot since claiming it from Pat Onstead four years ago. Now he gives way to Deric, whose four starts in six years provides little clue as to whether he can fill Hall’s void.
Behind a defense that’s been amongst the league’s worst this season, there’s little margin for error between the uprights, but on a day when Hall’s season has come to an abrupt end, we can wait until Saturday’s visit from Montréal to assess that loss. For now, Hall has to come to grips with his season’s sudden conclusion, while Deric must assume the mantle of the team’s new number one.
Let’s take a look at the best men between the sticks as our season preview continues with the Top Ten goalkeepers in MLS.
1. Nick Rimando – Real Salt Lake
It was difficult to separate the top half of this list, but it’s difficult to make a list of the league’s best keepers without putting Rimando at No. 1. When it comes to finishing a game strong and being where he needs to be, Rimando passes the smell test. His advanced stats also show a pretty telling figure, as he’s considered the top keeper for an attack according to Squawka. If I’m starting a team for this season only and need a no-doubt keeper, it’s Rimando.
2. Julio Cesar – Toronto FC
Yes, he’ll have to adapt to a new league and no, it’s not like goalkeeping was a problem for TFC last year, but Cesar’s resume speaks for itself. The Brazil goalkeeper may have fought for playing time this year behind former English international Robert Green, but how many keepers in this league have finished Top 25 in Ballon d’Or voting in their career? Now that’s loaded — I realize MLS players aren’t going to get votes there — but Cesar has five Serie A title, two Confederation Cups and a UEFA Champions League title this is okay.
3. Donovan Ricketts – Portland
Ricketts has a knack for the outlandish “How did he do that?” save, and I’m not sure a week has gone by where he wasn’t at least in the discussion for the Save of the Week award. The numbers say he’s very, very good.
4. Troy Perkins – Montreal
This will require a lengthy diatribe, because I continue to read lists of top MLS goalkeepers that don’t include the 32-year-old Ohio native, which is baffling. Montreal hemorrhaged shots on net in 2014, and advanced stats say Perkins was very good on a team that didn’t defend well. In fact, Perkins posted the highest Squawka score in MLS last season, with only one negative performance in the bunch to drag him down.
He had the top defensive score and best possession score of all MLS keepers in 2013. Advanced stats aren’t everything, so he’ll sit fourth… but perhaps it’s his location in Quebec that’s keeping him out of the discussion.
5. Clint Irwin – Colorado
Ten clean sheets last season, and will be counted on to provide stability as Colorado transitions from Oscar Pareja following the coach’s departure for Dallas.
6. Tally Hall – Houston
Athletic and strong in defense, Hall is just that little bit away from being atop this list. The knock on Hall is consistency, as he’ll post just as many negative performances as positive… though the highs aren’t so high and lows aren’t howlers.
7. Luis Robles – New York
Robles probably deserves more consideration for a higher spot on this list considering his resurgence from real woes early in his season. He’s a shot-stopper who sees the field well and can benefit the attack.
8. Jaime Penedo – Los Angeles
Impossible to ignore how he put the Galaxy on his back at times last season, but one season does not a career make and I’m wary to put him high on the list.
9. Raul Fernandez – Dallas
The Peruvian has plenty left to prove, but should benefit from the arrival of Pareja as his head coach. Plenty to like about Fernandez.
10. Jon Busch – San Jose
He’s a feast or famine keeper who is capable of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but gets the nod over Chivas’ Dan Kennedy, Philadelphia’s Zac MacMath, New England’s Bobby Shuttleworth and others.
The Dynamo needed something special from goalkeeper Tally Hall in the playoffs. Given what they were up against in the series against New York, they had to have their big goalkeeper, who had begun 2013 with a call into Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team camp, be right on top of his game.
At the very least, the Dynamo needed Hall to make all the routine plays – so his first-half blunder was a real crusher. Or … it could have been.
Hall got himself together after gifting the home team an early lead, fumbling a benign cross from the Red Bulls’ right side and providing Bradley Wright-Phillips with the simplest of finishes for an early 1-0 lead. That also gave the Red Bulls, fresh off their best season in MLS, a Supporters Shield winning year, a 3-2 aggregate lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal.
It was an unfortunate gaffe from a typically rock solid ‘keeper in MLS … but if we’re being honest, one who had hardly been at his very best throughout the home-and-away series.
Hall certainly wasn’t at his tip-top on either of New York’s goals Sunday in Houston. He hesitated in coming for Thierry Henry’s cross initially on the visitors’ first goal at BBVA Compass Stadium, so he was slightly out of position as Tim Cahill directed that early header on goal. And he was beaten just a little too easily to the near post on Eric Alexander’s shot that made it 2-0.
Neither was a blunder, exactly; but if you find yourself the decided underdog, you’d just like to see your goalkeeper deliver something special.
Well, deliver Hall did, if perhaps a little late. His pair of one-handed stops Wednesday after the unsightly mistake were huge game-savers. Check that, “series savers.” One came on a ball that Henry aimed toward goal, which changed directions in a flash on Cahill’s deflection.
Later, that same right hand was quick as a flash in pushing away a potential own goal.
Watch below as the big man from saves the Dynamo day; this the better of the two saves: