FAST EDDIE. Three years ago, he burst onto the U.S. national team by scoring more goals in his initial appearances (five goals in his first three games) than any player before him. Now Eddie Johnson holds an MLS record as well.
Johnson scored all three Kansas City goals in a 3-2 defeat of New York a week after bagging a trio against Columbus to notch the only back-to-back hat tricks in league history. The Wizards (6-2-1) also leapfrogged NYRB (5-3-2) into first place by exploiting the ejection of Clint Mathis.
John Wolyniec nodded down a Claudio Reyna free kick for Juan Pablo Angel to score his fourth goal of the season in the eighth minute. Mathis was sent off for violent conduct nine minutes before halftime, after which Johnson polished off some excellent service.
He ran onto a Michael Harrington chip to tie the match in the first minute of the second half, put away a low driven cross from Jose Burciaga for goal number two, and rounded off his hat trick - and the Red Bulls - from a Sasha Victorine through ball with five minutes left.
Dema Kovalenko scored to make it 3-2, but a few minutes later the game was done and Kansas City had risen atop the Eastern Conference.
TEXAS TUSSLE. Houston (3-5-1) broke a three-game losing streak and sparked its sputtering attack by scoring twice in the second half to beat FC Dallas, 2-1, at Robertson Stadium.
Dynamo keeper Pat Onstad rescued his team several times in the first half but went down 1-0 in the 31st minute when Abe Thompson knocked a ball to Kenny Cooper in midfield during a swift attack and raced forward to poke a great feed from Dax McCarty past Onstad.
Just six minutes into the second half, midfielder Ricardo Clark showed his quickness of feet and mind, two reasons he's on the Gold Cup roster. Brian Mullan intercepted a flaccid clearance and found Clark inside the box to turn and smash a shot past goalie Dario Sala.
Onstad and Sala traded saves a minute apart, and another minute later Joseph Ngwenya shot against the post and was denied again on the ensuing corner kick by a goal line clearance. Yee-hah!
Substitute Corey Ashe, whose few appearances this season have been inspiring ones, triggered the winning goal with a ball to Clark, who quickly relayed it to Ngwenya as Ashe crashed to the ground under a challenge. Ngwenya sized up the situation and bent his shot from just outside the box around Sala and inside the post.
Wait, there's more. Onstad saved again from Dominic Oduro - on a breakaway, no less -- and then tripped up Arturo Alvarez a yard outside the penalty area. Red card for Onstad. Zach Wells replaced Ngwenya but was not required to make a save as Dallas (5-5-1) lost its fourth game in six intrastate meetings.
FIRE STARTER. Chicago welcomed former Chilean international Marcelo Salas into training this week as it sought attacking solutions, yet its immediate answers turned out to be already at hand.
Brazilian William Oliveira, in his second MLS appearance after being signed May 24, scored a goal and assisted on another, and Chad Barrett raced 65 yards to slot the winner in a 3-2 conquest of Columbus (1-3-5).
Both teams threatened during the run of play before Chicago (4-4-2) broke through in the 25th minute when Jeff Curtin reached an Oliveira corner kick at the back post and nodded in his first MLS goal. The Crew replied in similar fashion, with Duncan Oughton doing the honors on a Guillermo Barros Schelotto free kick.
Set play solidarity sustained itself. Oliveira drilled a low free kick from nearly 35 yards through a tangle of friend and foe alike. A few minutes later Curtin followed his first goal with a second yellow card. Off he went.
Barrett clinched victory from the run of play, literally, yet it was a flubbed shot by Stefano Miglioranzi from a corner kick he knocked upfield with Kei Kamara in pursuit, grabbing desperately at his shirt. Barrett steered the ball along the ground past Andy Gruenebaum to render a Chad Marshall goal - after a corner kick, of course - of only statistical interest.
FOREIGN FLAVOR. Deprived of its best Canadians because of international commitments, Toronto FC beat Colorado, 2-1, with goals by a Brit and a Kiwi and despite the ejection of an American.
Danny Dichio and Andrew Boyens, respectively, scored for TFC (3-5-1) and Herculez Gomez replied for Colorado (4-3-3) in a pell-mell first half. Play was slower and chances were sparser in the second half, and Toronto held off the Rapids while a man down for the final minutes following the ejection of Kevin Goldthwaite during a scuffle.
Boyens earned an assist on the first goal by playing the ball to Marvell Wynne, who sinuously took it past a pair of opponents before centering for Dichio to touch home his third goal of the season. TFC coach Mo Johnston drafted the 6-foot-5 Boyens in part for his obvious value on set plays, and Boyens headed home a Ronnie O'Brien corner kick for a 2-0 lead.
Gomez scored his fourth goal of the season on an assist by Conor Casey, who was acquired from TFC after playing just two games for Johnston, but it couldn't find another way past backup keeper Srdjan Djekanovic. He'll be in the nets while Greg Sutton plays for Canada in the Gold Cup.
NO GOALS FOR GALS. Los Angeles dominated the first half, D.C. United wound up with a 17-9 edge in shots, yet neither team could score, maybe because keepers Joe Cannon and Troy Perkins made just a combined six saves.
Defenders on both teams were just as criticial as the keepers in posting the shutouts. Bryan Namoff slid to knock away a Cobi Jones shot heading toward an open net, and D.C. teammate Bobby Boswell smothered a Landon Donovan chance from point-blank range. Galaxian Kyle Veris blocked a Christian Gomez attempt.
United (3-3-2) keeper Troy Perkins' only official save was an easy grab of a Nathan Sturgis header, but his best play came when he raced out to snag a ball off the foot of the onrushing Donovan. Galaxy (1-3-3) goalie Joe Cannon saved from Luciano Emilio and had to scramble to thwart Jaime Moreno on the rebound to log two of his five saves.
GILLETTE STALEMATE. The Real Salt Lake of Coach Jason Kreis may not be much to rave about but it is getting tougher to beat.
RSL (0-3-6) survived a siege to frustrate New England (5-2-3) and come away with another road point, it second successive goalless game, and its fourth tie in five matches under Kreis. Thirteen (yes!) saves by Nick Rimando amid spirited if occasional attacks by Freddy Adu and Chris Klein highlighted a match the Revs dominated with 23 shots yet failed to win.
Taylor Twellman guided a header off the top of the crossbar in the eighth minute and Rimando repelled just about everything else New England generated. His best stuff came in the final minutes; after Twellman crunched him challenging for a ball, Rimando pushed away a low shot from Steve Ralston and saved again on a deflection.
Adu drilled an Atiba Harris feed into the side netting and set up Klein for a close-range blast Matt Reis deflected onto the post.
Ritchie Kotschau, signed Wednesday after clearing waivers, replaced Willis Forko in the 81st minute and earned a red card less than a minute later for wiping out Bryan Bryne on a breakaway. Astute substitution!
June 2 in Toronto
Toronto FC 2 Colorado 1.Goals: Dichio (Wynne, Boyens) 9; Boyens (O'Brien) 28; Gomez (Casey) 32.
Toronto FC - Djekanovic, Boyens, Brennan, Goldthwaite, O'Brien, Edu, Pozniak, Welsh (Gala, 66), Wynne, Dichio (Canizalez, 83), Cunningham (Buddle, 95+).
Colorado - Coundoul, Ihemelu, Petke, Wingert (Cummings, 85), Cooke (Peterson, 46), Beckerman, Hernandez, Kirovski (Gargan, 46), Mastroeni, Gomez, Casey.
Yellow Cards:?Toronto FC - Dichio 19, Djekanovic 93+; Colorado - Gomez 75.
Red Card: Toronto FC - Goldthwaite 81.
Referee: Steven DePiero.
June 2 in Foxboro, Mass.
New England 0 Real Salt Lake 0.
New England - Reis, Heaps, Ralston, Parkhurst, Riley, Dorman (Thompson, 63), Joseph, Larentowicz, Smith (Byrne, 71), Twellman, Cristman (Noonan, 64).
Real Salt Lake - Rimando, Stewart, Besagno (Brown, 59), Pope, Forko (Kotschau, 81), Klein, Ballouchy, Lancos, Adu, Eskandarian, Harris (Williams, 66).
Yellow Cards: New England - Larentowicz 42, Byrne 72; Real Salt Lake - Lancos 38, Forko 66.
Red Card: Real Salt Lake - Kotschau 82.
Referee: Baldomero Toledo.
June 2 in Kansas City
Kansas City 3 New York 2. Goals: Johnson (Harrington) 46, Johnson (Burciaga Jr., Marinelli) 59,?Johnson (Victorine) 85; Angel (Wolyniec, Reyna), Kovalenko 88.
Kansas City - Hartman, Jewsbury, Conrad, Garcia, Burciaga Jr. (Sealy, 72), Arnaud, Zavagnin, Harrington, Victorine, Johnson, Marinelli (Morsink, 83).
New York - Conway, Kovalenko, Parke (Graham, 46), Mendes, Stammler (Altidore, 81), Reyna, Richards, Mathis, van den Bergh, Wolyniec (Ubiparipovic, 55), Angel.
Yellow Cards: Kansas City - Johnson 46, Zavagnin 68, Morsink 87.
Red Card: New York - Mathis 36.
Referee: Jair Marrufo.
June 2 in Carson, Calif.
Los Angeles 0 D.C. United 0.
Los Angeles - Cannon, Russell (Randolph, 70), Marshall, Veris, Harden, Jones, Sturgis, Vagenas, Quaranta (Findley, 57), Donovan, Jaqua,
D.C. United - Perkins, Namoff, Boswell, Erpen, Fred (Dyachenko, 91+), Gomez, Simms, Gros, Olsen (Casal, 78), Moreno, Emilio (Kpene, 73).
Yellow Card: Los Angeles - Randolph 81.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar.
June 3 in Houston
Houston 2 FC Dallas 1. Goals: Clark (Mullan) 51, Ngwenya (Clark, Ashe) 66; Thompson (Cooper, McCarty) 32.
Houston - Onstad, Cochrane, Robinson, Waibel, Barrett, Mullan, Mulrooney, Davis (Ashe, 62), Ngwenya (Wells, 79), Clark, Ching (Wondolowski, 88).
FC Dallas - Sala, Moor, Goodson (Rhine, 31), Yi, Wagenfuhr, McCarty, Nunez (Dominic Oduro, 73), Ricchetti, Toja, Thompson, Cooper (Alvarez, 73).
Yellow Cards: FC Dallas - Ricchetti 29, Rhine 35, Wagenfuhr 43.
Red Card: Houston - Onstad 78.
Referee: Michael Kennedy.
June 2 in Bridgeview, Ill.
Chicago 3 Columbus 2. Goals: Curtin (Oliveira) 25, Oliveira 61, Barrett 78; Oughton (Schelotto) 38, Marshall (Oughton, Moreno) 84.
Chicago - Pickens, Robinson, Brown, Curtin, Plotkin, Armas, Soumare, Oliveira (Curtin, 73), Segares, Barrett (Monteiro, 79), Carr.
Columbus - Gruenebaum, Hejduk, Gonzalez, Hendrickson (Marshall, 60), Pierce (Gaven, 72), Grabavoy, Moreno, O'Rourke, Oughton, Schelotto, Rogers (Kamara, 78).
Yellow Cards:?Chicago - Robinson 38, Curtin 49, Segares 52; Columbus - Pierce 29, O'Rourke 57, Hejduk 60.
Red Cards: Chicago - Curtin 68; Columbus - O'Rourke 86.
Referee: Mark Geiger.