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Wild MLS weekend
by Paul Kennedy, April 14th, 2008 7AM

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[NAMES & NUMBERS] The third weekend of play in Major League Soccer produced several wild affairs. The smallest MLS crowd in Columbus home history saw the Crew prevail, 4-3, over Chivas USA in a match that featured four goals in 11 minutes -- and a pair of red cards in the next two minutes. Frenchman Laurent Robert won the battle of former EPL long-ball specialists handily over David Beckham as Toronto FC stunned Los Angeles, 3-2, on Sunday. Real Salt Lake exploded for its biggest victory in its history when it crushed D.C. United, 4-0. For all the MLS developments ...

2. After three weeks, only two teams -- Chicago (2-0-1) and FC Dallas (1-0-2) -- are still unbeaten. Chicago beat San Jose, 1-0, before more than 20,000 fans in Oakland, Calif., while FCD defeated New York, 2-0. Last year, Chicago enjoyed its best start in club history, going 3-0-1 in April, but the Fire then slumped, costing Coach Dave Sarachan his job. Dallas has a recent history of fast starts. The Hoops opened with unbeaten streaks of five games in 2006 and four games in 2004 and 2005.
180. San Jose became the third "expansion" team to go scoreless in its first 180 minutes (2-0 loss at Los Angeles followed by 1-0 defeat to Chicago). Toronto FC (2007) and the Miami Fusion (1998) both opened with back-to-back shutout losses. TFC went 387 minutes before it scored its first goal. Miami's scoreless streak lasted 296 minutes.
KENNY COOPER. Questions about potency of the FC Dallas attack following Carlos Ruiz's return to Los Angeles have been answered. Cooper scored in the 2-0 win over New York to give him three goals in three games, tied for the league lead with Landon Donovan, who scored twice in the 3-2 loss to Toronto FC. After scoring 11 goals in his first MLS season, Cooper was limited to four goals in 2007 when a broken right tibia kept him out of action for more than half the regular season.

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4-0. Real Salt Lake's 4-0 win over D.C. United on Saturday was the biggest margin of victory in the Utah team's four-year history. Kyle Beckerman scored goals in each half, and strikers Fabian Espindola and Robbie Findley each added a goal as RSL won its first game of the 2008 season.
3. In the 4-0 loss at Real Salt Lake, D.C. United coach Tom Soehn rested three players who started against Pachuca three nights earlier in the Concacaf Champions Cup semifinals. Midfielder Marcelo Gallardo, defender Gonzalo Martinez and goalkeeper Zach Wells didn't play against RSL, while a fourth starter in the 2-1 win over Pachuca, forward Santino Quaranta, came on after halftime.

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LAURENT ROBERT. The 32-year-old Frenchman arrived at Toronto FC with something to prove after moving around to four clubs -- Portsmouth, Benfica, Spain's Levante and Derby County -- following his fallout at Newcastle in 2005, and he won the battle of long-ball specialists in Sunday's showdown with David Beckham. While the Englishman had a quiet game, Robert's free kick led to one TFC goal and his lofted ball sprung Jeff Cunningham for the winning goal in Toronto's stunning 3-2 win at the Home Depot Center.

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NICK LaBROCCA. The Rutgers product scored in the Colorado Rapids' 1-0 win at New England on Saturday and helped shut down the potent Revs, who had won, 3-1, at Kansas City three days earlier. LaBrocca played all of 69 minutes in 2007 but has started all three games in 2008 in midfield.
MATT REIS. The New England keeper claimed the MLS record for consecutive minutes played. He went the entire 90 minutes in the Revs' 1-0 loss to Colorado, extending his streak to 6,660 minutes. Reis passed Houston's Pat Onstad, who had previously held the record with a 6,648-minute stretch (2005-07).

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6,733. A crowd of 6,733 -- the smallest MLS crowd ever at Crew Stadium -- watched one of the wildest games in the stadium's history. Columbus beat Chivas USA, 4-3. The Crew looked to be cruising when it went ahead, 3-1, in the 71st minute, but goals by Jesse Marsch and Paulo Nagamura tied the score seven minutes later. Columbus won the game in the 82nd on 20-year-old Robbie Rogers' second of two goals.
GUILLERMO BARROS SCHELOTTO. The Argentine had wanted to return home in the offseason and played like it through most of the Crew's first two games, but he was outstanding in the 4-3 win over Chivas USA with one goal (from the penalty spot) and two assists (give-and-go with Alejandro Moreno and angled through ball on Rogers' first goal).
RICARDO SALAZAR. The referee had a busy evening in Columbus, where he handed out eight yellow cards and two reds in the Columbus-Chivas USA. The visitors had Francisco Mendoza sent off for a second yellow card in the 83rd minute and Sacha Kljestan ejected a minute later for a foul on Schelotto. Cuban Maykel Galindo probably should have joined his Chivas USA teammates in the showers for shoving Salazar after the ejections.

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5. The defending MLS champion Houston Dynamo's winless streak stands at five games after its 0-0 tie at Kansas City. The Dynamo is winless in three MLS games (3-0 loss at New England and ties against FC Dallas and Kansas City) and tied (0-0) and lost (3-0) to Costa Rica's Saprissa in the semifinals of the Concacaf Champions Cup.

 



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