Eddie Johnson hat trick highlights MLS Week 8

By Ridge Mahoney

Eddie Johnson led the Wizards back from a 2-0 deficit with a hat trick to beat the Revs, 4-3. Toronto FC earned its first road goals and initial road point of the season by tying the Crew, 2-2. Reigning league MVP Christian Gomez awoke to lead D.C. United past Houston, 2-1, with a goal and an assist. Chivas USA strikers Maykel Galindo and Ante Razov each netted once to down FC Dallas, 2-0. Colorado took advantage of a Kyle Martino ejection to edge the Galaxy, 1-0. The Fire halted its four-game losing streak but did little else by lurching to a 0-0 home tie against Real Salt Lake. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney recaps all the Memorial Day weekend MLS action ...

GOALFEST AT GILLETTE. In the match du jour at Gillette Stadium, New England jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals by Steve Ralston and Taylor Twellman midway through the first half yet by the 38th minute was trailing, 3-2.

Davy Arnaud chested down a great chip from Sasha Victorine to make it 2-1 and twice Eddie Johnson stormed through the Revs defense to put his team in the lead. Jack Jewsbury and Arnaud earned the assists as the Wizards quickly adjusted to a natural grass field laid over recently installed FieldTurf for the Ireland-Bolivia friendly that followed the MLS match.

New England tied it at 3-3 with a Shalrie Joseph penalty kick but was sliced open again in the 82nd minute by a Carlos Marinelli through ball that Johnson smacked home for his sixth goal of the season. Keeper Kevin Hartman denied Twellman another goal with a superb stab save in the 84th minute.

The Wizards (5-2-1) are in third place, just a point behind New England (5-2-2) and Red Bull New York (5-1-2), which had the weekend off after drilling Chicago, 3-0, on Thursday.

DYNAMO DOWNED AGAIN. How far has Houston fallen? Under the revised playoff system by which the top two teams in each conference plus the next four best teams based on points qualify, the defending champion is not in the top eight. It is 10th among the 13 teams.

The Dynamo fell, 2-1, to D.C. United (3-3-1) at RFK despite a fine goal by Dwayne DeRosario. Christian Gomez, who like DeRosario hasn't been as effective in MLS as he was during the CONCACAF Champions Cup matches in February and March, scored on a free kick and set up Ben Olsen with a precise pass for the winning goal.

United keeper Troy Perkins stopped a DeRosario penalty kick by touching it onto the crossbar, but couldn't stop him a minute later after a weak clearance was relayed to him by Craig Waibel. Houston (2-5-1) had nothing left in the tank and lost its third straight. After the match, coach Dominic Kinnear kept the locker room closed for an hour.

How far has Houston fallen? It has the same record as expansion Toronto FC.

HERRON SWOOPS. In four games without the suspended Andy Herron, the Crew had scored just two goals. He matched that total in his return but both times Toronto FC rallied and came away with its first road point, a 2-2 tie.

Herron stunned TFC in the second minute, drilling a close-range shot over keeper Greg Sutton from an Alejandro Moreno feed after Rusty Pierce's interception and early ball had triggered the attack. Danny Dichio equalized after he and Jeff Cunningham exchanged passes, and his shot from a considerable distance somehow slipped past keeper Andy Gruenebaum and inside the post.

A hard shot by Ned Grabavoy produced a rebound that Herron banged home to regain the lead and Moreno squandered a great chance to make it 3-1 by shooting right at Sutton from close range.

TFC (2-5-1) rallied again with a spectacular left-footed blast from nearly 30 yards out by captain Jim Brennan, who laced a free kick rolled into his path by Chris Pozniak. Gruenebaum stopped Cunningham on a breakaway as the Crew (1-2-5) held on for its fourth home tie of the season.

STRIKE FORCE. A Cuban defector and a Southern California native of Croatian descent who played briefly in Spain are carrying the scoring load for the Mexican investment in MLS.

Maykel Galindo bagged his fifth goal of the season and Ante Razov collected his fourth as Chivas USA (3-3-2) halted FC Dallas' three-game winning streak, 2-0.

Playing without Carlos Ruiz (yellow-card suspension), FC Dallas (5-4-1) endured its fourth shutout of the season. Keeper Dario Sala bailed out his team with a few fine saves but couldn't stop a curving 30-yard blast from Galindo, who surprised a pair of defenders by popping up from a midfield tackle and simply belting the ball inside the post.

Razov added the second in stoppage time by running onto a long Paulo Nagamura clearance and tapping it past Sala, who had roamed well outside of his penalty area to support a last-ditch attack, from about 40 yards out.

MIGHTY MOTIVATED. Herculez Gomez was born in East Los Angeles, grew up a Galaxy fan, and scored 16 goals for the club in 2005 and 2006, so he was more than a little miffed at being traded to Colorado during the offseason. He's been playing more in midfield than his preferred position up front.

Gomez turned his frustration into production by scoring his third goal of the season in the 71st minute to give the Rapids a 1-0 victory against the Galaxy (1-3-2), which went down a man midway through the first half. Referee Baldomero Toledo sent off midfielder Kyle Martino after he piled into Gomez on a tackle and scuffled with him on the ground.

Roberto Brown, Nico Hernandez, Jovan Kirovski and Gomez all squandered good opportunities before Gomez darted through the middle to head home an excellent cross from Terry Cooke.

The Rapids (4-2-3) nearly threw away the victory in the final minutes but keeper Bouna Coundoul batted down a hard shot from Nate Jaqua and sprawled to deflect a first-time attempt by Landon Donovan.

FIZZLE. Chicago coach Dave Sarachan juggled his lineup once again to revive his comatose team but the Fire garnered only a goalless tie at home against lowly Real Salt Lake.

Brazilian William Oliveira debuted, defender Jeff Curtin replaced his brother Jim, and Pascal Bedrossian and Brian Plotkin got their first starts, yet still the Fire couldn't produce a goal without Chris Rolfe, sidelined with a sprained ankle.

RSL keeper Nick Rimando saved confidently from Chad Barrett and recently signed Jerson Monteiro, and defused several other situations with clean catches of tricky crosses. Ivan Guerrero and Chad Barrett blew great chances by firing wide.

Fire keeper Matt Pickens came up with vital saves on substitute Andy Williams in the final minute as Chicago (3-4-2) did manage to break a four-game losing streak. RSL (0-3-5) remains the only winless team in MLS but posted a shutout with rookie Chris Lancos replacing midfield anchor Carey Talley, who suffered a hairline leg fracture last weekend against Dallas, and fellow rookie Jean Martial Kipre getting his first start in the back line.


May 26 in Foxboro, Mass.
New England 3 Kansas City 4.
Goals: Ralston 11, Twellman 23, Joseph pen. 69; Kansas City - Arnaud (Victorine) 25, Johnson (Jewsbury) 26, Johnson (Arnaud) 38, Johnson (Marinelli) 82.

New England - Reis, Heaps, Joseph, Parkhurst, Riley, Ralston, Dorman (Thompson, 57), Larentowicz, Smith, Twellman, Noonan (Cristman, 62).

Kansas City - Hartman, Jewsbury, Hohlbein, Wahl, Morsink (Raybould, 70), Victorine, Zavagnin, Harrington, Johnson, Arnaud, Pore (Marinelli, 61).

Yellow Cards: New England - Dorman 29, Riley 35, Thompson 78; Kansas City - Arnaud 45.

Referee: Abiodun Okulaja.

Att.: 13,156.

May 26 in Columbus
Columbus 2 Toronto FC 2.
Goals: Herron (Moreno, Pierce) 2, Herron 36; Dichio (Cunningham) 27, Brennan (Pozniak) 49.

Columbus - Gruenebaum, Hejduk, Gonzalez, Hendrickson, Pierce, Miglioranzi (Evans, 70), Grabavoy, O'Rourke, Schelotto, Herron (Virtuoso, 38), Moreno.

Toronto FC - Sutton, Reda, Brennan, Goldthwaite, Wynne, O'Brien, Welsh, Edu, Pozniak, Dichio, Cunningham (Buddle, 87).
Yellow Cards: Columbus - Herron 3, Schelotto 78; Toronto FC - Brennan 89.

Referee: Ricardo Salazar.

Att.: 11,755.

May 26 in Washington, D.C.
D.C. United 2 Houston 1.
Goals: Gomez 4, Olsen (Gomez, Emilio) 27; De Rosario (Waibel) 73.

D.C. United - Perkins, Namoff, Boswell, Erpen, Fred (Simms, 77), Carroll, Gomez (Dyachenko, 89), Olsen, Gros, Emilio, Kpene (Addlery, 71).

Houston - Onstad, Mulrooney, Cochrane (Waibel, 46), Robinson, Barrett, Mullan, Clark, De Rosario, Davis (Holden, 84), Ching, Ngwenya (Ashe, 70).

Yellow Cards: D.C. United - Kpene 47+, Gros 72, Dyachenko 92+, Olsen 93+; Houston - Cochrane 39, De Rosario 65.

Referee: Jair Marrufo.

Att.: 18,078.

May 26 in Commerce City, Colo.
Colorado 1 Los Angeles 0.
Goals: Gomez (Cooke, Mastroeni) 71.

Colorado - Coundoul, Ihemelu, Mastroeni, Petke, Wingert, Cooke, Beckerman, Kirovski (Cancela, 54), Hernandez, Brown (Casey, 60), Gomez (Wasson, 79).

Los Angeles  - Cannon, Sturgis, Harden, Marshall, Jazic, Jaqua, Harmse, Vagenas (Findley, 75), Martino, Donovan, Quaranta (Jones, 46),

Yellow Cards: Colorado - Gomez 27, Beckerman 37, Mastroeni 78, Wasson 82, Casey 92+; Los Angeles - Jaqua 69.

Red Card: Los Angeles - Martino 25.

Referee: Baldomero Toledo.

Att.: 18,458. Goals: Galindo 51, Razov (Nagamura) 92+.

Chivas USA - Guzan, Vaughn, Suarez, Thomas, Bornstein, Kljestan, Marsch, Nagamura, Mendoza, Galindo (Cunliffe, 80), Razov (Taylor, 92+).

FC Dallas - Sala, Moor, Goodson, Yi, Gbandi, Toja, Nunez, Ricchetti, McCarty (Alvarez, 71), Thompson (Oduro, 57), Cooper.

Yellow Cards: Chivas USA - Suarez 69; FC Dallas - Ricchetti 20.

Referee: Alex Prus.

Att.: 8,756.

May 27 in Bridgeview, Ill.
Chicago 0 Real Salt Lake 0.

Chicago - Pickens, Jeff Curtin, Brown, Segares, Oliveira, Plotkin (Soumare, 79), Armas, Mapp (Monteiro, 61), Pause, Bedrossian (Guerrero, 36), Barrett.

Real Salt Lake - Rimando, Stewart, Forko (Watson, 88), Pope, Kipre, Klein, Ballouchy, Lancos, Adu (Williams, 59), Eskandarian, Harris (Brown, 68).

Yellow Cards: Chicago - Segares 34; Real Salt Lake - Harris 19, Forko 21, Ballouchy 92+.

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez.

Att.: 12,996.


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