[MLS: Week 12] Top teams Seattle and Real Salt Lake held their spots, heading into their showdown on Saturday, and the LA Galaxy welcomed back record-breaker Landon Donovan.MLS WEEK 12 (Results)
2. REAL SALT
LAKE (6-0-6), 3. A record-setting 12th straight game without a defeat to open a season also represented a lost opportunity, as RSL failed to beat or even score against a fatigued FC Dallas in
a 0-0 tie at Rio Tinto Stadium. Joao Plata aggravated a hamstring injury he’d suffered two months ago against the Galaxy and neither his replacement, Olmes Garcia, or Robbie
Findley -- making his first appearance of the season after undergoing knee surgery in December -- could break the deadlock.
3. NEW ENGLAND (7-3-2), 3. Patrick Mullins and Diego Fagundez continued their hot streaks as the Revs ran their unbeaten run to seven games in a rain-soaked 2-1 defeat of D.C. United. Fagundez, who was blanked for the first two months of the season, has scored four goals in the last three games and rookie Mullins has four goals in the past four games. The Revs also conceded a goal at Gillette Stadium for the first time in 2014 to halt 432 minutes of shutout play yet are only one of three teams still unbeaten at home.
4. VANCOUVER (4-2-5), 4. The ‘Caps scored a pair of remarkable goals but were unable to fend off Seattle in a 2-2 tie at B.C. Place in front of a fifth consecutive sellout crowd of 21,000. Erik Hurtado twisted and turned to free himself and smash a great shot into the roof of the net that tied the game, 1-1, and then Gershon Koffie first-timed a clearance from 35 yards out into a goal vacated by the keeper. They are on a good roll with three ties and two wins in the last five games and can certainly make a case that the Jay DeMerit challenge that resulted in an equalizing penalty kick was a very strange decision.
5. SPORTING KC (5-4-3), 6. The euphoria of an apparent late winner that triggered a joyous celebration at Sporting Park quickly cooled off when Toronto FC replied in stoppage time to re-tie the game at 2-2, which is how it ended. Dom Dwyer scored both goals to take his season tally to 10 and further burnish his All-Star credentials. So shorthanded defensively was SKC its top three centerbacks were all unavailable and that deficiency showed when a very winnable ball in the air was instead turned into the net by TFC for the last goal of the game. On the plus side, Aurelien Collin is supposed to be back from injury to face the Red Bulls Tuesday.
6. LOS ANGELES (4-3-3), 8. Before and after Donovan's unexpected return, the Galaxy took care of business at StubHub Center, which reverberated in celebration when he tapped in a feed from Robbie Keane to net his MLS record 135th goal in a 4-1 rout of Philadelphia Sunday. Donovan also notched a second goal to those tallied by Keane and Leonardo, from a Donovan free kick. Keane and Gyasi Zardes had scored on Wednesday in a 2-1 defeat of FC Dallas.
7. D.C. UNITED (5-4-3), 7. United fought back at New England to equalize on a goal by Fabian Espindola -- whose form in recent weeks has approached All-Star caliber -- but four minutes later allowed the winner. Yet a 2-0 week midweek home defeat of Houston, built on goals by Espindola and Chris Rolfe on which they assisted each other, was enough to keep D.C. squarely in the playoff tier.
8. COLORADO (5-4-3), 9. A halftime tirade by head coach Pablo Mastroeni sent out the Rapids to blast apart Montreal with three second-half goals in a 4-1 rout. He didn’t like the team’s reaction to a fifth-minute lead provided by Dillon Powers penalty kick, and goals four minutes apart by Kamani Hill and Shane O’Neill (his first in MLS) sealed the outcome though Powers scored again in the final minutes.
9. TORONTO FC (4-4-2), 10. A pair of newcomers sparked TFC to come back twice against SKC and nick a 2-2 tie. Luke Moore (who began the season at Chivas USA) scored on an assist by England stand-by Jermain Defoe to tie the game midway through the second half, and well into stoppage time Collen Warner (picked up from Montreal) got to a ball kept alive by Nicky Hagglund to deflate the Sporting Park crowd and keep TFC’s mark at the .500 level.
10. COLUMBUS (4-4-4), 12. One of the truest measures of a player’s value is his adaptability to different teammates and situations; on that basis, Federico Higuain is one valuable player indeed. Head coach Gregg Berhalter moved around a few pieces to face the Fire -- Hector Jimenez to right back, a centerback pairing of Eric Gehrig and Tyson Wahl, a first start of the season for Ethan Finlay at right mid -- and the Crew playmaker assisted in both goals in a 2-0 win. His passes sent Finlay and Jairo Arrieta clear to score within the first 30 minutes. Higuain leads the team in assists with five as well as in goals with six. The shutout was just the Crew’s second of the season but only five teams have conceded fewer than its total of 14 goals against.
11. FC DALLAS (5-6-2), 5. A rough Western swing ended creditably enough with a 0-0 tie at RSL after FCD has fallen to the Galaxy, 2-1, on Wednesday. It had only 33.5 percent of the possession yet permitted RSL just one shot on frame to record its first shutout of the season. Despite the point, FCD is winless in the last seven games.
12. HOUSTON (5-7-2), 11. A grim week ended with zero goals and zero points. The Dynamo were blanked by San Jose, 3-0, Sunday after stumbling at D.C. United, 2-0, on Wednesday. A few sharp early attacks against the Quakes were repelled, and a couple of miscues by keeper Tally Hall -- he picked up a backpass to give San Jose an indirect kick from which it scored, and then wandered outside the penalty area and was burned -- delivered a third loss in the last four games. The surprise inclusion of Brad Davis on the U.S. World Cup team is good news for him but leaves a huge hole in Houston’s midfield.
13. SAN JOSE (3-4-4), 15. He’s bounced around MLS as well as other leagues since first departing MLS, and deployed centrally, Khari Stephenson took the depleted Dynamo midfield apart. He drilled home an indirect free kick touched to him by Shea Salinas, and then connected from the penalty spot after Steven Lenhart -- making his first appearance after sitting out seven games with a sprained knee ligament -- a foul. Atiba Harris closed out the scoring by chasing a long, bouncing ball that Hall, well out of his area, couldn’t get his head to, and Harris tapped into an empty net. Yet if not for a few early saves from Jon Busch, this game would have been a lot closer.
14. NEW YORK (3-5-5),13. The Red Bulls lost their third in a row, 2-1, to Portland at Red Bull Arena. They squandered a 1-0 lead at home provided by Bradley Wright-Phillips’ 10th goal of the season, a penalty kick in the 36th minute, and are barely clinging to the bottom of the playoff zone. A second game on the bounce pits them against the defending champion on the road Tuesday, though it looks like attacker Peguy Luyindula, sidelined for the last two games with a calf injury, will return to the lineup.
15. CHICAGO (2-3-6), 14. Falling behind early, 2-0, at Columbus put the Fire in catch-up mode and missing five starters -- Alex, Mike Magee, Patrick Nyarko, Lovel Palmer, and Bakary Soumare – it didn’t many resources to call upon. A rather flat effort ended a modest two-game winning streak. Next up is a home game, but it is against the revived Galaxy.
16. PORTLAND (2-3-7),19. The Timbers are getting it together, at least offensively and so is striker Max Urruti. He scored both goals in a 2-1 victory at Red Bull Arena that ran their unbeaten record to five games. This was just the second win during that span, and the Timbers are having trouble containing opponents though they themselves are scoring: 10 goals in those five games.
17. PHILADELPHIA (2-7-5), 16. Catastrophic errors by Brian Carroll, Sheanon Williams, and Fabinho directly led to three Galaxy goals in a 4-1 thumping. After snapping a nine-game winless streak, the Union has reverted to its careless ways and is tied for the most goals allowed in MLS at 24.
18. CHIVAS USA (2-5-4), 17. No league game for Chivas USA last weekend and so it should at least be well-rested for back-to-back home matches this week against Portland on Wednesday and Philadelphia on Saturday. All three teams have only two wins apiece, so anything can happen.
19. MONTREAL (1-6-4), 18. It’s bad and not getting any better. The Impact managed only a late goal at Colorado when a long kick by keeper Troy Perkins gave Andres Romero a chance against a distracted Rapids defense. Though Justin Mapp sparked a few promising attacks, the Impact’s didn’t finish nearly as sharply as its opponents. A league game with New England Saturday is bracketed by Amway Canadian Championship games home-and-away with Toronto and there are doubts this squad can shoulder such a burden at this point.