It was a busy weekend for MLS, following Wednesday's All-Star Game vs Manchester United. All 16 teams were in action, including the New York Red Bulls, who played their first MLS game with Thierry Henry in their lineup.
Here are some weekend observations, game by game:
Philadelphia 1, New England 1
Philadelphia was the better team again, but still couldn’t grab three points or a shutout. I have seen some strange bounces in my soccer broadcasting career, but can’t recall one like the bounce that Marko Perovic received on his game-tying goal for New England.
FC Dallas 1, Colorado 1
With Kevin Hartman in goal, Dallas always has a chance to pick up points. The Hartman pickup from Kansas City was one of the best offseason moves in MLS.
NY Red Bulls 2, Houston 2
New York can’t be happy about giving up a game-tying goal so late, but this team now looks very good with Angel and Henry up top, joined by Rafa Marquez who most likely will play as a defensive midfielder. New York now has three Designated Players.
Real Salt Lake 3, DC United 0
A tale of two teams, one going somewhere, the other (obviously DC) going nowhere. RSL on their home field is the best team in MLS.
Seattle Sounders 1, San Jose Earthquakes 0
It was obvious this year that the Fredy/Freddie combo wouldn’t work in Seattle. The Sounders kept the right one. Montero is a team and league MVP candidate. The other, Ljungberg, is now with the Chicago Fire.
Chivas USA 3, Columbus 1
Might have seen the best in Chivas this season and the worst in Columbus, who also lost Eddie Gaven to a first half head injury.
Chicago Fire 3, LA Galaxy 2
I watched this one last night on FSC and was stunned at the relative ease with which Chicago was able to score twice on the Galaxy within the first five minutes.
Staying with the Galaxy, they might have hit the wall after a terrific start to the season. Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan have played a grueling schedule when you combine their Galaxy games with their World Cup experience. Now LA is playing in the CONCACAF Champions League, while also playing Real Madrid in the midst of a very busy MLS schedule. Last night their overall defense looked very slow, and their goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts looked average at best. They need to pick it up as their once double-digit points lead has now shrunk to a mere six over the defending MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake.
The Philadelphia Story
It’s another busy week for the Union as they take on two very strong teams. While Columbus did not play well on Saturday, they are the best team in the Eastern Conference. Guillermo Barros Schelotto is the obvious player to watch. ESPN2 has game coverage starting at 8:00pm on Thursday.
Eduardo Coudet looked pretty solid in his MLS debut Saturday. More can be expected from him as he gets to know his teammates, and they get to know him. The same can be said for Justin Mapp, who entered the game in the second half. While Mapp was not as effective as Coudet, you can surely see where his speed will come in handy.
On Sunday, Peter Nowak’s team heads to hot and steamy Frisco, Texas for a matchup with FC Dallas, currently one of the league’s hottest teams. With Kevin Hartman looming large in goal, FC Dallas is unbeaten in their last eight games, climbing all the way to third place in the Western Conference. Fox Soccer Channel has that match, starting at 5:30pm with their pre-game show.