Chris N (follow on Twitter: @ChrisTSC)
Wed 26 August 2009

Football Americana Week 23: Lethal Dube fires Revs into contention

Another week in Major League Soccer, and yet more drama. The play-off picture is continuing to take shape, with one or two sides making a late run into the all-important wildcard spots. To top it off, the Red Bulls got a win!

Week 23 got going at Toyota Park last Wednesday, where LA Galaxy shrugged off the previous week's home defeat against Seattle to beat Chicago Fire. Jovan Kirovski took advantage after Logan Pause was dispossessed in midfield and found Mike Magee in the area. Magee turned his man and tucked in the 23rd minute opener. In the 54th minute Magee played Landon Donovan through on goal and the Galaxy forward fired the ball across Jon Busch for 2-0. LA goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts had to be stretchered off after a nasty collision with Stefan Dimitrov.

On Thursday, New England Revolution went to Qwest Field and picked up a surprise win over Seattle Sounders. Steve Ralston played Shalrie Joseph through on Kasey Keller, the goalkeeper was fooled by the big man's mis-hit and Joseph was able to tap home after losing his footing. The Sounders won a penalty just before half time only for Fredy Montero to smash the spot kick against the crossbar. The Revs defence held out well under second half pressure and gained a valuable three points.

There were no goals as DC United dropped yet more points, this time at RFK against LA Galaxy. The Galaxy had Beckham back in the side after suspension, and Ricketts recovered from his midweek injury in time for Saturday's trip to DC. United had an early Luciano Emilio goal chalked off for offside, and they just about edged the first half. They were arguably robbed of a second half penalty too, and with Jaime Moreno in your side that's a game-changing decision.

There was late drama at Buck Shaw Stadium where San Jose Earthquakes needed a 93rd minute winner from Chris Wondolowski to see off Kansas City Wizards. Cornell Glen had an early goal disallowed for a push but good form from Kevin Hartman prevented any more until stoppage time when a deep cross from Ramiro Corrales was met with a brave glancing header home by Wondolowski.

Saturday's final game took place at HDC where Toronto FC slumped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chivas USA. Sacha Kljestan tapped in his first goal of the season to put Chivas 1-0 up in the 32nd minute. After half time he got his second, a neat side-foot finish when one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Toronto didn't come into the game until late on and were lucky to keep the score down to two.

Sunday was packed full of MLS action. New York Red Bulls started life after Juan Carlos Osorio with an unexpected win, defeating FC Dallas 3-2 at Giants Stadium. Juan Pablo Angel knocked a lovely lob over Dario Sala to open the scoring, only for Dax McCarty to head in a Jeff Cunningham cross to equalise fifteen minutes later. Dane Richards put RBNY back in front just before the half hour to give them a half time lead.

In the second half, Kevin Goldthwaite was sent off for New York after a nasty slap in the penalty area on the hour. Dave van den Bergh levelled again for FCD, cracking in a left-footed strike in the 72nd minute. But New York showed some all-too-rare character and it paid off when Sala spilled Mac Kandji's shot at the feet of Angel - not a good idea.

It was the same scoreline between Chicago Fire and Colorado Rapids. After a goalless first half, a double from Omar Cummings in ten second half minutes put the Rapids 2-0 up at Toyota Park. Cuauhtemoc Blanco was felled in the box with 20 minutes left and knocked in the spot kick to begin the Fire's amazing comeback. Mike Banner got the equaliser from the edge of the box in the 85th minute and Dasan Robinson headed in a Justin Mapp cross in stoppage time to wrap up the three points, promptly removing his shirt to earn a second yellow card.

Kheli Dube stole the show as New England Revolution romped to a 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake at Gillette Stadium. The Zimbabwean forward scored a hat-trick to put the Revs 3-0 up. A Darrius Barnes own goal late on was never going to be anything more than a compilation for RSL.

And there was another controversy between Houston Dynamo and Seattle Sounders at Robertson Stadium. Geoff Cameron put the Dynamo in front in the first half, heading in a Brad Davis free kick. And then Nate Jaqua thought he'd equalised, only to find that he was offside. The Sounders were not happy, but Jaqua did level the game in the 70th minute, squeezing in a volley off a Steve Zakuani assist.

23 weeks down, and Houston Dynamo continue to lead the West with 40 points, ahead of LA Galaxy with 35. Columbus Crew (39) and Chicago Fire (38) head the East. Currently occupying the next four slots are Seattle Sounders, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution.

Full results and standings here.
For more great football writing by Chris Nee, visit TwoFootedTackle.com...

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