Chris N (follow on Twitter: @ChrisTSC)
Tue 15 September 2009

Football Americana Week 26: Galaxy hit for six

Week 26, and Columbus Crew have finally reached the summit. DC United had a mixed week, while LA Galaxy and New England Revolution stumbled unexpectedly.

The action got underway on Wednesday. DC United hosted Kansas City Wizards and picked up a slightly fortunate 1-0 win courtesy of Luciano Emilio, who found an empty net after a Chris Pontius header had beaten Kevin Hartman but cannoned off the post. Chance Myers was dismissed late on for two bookable offences within a few minutes.

United were at home again on Saturday, this time facing a much stiffer challenge in the shape of Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders. It was a productive night for the youngsters, beginning with Steve Zakuani's fifth minute opener for Seattle. Rodney Wallace equalised in the 54th, but Fredy Montero nicked it for Seattle late on, his shot deflected by Julius James into Josh Wicks' top corner.

Earlier, Toronto FC had stepped up their hunt for a playoff place ahead of United by beating Colorado Rapids 3-2 at BMO Field. Dwayne DeRosario fired TFC ahead on the turn in the 19th minute and Colorado couldn't equalise until the second half, when Conor Casey made his height count to head home.

O'Brian White lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper to make it 2-1 to Toronto, and Nana Attakora headed in a corner three minutes later to put TFC 3-1 in front. Michael Holody got a consolation for the Rapids in the last minute.

There was little excitement to be had from watching the Wizards's second game of the week, but they picked up a welcome victory at New York Red Bulls. The only goal of the game came in the tenth minute, when Claudio Lopez forced the goalkeeper to save on the edge of his area and his parry fell to Josh Wolff, who stroked the ball in first time from 30 yards.

Honours were even at Rio Tinto, where Chicago Fire missed the chance to strengthen their playoff hopes. They led Real Salt Lake at half time after Marco Pappa had set up Chris Rolfe's sixth of the season, but Jamison Olave scored his third with just under 20 minutes left to ensure RSL took a share of the points.

Game of the week and possibly game of the season took place in Carson, where FC Dallas hit four late goals to record a 6-3 victory over LA Galaxy. Dave van den Bergh's deflected free kick put FCD in front in the 8th minute, and Jeff Cunningham's 115th MLS goal made it two in the 25th.

AJ DeLaGarza thought he'd pulled one back a minute later thanks to a fortunate ricochet which was deemed to be an own goal, but he made sure the equaliser in the 41st minute had his name on it. But in the 71st minute Dax McCarty kicked off the slaughter, with Atiba Harris and David Ferreira putting the game beyond the Galaxy in the 82nd and 83rd minutes.

In the 86th, Brek Shea's perfect layoff found Cunningham who hit a low rocket to make it six. LA got a last-minute consolation, Edson Buddle heading in his fourth of the season from a David Beckham corner. There were ugly scenes afterwards, with words exchanged presumably about FCD's exuberant goal celebrations and on-field showboating.

On Sunday, Chivas USA put a dent in the play-off hopes of New England Revolution. Edgaras Jankauskas of the Revs and opponent Carey Talley both saw red for violent conduct after 70 minutes with the score at 1-0 thanks to Chivas' Maicon Santos. Sacha Kljestan added some gloss from the spot deep into injury time.

And in the showdown between the league leaders, Columbus Crew defeated Houston Dynamo 2-1. Frankie Hejduk opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, nodding in Gino Padula's cross. Cam Weaver levelled for the Dynamo with just ten minutes left after a terrible miss by Brian Ching minutes earlier, and then it all kicked off in a big way.

Crew's Adam Moffat was dismissed for serious foul play after a challenge on Rico Clark, whose reaction earned him the same punishment. But there was still a sting in the tail, as Eddie Gaven coolly rolled in a stoppage time spot kick to win it for the Crew.

So Columbus go top and continue to lead the East, three points ahead of Chicago. Houston lead the West with 40 from LA with 38. The next four spots are held by Seattle, Colorado, Chivas and DC.

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