Chris N (follow on Twitter: @ChrisTSC)
Tue 22 September 2009

Football Americana Week 27: A point gained or two dropped?

Another action-packed weekend of Major League Soccer action saw a few draws which helped neither side in their attempts to reach the all-important post-season playoffs.

New England Revolution headed to New Jersey on Friday evening hoping to pick up three valuable points against New York Red Bulls, and it looked for a while like they might succeed. Some great fancy footwork by Sainey Nyassi took him into the RBNY box and he thrashed the finish into the top corner. But John Wolyniec tapped in Dane Richards' cross to equalise.

And it was nice to see the Jets logo on the endzones for the first time this season - makes Giants Stadium just look a little more inviting, doesn't it?

In retrospect, it was certainly a point gained for Colorado Rapids who needed a penalty deep in stoppage time to earn a draw at Buck Shaw despite testing goalkeeper Joe Cannon several times in the second half. San Jose Earthquakes went ahead early thanks to Ryan Johnson who headed in Brandon McDonald's long throw. The penalty was given in he 93rd minute during a goalmouth scramble, and Conor Casey beat Cannon from the spot - just.

Seattle Sounders came up goalless against Chivas USA, a result which does neither side any good (and we heard you booing, Seattle fans!). Chivas goalkeeper Zach Thornton was in breathtaking form, pulling off a string of saves to foil Seattle. Marcelo Saragosa was sent off for Chivas with 20 minutes left for a vicious flying kick to the face of a fully-upright Fredy Montero. People have been thrown out of WWE for less - it was a truly horrible attack.

If the nets went untroubled at Qwest, they got a good workout at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, where Kansas City Wizards eventually won a changeable encounter with FC Dallas. Santiago Hirsig put the Wizards ahead with a header in the ninth minute, but FCD scored either side of the break to lead 2-1, the goals coming from Dax McCarty and Jeff Cunningham.

Josh Wolff equalised for the Wizards, claiming the goal after turning in Zoltan's thunderous volley from a corner in the 77th minute. The winner came a couple of minutes later as Jimmy Conrad, caught out for FCD's second goal, stooped to nod in for 3-2.

It was the same scoreline at Robertson Stadium, where Houston Dynamo ran out winners against Real Salt Lake. Brian Ching put the Dynamo ahead in the second minute and three minutes later it was 2-0 thanks to Geoff Cameron who helped Houston to a second set piece goal.

In the 27th minute Kyle Beckerman pulled one back for RSL, but the game quickly went the Dynamo's way again when Jamison Olave was dismissed for an over-the-ball tackle in the 32nd. Yura Movsisyan drew the ten men level with a clever goal on the hour but it wasn't to be for RSL. Brad Davis thumped in a deserved third for Houston, who were soon down to ten themselves thanks to Brian Ching's cynical body check and the red card which resulted.

No such trouble for LA Galaxy, steered to a 2-0 home win over Toronto FC by David Beckham. Beckham opened the scoring very early on, squeezing the ball home after a one-two with none other than Chris Birchall. And he put the seal on a losing Toronto debut for Julian de Guzman by brilliantly picking out Landon Donovan, who hit a stunning first-time pass to Edson Buddle who found the net with ease.

And on Sunday evening Chicago Fire looked to be heading for a home win against Columbus Crew only to be pegged back for a draw. Peter Lowry hit a clean half volley and a low drive to put the Fire up at the break, but Guillermo Barros Schelotto's simple header and a somewhat fortunate penalty levelled the game.

Great news, MLS fans! Major League Soccer has brought in its Playoff Standings, meaning we can now see how the land lies without having to engage our brains. Crew and Fire are the top pairing in the East, Houston and LA lead in the West. Behind them, Seattle, Colorado, Chivas USA and DC United occupy the four wildcard slots at present.

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

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