Chris N (follow on Twitter: @ChrisTSC)
Tue 13 April 2010

Football Americana Week 3: Hat-tricks steal headlines in chippy MLS

For the first time ever, Major League Soccer had eight games in one day at the weekend. And it was a dramatic octet of matches with no fewer than four red cards, surprising results and three goals each for Zach Schilawski and Sebastien Le Toux as the Revs and the Union bagged three points each on home soil. DC United and Toronto remain pointless, with United having played three matches already. Curt Onalfo is presumably already beginning to feel the pressure.

Le Toux's treble came in Philadelphia Union beat struggling DC United in their first ever MLS home game - if I weren't a DC fan, that would please me after my season preview acknowledged the acquisition of Le Toux to be a shrewd one. He nodded in the Union's first league goal in the fourth minute and made it 2-0 with a swaggering low finish in the 40th.

United pulled it back to 2-1 in the second half thanks to the awareness of Santino Quaranta and a tidy finish, and then equalised in controversial fashion. Chris Seitz was put off by Jaime Moreno as he prepared to kick the ball out of his hands and dropped it, allowing the Bolivian to score. Premier League fans may remember Dion Dublin scoring in similar circumstances for Coventry City, but Moreno feigned a challenge on the goalkeeper which should have constituted interference.

Union won out, though. Dejan Jakovic pulled down Alejandro Moreno - who may have fouled him - and watched on after his red card as Le Toux swept his free kick into the bottom corner. A great night for Philly.

After 30 minutes at Gillette Stadium it looked as if New England Revolution might find three points hard to come by against Toronto FC. Dwayne De Rosario headed TFC in front after the Revs wasted some chances, but Steve Nicol's side - and Schilawski in particular - were much less wasteful after the break. He poked in his first MLS goal unchallenged just after half time, and doubled his tally with a calm finish a few minutes later. 11 minutes after his first, he flicked in Kheli Dube's cross and completed his hat-trick. Sainey Nyassi added insult to injury for TFC by capitalising on some miscommunication at the back. 4-1 Revs.

Much improved New York Red Bulls lost their 100% record in LA, losing 2-0 to Chivas USA. Jesus Padilla was the hero for Chivas, "scoring" with the funniest goal you'll ever see. A weak shot from the Mexican was deflected onto the far post and back towards the grounded goalkeeper as kindly as he could even have begged for. His shonky, ham-fisted catch attempt was possibly the most awkward thing I've ever seen in football and he served only to prod the ball into his own net - clearly an own goal. Padilla doubled the advantage in stoppage time with a goal all of his own.

Unlike the Red Bulls, LA Galaxy did go three for three with a win on Saturday. A tricky trip to Houston Dynamo saw the Galaxy take the lead in the 26th minute, Edson Buddle firing in his fourth in three games from a ridiculously acute angly inside 30 minutes after a bad mix-up in the Dynamo defence. Luis Angel Landin saw red in the 43rd minute for a very ugly petulant swipe at the legs of Omar Gonzalez. His behaviour after the card could land him in hot water.

Before the break, Buddle bagged number five in his incredible start to the season. 2-0 stood through the second half and the Galaxy are flying. They haven't conceded a single goal in their three opening matches.

The Eastern Conference is topped by Kansas City Wizards despite their having only played twice. A 1-0 victory over Colorado Rapids was much closer than their win over DC, and came courtesy of a Kei Kamara header from Ryan Smith's free kick at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. Colorado's Julien Baudet picked up a straight red card.

Chicago Fire's start to the season has been disappointing and continued with a home defeat at the hands of San Jose Earthquakes. Arturo Alvarez opened the scoring with a delightful chip after a mistake in the Fire defence, only for Marco Pappa to equalise with a fantastic strike into the top corner. The Quakes took home all three points, though, thanks to Ike Opara's free header.

If Opara's winner was late then the finales in the weekend's two remaining games were even more dramatic.

In Frisco, FC Dallas faced Easter Conference favourites Columbus Crew. David Ferreira was fouled in the area just before the half hour, allowing Jeff Cunningham to open his 2010 account from the spot (well, from near the spot).

But the Crew edged into the lead with goals from Adam Moffat and Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who nodded in the rebound from his own penalty after Kevin Hartman's parry. Eric Avila found the bottom corner deep into stoppage time to earn a point for FCD after Crew's Danny O'Rourke had been sent off.

And it was also 2-2 in Sandy, Utah, where Real Salt Lake needed a stoppage time equaliser to avoid defeat against Seattle Sounders. Steve Zakuani slotted the ball past Nick Rimando to put the Sounders ahead in the 11th minute. In the second half, Will Johnson equalised with a diving header, but a Nat Borchers own goal gave the Sounders the advantage again in the 72nd minute. It took RSL until the 94th minute to secure a point and it came thanks to substitute Alvaro Saborio, who found the net with a header from a corner.

Only the Galaxy and the Wizards have 100% records intact, with LA leading the West with nine points and Kansas City heading up the East with six. New England and New York each have six points in the East, while the Galaxy are already five points ahead of RSL, Seattle, Colorado and Houston. You can see the full tables here and view all the highlights from Major League Soccer here.

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