Chris N (follow on Twitter: @ChrisTSC)
Wed 21 April 2010

Football Americana Week 4: The fall and fall of DC United

If Edson Buddle and LA Galaxy are the big story in Major League Soccer, DC United are running them close (and Seattle's new third kit running them even closer). United have lost four games out of four in 2010, turning one of the league's flagship clubs into a woefully inept outfit which shows few signs of improvement. Losing several key players to injury in the last two weeks does not bode well.

A midweek visit from Philadelphia Union provided a much-needed win for Toronto FC. Danny Califf got himself stupidly sent off after 33 minutes, hitting an awful backpass and rectifying his mistake by clotheslining onrushing TFC man Julian De Guzman as he tore through to latch on to the mistake.

The resulting free kick drew the second hilarious error in as many games by Philly goalkeeper Chris Seitz, who fumbled Dwayne De Rosario's squirming shot over his own line. But the Union went in level at the break, Jordan Harvey racing onto a great diagonal ball and finishing calmly to make it 1-1. Seitz was at fault again, felling O'Brian White in the box when he was going nowhere with ten minutes left. De Ro won it from the spot.

Kansas City Wizards have started the season in impressive fashion and it took until second half stoppage time for Seattle Sounders to prevent them taking a point home from Qwest Field. Both sides created some good chances but it was Michael Fucito, on for Steve Zakuani in the 85th minute, who banked the three points for the Sounders in the 92nd minute by beating Jimmy Nielsen at his near post.

Early goals for Geoff Cameron and Lovel Palmer set Houston Dynamo on the way to a resounding victory over Chivas USA. Cameron opened his 2010 account with a neat finish into the bottom corner and Palmer doubled the Dynamo's lead with a blockbusting 30-yard drive in the 20th minute. Dominic Oduro made it 3-0 with a 64th minute tap-in and celebrated by removing his boot and juggling it between his hands.

Just like they were in Week Two, DC United were undone by two late goals from their visitors after being devoid of quality. Marco Pappa put Chicago Fire in the lead with a shot into the roof of the net in the 79th minute and substitute Brian McBride glanced a last minute header through the hands of Troy Perkins to continue the misery for DC United and Curt Onalfo.

Midfielder Dax McCarty gave FC Dallas an early lead at Red Bull Arena with a poacher's header but a double from Juan Pablo Angel ensured a second half turnaround for New York Red Bulls. He'd already had one disallowed for a tight offside call when he tucked in the equaliser, and he could have had his second from the spot when Mac Kandji was fouled in the area. Dario Sala won that duel, but Angel got another chance after he was fouled in the last minute - no mistake second time round, and the Red Bulls got back to winning ways.

San Jose Earthquakes continued their solid early season form with a 2-0 victory over the inconsistent New England Revolution. The Quakes did most of the pressing before being rewarded by Chris Wondolowski's 57th minute goal and Ike Opara's second in as many games.

The amazing Edson Buddle story goes on and on in California. LA Galaxy came out on top in their match against Real Salt Lake and the in-form striker produced his sixth and seventh goals of the campaign to bank the points. Buddle thumped in a header from a Landon Donovan corner in the 12th minute before RSL skipper Kyle Beckerman equalised with a long distance pea-roller which should have been saved. Buddle won it for LA from the edge of the box in the 76th minute, maintaining LA's 100% record and putting himself firmly into World Cup contention. An incredible run of form for the 28-year-old.

Finally, Colorado Rapids won the battle of the penalties to seal a 3-1 victory over floundering Toronto FC. Conor Casey made it 1-0 Rapids with a trademark cheeky chip from the spot after Ty Harden handled at the feet of Omar Cummings. Dwayne De Rosario's penalty was less convincing but equalised nonetheless. It was shortlived parity for TFC, who fell behind thanks to a low free kick from Jeff Larentowicz. Five minutes from time Casey was dragged down in the area and opted for a more orthodox - but equally successful - spot kick.

You can check out all the Week Four action here and view the Eastern and Western Conference tables here. LA are flying, with 12 points won from 12 available, and lead the West ahead of Colorado, Houston and Seattle on seven. In the extremely weak East, the Red Bulls are top, three points ahead of both Kansas City and New England. DC are still pointless, and FC Dallas sit at the bottom of the West with just 2 points.

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