Chris N (follow on Twitter: @ChrisTSC)
Tue 27 April 2010

Football Americana Week 5: Empty seats watch RBNY continue to fly

In a week of disappointing attendances, Major League Soccer still delivered all the thrills and spills as the Red Bulls opened up a lead over their Eastern Conference rivals and LA Galaxy finally dropped points for the first time in 2010.

The week's action got underway at Pizza Hut Park with Seattle Sounders visiting FC Dallas. In the 25th minute a mix-up led to Kasey Keller fouling Jeff Cunningham in the box and the Dallas striker found the bottom corner with the penalty. Steve Zakuani cut inside from the left to find the net and equalise for the Sounders, and Fredy Montero looked to have given his side all three points when his remarkable 35-yard free kick put them in front. But there was controversy deep into stoppage time, Dallas being awarded a penalty in very questionable circumstances. Cunningham stepped up once again and equalised.

New York Red Bulls earned yet another three points at a worryingly deserted RBA, this time against Philadelphia Union. Ibrahim Salou made it 1-0 with a towering 50th minute header, but Philly's Sebastien Le Toux levelled nine minutes later by turning in Alejandro Moreno's superb pass. Once again, a Juan Pablo Angel penalty turned one point into three for RBNY. A clumsy handball afforded him the opportunity which he took in style.

Far too many matches this season have been settled from the penalty spot, and there was another at Crew Stadium at the weekend. Champions Real Salt Lake were on the receiving end against Columbus Crew, who were awarded the spot kick when Robbie Rogers was tripped. Guillermo Barros Schelotto struck to give the Crew a home win. RSL had a late equaliser ruled out, perhaps a little harshly.

New England Revolution's stuttering start carried on with the visit of Colorado Rapids to Gillette Stadium. Mehdi Ballouchy opened the scoring for the Rapids in the 14th minute, but Marko Perovic quickly equalised with a vicious free kick past Matt Pickens. Pablo Mastroeni bagged the winner for the visitors with a 25-yard rocket off the post.

LA Galaxy headed to Kansas City Wizards with their 100% record intact, but left CommunityAmerica Ballpark with just one point after a goalless draw. Kei Kamara had an early goal disallowed when he used his arm to sweep in the rebound from a Davy Arnaud shot. Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts had to be in good form to keep the Galaxy in the game.

Chicago Fire hosted Houston Dynamo and emerged with three valuable points. Baggio Husidic headed home the Fire's opener in first half stoppage time, and the lead was doubled halfway through the second half when Peter Lowry nodded in from Patrick Nyarko's cross. The sides then exchanged red cards, Danny Cruz of the Dynamo earning a second yellow for his involvement (or otherwise, in fact) in a melee after an aerial clash, and Krzystof Krol seeing red for headbutting Luis Angel Landin. There was sad news out of Houston today, with confirmation of Geoff Cameron's season-ending injury.

An exciting encounter at HDC saw Chivas USA seal a 3-2 victory over San Jose Earthquakes. Sasha Kljestan made it 1-0 from distance but Chris Wondolowski pulled the Quakes level from the penalty spot. Justin Braun's 54th minute header put Chivas back in front and Chukwudi Chijindu made sure of the win four minutes from time. Steven Beitashour's consolation goal was impressive but futile.

In the final match of the week, Toronto FC made amends for defeat against the Rapids by picking up a 2-0 home win against the Seattle Sounders. Dwayne De Rosario bent in the first and then laid on the second for O'Brian White after a gift from the Sounders defence.

Week five saw the Rapids pick up ground on LA Galaxy, cutting their lead at the top of the West to three points. The Sounders and the Dynamo are in hot pursuit, while FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake prop up the standings, which you can see here.

In the East, New York are five points clear of Kansas City, Columbus and Chicago. DC United, enjoying a weekend off, remain the only pointless side in MLS.

You can view all the week five highlights here.

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