Injuries Cast a Shadow Over a Great MLS Weekend

Landon Donovan

Photo by Ryan Healy

A great weekend for MLS soccer was overshadowed by some high-profile injuries that may close the door on some struggling teams.  Meanwhile, the top of the pack looked stronger: Donovan’s return coupled with New York’s victory Thursday has two of the big name teams clicking on all cylinders at the moment and threatening to open a divide in the standings.  The East is still the East – three teams will take the playoff spots but no one’s sure who and in what order.

But the big takeaway from this weekend is, of course, Lambeau Leaps are not allowed in MLS.  Here’s your weekend recap:

Seattle Sounders 1, Colorado Rapids 0: We’ve covered the match and implications in-depth on this site, but I can’t emphasize enough how big of an impact Zakuani’s injury is on the Sounders.  Fredy Montero looked to be on his way back to form and they finally looked to be clicking on offense at least.  Now they have to replace one of their best playmakers.  Their schedule over the next few weeks is critical: Toronto, Portland, Kansas City and Dallas at home; traveling to DC and Columbus.  This is not murderers row, but the kind of schedule that could show us if Seattle are contenders or pretenders this year.  Look for a Colorado post this week to talk about their travails.

Toronto FC 1, Columbus Crew 1: I mentioned last week that Columbus is facing an easier part of the schedule, and if they want to be considered a playoff contender, they need to win these type of games.  Instead, they settled for a draw and only after Toronto were down to ten men.  Tony Tchani’s celebration made it clear that MLS officials will not tolerate goal celebrations off the pitch; players be warned.  The Toronto goal snapped the Crew’s impressive scoreless streak and gives some hope to a side that was pretty down after last week’s loss.

Chivas USA 2, San Jose 1: This is a bad, bad loss for San Jose.  While Chivas got a long deserved win, this is the kind of match San Jose needs to win to be considered a playoff team.  They are winless in their last four and while losing to New York last week is no disgrace, losing at home to the Goats arguably is.  An additional footnote, this match was the first time this season an MLS team came from one goal down to win a match.  Chivas is also now undefeated in their last four matches.

FC Dallas 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 1: Dallas may have won the battle but in the process lost the war.  The home side looked like they were finally gathering some momentum this season and beginning to play as well as they should be; Brek Shea was even returning to the right side of the midfield.  Credit to the team for rallying for a win after David Ferreira went off with a broken ankle, but make no mistake this is a serious blow.  He is their best playmaker and one of the best in MLS.  For the ‘Caps, it was another blown lead and another yellow card for Eric Hassli, who will miss their next match due to this card being his fifth.

New England Revolution 3, Sporting Kansas City 2: So many storylines, so little space.  Let’s start with Benny Feilhaber’s debut in MLS: he played the whole match and assisted on the Marco Perovic goal.  He also was responsible for the red card to Aurélien Collins: the KC defender and Revs midfielder got into a tussle after Collins collided with Matt Reis.  While KC fans may argue it was unjust, Collins was sent to the showers with a straight red.  The Revs also saw Steve Nicol’s newest formation – Shalrie Joseph playing as a forward, not a midfielder, to provide support up top for Lekic.  Kansas City, meanwhile, needs some help on defense.  The team’s backline leaks like a sieve and cannot keep giving up 2.4 goals a game.

Chicago Fire 1, Houston Dynamo 1: The ageless Bobby Boswell continues his strong year.  The defender scored the equalizer late in the match and, don’t look now, but Houston’s on a nice hot streak.  They are unbeaten in their last five and are climbing the Eastern Conference standings.  Chicago, on the other hand, can’t buy a win at the moment and their upcoming schedule won’t help that effort: they travel to Colorado then host the high-scoring Whitecaps before traveling to Toronto and Philadelphia.

Los Angeles Galaxy 3, Portland Timbers 0: Welcome back Landon Donovan.  The Team USA midfielder scored twice, including a penalty, but the match may have been over in the fourth minute when Chad Barrett scored.  LA fielded their strongest lineup of the year and looked like one of the best teams in MLS since maybe their opening night win over Seattle.  Portland, despite their good karma at home, just does not play well on the road.  They are two different teams depending on where the game is played.  For Timbers fans, the one bright sport was getting to see their new DP in action as Diego Chara was subbed on in the 46th minute.

12 Responses to Injuries Cast a Shadow Over a Great MLS Weekend

  1. Charles says:

    Zero posts. Sorry Robert Hay you write great articles, but this site’s commenters are a bit of a joke…..nah they are a HUGE joke.
    On a side note, I am starting to understand why the MLS Hater Trolls continue to post when they don’t even watch US soccer…you guys are using subliminal messages or sometiming ?

    Huge loss by the Sounders, but the Sounders have a good group of players behind Zakuani and Zakuani doesn’t get back on D many times, even after dumb turnovers. As easy as the schedule can get over the next 6 weeks or so, with Dallas losing Mr MVP especially, time to finally get a starting line up set 7 games in.

    Man, this was supposed to be an exciting season and wow, it can’t get much closer than it is right now. MLS is rocking it. LA and Salt Lake looking like the best with massive race for third best.

    Still not sold on NY being up there with the other two, I would have thought DeRo would be doing more for them.

    • CPK says:

      what the hell is up with you and mls hater trolls. i think without them you cant exist cuz you just cant get them out of your head. anyways i watch mls all the time and i still think its a sub par bush league so its understandable to say no one like mls. it seems like you are the only one who like over paritied, $2M salary cap franchise league.

  2. Charles says:

    BTW, I don’t understand MLS not wanting to have a team create a Lambeau-Leap type of celebration.
    First time that I agree with the MLS Hater Trolls, MLS is too NFL ( NoFunLeague) for me.

    I didn’t jump out of any windows because of Zakuani, but just saying that I agree with people as dumb as the MLS Hater Trolls….might just push me over the edge.

    • Chris V says:


      seriously dude does anyone care? im a mls fan but even i know mls is very much modeled after NFL (i mean we even have a NFL exec as a comish.). i believe in free agency, no playoffs and more club autonomy, i guess you can call me a hater troll even though im a VWFC fan and have directkick on my tv.

  3. Joe in Indianapolis says:

    I’m primarily a Sounders fan. Broke my heart to see Zakuani break his leg. I see Seattle suffering without him. He provides a needed spark when the team is passing like crap (which is way too often). He creates goals, plain and simple. 10 goals, 10 assists last year. Zakuani is Seattle’s most valuable player, in my humble opinion.

    Very nice to see LA clicking. The passing that led to their goals this week was fun to watch. Hopefully they can keep this up and carry the momentum into the 2011-2012 CCL. Would be nice to see some star power in the later stages of that tournament with Donovan and Beckham (assuming Becks is still on the team next year when they’re in the knockout stage).

    Huge game Wednesday night for RSL. An appearance in the FIFA Club World Cup (is it still called that?) would be an outstanding acheivement. Getting any positive result in that competition should help raise the profile of MLS worldwide, even if only slightly. Doubt RSL could beat a European or South American team, but perhaps getting matched up with a host country champ or another confederation’s champ in the preliminary rounds could allow RSL to get a win before being demolished by Barca or whoever.

    Also, it was great to see Henry score on Thursday. That is all.

    • The original Tom says:

      I think seeing an MLS team in the Club World Cup would be a lot of fun. I just hope it is not RSL. Go Monterey!

      The only game I watched this weekend was the one I attended- Colorado-Seattle on Friday (I feel awful for that young Seattle player). I’m glad I did other stuff because there are big games this week- the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, and the CONCACAF final-2nd leg.

    • dan says:

      wait what? your actually a Sounders fan happy to see LA do well? wow, at least one of you guys are blind haters.

      I’m no fan of Seattle but sad to see Zakuani taken down like that, he is your best talent

      • Charles says:

        Nah, The Original Tom is Colorado fan and he hates Salt Lake, which I admire. Maybe Salt Lake loses and Colorado wins CCL next year and his dream comes true.

        i guess as a Sounders fan, I should be rooting for the same. After my Sounders made a mess of games they should have won, I started rooting for MLS teams.

        • The original Tom says:

          Guilty as charged, thanks for defending me Charles! Although I do hope it is an entertaining game and a good advert for the MLS and Mexican soccer.

  4. NCAA Soccer Referee says:

    I was thoroughly disgusted by the tackle that broke Steve Zkuani’s tibia and fibula and the “sportscasters” reporting of it. They did everything they could to turn a malicious retaliation foul into a “boys will be boys” ho hun event. I watched the game again and just before the “attack” by Mullin, you see him go the ground in a tackle – I admit I do not remember who he believes fouls him -; he then raises his hand as if to cry for the Referee to call a foul; and after not receiving the justice he feels he deserves, he stands up and sees Zakuani with the ball; he then accelerates towards Zakuani with fire in his eyes and every foul malicious intent in the world to take him out. Of course, he succeeds beyond his wildest expectations. As a former soccer referee for 12 years, the RED CARD was certainly desrved, but the tone of the league and the message to the players that will come out of the League’s handling and suspension decision will be very important to the future of MLS this year. If all Mullien receives is a standard 3 game suspension for committing a direct RED CARD offense, then all the good skillful players in MLS will have targets on their legs as well as the rest of their bodies. Oliver Cummings, just to name one of many, will be fair game for the next MLS thug who has a bad attitude and does not like a Referee’s call. I believe that the Referees in MLS are weak and not up to the level of play, or thuggery, in the League. Don’t forget – two goals in the Galaxy MLS Cup semifinal last year came after a forward, who was beaten to the ball by a defender right by the penalty area and the goal line and then properly screened, successfully put both hands on the shoulders of the defender, pulled him away from the ball and proceeded to start a play that scored a goal. In the same game a Galaxy player was carrying a yellow card from a previous late tackle and committed a similar foul twice as bad later in the first half and the Referee purposely swallowed his yellow and red cards to avoid having Galaxy play with 10 players for the rest of the game. This is ABSOULTELY REVOLTING!!! Teams are winning games in the MLS by playing Hockey, not soccer. The MLS should stomp on this trend right now with significant suspenions, even if the Referee does not call the foul. Maybe losing half their pay for the year will make some of these thugs think twice before they try to ruin another good skillful player’s opportunity in life. Unfortunately, I expect the wimps at MLS to chicken out and not send a loud strong message to Mullin or the rest of the MLS that this behavior will not be tolerated. Maybe they need a couple of games in the next month to finish with two teams using 9 players each to send the right message – but it will not happen. The MLS ias a dnagerous mix of skillful yougplayers improving their game to try and move on to higher levels of competition, but why should they play in the MLS when some old thug can target them. Colorado wants to win, but I do not believe in that manner. MLS needs to weed out these thugs and instead let more younger players into the league. But, some sponsor or owner will put the kibash on any true attempt to clean up the game becasue it is not appealing to the bloodthirsty Americans who can’t play soccer worth a hooey but sure know how to throw a great blind side malicious body block to send a meesage to the opponents. The sportscasters should also call the game as it happens, not with the mamby-pamby marshmallow attitude they have now. Of course, if they do that, then they won’t have a job – right?

  5. SSReporters says:

    7 games and the worst offense in the league.

    This “Total Football” thing is going to take a long time. Abysmal home form this season.

    The Sounders will pound us into submission.

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