Yawwwn. Soccer is so boring. I don’t even know why we bother watching. Let’s see if we can find anything particularly interesting to talk about in Saturday’s slate of MLS and EPL matchups.
Major League Soccer
Our Canadian MLS clubs had quite the day, eh? It kicked off with the bitterest of rivalries, the “Canadian derby” as they say, with winless Montreal Impact hosting winless Toronto FC. Toronto was coming off a surprising CONCACAF Champions League run, but fell to the first-year Impact, who picked up their first franchise win with a 2-1 victory:
Sinisa Ubiparipovic, making his first appearance of the season for Montreal, coolly slotted home a shot in the 17th minute and No. 1 overall SuperDraft pick Andrew Wenger doubled the Impact’s lead with his first professional goal in the 81st minute as Montreal (1-4-1, four points) held off a late rally by 10-man TFC.
Toronto (0-4-0, zero points), who were reducted to 10 men when central defender Logan Emory was sent off in the 65th minute, got their consolation goal with two minutes to play on a header by Designated Player Danny Koevermans.
On the other side of the country, the Vancouver Whitecaps were the victims of the San Jose Earthquakes, who once again handed a team their first loss of the season (last week it was the Seattle Sounders who the Quakes reduced to rubble). Even more crazy, however, was how it was done. Not only were the Whitecaps undefeated all season, but they had not conceded a goal. In the 63rd minute of the game, they set an MLS record for consecutive scoreless minutes to start a season at 422. But then, at the 427th minute of the streak, the 68th of the game, Chris Wondolowski ended it with an equalizer. Must’ve been our Midweek Muscles feature this week that brought him some luck. The wheels fell off for Vancouver at that point, and they surrendered two more goals in a matter of 10 minutes – one to Alex Gordon and another to Wondo, to fall 3-1.
Wondering what the secret sauce has been to San Jose’s success this season? Our Quakes writer, Alyssa Olszewski, has the answer.
Sporting Kansas City is also having a mildly interesting season. They improved to 5-0 to start the season, the first MLS team to do so in 14 years, with a 1-0 victory over the stumbling defending MLS Champions, L.A. Galaxy (1-3). Kei Kamara scored the decisive goal on a header at the 40′ mark.
The Galaxy failed to record a shot on goal in a match. Yep, you heard that right. ZERO. And that gives us yet another record!
Sporting KC, which hasn’t allowed a shot on goal in back-to-back 1-0 wins against Chivas USA and the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday, set a new MLS record with 245 consecutive minutes without a shot on goal.
The SKC-LAG game aired live on ESPN, and featured a halftime spotlight on Kamara and his inspiring journey from growing up in war-torn Sierra Leone to reuniting with his mother, after almost ten years apart, in the United States. Don’t read on without watching it.
Here are more scores from Saturday’s matchups:
English Premier League
Clint Dempsey scored two goals in Fulham’s 3-0 win over Bolton on Saturday, breaking the club record for goals scored by a single player in a season with 15. His 30′ free kick strike was the first free kick goal of his career. You can watch it here. Dempsey now as 21 total goals this season, between Premier League and Champions League appearances. Yeah, Americans really can’t compete in European soccer, can they?
Has Manchester City’s lack of experience when the lights are brightest blown their chance at the Premiership title? The Telegraph’s Gary Lineker argues that Roberto Mancini’s public criticism of his players has led to a divisive atmosphere that’s prevented them from responding to pressure and closing out the season, and that their hot start disguised problems that later have come to haunt them:
When City enjoyed a blistering start, just like Spurs, we were probably sucked into thinking they were better than they actually are.
For a while it seemed they were running away with it, especially while Yaya Touré and David Silva were at their best, but the warning signs were still there. The Champions League performance was a disappointment, offering the first clues that the overall standard of the squad wasn’t as high as it seemed in the Premier League…
What matters isn’t how a player performed earlier in the season, but how they’re coping when the pressure is on, which is why you’d now look to someone such as Wayne Rooney as the most influential player of the season.
U.S. Women’s National Team
Tickets are now on sale for the U.S. Women’s next friendly, against China at PPL Park, home of the Philadelphia Independence, on Sunday, May 27. It’s Memorial Day weekend, so you have no excuses not to go.
U.S. Soccer has also announced the women’s send-off match before the Olympics, a rematch of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Final against Canada, which will take place June 30 in Sandy, Utah at Rio Tinto Stadium. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, April 13, with advance tickets for VISA card-holders on Thursday.
Keep up with us on Twitter at @AerysSoccer throughout Sunday’s matches, and check back here for more game recaps and league roundups.