Somebody needs to tell them they’re setting the bar too high in Vancouver.
Another beautiful day at Empire Field, another impossibly entertaining soccer game. They’re like a fireworks crew leading with the grand finale. Don’t they know they can’t keep this up?
Then again, after Saturday’s astounding three-goal comeback against Sporting Kansas City, maybe they can - maybe anything’s possible in British Columbia this year.
While Whitecaps FC's dramatic rally led the Week Three news here at the MPG, there were plenty of stories nipping at its heels.
There was the announcement that mighty Manchester United FC would return this summer to play in the MLS All-Star Game. There was the blockbuster trade of. And there was a weekend of absorbing matches that produced a season-high three goals-per-game average.
Let’s break it down.
Vancouver kicked off their game against Sporting Kansas City without Designated Player Eric Hassli (red card suspension), captain and USA international center back Jay DeMerit (injury), Swiss playmaker Davide Chiumiento (injury) and speedy Canadian youth international Russell Teibert (U-20 qualifying).
For most expansion teams, which are not known for their depth, this would be a significant handicap.
So, too, would be going down 1-0 at halftime, despite getting the better of the play through the first 45 minutes.
And going down 3-0 after 62 minutes, which Vancouver did on Saturday? Well, that would flatline most any team, expansion or otherwise.
But Vancouver, we are fast discovering, are not just any team. Whitecaps FC got a 73rd-minute goal from and then two - in stoppage time! - from 22-year-old Brazilian Camilo, who’d started in Hassli’s place.
Camilo spent the day buzzing around dangerously and testing Sporting KC goalkeeper, so it only made sense - a last-gasp, crazy kind of sense, but sense all the same - when he found the net, twice, at the death to snatch a tie for the home team, and spark pandemonium in the Empire Field stands.
All in all, it was a wide-open, entertaining game with plenty of chances, several spectacular saves by Nielsen, and six goals, five of them high-quality ones.
And let’s not forget, who scored the first two for Sporting KC. They were brilliant strikes that firmly reestablished his place in the “rising young US strikers” spotlight he’d shared with before dislocating his elbow.
HIGHLIGHTS: Vancouver 3, Sporting 3
DeRo on the Go
The night before the Whitecaps FC stunner, Vancouver’s Canadian brethren,, made a splash of their own, trading five-time MLS Best XI selection Dwayne De Rosario to New York Red Bulls in exchange for , and a 2012 MLS SuperDraft pick.
De Rosario suited up for New York on Saturday night against Houston Dynamo and made an instant impact, setting up a goal within two minutes of coming on to start the second half. But the Dynamo equalized three minutes later and then held on for a 1-1 draw, thanks to a combination of poor finishing by New York and excellent goalkeeping by.
Toronto, for their part, followed up their decision to trade the franchise’s best player by giving up a second-minute goal toof on Saturday afternoon. answered for The Reds 10 minutes before halftime to lift his current team into a 1-1 tie with his former one.
Indeed, ties, along with great goals, were the theme of Week Three. There were eight games on the schedule this week and five of them ended all even.
Themustered the first point of their MLS existence. Inspired by a midweek win over Chivas USA in a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play-in game - their first victory as an MLS side - the Timbers got a 38th-minute goal from captain to rally for a 1-1 draw at New England Revolution on Saturday night, and nearly took all three points.
It was easily the Timbers’ best performance of the year.
San Jose rallied for a 2-2 tie against Seattle Sounders FC, and got something they haven’t gotten in a while - a goal from someone not named. The 2010 MLS Golden Boot winner had scored the ’ previous 12 goals.
This time, though, it was new signing Simon Dawkins, on loan from England's Tottenham Hotspur, who slotted home afterthreaded a pass through traffic to him. Then second-half sub Khari Stephenson launched a 35-yard tracer past that will be a candidate in the very crowded field for Goal of the Week. and were the goalscorers for Seattle.
HIGHLIGHTS: San Jose 2, Seattle 2
Becks and the Brits
In a week during which his former team, Manchester United FC, announced they would return to the US to play in the 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game this summer, LA Galaxy wingerhelped his current team bounce back from last week’s 4-1 shellacking at .
Beckham led the Galaxy to a 1-0 win over a scrappy Philadelphia Union team on Saturday. In the 33rd minute, he swung a dangerous free kick into the area, and Leonardo redirected it with a leaning header that hit the post and went in.
LA then lost midfielderto a red card in the 53rd minute, but held on for the win.
Manhester United will face the MLS All-Stars on July 27 at Red Bull Arena. It’s sure to be the hottest ticket on the Red Devils’ summer tour, during which they’ll also face New England (July 13), Seattle (July 20), and Chicago Fire (July 23). Everton FC and Newcastle United FC also announced plans to tour the States and take on MLS competition.
Week Three began and ended with games involving last year’s MLS Cup finalists,and Colorado Rapids. In the week’s Friday night opener, Dallas received their second red card in three games and fell 2-0 to Columbus Crew, while in Sunday night’s closer, Colorado got two goals from new signing Caleb Folan and romped past 4-1.
Unfortunately for Dallas, the two are also bookending the Western Conference standings at the moment, with the unbeaten and untied defending champs at the top, and the 0W-2L-1D Hoops, who’ve scored just one goal while conceding five, at the bottom.
HIGHLIGHTS: Colorado 4, DC 1