Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With the third week of the Major League
Soccer regular season in the books, it's safe to say it wasn't exactly one for
The Montreal Impact continue to impress, while the league's so-called "rivalry
week" failed to deliver the goods as we look back on the weekend that was in
MONTREAL IMPACT STILL STREAKING
Count this observer as one who definitely didn't see this coming from the
second-year Montreal Impact. Marco Schallibaum's club pulled out a 2-1 win in
its home opener at Olympic Stadium against Canadian rivals Toronto FC.
Montreal struck first in the 34th minute after midfielder Andres Romero was
dragged down in the penalty area, setting up a spot kick for the automatic
Patrice Bernier, who easily buried it for the 1-0 lead.
Veteran forward Marco Di Vaio doubled the lead for the hosts on the stroke of
halftime. TFC got one back, but the Impact held on for the victory again.
Schallibaum's team has shown mental and physical toughness over its three
wins this season. The club didn't panic on Saturday when Toronto pulled to
within one goal with almost 20 minutes to play and the team was able to see
out the result in front of almost 40,000 home fans.
Montreal has learned to win on the road and if it can continue to make its
home ground a difficult place to play, the club could be on its way to an
PHILADELPHIA STILL HAS REVOLUTION'S NUMBER
The Philadelphia Union won its second straight match on Saturday after
grinding out a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution in sloppy conditions at
The game remained scoreless as the teams struggled to maintain possession, but
Jack McInerney netted the only goal of the match in the 76th minute on a
rebound to give the Union six points from a possible nine to start the season.
In eight all-time meetings with New England, Philadelphia has never lost,
holding a 5-0-3 record against Jay Heaps' club.
Philadelphia appears to be turning a corner in John Hackworth's first full
season as head coach. The Union showed resolve in coming up with an impressive
2-1 away win against the Colorado Rapids before notching their first home win
of the season.
Last year, a game that played out like Saturday's would have ended in a loss
for Philadelphia, but the team is playing with confidence under Hackworth and
the new central defense pairing of Jeff Parke and Amobi Okugo has done
A huge test is on tap for Philadelphia on March 30 when the club travels to
Harrison, NJ to take on a motivated Red Bull New York side.
RIVALRY WEEK FALLS A BIT SHORT
Speaking of Red Bull New York, the club kicked off "rivalry week" with a
scoreless draw on Saturday against Atlantic Cup rivals D.C. United.
New York dominated possession for most of the match and had several chances,
with Fabian Espindola smacking the crossbar on two occasions, but D.C.
goalkeeper Bill Hamid put in an outstanding performance to save a point for
Mike Petke's club has taken just two points from three matches this season and
has squandered leads in its first two matches and will be motivated to put
together a good performance against fellow I-95 rivals Philadelphia on March
New York needs to take all three points against the Union to avoid falling
into a deep early hole in the Eastern Conference standings.
Rookie Deshorn Brown got Colorado off to a good start against Rocky Mountain
Cup rivals Real Salt Lake, but Alvaro Saborio bagged his third goal of the
campaign with 10 minutes to play to give Salt Lake a 1-1 draw.
Out west, Cascadia Cup rivals Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers played to
a fairly tame 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field. Eddie Johnson scored for
Seattle in the 13th minute, but Rodney Wallace netted the equalizer in
stoppage time to salvage a 1-1 draw.
A draw is a fair result for both sides, but the first match in what has become
MLS's best rivalry was a bit short on action.
Sunday's Texas derby between FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo was the only match
of the weekend that lived up its billing.
FC Dallas jumped out to a two-goal lead behind tallies from Jackson and
Andrew Jacobson, but Houston fought back with a pair of second-half goals from
Andrew Driver and Brad Davis.
Controversy arose in stoppage time when FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper brought
a ball down with his chest before it hit his arm and was put past Tally
Hall to hand the El Capitan title to Dallas.
The SuperClassico rounded out the weekend as Los Angeles failed to hold a lead
and settled for a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA.
Only three teams claimed full points on the weekend, which makes one think
that perhaps "parity week" may have been a more apt moniker for this weekend's
GOAL OF THE WEEK?
Cooper earns this week's nod for goal of the week as his match-winner in
stoppage time gave FC Dallas a 3-2 victory over local rivals, Houston.
But should it have been a goal?
On the play, Cooper brought down a long ball with his chest, but television
replays showed the ball clearly hitting the arm of Cooper before he was able
to put it past Hall for the decisive marker, but referee Jair Marrufo let the
play stand and Dallas walked away with three points.
Montreal Impact - The Impact continue to roll with nine points from three
matches. They have clearly figured out how to win on the road after notching
victories in Seattle and Portland and thrilled the home fans in a 2-1 triumph
over Toronto FC. Schallibaum's crew could be an unexpected Eastern Conference
powerhouse if they can keep their momentum rolling.
Philadelphia Union - Jack McInerney has quickly become the Union's most clutch
player. The 20-year-old striker scored a late match-winner for the second
straight week as Philadelphia continued its dominance over the New England
Revolution with a 1-0 win on Saturday. After falling to Sporting Kansas City,
Philadelphia has won two straight to rise to second place in the Eastern
Conference. The team's quality will be tested against Red Bull New York on
Chicago Fire - As good as the Montreal Impact has been early on, Chicago has
been equally as disappointing through three games this season. Saturday's 0-0
draw with Sporting KC gave the Fire their first point of the season, but they
have yet to win a game -- or even score a goal -- in 2013. Losing Alvaro
Fernandez and Pavel Pardo has affected the midfield play dramatically and the
club has yet to put together a solid 90 minutes despite adding veteran pieces
like Dilly Duka, Joel Lindpere and Jeff Larentowicz in the offseason. The Fire
needs to show some attacking prowess sometime in the next few games before
they fall too far behind.
New York Red Bulls - After blowing leads in the first two matches against
Portland and San Jose, New York came out and dominated the game against D.C.
this weekend, but was unable to find the net in a 0-0 draw. Espindola struck
the crossbar on two occasions, but New York has still not claimed a full three
points. Petke was clearly frustrated at his team's lack of finishing, which
will need to improve drastically for New York to end up where many people
expect them to be at season's end.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Next week's pick of the lot pits Red Bull New York against Montreal. New York
needs three points badly, while Montreal will look to stay perfect and collect
12 points from four matches.
D.C. United hosts the Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium looking for its second win
this season, while Columbus will attempt to get back in the win column after
settling for a 1-1 home draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.
FC Dallas goes for its third win in four tries against Real Salt Lake, while
Houston will look to bounce back against the Vancouver Whitecaps, who had this
past weekend off from MLS competition.
Los Angeles battles Colorado, San Jose hosts Seattle, and Chicago will go for
its first win of the campaign against Chivas to round out next week's matches.
The Sports Network