LA Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan had some choice words for the New York Red Bulls after LA's 1-0 win Sunday. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
The game had been physical, with several meaty tackles launched across the sodden pitch, which had absorbed a snowstorm the night before. But had this kind of trouble been brewing? According to Donovan, who did not mince words, the answer was yes. "There a few plays where they took some cheap shots at us," he told reporters after the match. "In all my years in this league, I’ve not played against a cheaper team, and they’ve been doing it all year. We saw it a few weeks ago with [Thierry] Henry kneeing someone in the back. We’ve seen that stuff all year. You just deal with it, and at the end of it, the cream rose to the top, and the better team won."
I've never been the type to complain when a team I support is defeated by a superior team. On that note, had you told me that the Colorado Rapids would lose to Sporting Kansas City by the scoreline of 2-0 because of a Teal Bunbury brace, I probably wouldn't have been all that upset. However, losing in the manner that the Rapids did is just disgusting for what was supposed to be a somewhat highly regarded Major League Soccer match.
On May 28, some five months ago, Ryan Smith let loose a left-footed drive that sailed past Matt Pickens to pull Sporting level with the MLS Cup holders. Sporting would survive through the end of 90 minutes to avoid defeat, and would then avoid it 13 times over on their way to a record long unbeaten run. A similar outcome would not be unwelcome, though of course Smith cannot feature. Graham Zusi likes a strike, though.
In 6 games at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, this is KC's first win there. It was KC's first win in Colorado since 6/9/2004 when Josh Wolff scored a 90th minute penalty kick. Teal Bunbury's two goals were only the 3rd time in team history a KC player has scored multiple goals in the playoffs, the other two times, Miklos Molnar in 2000 and Davy Arnaud in 2004.
What happened to playoff composure? This goes beyond the altercation in New York. Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was highly fortunate not to be sent off in Saturday's match against RSL after he put his hands to the face and neck of Real striker Alvaro Saborio. Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara got away with a slap to Colorado defender Miguel Comminges, and easily could have received far more than the verbal warning he was given by referee Baldomero Toledo. Houston midfielder Adam Moffat's two-handed shove to the chest of Union defender Sheanon Williams risked undoing what was otherwise an impressive team performance.
If you're hosting the first leg of a two-legged tie, you're putting yourself in a deep hole if you lose the first match. Lose by multiple goals and you're in a hole that is near impossible to dig out of. The problem for the Colorado Rapids is that not only did they lose their first leg at home by two goals, but they had a man sent off so he's out for the second leg and three players went down with injuries, possibly leaving them with a severely weakened team.
The Colorado Rapids got the bad news they expected Monday about three more injured starters, leaving them with suddenly long odds to rally against Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Defenders Kosuke Kimura (fractured left foot) and Drew Moor (separated shoulder) and striker Caleb Folan (sprained left knee and ankle) became three more first-team regulars named to the injury list following the club’s 2-0 defeat Sunday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and all three will miss the series finale on Wednesday at Livestrong Sporting Park.
This is a tricky situation for U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann. He says he won’t pick players who aren’t getting regular minutes, who aren’t sharp and fit. So … where does that league young Agudelo for upcoming friendlies? The Red Bulls striker has been a national team regular under Klinsmann, but for how much longer? There’s a precedent that can no longer be ignored. Again, this is no recent thing: Agudelo has played 36 minutes in the Red Bulls last seven matches. Let that sink in. Roll it around on your tongue for a minute. Yuk!
U.S. Major League Soccer has eclipsed both the NBA and the National Hockey League in terms of average attendance at games — a feat that explains why Fox and Telemundo just paid an incredible $1 billion for the rights to broadcast the Word Cup in 2018 and 2022. That price was more than twice what ESPN and Univision paid to broadcast the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
It was again Bunbury who was causing the Colorado Rapids back line trouble in the 59th minute when he made a darting run in to the box with the ball at his feet as Tyrone Marshall came through the back of Bunbury, prompting the referee to give a PK and a red card to the offender (not to say Bunbury didn't go down easily).