Week 7 of the 2012 Major League Soccer season, and things are getting spicy.
The unbeaten run being enjoyed by DC United was extended to five games with a midweek 1-1 draw against Montreal Impact, but Benny Olsen's men had to find an equaliser to take a point. Bernardo Corradi gave L'Impact the lead mid-way through the second half with a free header at the back post from a poorly defended cross, but Maicon Santos' purple patch continued thanks to a deflected low shot from 25 yards out in the 73rd minute. He had the ball in the net again late on, but was offside.
In-form rookie Nick DeLeon soon made it 3-0, his low shot taking a crucial deflection after he'd been found by Dwayne DeRosario, and Pontius sealed the win with his third goal in the middle of the second half. Picking up the ball 35 yards from goal, he produced an excellent solo run past flailing defenders and kept his composure to finish with his left foot. Thierry Henry grabbed a consolation for RBNY, whipping a lovely free kick past Joe Willis two minutes later.
BC Place was the latest stadium to host a Sporting Kansas City win, this time a 3-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps. The first came after the Caps repeatedly failed to clear the ball after a corner, eventually finding themselves helpless to prevent Aurelien Collin knocking the ball over the line from a yard out for 1-0. Vancouver helped out their opponents early in the second half. With Collin causing problems once more, Martin Bonjour deflected the ball past Joe Cannon to make it 2-0 with an own goal. Kei Kamara made the game safe by finishing off a move he started by adding a delightful finish to Chance Myers' low cross. Sebastien Le Toux scored a consolation goal for Vancouver, heading in a rebound to make it 3-1.
The Whitecaps did pick up a win this week, defeating FC Dallas 1-0. The goal was a superb strike by Camilo, who picked up the ball on the right flank, cut inside to beat two defenders and swung a low curler past Chris Seitz in the 11th minute. Carlos Rodriguez escaped a certain red card when he dragged back Sebastien Le Toux, who was racing past the half-way line into an empty final third in the last minute, but the Caps kept their lead and banked the three points.
Kansas City's run finally came to an end against Portland Timbers, against whom Sporting Club lost 1-0 thanks to a Myers own goal. It came after 41 minutes and was a thing of true comedic beauty. Kris Boyd's cross found Myers - erm - unmarked at the far post, and he inexplicably headed home past Jimmy Nielsen.
The action ebbed and flowed north of the border, where abject Toronto FC eventually lost 3-2 to Chicago Fire. The visitors drew first blood after just 24 seconds, Dominic Oduro taking advantage of an awful error by Milos Kocic and Torsten Frings to slide the opener under the goalkeeper. TFC equalised thanks to Reggie Lambe's stunning shot into the top corner from 25 yards, and the Bermudan made it 2-1 with a far simpler finish four minutes later. Gonzalo Segares brilliantly flicked in the equaliser 30 seconds later to take the game into half time level, and it was the Fire that grabbed the winner in the second half. They broke quickly in the 58th minute and Oduro's through-ball drew out Kocic and found Patrick Nyarko, who eased past the Toronto goalkeeper and made no mistake with his finish.
After a goalless first half in Ohio, Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo shared four goals equally in the second. Houston struck first, Will Bruin skilfully glancing a header Javier Hernandez-style inside the far post from a corner on the hour mark. Andre Hainault's own goal under pressure from Emilio Renteria made it 1-1, and the Crew soon took the lead with a thunderous drive from Eddie Gaven. With nine minutes left, Brian Ching equalised for Houston with a tap-in from Bruin's low cross.
Struggling LA Galaxy finally got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Marvell Wynne was the unfortunate man that scored an own goal from Mike Magee's header after a clever David Beckham free kick, and Landon Donovan made it 2-0 shortly before half time by sweeping the ball home at the end of a brilliant passing move by the Galaxy.
Halfway through the second period the Rapids got back into the game through Omar Cummings' wonderful solo run and strike into the top corner, but the Galaxy held on for all three points. Cummings had a stoppage time opportunity to level it from the spot after a controversial penalty was awarded, but Josh Saunders made the crucial save.
Having two men sent off is never going to be conducive to victory, but Philadelphia Union went 1-0 up against Chivas USA through a clever cheeky backheel from Freddy Adu after 40 minutes, and then survived two late dismissals. Keon Daniel was the first to go, leaving the field with 15 minutes left after a wild and high swipe at Ryan Smith. He was followed down the tunnel ten minutes later by Gabriel Farfan, who put in a sickening studs-up tackle on James Riley. In the resulting melee Farfan also put his head in on an angry opponent and Piotr Nowak raced onto the field to get involved.
A fiery clash between San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake went the way of the Quakes, who made hard work of beating another team that went down to nine men 3-1. Fabian Espindola was dismissed less than 30 minutes in, seeing red for going in two-footed on Sam Cronin. Nick Rimando could have done more to prevent Khari Stephenson's bouncing header that gaves the Earthquakes the lead on the stroke of half time, but Kyle Beckerman stroked in the equaliser in the 53rd minute.
RSL lost any hope of winning when they picked up a second red card. Jamison Olave was sent packing with 20 minutes to go for a professional foul on Steven Lenhart but it took a late flurry to win the game for San Jose, who scored twice in stoppage time. Simon Dawkins' diving header made it 2-1 in the 92nd minute before Chris Wondolowski added the gloss with a header of his own, his eighth goal of the season.
All of which means that Kansas City's lead in the East is now nine points, with DC grabbing in vain for their coat tails. Toronto stay bottom, and are yet to pick up a single point after six matches. In the West, San Jose lead Salt Lake by a point, while Portland prop up the conference standings with seven points.