September 19, 2012
Quakes come back
SPORTING KANSAS CITY 2, NY RED BULLS 0
|Chris Wondolowski engineered an epic comeback for the San Jose Earthquakes against Portland on Wednesday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
HARRISON, NJ—Sporting Kansas City solidified their hold on first place in the MLS East with a 2-0 win over the third-place New York Red Bulls Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena.
CJ Sapong and Kei Kamara scored within the first 20 minutes of the game, and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made four saves, to hand the Red Bulls their first home loss of the season. The win keeps Sporting (16-7-6, 54 pts) at the top of the conference table at least through this weekend, with a four-point cushion over second-place Chicago. The Red Bulls fall to 14-8-7 (49).
Sapong opened the scoring in the 12th minute, after a set-piece play that saw half of Sporting’s field players touch the ball before it was deposited into the back of the net. Kamara, one of three players standing over the ball, started the free-kick sequence with a short nudge to Roger Espinoza, who shuffled the ball to Graham Zusi. The U.S. international midfielder whacked a shot off the crossbar. The ball bounded to Matt Besler, who fed Sapong. The KC forward turned and, with five Red Bulls around him, fired a shot past netminder Bill Gaudette for a 1-0 advantage
KC's second goal also came off a dead-ball situation as Zusi was in the middle of this play as well. He flicked a corner kick into the area to an unmarked Kamara, who headed the ball past Gaudette for a two-goal lead in the 19th minute.
Rafa Marquez made a head's up play that almost resulted in a New York goal in the 22nd minute. After a poor pass by goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen
The Mexican international stripped Julio Cesar of the ball in the attacking third and raced in on goal. Instead of shooting, Marquez fed Thierry Henry with a wide pass on the left side, but Henry could not get off a dangerous shot as he and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen collided just outside the left side of the goal box.
COLUMBUS CREW 1, CHIVAS USA 0
COLUMBUS, Ohio—The Columbus Crew moved up a notch in the MLS East with a 1-0 win over Chivas USA at Crew Stadium on Wednesday night.
Justin Meram came off the bench to score the deciding goal in the 89th minute. The win leaves the Crew at 13-10-6 and 45 points, one point ahead of sixth-place DC United in the East, at least until United plays in Philadelphia on Thursday night. Chivas USA remain at the bottom of the Western Conference with 28 points (7-14-7).
Crew netminder Andy Gruenebaum fended off early challenges from Chivas USA’s Miller Bolanos and Nick LaBrocca before his offense settled down and began to control possession. Still, nothing much happened on the attacking end for the Crew until coach Robert Warzycha started to go to his bench in the second half. Tony Tchani, who entered the game in the 67th minute, was the catalyst for the scoring play, bringing the ball deep on the left side and sending a sharp pass through the six-yard box for Jairo Arrieta. Kennedy blocked the Costa Rican’s initial shot, but Meram – who also came off the bench, for the injured Eddie Gaven in the 80th minute—charged in for the seven-yard finish.
Juan Agudelo had a chance to respond for Chivas in the second minute of stoppage time, but his 20-yard free kick floated over the defensive wall and straight to Gruenebaum. Soon after, Arrieta smacked the Crew’s final attempt of the game off the crossbar, quite possibly the crack of doom for Chivas USA’s postseason aspirations.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 2, PORTLAND TIMBERS 2
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Danny Mwanga staked the Portland Timbers to a two-goal lead, but Chris Wondolowski countered with an off-the-bench brace of his own to lift the San Jose Earthquakes into a 2-2 draw Wednesday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Wondolowki entered the match in the 58th minute, scored with a long left-footer in the 73rd and headed home the equalizer from off the right post in the second minute of stoppage time. The climactic play started with Sam Cronin’s long ball to the top of the penalty area. Timbers defender Hanyer Mosquera headed the ball backward into the box toward Wondolowski for the close-range finish.
Mwanga set the Earthquakes on their heels in the closing seconds of the first half, splitting two defenders on his way into the box and touching the ball around goalkeeper Jon Busch before putting it into the net, and made the score 2-0 from 27 yards in the 62nd.
Franck Songo’o did his best to orchestrate a last-second comeback for Portland, charging the length of the field half a step ahead of his defender, then dishing right for Bright Dike as Busch charged off his line, but San Jose forward Stephen Lenhart came through with a late tackle that caused Dike to send his shot wide of the target.
The Quakes (17-6-6) have a three-point lead over Sporting Kansas City in the MLS Supporters’ Shield race with 57. Wednesday’s draw leaves the Timbers at 7-14-8 (29), one point clear of last-place Chivas USA in the MLS West.