Big news and action if you’re a soccer fan in the US. From disappointment to ecstasy, this week has had it all. Let’s get into the review.
Guatemala 2 United States 0
Our disappointment starts live from Guatemala City from Friday night. The host nation defeated the US for the first time since 1988, breaking a 21-game unbeaten streak against the Guatemalans, the longest against any international opponent. This game showed just how powerful momentum and a home field can be, with the Guatemalans striking twice within the first 15 minutes. The first goal came from Rafael Morales, a defender in the Guatemalan league, and his header in the 7th minute. Laziness? Lack of awareness? The slip from Diskerud didn’t help. Our second and more acceptable goal came from former MLS striker/legend Carlos Ruiz in the 15th when he found himself past the back line and onside from a goal keep to squeeze his finish through Tim Howard’s legs. It’s worth noting Guatemalan goalkeeper Paulo Motta had a game to remember if front of his home fans, saving multiple attempts from Dempsey and Bedoya. The team looked deflated though, and many fans were worried for the next leg in Columbus which could result in the US not qualifying for WC 2018 (is this allowed?). #FireKlinsmann was all over twitter, it’s not looking good for the German.
United States 4 Guatemala 0
Surprise, surprise, guess who pulled through? All it took was some home field advantage and the US fans got the result and win they expected earlier in the week in Guatemala City. Clint Dempsey struck early in the 12th to set the all-time world cup qualifying goal scoring record and in the 35th Geoff Cameron put home a Michael Bradley cross from a set piece (our European talent coming out of the woodwork). Zusi got in on the action just after halftime when he cleaned up Gyasi Zardes’ attack with the third. And guess who? Jozy Altidore iced the Klinsmann cake in the 89th after a poor ball from the Guatemalan defenders right to Dempsey, who played a heavy touch which fell to Altidore for a pretty impressive strike to the top left corner. The US grabbed a crucial win in Columbus to keep their Russian hopes and dreams alive, but US fans are wondering if Klinsmann is doing enough.
A wild weekend of season openers led to some last minute victories.
Charleston Battery 1 FC Cincinnati 0
Charleston looked to get off to a good start facing the newly formed FC Cincinnati to keep their momentum going from their third place finish last season. Cincinnati looked as if they would get their first point of the season after an impressive display of defense but in the 94th, Romario Williams crushed their hope of their first point after some impressive footwork in the box to put the cross away. A crushing defeat for Cincinnati but the club will keep their heads up as they went unbeaten in the pre-season, beating New York City FC and drawing the Indy Eleven.
Louisville City FC 1 Charlotte Independence 0
The Eastern Conference runner-ups Louisville City FC hosted the darkhorse that is Charlotte Independence on opening Saturday. Louisville looked to get started for a run to the top while Charlotte tried to keep the clean sheet away from home. Despite their 7th place finish in the East last year, Charlotte only lost eight games (the same as Louisville) so their hopes were set high. The Independence held Louisville scoreless as the teams battled it out, but Louisville’s 13 shots to Charlotte’s two led to Louisville’s win. Charlotte had the chance to go up by a penalty in the 75th but striker Jorge Herrara’s shot wasn’t enough to beat keeper Scott Goodwin. The momentum turned in favor of the away side and in the 93rd Louisville’s Lancaster converted from a free kick.
Here are the goals of the weekend.
Only 6 teams battled it out during this international break, some teams needing the points more than others.
New York City FC 1 New England Revs 1
It can be argued that the Revs needed the points more than NYC FC, pulling only two points from their first three matches, but the light blues looked to impress in front of the home crowd. Thomas McNamara, possible NYC’s hottest right now (that luscious hair) opened the scoring when he finished off David Villa’s ridiculous bicycle which hammered off the crossbar and landed nicely for the 25-year-old New York native. Chris Tierney leveled in the 38th from his free kick that took a nasty deflection on it’s way in, nothing Saunders could do about that. The good news for the Revs is that they held strong with twn men for 39 minutes after a very controversial red card on midfielder Koffie. New York need to step it up at home, going winless so far after losing the lead against Toronto and failing to score against Orlando last week.
DC United 0 FC Dallas 3
What the hell is happening in DC? This is a team that went on something like an eight game unbeaten streak to pull out a 4th place finish (losing out to 3rd on goal difference) while giving up an average of 1.3 goals a game last year to a whopping 1.5. It’s not going to get easier as they face San Jose, Vancouver, and Toronto the next three weeks. Good luck. I digress…
Michael Barrios landed a brace within the first 28 minutes to silence the home crowd early. Maximiliano Urruti, the newly signed striker from Portland, showed us his technical ability with his first touch off of Mauro Diaz’s cross to put the game away in the 52nd. DC missed some opportunities through the likes of Nich DeLeon and Espindola which would leave the crowd frustrated. FC Dallas on the other hand look hot, watch out for them and their pacey forwards. Mauro Diaz leads the league in assists already.