June 2011: Gold Cup overshadows MLS action

Only a couple of MLS games managed to grab the spotlight in a week that Major League Soccer (MLS) had to take a back seat to CONCACAF Gold Cup play as the American hosts battled for the regional championship title and a spot at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil.

The USA's 2-0 Semifinal victory over Jamaica on Wednesday was a blessing in disguise that prevented most soccer fans from seeing either of the dire scoreless draws between the Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City or the Chicago Fire and Real Salt Lake.

But Thursday's nationally televised match between Seattle and New York took full advantage of the interest in the sport that the Gold Cup generated, forcing the Sounders to open the upper deck of their stadium to accommodate the 46,000 fans that showed up for the encounter.

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner
Roger Levesque (no 24) wins a tackle against Teemu Tainio (no 2) and scored two goals during the Seattle Sounders’ 4-2 victory over Red Bulls New York. (Photo: GettyImages)


The crowd, a MLS record for a midweek match, was treated to their most thrilling game so far this season as local cult hero Roger Levesque came off bench to score his first two goals of the season in the 4-2 win over the Red Bulls. Levesque's late goals rescued the Sounders, who had blown an early 2-0 lead.

"The atmosphere was awesome," Levesque said. "It was electric, and scoring four goals as a group and getting a win, hopefully we give those people a reason to come back."

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner

"It was an exciting night for sure," Seattle's German coach Sigi Schmid said. "Maybe one day, we can fill up the whole stadium and sell out every game."Unfortunately the league's other memorial game of the week was played on Saturday when most soccer fans were focused on the Americans 4-2 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup final. As over 93,000 fans packed the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California for the CONCACAF title game, some 340 miles north San Jose and Los Angeles played in the most enthralling scoreless tie in MLS history.

After the Galaxy lost both their goalkeepers in the first half, Donovan Ricketts went down with an injury and Josh Saunders was red-carded, forward Mike Magee was forced to mind the net and recorded four saves in 47 minutes to earn MLS Player of the Week honors.

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner
Sigi Schmid, the German coach of the Seattle Sounders FC. (Photo: GettyImages)

Magee, who never played goal keeper at any level, made several crucial stops and broke up other Earthquake attacks in the penalty box to help the league-leading Galaxy extend its unbeaten streak to 10 games.

"I have no idea why I nominated myself," Magee said. "When I first went in I only thought I had to make it 10 minutes until halftime. Then when I realized I was going back in goal, I was not happy, I was scared."

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner
Mike Magee earned the “Player of the Week” honours, because the forward turned goalkeeper and saved the San Jose Earthquakes the goalless draw with Los Angeles Galaxy on June 25. (Photo: GettyImages)


Seattle, Dallas and Salt Lake keep up pressure on Los Angeles

Los Angeles needed the point to help keep their Western Conference foes at bay, as all three trailing teams came up big over the weekend. FC Dallas exploded for a 4-0 home win against Portland on Saturday. Dallas rebounded from last weekend's 4-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City, which ended its nine-match unbeaten run, to move within four points of the Galaxy with two games in hand. The Timbers remain winless on the road, with 5 losses and 2 draws.

Seattle moved into a second place tie with Dallas thanks to a 2-1 home win over the struggling New England Revolution. After falling behind less than three minutes into the game, defender Tyson Wahl evened the score with the first goal of his six-season MLS career. Alvaro Fernandez clinched the victory with his team leading fourth goal of the year. It was the Sounders season-high third win in a row and they are unbeaten in their last six matches.

Real Salt Lake downed Toronto FC 3-1 to snap a four game winless streak and move within nine points of the league leaders with four games in hand. Alvaro Saborio scored his first two goals of season to spark RSL to their first victory since June 4.

Philadelphia goes top in the East

Philadelphia came from behind to beat Chivas USA 3-2 and take sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference while snapping a four-game winless streak. The Union remains undefeated at home thanks to three second-half goals including a game-winning 82nd minute strike from Danny Mwanga, who came off the bench to score his team leading fifth goal of the season.

Surging Sporting Kansas City jumped out of last place and up three spots with a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. SKC has 10 points from its last four matches and stretched its unbeaten streak to seven games thanks to their Mexican star Omar Bravo, who scored the tying goal and set up the game-winner.

Columbus moved into a second place tie with New York after Andres Mendoza scored twice for Crew in a 4-1 drubbing of 10-man Colorado Rapids after the sending off of striker Conor Casey, who spent six seasons playing professionally in Germany for Borrusia Dortmund, Hannover 96, Karlsruher SC and Mainz 05.

New York blew the chance to stay even with Philadelphia after settling for a 1-1 tie in Chicago on Sunday. Joel Lindpere put the Red Bulls ahead just before the half, but a Marco Pappa equalizer gave the Fire their sixth consecutive home draw and their 11th for the season.

Brian Ching made his first start in three months to score an 89th-minute equalizer as the Huston Dynamo come back twice to draw 2-2 at D.C. United· Charlie Davies scored his eighth goal of the season for D.C to join Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry atop the leading scorers' list.

Nearly 40 percent of MLS games have ended in ties, including 18 scoreless stalemates so far this season. In addition to Chicago’s 11 ties, Toronto FC has drawn 9 and Vancouver 8, with all three teams only winning two games in 2011. Those teams are at the bottom of the table, but even New York and Los Angeles have tied 8 times this year.