MLS Week 14: A Look Back

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By AVI CREDITOR

In a week when six World Cup participants made their returns to Major League Soccer, a few potential 2014 World Cup players showed everyone what might be around the corner.

San Jose's Ike Opara, Philadelphia's Danny Mwanga and D.C.'s Andy Najar reminded all that the future isn't that far off with key goals in their respective matches.

The 2010 guys did all right, too. Edson Buddle and Robbie Findley scored in their respective returns, and Landon Donovan secured his league-leading 10th assist when his first-half corner kick found Buddle. 

Here's a look back at all of the MLS Week 14 action:

TORONTO FC 1, HOUSTON DYNAMO 1

In a game marred by a Joseph Ngwenya-Nana Attakora-Julian de Guzman skirmish, Brian Ching and Dan Gargan exchanged second-half goals as the teams played to a draw at BMO Field on Canada Day.

The trouble started when Ngwenya fouled Gargan while going for a ball down the left side. Attakora came to the defense of his teammate by grabbing Ngwenya after the whistle, and both took each other by the neck. De Guzman entered the fray by pushing Ngwenya in the face with his hand, and both were given red cards.

Ching's 72nd-minute header off a corner kick put the Dynamo ahead, but Gargan got his revenge in the 84th minute, heading home the equalizer off a Toronto corner kick to seal the draw and ensure that Toronto's home unbeaten streak continued. 

REAL SALT LAKE 5, NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 0

For the second straight season, Real Salt Lake blasted the Revolution at Rio Tinto Stadium, getting two goals from Alvaro Saborio and a goal apiece from Fabian Espindola, Jamison Olave and Findley.

Memories of last year's 6-0 rout were brought back early, as Espindola got things going with his 27th-minute goal. Olave tallied prior to halftime and Saborio scored twice in a five-minute span early in the second half to put the game on ice before the hour mark.

Findley entered as a halftime substitute and scored five minutes from time with a nice individual effort that came at the expense of up-and-coming right back Kevin Alston.

COLUMBUS CREW 2, CHICAGO FIRE 1

All three goals were scored in a four-minute span right before halftime, as Jason Garey's header proved to be the game-winner.

Adam Moffat scored the opening goal in the 43rd minute, but a Frankie Hejduk own-goal off a Baggio Husidic cross tied the game a minute later. Garey got on the end of an Eddie Gaven pass for a well-executed short-range header in the second minute of stoppage time to give the Crew the edge.

Columbus took sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with the victory, pulling clear of second-place New York by two points with a game still in hand.

FC DALLAS 1, KANSAS CITY WIZARDS 0

Kevin Hartman exacted revenge on the team that cut him prior to the season, as the FC Dallas keeper came up big in the Hoops' home victory.

David Ferreira drew a penalty on Honduras international Roger Espinoza and converted the ensuing PK, doing so for the second straight game.

Hartman made that stand up, stopping Jack Jewsbury and Graham Zusi from finding the equalizer in the second half. After a slow start to the season, FC Dallas finds itself just a point out of third place in the Western Conference.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 1, D.C. UNITED 1

Najar's one-time volley of a Stephen King cross enabled D.C. United to steal a road point at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Opara opened the scoring in the 16th minute, as the centerback tallied for the third time this season off a corner kick.

King and Najar, who have spearheaded D.C. United's U.S. Open Cup effort, combined to deliver a positive regular-season result. King received a pass from Jaime Moreno and held up the ball at the left side of the penalty area. He turned and delivered a diagonal cross to an in-stride Najar, who delivered the finishing touch for his second goal in league play. 

Making matters worse for San Jose, Bobby Convey suffered an injury to his ribs that could potentially force him to miss some time.

CHIVAS USA 1, PHILADELPHIA UNION 1

In a matchup of last-place teams, a pair of rookies tallied goals as each squad secured a point.

Danny Mwanga scored for the fifth time in six games, using the outside of his right foot to put a classy lob over Zach Thornton in the 21st minute.

Akron product Blair Gavin brought the Goats level before halftime, though. He slotted an 18-yard, left-footed shot into the goal after a failed Union clearance to knot the game at 1-all in the 42nd minute. Both defenses held after that, and Jonathan Bornstein's return to Chivas coincided with the team ending its six-game losing streak.

COLORADO RAPIDS 1, NEW YORK RED BULLS 1

Omar Cummings and Juan Pablo Angel each scored in the first half, as Colorado maintained its third-place position in the Western Conference by holding the Red Bulls to their first draw of the season.

Cummings finished a perfect Conor Casey cross from the right to open the scoring in the 15th minute, but Angel was left unmarked on a Sinisa Ubiparipovic corner kick and coolly finished for his ninth goal of the 2010 campaign less than 20 minutes later.

Colorado had an apparent second goal disallowed, when a Casey foul nullified a Mehdi Ballouchy tap-in, and both teams settled for the point.

LOS ANGELES GALAXY 3, SEATTLE SOUNDERS 1

Donovan and Buddle marked their triumphant return from South Africa by connecting on an early corner kick and Juninho scored on a marvelous long-range effort to boost the Galaxy at the Home Depot center.

Steve Zakuani cut into a 2-0 Galaxy lead by scoring his fifth goal of the year in the 66th minute, but a James Riley own-goal gave Bruce Arena's side the decisive advantage.

Buddle headed home Donovan's corner in the 19th minute, as both players picked up where they left off before the World Cup break. The goal was Buddle's league-leading 10th of the season.

Juninho upstaged both U.S. heroes, though, with a 35-yard strike just after halftime that may be the front-runner for MLS Goal of the Week.

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What stood out for you in Week 14? Impressed by some of the youngsters who are getting the job done? Think the Galaxy can be stopped with Buddle and Donovan in the lineup?

Share your thoughts below.

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6 Responses to MLS Week 14: A Look Back

  1. jake says:

    Najar has expressed desire to play for Honduras FYI. I’m sure its possible he could change his mind. Lord knows we could use a player like him on our youth national teams.

  2. Ben says:

    Yeah, and Najar has only been here a few years, so obviously the ties are strong to home. It would be sweet, though, if he decided to play for the US, because, well look at Honduras in this World Cup.

  3. jonk says:

    FYI, Avi didn’t imply that Najar would play for the US. He said 6 WC participants were back, so right away it’s clear he’s talking about more than the Nats.

    Anyway, who else was surprised when Findley scored this weekend? I didn’t think he knew how to put shots on frame.

  4. ShaggyReAL says:

    That’s what you get for thinkin, eh?

  5. Jim says:

    Findly had about 5 chances to practice that move in the game and finally put the last one away. The Revs defense was so awfull it looked like a scrimmage out there.

  6. BooThisMan says:

    What about Mwanga? Is he on track for US citizenship? Has he expressed a preference about which national team he would like to play for?

    (Yes, I tried the Google, but couldn’t turn up anything.)