As predicted, Colorado beat San Jose easily at home to end their 5 game losing streak. Of note, Wondo was completely shut down and since he represents 85% of all of the Quakes offense, Colorado wasn't troubled a bit the entire game. For whatever reason, San Jose came out with two advanced forwards with Wondo playing deeper behind them. Normally a 433 set-up provides for better distribution between the lines of a 442, but I wouldn't mess around with what Wondo does best...find space beside a fellow forward. Now two guys were taking up all of the space and there was no place for Wondo to poach.
Another unusual result with a 442 team looking better in possession in midfield than a 433 team was LA Galaxy defeat of Red Bulls. The Galaxy just plain outworked them despite playing on the road after a cross country flight. You could routinely see tight little boxes of four with a 5th player in the center all over the field maintaining shape and possession. Allessandrini has achieved Wondo-like importance for Galaxy this season. He now has 6 goals and 4 assists out of a total 13 goals for LA.
In LA's previous game, Curtis Onalfo pushed Jermaine Jones forward as a pure #10 which stabilized the midfield. Jones needs to be in a position to roam freely because he just will anyway. Onalfo also subbed out Van Damme in the first half for poor performance last week. This week he didn't have to worry about Jones who is injured, and the difference in their ability to keep shape was night-and-day. Perhaps Jones needs to be benched for good...
Much like how Vieira has managed to bench Pirlo the last three games without causing much of a stir. NYC are 2-0-1 in that span and just drew Dallas on the road. Vieira finally found a way to get Tommy McNamara back into the lineup and he responded with the gritty tying goal that he has become known for. It is hard not to like McNamara and I hope he gets traded to a team where he can play everyday.
Dallas is a league darling with their depth and frugality and success, but they are kind of boring to watch compared to Houston. Houston has the most exciting pair of wingers in the league to date with Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto, both Honduran internationals. Thankfully, the USMNT defeated Honduras 6-0 before these two guys got rolling in the MLS. I can't comprehend how our fullbacks coped with them. Houston won again at home and unexpectedly lead the Western conference standings. They are fun to watch despite their stadium being mostly empty. Actually, this may be more of the high school football stadium problem in that all of the fans must be on the same side of the field as the TV camera. The networks should really point the camera toward the main stand.
The Chicago Fire sold out on the weekend and the stadium looked very nearly full to see them beat Seattle 4-1. Seattle actually controlled this game at a canter for 60 minutes before falling flat. They got screwed on a few calls. I would not have given a penalty for that one, and certainly not a retake of the penalty after the save. David Accam continues to be my favorite player on Chicago. He wrapped up the nicest team move this weekend for the goal at the attached link below. The Fire are now above the red line in what seems like the first time in 3 years.
But the big story is that Toronto managed to pull off 6 wins in a row in 22 days. They certainly didn't deserve it against Columbus on Wednesday night, but late substitution Tosaint Ricketts is becoming a talisman for them. He offers a Cyle Larin-like change of pace to Jozy Altidore and Giovinco who have been trading games of late due to injury. Toronto has the most successful roster depth so-far.
I thought the Timbers had good depth, but Asprilla and Mattocks just don't have a future on this team - too inconsistent with effort and results. Atlanta should have won the game if Almiron was selfish enough to shoot on his two golden opportunities in the first half. He is cut from the same cloth as Nagbe. Neither see themselves as shoot first type of players. Couple that with Fanendo Adi's form cooling off and the Timbers are only good enough to draw every game for the time being. I'm glad that they stockpiled a lot of points early this season.