Ruthless display in Seattle underscores importance of team dynamic
Sounders FC grabbed all three points in Vancouver by cobbling together a complete performance. Chad Barrett featured up front in place of the injured Obafemi Martins and scored twice in his stead. Osvaldo Alonso and Gonzalo Pineda patrolled central midfield with a combination of effectiveness and precision. The reconstituted back four tempered the Whitecaps’ ability to locate space behind and stretch the field. The entire performance supplied a necessary reminder that the Supporters’ Shield holders are more than just the Deuce and Oba show.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY SporAnne-Marie Sorvin
Toronto FC locates stable footing in midfield
Reds boss Greg Vanney spent much of the early portion of the season trying to strike the right balance in midfield. The disappointing home defeat in Houston marked a low point as the Dynamo passed the ball around with impunity and reaped the corresponding benefits. Vanney tweaked the setup in midweek to place Benoit Cheyrou into a dedicated holding role behind Michael Bradley and watched the benefits manifest in the 1-1 draw against New England. Bradley and Vanney both noted after the match that they thought the revamped setup -- essentially a diamond given the lack of width on either flank -- suited the team well moving forward. It is a welcome development for a side that desperately needs Bradley -- scorer of a wonderful equalizer on Saturday -- at his best to secure its first playoff berth.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY SportsBob DeChiara
San Jose takes care of business ... again
Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear continues to extract the most out of a seemingly limited group of players. San Jose received the benefit of a Mohammed Saeid red card in the first half of the 2-0 victory over Columbus on Saturday, but the Earthquakes used the man advantage well to claim the expected points. Their marked improvement on the ball against the 10 men (87.4 percent passing accuracy, per Opta statistics) paved the way for a pair of goals and a comfortable triumph. The display offers encouraging signs for a team that must improve in midfield to mount a genuine postseason push.
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY SportsRobert Stanton
Depth concerns leave Galaxy to flounder in Orlando
Orlando City coasted to its first home win with a ruthless display against a tattered Galaxy side. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena summed up the 4-0 defeat in typically candid fashion. “We were awful on the day,” Arena told reporters after the match. “I had 14 players that played and I thought about three of them played in an acceptable manner. We were outplayed all over the field. Really, there’s not much you can say. In the second half, we needed to get the first goal. Certainly, what I thought was a poor call by the referee for the penalty that basically put us out of the game. Orlando played well, I give them credit. And we were pretty bad.”
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Philadelphia secures critical points with late Pfeffer winner
It looked like just another frustrating night for the Union. Supporters protested outside before the game. The players on the field struggled to conjure the necessary sharpness against a languid D.C. United side. Bill Hamid produced the saves necessary to place United on course for a point. And then Zach Pfeffer popped up in second-half stoppage time to secure the club’s second victory of the season. One win won’t cure the ills or salve the wounds in Chester, but it provides a start for a team in desperate need of some positive vibes.