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Russell Berrisford

Russell Berrisford

Russell’s support of Derby County eventually led him to leave the country. He has lived in Canada since 2007 and currently writes about soccer for The Vancouver Sun.


The Late, Late Show for MLS

Written by on June 13, 2011 | No Comments »
Posted in MLS

Late drama was the order of the day for many MLS games this weekend with two big strikers both scoring twice to earn valuable points on the road for their respective Canadian clubs.

Alan Gordon returned to LA to hit the back of the net for Toronto FC in their 2-2 draw. The Galaxy looked to have clinched all three points when Juan Pablo Angel volleyed home in stoppage time but Gordon responded with an even better volley two minutes later to give both clubs their second successive tie.

As good as Gordon’s strike was though there is little doubt which was the goal of the weekend (and most likely the season). Eric Hassli’s brilliant effort came in response to two quick Seattle goals that had wiped out the Frenchman’s first half penalty kick, but the abiding memory of the game will be the astonishing volley that he hit from the corner of the penalty area into the far corner.

If Hassli can find a way to consistently stay on the field then he could yet help to turn the Whitecaps season around.

The Colorado Rapids finally brought an end to their series of one point hauls by scoring a late winner in Portland. The Timbers have now lost their last two at Jeld Wen Field, and their last three overall. Their previous opponents will no doubt see the irony in their conceding Saturday’s goal following a Colorado set-piece.

San Jose put four passed a ragged DC United. Steven Lenhart got a hat-trick for the Earthquakes who have gradually, and quietly, turned into one of the form sides of MLS. They are unbeaten in their last seven games and only LA and New York have scored more goals (and San Jose have played fewer games than either). DC’s relative weakness at home could be their Achilles heel come the end of the season.

The League’s two best defences met in Philadelphia so maybe a 1-1 tie was the most that we could expect. Real Salt Lake will probably be the happier of the two having survived a rocky first half but both teams look to be as assured as any of making it to the play offs in comfort.

There was late drama too in the first of the Sunday games when Christian Nazarit gave the Chicago Fire an away win at Columbus with a stoppage time tap in, a result that drags Chicago back into the battle for the top half of the table.

It wasn’t so close when Kansas travelled to Dallas however, with the visitors coming away with a 4-1 victory. Many had predicted that, with the opening of their new stadium, Kansas would start to move up the standings so it’s somewhat ironic that their first win of the season came on the road against such in form opponents, and with the added burden of being down to ten men for the last half hour.

In the end though the weekend was an all too rare good week for the two Canadian representatives of MLS, but perhaps it says something about the way that both of their seasons have progressed that spectacular late equalizers now count as minor triumphs.

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