Takeaways from Seattle’s visit to Chicago

Seattle Sounders stretched their unbeaten streak to four on Saturday night with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Chicago Fire.

Chicago are now without a win in four and missed ‘Magic’ Mike Magee dearly.

There were a few things we learnt about the two sides and more specifically the individual players that made a difference. They are as follows:

1. Shipp strikes again.

Harrison Shipp is surely set to be rookie of the year as we are yet to see him have a bad game.

Both his goals on Saturday were top drawer and expect more from him this season, because at only 22 years old, he could take this league by storm.

3. Stefan Frei saves the day.

Barring two glorious efforts from Harry Shipp, Frei was in sensational form and effectively won the Sounders the game.

The Swiss-born ‘keeper managed to stop Quincy Amarikwa from just 6 yards out and the Sounders can thank Frei that they went on to win this game. He was Brilliant.

3. The good and the bad side of Obafemi Martins.

Martins only played 42 minutes but he managed to score two goals and get himself sent off.

It was a shame to see him go off, as he looked sharp as ever up until then, taking his first goal well and then converting a penalty with ease.

The probable suspension will leave Seattle in a spot of bother as Clint Dempsey is still away with the USMNT at the World Cup and the Sounders aren’t spoilt for suitable replacements, though they have a two-week break now to plan for their next game.

 

 

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5 takeaways from a thrilling MLS weekend

There were 35 goals scored in the nine MLS matches this weekend, with three teams netting five. We look at five key things we took away from this weeks action.

 

1. What a weekend for rookies.

Three rookies stood out this week and all got on the scoresheet. Harry Shipp got off the mark in MLS, and did so in style as he netted three against New York on Saturday night. Shipp has been brilliant and stood out once more, with a hat-trick and an assist in Chicago’s 5-4 win against the Red Bulls.

Patrick Mullins had another good weekend, and got his second goal of the season in New Englands 5-0 thumping of Seattle. The striker also netted in last week’s 2-1 win at Toronto and is certainly making the Revs attack a more threatening proposition. His direct style of play allows those in behind to find space around the box, and Diego Fagundez and Teal Bunbury certainly did that against the Sounders.

And finally, Mark Sherrod got his first MLS goals as Houston lost 5-2 to Real Salt Lake on Sunday night. The 23-year-old lead the attack for the Dynamo in place of Will Bruin who missed out with a knee injury. Sherrod made his mark however, with his two goals and was evidently delighted to get off the mark, but he and his Houston teammates will be disappointed by the heavy defeat.

Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Harry Shipp enjoyed an incredible weekend, and one he won’t forget in a hurry. Photo: USA TODAY Sports

 

2. Hat-tricks are fun.

There were three hat-tricks this weekend as defences didn’t fancy turning up for the majority of games. The aforementioned Harry Shipp, as well as Bradley Wright-Phillips and Javier Morales all got three goals. There were two in the 5-4 thriller between New York and Chicago, the first time there has been two hat-tricks in a single game in MLS history.

Javier Morales was in fine form for Salt Lake, and he didn’t waste any time getting started, as he netted after just 15 seconds; the fourth fastest goal in MLS history. Morales completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, and also got an assist in a dominant performance.

 

3. The Sounders are not unbeatable.

The Sounders were humiliated in New England as the Revolution won 5-0, preventing Seattle from making it six-wins in a row. They had also scored at least once in every game prior to Sundays match, and the shut-out will concern some fans who are dreaming of an MLS Cup win already. New England were tactically perfect against Seattle, they contained their attack and just countered them over and over, and it will be interesting to see if more teams adopt the same approach now.

 

4. Martin Chavez makes Colorado pay for their trade.

Colorado traded away Martin Chavez to Chivas USA last week, and clearly didn’t look ahead to the fact that they were playing Chivas just days later. The Honduran came on just before the hour mark in Colorado, and made some start to his Chivas career.

He scored twice against his former team to help Chivas to a 3-1 win, their first win since the opening day of the season back in March. Chavez finished nicely on two occasions, and his goals will be a welcome boost to the side, as they have been relying on Erik Torres too heavily.

Chavez came back to haunt Colorado just days after leaving the club

Chavez came back to haunt Colorado just days after leaving the club

5. Columbus still can’t win, or even score.

Vancouver Whitecaps are the latest side to beat the Columbus Crew, and their form is pretty awful now. Columbus are not playing well. After winning their first three games of the season, they haven’t won since March, and have now lost three on the bounce. The Crew haven’t scored in their last three and only have three goals in their past seven games. It’s concerning for Columbus and they can’t come up with an alternative game plan as Federico Higuain is being marked out of games by opponents now.

They travel to Portland at the weekend in a game between two sides desperate for a win, and will hope they can finally get three points on the board.

Chicago get first win of the season as New York Shipp five in goalfest

By Louis East

Chicago Fire survived a late New York fightback to record their first victory of 2014 in a simply pulsating game, that saw nine goals and two hat-tricks.

The Red Bull Arena hosted the most incredible game of the MLS season so far on Saturday night, as the Fire beat the Red Bulls 5-4.

Chicago’s Harrison Shipp and New York’s Bradley Wright-Phillips each bagged a hat-trick in a dramatic goalfest that provided a perfect advert for Major League Soccer.

It is the first time a MLS game has seen two hat-tricks, and the unrelenting nature of the game left viewers breathless at the final whistle.

The game started as it meant to go on, with drama present from as early as the third minute.

Harry Shipp fired a shot from the edge of the box, with Mike Magee clearly in an offside position, and the ball found its way past Red Bulls goalkeeper, Luis Robles, and in to the bottom corner.

Referee, Kevin Stott allowed the goal to stand despite the fact that his assistant had raised his flag, much to the fury of Red Bulls players and fans alike.

Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Photo: USA TODAY Sports

New York didn’t waste much time thinking about the early setback, as they equalised just two minutes later, with Tim Cahill rising high in the box to head in from Eric Alexander’s cross.

The frantic start to the game did slow down for a while after, with both sides struggling to gain control of the match.

Chicago then had a great chance to take the lead in the thirty-seventh minute, as Shipp sent Magee through on goal, but the striker watched his shot sail agonisingly wide of the post.

Chicago were punished straight-away, as Thierry Henry carried the ball forward with purpose before crossing to Bradley Wright-Phillips, who scored his seventh goal of the season to put the Red Bulls in front.

The teams went in at halftime with New York deserved leaders, with Chicago left disappointed to have thrown away their early lead in such a short space of time.

Though Fire coach Frank Yallop clearly said the right things at halftime, as Chicago came out firing in the second period.

They managed to tie the game once again in the forty-eighth minute, as Quincy Amarikwa was able to get on the end of a Jeff Larentowicz cross to make it 2-2.

The away side looked confident, and New York left stunned.

Just five minutes later, they took the lead once again, courtesy of rookie Harry Shipp for the second time in the match.

Some poor New York defending helped the ball through to Shipp, who found space in the box and fired past Robles.

The Red Bulls looked rattled, and they gifted Chicago with their next goal, as Jamison Olave and Kosuke Kimura’s over-relaxed defending led to the latter being dispossessed by Shipp, who grabbed his hat-trick and put Chicago 4-2 up.

Good fortune then went the way of Chicago, who added a fifth goal in the sixty-third minute, thanks to a mis-cued cross by Patrick Nyarko which found its way over Robles and into the net.

New York manager, Mike Petke, had to change it up and try and get back into the game, and the introduction of Jonathan Steele and Peguy Luyindula put the Red Bulls back in the driving seat.

Three minutes after conceding the fifth goal, Bradley Wright-Phillips volleyed home to instil some life back into the side, as Steele’s cross was chested into the path of Wright-Phillips by Lloyd Sam.

The home crowd roared their side forward in search of another, and they got a penalty in the seventy-sixth minute after Thierry Henry was brought down in the box by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.

Wright-Phillips stepped up and blasted the ball in for his second hat-trick of the season and took his tally for the season to nine, making him the league’s top scorer.

Photo: Smiley N. Pool/AP

Photo: Smiley N. Pool/AP

Chicago were now stunned once more, and thoughts of last week’s late capitulation against Real Salt Lake must have been creeping into their minds.

Though goalkeeper, Sean Johnson, made sure his side stayed in it on eighty-one minutes, as he stopped Henry one-on-one to prevent what looked like the equaliser.

A last minute bicycle kick from Wright-Phillips couldn’t find the back of the net, with Sean Johnson pouncing on the ball to ensure that Chicago would pick up their first win of the season.

New York will be deflated after putting so much in, and to score four goals and not get a point is quite incredible.

They remain just three points behind Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference but will see the game as a missed opportunity, especially when they were leading at halftime.

For Chicago, it’s the much needed break they’ve been waiting for, and the result leaves them in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

A truly wild night of MLS action in the Red Bull Arena, and one that fans won’t forget in a hurry.

Highlights courtesy of Major League Soccer’s YouTube channel: