MLS weekend in review

Player of the week: Goal-scorers receive a disproportionate amount of accolades, so this week we salute D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who made breathtaking slap saves on Tim Cahill’s sliding one-timer and Brandon Barklage’s deflected header to secure an undeserved away point for his possession-deficient club.

Goal of the week: Only two of nine matches featured more than two goals, so we’ll take a closer look at the most controversial: Watch Kenny Cooper bring down the ball in the closing moments after his team had relinquished a late two-goal lead! Watch him regather himself deep in the box! Watch him stab it into the net in the 90th minute to shatter a level match with rival Houston! Great goal! Wait, what — the delivery struck his arm? Yes. Yes, it did.

Howler of the week: Referee Ricardo Salazar for showing Chivas USA’s Joaquin Velazquez a yellow card for what he believed was a dangerous challenge (a questionable decision), then immediately showing a red card. Velazquez was not carrying a caution at the time and Salazar didn’t raise the yellow twice. So what happened? We may never know. Salazar’s formal explanation wasn’t very helpful.

Injury watch: Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens will miss three to four months after fracturing his forearm, deepening the club’s problems at that position. When rookie Clint Irwin replaced Pickens on Saturday, he became the third Colorado keeper to see action in three matches.

Stat of the week: The Red Bulls and Galaxy settled for draws in their respective home matches despite a combined shot advantage of 38-6. (Only 10 of those efforts, however, were on frame. Four others struck the woodwork.)

Stadium watch: At halftime of the Red Bulls-United match, Commissioner Don Garber gathered reporters for a brief chat. Among the topics: MLS’s plans for a stadium in Queens to house a second club in the New York area. “We continue to meet with city. We continue to meet with community leaders. We continue to meet with investors and making a lot of progress. … The meetings are regular and engaging. … I am confident we are going to get this done. It’s been a big project for us, a legacy one for this league.”

Meantime, in the Land of the Mouse, third-tier Orlando City is quietly making a strong case for an MLS expansion team — something Garber also addressed:

“We have got to figure out where that fits in with our expansion timing. We are focused in Florida more so than we have ever been in the past. … We don’t have any representation lower than D.C., so Florida has become a bit more of a priority.”

MLS Cup watch: With Impact surging to 3-0-0, excitement continues to grow for a final in Quebec on Dec. 7 or 8. (Is Olympic Stadium and its dome available?) By the way, the specific date of MLS Cup may not be determined until the fall. Stadium availability is among the issues. Once the playoff field is set, the league will have a better idea of its options.

Attendance watch:

Seattle 40,150

Montreal 37,896 (played indoors)

New York 22,022

Real Salt Lake 20,370

Kansas City 19,868

Los Angeles 19,117

Columbus 16,528

Philadelphia 15,689

Dallas 15,623

Average: 23,029

Great week for coach quotes and antics…..

Houston’s Dominic Kinnear: “I’ve watched this league for three weeks now and it saddens me that we have people who have no problem diving, and looking for fouls and then looking to the heavens. It’s a sickening epidemic that’s going on in our league and hopefully it cancels itself out here pretty soon. Because some teams play hard, some guys cheat. Sometimes the cheaters win. When you have guys that don’t even get looked at, don’t get touched, falling on the ground looking for fouls, it makes me want to throw up.”

Chivas USA’s Jose Luis Sanchez Sola: The Galaxy is “the team of [MLS's] New York office. … There were 70 fouls that cut our defense or amplified their offense, so in a way, that’s biased. That sort of team exists in Spain with Real Madrid and Argentina with Boca Juniors. There is a team in every country. Galaxy is that team here.”

Montreal’s Marco Schallibaum and Toronto defender Richard Eckersley had to be separated at the end of their match … by TFC Coach Ryan Nelsen.

Schallibaum: The player “said something to me one time, two times, and that’s not good.”

Eckersley: “He’s disrespecting the players and disrespecting the play by hiding the ball from a player” on a throw-in.

Freddy Adu watch: As we reported exclusively last week, Bahia in Brazil had taken interest in the nomadic attacker. Those close to him say he received a visa and will visit the club. Will he end up signing there? “TBD,” said one source. A Brazilian report says Adu’s move could be part of a player exchange with the Philadelphia Union.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff | March 17, 2013