MLS weekend in review

Player of the week: Timbers midfielder Will Johnson returned from two 90-minute efforts for Canada in Qatar to score twice for Portland in a 16-minute span of the second half to secure a point in Colorado.

Goal of the week: Many high-quality candidates, but because of the timing — a stoppage-time equalizer — we’ll go with Jose Villarreal’s gem over Dax McCarty’s flick and Dillon Powers’s blast.

Howler of the week I: Leonardo‘s poor back pass and Carlo Cudicini‘s panicky stroll out of the box led to Robert Earnshaw’s goal into a vacant net.

Howler of the week II: The Sporting News’ staff reduction included Brian Straus, who, in the past two years, had become one of the strongest voices on the national soccer writing scene. As a friend, former colleague at The Post, competitor and admirer, I was sickened by the news. The decision came less than two weeks after Straus pulled back the curtain on the U.S. national team program under Juergen Klinsmann with this powerful story. Staying with media for a moment, we also direct a hearty boo at MLS godfather Phil Anschutz, whose media company has decided to turn the Washington Examiner into a politics-only publication this summer. Consequently, Craig Stouffer’s fine local soccer work for the free tabloid will disappear.

Injury watch: D.C. United’s Nick DeLeon will miss about six weeks with a hamstring ailment, suffered March 23 against Columbus. … Real Salt Lake’s Robbie Findley (groin) departed in the first half, shortly after scoring against Seattle.

Stat of the week: In its first two home matches, the New England Revolution has not scored, generated just five shots on target (12 overall) and, in cool weather, drawn 22,499 combined.

Landon Donovan’s return: A few days after resuming full-time workouts with the Galaxy, the American star entered in the second half at Toronto.

“It was a lot of fun. I haven’t felt that way playing in a very long time. That was the desired goal when I stepped away and it was nice to be back.”

CONCACAF watch: Los Angeles and Seattle will begin the Champions League semifinals at home this week. The Sounders welcome Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna on Tuesday night, while the Galaxy host two-time defending champion Monterrey the next evening. Fox Soccer will carry both matches, starting at 10 p.m. ET. The second legs are next week in Mexico.

MLS Cup watch: With Montreal falling for the first time this season, we turn our attention to the possibility of Home Depot Center (soon to be StubHub Center) hosting the championship game for the third consecutive year. Not involving the Galaxy, mind you, but Chivas USA! Yes, the Goats are no lambs, and although few care in L.A., the club is finding a way after a tumultuous preseason.

Attendance watch:

Toronto 18,355

New York 15,824

New England 10,284

Houston 17,415

Kansas City 18,609

Colorado 11,774

Real Salt Lake 20,359

Chivas USA 8,354

Average: 15,122

Chelis quote of the week:

“Surprise or no surprise, Chivas exists.”

Freddy Adu watch: The move to Bahia in Brazil we’ve been telling you about for weeks was finalized — his ninth club in 10 seasons since turning pro at age 14. Aptly, Bahia’s colors are red, white and blue. The club will alternate between state and cup competition the next several weeks before entering the Serie A national campaign. Bahia’s last national title came in 1988.

 

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 31, 2013