Top Stories

MLS Week 3: A Look Back


   Photo by Howard C. Smith/

From Vancouver's thrilling three-goal comeback to Dwayne De Rosario's debut with the New York Red Bulls, MLS Week 3 was memorable for a variety of reasons.

The Whitecaps posted a thrilling battle from three goals down, including a pair of Camilo goals in stoppage time. That comeback was the highlight of the weekend, though De Rosario's debut in New York earned its share of attention as well.

It was also a good week for rookies, with Stephen McCarthy scoring for New England and Darlington Nagbe making his debut for Portland. Will Bruin assisted on a Houston goal, while Rich Balchan started in the Crew defense that shut out FC Dallas.

It was a good week for West powers, too, as Colorado thrashed D.C. United and Los Angeles shut down the Philadelphia Union.

Week 4 kicks off tonight with Vancouver-New England, but here is a closer look, match-by-match, at all of the Week 3 action:



Man of the Match – Eddie Gaven. Scored the Crew's second goal and ran the attack well, with fans chanting his name several times throughout the match.

Honorable Mention – Chad Marshall. Anchored Crew's backline in shutout of FC Dallas attack. 

A Night to Forget – George John. The FC Dallas centerback got baited into a foul in the box on the Crew's Emmanuel Ekpo, which gave Columbus a PK to take a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute. 

Rookie Watch - Rich Balchan. Started and played 90 minutes on a Crew back-line that posted a shutout. He’s quietly been one of the most consistent rookie starters in the league.

Random thoughts – Crew forward Andres Mendoza was a virtual non-factor in the first half but converted the second-half PK to give his team the lead… The Crew's Jeff Cunningham missed a great chance to move into a tie for the MLS all-time lead in goals scored when he couldn't finish in the 61st minute… FC Dallas is off to another slow start to the season, as it did last year. Coach Schellas Hyndman is still trying to settle on his best starting XI.



Man of the Match – Alejandro Moreno. Back from international duty, the veteran forward appeared to be the catalyst that the Rojiblancos needed as the presence of Moreno freed up space for Justin Braun and Marcos Mondaini in attack

Honorable Mention – Alan Gordon. Scoring one goal and nearly scoring another, Gordon led the Reds going forward and appeared clearly motivated to score against his former club. 

A Night to Forget – Maicon Santos. The Brazilian forward will be having nightmares about this match for sometime after he had one goal ruled offside and then missed an empty net from point blank range.

Rookie Watch – Joao Plata. The diminutive Ecuadorian made his first appearance for the Reds, but appeared over-matched by Chivas defender Mike Lahoud.  

Random thoughts – Javier Martina was once again a threat down the right flank for the Reds…Dan Kennedy and Jorge Flores started for the Rojiblancos over Zach Thornton and Francisco Mendoza, who started the first two matches…Tony Tchani and Danleigh Borman started in their first match for the Reds after being involved in the Dwayne De Rosario trade



Man of the Match – Teal Bunbury. Scored two incredible goals in hostile fan conditions to give SKC the upper hand before the Whitecaps mounted their comeback. His first came on a turn-and-fire from 20 yards that left keeper Jay Nolly with no chance, and the second came off a nifty run into the area and a great one-on-one move to shake his defender and beat Nolly again.    

Honorable Mention – Camilo. Turns out the Whitecaps having plenty of scoring options after all. Camilo's two stoppage time goals rescued a point for the Whitecaps, who were left for dead after Kei Kamara's 62nd-minute goal. Between Eric Hassli, Omar Salgado and Camilo, things are looking up for the Whitecaps' attack. 

A Night to Forget – Greg Janicki. Playing in injured captain Jay DeMerit's centerback spot, Janicki, who was also nursing a knock, struggled to keep up with SKC's powerful attack and was manhandled by Bunbury all game. While speaking with reporters after the match, Janicki himself took blame for all of SKC's goals.   

Rookie Watch – C.J. Sapong. SKC's first-round pick earned the start in place of the suspended Omar Bravo and was a force up top. His cross set up Kamara for Kansas City's third goal, and he showed that he is a very capable option in the attack. Not many teams have a fourth option up top as productive as Sapong.

Random Thoughts – The game turned on its head with the introduction of Davide Chiumiento and Nizar Khalfan into the match. The two brought energy and had a hand in all three of Vancouver's late goals…Jimmy Nielsen had a heck of a match, which will probably go overlooked considering he yielded three goals. If not for his play in the first half, the Whitecaps could've had a multi-goal lead going into halftime…The Empire Field crowd was electric throughout despite the large deficit.



Man of the Match – Tally Hall. The Houston goalkeeper made a handful of clutch saves to help the Dynamo withstand a second-half onslaught and score a valuable road point.

Honorable Mention – Dwayne De Rosario. Entered the match at halftime and made an instant impact, setting up a goal and proving dangerous for the full 45 minutes. Rafa Marquez was also strong.

A Night to Forget – Bouna Coundoul. When you’re fighting for a job the last think you can do as a goalkeeper is commit a terrible blunder. That’s what Coundoul did on Houston’s goal.

Rookie Watch – Will Bruin. He helped assist on the Houston goal by heading the ball into Cam Weaver’s path. Not a bad night for the first-round draft pick.

Random Thoughts – Mehdi Ballouchy was once again uninspiring and isn’t likely to see much playing time going forward…Thierry Henry created some chances for his teammates but still looks a step off the pace…Houston’s offense wasn’t the same after Brian Ching was forced to leave the match in the first half. The Dynamo need Ching healthy to have a chance of challenge better teams.



Man of the Match – Shalrie Joseph. Had a good battle with James Marcelin all day, but the Revs standout helped New England get a point in a game where Portland very well could have taken a road victory.

Honorable Mention – Jack Jewsbury. His clutch finish helped Portland register its first point as an MLS team.

A Night to Forget – Kevin Alston. The Revs right back has been struggling and had a bad night that included him being out of position on Portland’s goal.

Rookie Watch – Stephen McCarthy scored his first goal and A.J. Soares played his best match of the season for New England. Meanwhile, Darlington Nagbe made his debut for the Portland Timbers.

Random Thoughts – Zack Schilawski’s struggles make you wonder how much longer he’ll be starting for the Revs, and if his problem have more to do with the Revs system or his own issues. James Marcelin was very impressive in midfield for Portland. He and Jack Jewsbury could be forming one of the more underrated central midfield tandems in the league.



Man of the Match - Mauro Rosales. Wing/second forward from Argentina brought an element of scrappiness and aggressiveness to the Sounders, who needed some life in the attack.

Honorable Mention – Simon Dawkins. Quakes' midfielder scored his first goal since joining the club on loan from Tottenham and was a real force all night.

A Night to Forget - Chris Leitch and Chris Wondolowski. The San Jose defender had a hard time trying to mark Seattle speedster Steve Zakuani and forward O'Brian White. Wondolowski was marked tightly and with heavy contact by Seattle's Leo Gonzalez and wasn't a big factor on offense.  

Rookie Watch – N/A.

Random thoughts – The Sounders are still winless after four games (0-2-2)… According to Comcast Bay Area, which showed the game on TV, some 200 Sounders fans made the trip to Buck Shaw Stadium… Khari Stephenson's long-distance blast in the second half tied the game at 2, and Seattle's Brad Evans scored his first goal of the season.



Man of the Match – Leonardo. After struggling mightily the week before, the Brazilian defender did well to help shut down the Union attack and even scored his first career MLS goal.

Honorable Mention – David Beckham. Deployed in the center of the midfield, Beckham was a two-way threat for the Galaxy. Closing down passing lanes for the Union to create attacks and helping to lead the Galaxy attack.

A Night to Forget – Danny Mwanga. The second-year forward was unable to make an impact on the match and was eventually subbed off at the half. 

Rookie Watch – N/A.

Random thoughts – Miguel Lopez did well in his first MLS start, but had several mistakes that led to turnovers…Union forward Carlos Ruiz suffered a minor right shoulder strain, but the it is not thought to be serious…Ten cards were given out in the match including two reds for Chris Birchall and Jack McInerney.



Man of the Match - Caleb Folan. Ex-Hull City forward scored first two MLS goals two weeks after being signed by the Rapids. Both were impressive.

Honorable Mention – Jamie Smith. Rapids midfielder headed in what would be the decisive goal of the match in the 71st minute.

A Night to Forget - Rodrigo Brasesco. The young defender from Uruguay was badly faked out on Folan's first goal, losing the one-on-one against Folan not by being overpowered but by Folan dribbling past him in space. 

Rookie Watch – Blake Brettschneider. Got the start in place of Davies and made some things happen with a couple of chances. Took advantage of his opportunity to play extended minutes after most of his time in reserve matches. 

Random thoughts – It looked bitter cold in Commerce City, Colo., but kudos to those who braved the temperatures for the match. This is another thing that makes soccer great – the Rockies baseball game in nearby Denver was snowed out, the Rapids played on… DC GK Pat Onstad got little help from his defense… DCU played its best early in the match but was clearly outmatched based on experience by the veteran Rapids… Colorado's passing was largely pinpoint and they made the most of their four shots on goal.


What stood out for you from Week 3? Who impressed you the most? Who are you still waiting for to break out?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I like it too. Only thing I would add would be attendance (or seats sold) for each game. If you think it breaks up the flow too much, then maybe it warrants its own post. Kind of a weekly “MLS Attendance Rankings.”

    Just a thought.

  2. agreed i hate seeing rafa take corners they usually fall short from getting to the majority of targets in the box.I dont know if he is instructed to cross near post but so far nothing has come from his corners.

  3. Steve Goff indicated that he had a groin pull, was held out of practice (before and after the game), didn’t even make the flight out.

  4. I don’t know where you love for Rafa Marquez is coming from this week… He had a fairly crap game against the Dyanamo and was just as much to blame for the goal as Coundoul was, lack of communication. His set pieces were worse than Khano Smith’s crosses…


Leave a Comment