Photo by Stephen Brashear/ISIphotos.com
By THOMAS FLOYD
Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall has been stellar more often that not during his first season as a starter, but after the Dynamo's 2-1 loss to Colorado on Wednesday, he didn't hesitate to hold himself responsible for the result.
Two minutes after Houston had taken the lead on a Colin Clark tally, Hall badly misjudged a Jamie Smith free kick from near midfield that sailed over the goalkeeper's head and into the back of the net untouched.
"I made a colossal error, and the team paid for it," Hall said after the game. "Unfortunately, it happens. It happened today, and the team was punished for it. I think we played well enough to win. One goal is enough to win the game, and I feel like I let the team down today."
Colorado went on to win on an 84th-minute strike from Scott Palguta. It was a tough loss for Houston, which would have moved into first place in the conference with a win.
Here is some more news from around the Eastern Conference:
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who has been benched in favor of veteran Jon Conway since struggling in the Fire's 4-2 loss at Portland on April 14, said he is "just working hard" as he tries to play his way back into the starting 11. Chicago coach Carlos de los Cobos has not announced a starter for Saturday's game against Vancouver.
"It happens," Johnson told MLSsoccer.com. "Mistakes are made – it's how you bounce back from them that counts. Now, I think it's just up to me how I come back and keep working and try to bounce back from those games. Who plays is coach's decision. All I can do is practice hard every day. Obviously I'm disappointed that I'm not playing, but it's one of those things. It's not my decision."
It's been an up-and-down season for midfielder Robbie Rogers, who started the campaign on the bench amid rampant trade rumors before working his way back into the starting 11. In an interview with TheCrew.com, he said the mental side of the game has been the most challenging part of his career.
"Sometimes, when there are negative things going on around you, it can affect you, and I've started to realize that," Rogers said. "I'm growing out of it. When you get over it, you realize how it can affect you, then you start to play better and be more positive, [and] you're pretty proud because it can be a tough obstacle."
Badly in need of a positive result after dropping its past two league contests by a combined 8-1 margin, D.C. United coach Ben Olsen did some tinkering with his lineup during a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday.
Perry Kitchen was slotted from his usual central defensive role to right back in place of the injured Jed Zayner, while Daniel Woolard stepped in for left back Marc Burch, a late scratch with a hamstring ailment. In midfield, Andy Najar reclaimed his starting role on the right flank from Fred, and Santino Quaranta, who has seen spare minutes of late, was the first player off the bench early in the second half. Stephen King logged his first MLS minutes of the season as a late replacement for Clyde Simms.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
After the Revolution suffered an embarrassing 3-0 loss last week to a Chivas USA side that had spent most of the season near the Western Conference cellar, rookie centerback A.J. Soares thinks New England needs to go into Saturday's match against Colorado with more focus and less of the overconfidence that plagued it at Chivas.
"I think the biggest adjustment [we need to make] is just our mentality going into the game," Soares told RevolutionSoccer.net. “We had come off two wins, and I think we were overconfident going into [the Chivas] game. We just need to go into this next game against the Rapids back to how we were doing it –- fighting every game, fighting for every play."
NEW YORK RED BULLS
As the Red Bulls have found their rhythm in recent weeks, often dominating matches while working their way to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, one player has sometimes found himself without much to do: goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul.
"I'm not totally bored but sometimes, maybe just a little," Coundoul told MLSsoccer.com. "I play with my feet a lot, the guys try to pass the ball back to me to keep me involved, to keep me focused. It helps me stay in the rhythm. You will also see that I am more engaged, more vocal. When we have corner kicks, I am bent over, ready in case anything happens. I try to stay sharp for all 90 minutes."
The Union back line that has only allowed two goals in six games could be missing two players Friday against Portland. Left back Jordan Harvey will serve a suspension after picking up a questionable red card for an altercation with San Jose defender Chris Leitch during last week's 1-0 win over the Earthquakes. Now comes word that centerback Danny Califf may not travel due to illness.
Michael Farfan is the likely candidate to replace Harvey after filling in admirably at left back as a substitute against San Jose. Juan Diego Gonzalez, the only player on Philadelphia's roster listed as a defender aside from the four starters, is the likely replacement for Califf.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Although Kansas City CEO Robb Heineman said his team's 1-4-1 start is "an opportunity missed, quite frankly," as it tries to build momentum toward opening Livestrong Sporting Park next month, he told the Kansas City Star that coach Peter Vermes' job is safe.
"I think if we went out and started 0-6 or something like that, it would be completely unfair to Peter and the next coach to be put in that situation," Heineman said. "So we're going to be patient this year."
After advancing to the Canadian Championship final with a 1-0 win (4-0 aggregate) over Edmonton on Wednesday that saw the Reds control the match for long stretches, Toronto's players emphasized the value of possession in coach Aron Winter's "total football" system.
"In this system you need to be good with the ball," midfielder Jacob Peterson said to the National Post. "Every touch has to be good. People have to want the ball. The movement has got to be a bit better."