Week Eight of the MLS season has already begun with a pair of mid-week games, but before we get into the full slate of weekend matches, we wanted to take a look back at an interesting Week Seven.
The Portland Timbers handed Real Salt Lake its first loss of the season, while the New York Red Bulls continued their hot streak. Seattle and Houston kept on rolling (though those rolls obviously ended on Wednesday). Perhaps the most impressive result was Chivas USA's 3-0 thumping of New England and Benny Feilhaber, the player the Rojiblancos passed on amid much criticism.
We also had Brek Shea's dream shot, Stefan Frei's jaw-dropping saves and Omar Salgado's first professional goal.
So what else should we remember from Week Seven? Here's a Look Back at the Week Seven action:
Houston Dynamo 4, D.C. United 1 (The Highlights)
Man of the Match- Will Bruin. The Dynamo rookie scored a hat-trick and was just an absolute handful for the D.C. defense. His strength and quickness made the most of some quality service from the Dynamo midfield.
Honorable Mention- Brad Davis. He capped a stellar month with another two assists as his impeccable service on the wings shredded the D.C. defense.
A Night to Forget. The entire D.C. United defense. It would be unfair to single out a single D.C. defender when the group was so bad as a collective group.
Rookie Watch. Perry Kitchen had a night to forget while fell rookie Will Bruin enjoyed a dream season. They should both be in the race for Rookie of the Year throughout the season, but Bruin clearly won this battle.
Random Thoughts. The exclusion of Andy Najar from the starting lineup remained a puzzler for D.C. United. The Corey Ashe experiment at left back has been a rousing success and you have to wonder if Dom Kinnear will keep Ashe there the rest of the season considering how well he has done.
Philadelphia 1, San Jose Earthquakes 0 (The Highlights)
Man of the Match – Sebastien Le Toux. The Frenchman finally scored his first goal of the season, but his converted penalty kick was the icing on an overall strong performance.
Honorable Mention – Faryd Mondragon. Anchor of the Union's improved defense aggressively pursued two teasing balls in his 6-yard box in the first half to keep Steven Lenhart and Chris Wondolowski off the scoreboard and held his defense together after Jordan Harvey's red card to post his fourth clean sheet of the season.
A Night to Forget – Frank Yallop. The Earthquakes manager is watching his team fall apart at the seams. He made five changes to his starting lineup, and his squad — which had a man advantage for 49 minutes — could barely generate anything going forward after being gifted a golden opportunity. San Jose has lost three in a row, hasn't won in five matches and is in last place in a deep Western Conference.
Rookie Watch – Earthquakes midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong earned the start at left wing and contributed creativity and sleek passing and managed to stand out in an otherwise dull team performance. … Union rookie Michael Farfan made his first MLS appearance, entering as a defensive halftime substitute and helping Philadelphia maintain a possession edge despite being down a man.
Random Thoughts – Harvey was sent off by referee Mark Geiger for appearing to stomp on Chris Leitch's chest as the two went in on a 50-50 challenge. … Philadelphia started Danny Mwanga up top aside Carlos Ruiz, dropped Le Toux back to right midfield and had Roger Torres start in central midfield, giving the team a number of attacking options. … Le Toux had his chance from the penalty spot after Jason Hernandez was whistled for a handball in the area when trying to defend an Amobi Okugo cross.
Columbus Crew 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 1 (The Highlights)
Man of the Match- Emilio Renteria. The Crew striker exerted his will on the Whitecaps' defenders for much of Saturday night's match. Renteria was taken down in the box by Whitecaps GK Jay Nolly and converted the PK, then scored again a few minutes later in the second half off a pass from Dejan Rusmir.
Honorable Mention- Omar Salgado. The 17-year-old forward had a breakout game, or rather a breakout final 21 minutes of the match after struggling to keep possession of the ball, scoring his first MLS goal and fighting off some physical marking to be the Whitecaps' go-to guy late in the match.
A Night to Forget- Greg Janicki and Mouloud Akloul. The center backs for Vancouver struggled to keep Renteria out of the box and shut down runs by the Crew's Robbie Rogers.
Rookie Watch- Jeb Brovsky. Rookie from Notre Dame came on as a Whitecaps sub in the 74th minute and almost scored his first career MLS goal with a shot that went just wide in the 89th minute.
Random thoughts- The Crew were in control of the match until Salgado scored, then the Whitecaps made a furious comeback attempt with several chances late… Columbus continues to play well at home going back to last season, and is unbeaten in six straight games this season though the Crew have only seven goals in seven matches in 2011.
New York Red Bulls 1, Sporting Kansas City 0 (The Highlights)
Man of the Match- Dwayne DeRosario. The Canadian star enjoyed his best match as a Red Bull, setting up Luke Rodgers' goal with a perfect cross and keeping pressure on Kansas City's defense in a lively performance.
Honorable Mention- Luke Rodgers. Played just 45 minutes, but still scored a quality goal and was active throughout.Tim Ream deserves some mention as well for doing a good job in his battle with KC striker Teal Bunbury.
A Night to Forget- Graham Zusi. The third-year midfielder had a couple of chances to pull SKC level but couldn't get it done with his team evening out the run of play.
Rookie Watch- C.J. Sapong didn't do much in his 45 minutes of action before being replaced by the much livelier Ryan Smith. Sapong is still enjoying a strong start to his rookie season, but against New York he failed to make an impact.
Random Thoughts- The loss of Teemu Taino was definitely felt by New York, which missed his ability to keep the ball moving and dominate the middle of the field. Carl Robinson is a good pro and does well to slow down opposing playmakers, but he's a notch below Tainio in terms of overall impact. …Ryan Smith looked sharp in his 45 minutes of action and it shouldn't be long before he is starting. Left back Korede Aiyegbusi was thrown into emergency duty for Roger Espinoza and his speed was very effective in limiting Dane Richards' chances.
Colorado Rapids 1, Chicago Fire 1 (The Highlights)
Man of the Match- Marco Pappa. The Fire winger was Chicago's most dangerous player yet again and
Honorable Mention- Jon Conway. The Fire goalkeeper stated another good case for keeping the starting job.
A Night to Forget- Gonzalo Segares. Run ragged by Omar Cummings for much of the night, Segares could only watch as Cummings set up Andre Akpan for Colorado's equalizer.
Rookie Watch- Jalil Anibaba earned another start and 90 minutes and was solid at right back for the Fire.
Random Thoughts- It was a good night for players who slid in the 2010 MLS Draft only to endure rough rookie seasons. Corben Bone and Andre Akpan were both highly regarded in college but neither was picked in the Top Ten. Bone showed some good flashed in central midfield for the Fire and likely earned another start, while Akpan's beautiful equalizer should keep him on Gary Smith's radar for minutes.
Seattle Sounders 3, Toronto FC 0 (The Highlights)
Man of the Match- Brad Evans. The much-maligned midfielder stepped into the starting lineup and promptly delivered two goals and an assist, showing the quality that made him such a key part of the Columbus Crew's 2008 MLS Cup title run.
Honorable Mention- Alvaro Fernandez. 'El Flaco' delivered yet another clutch goal and is slowly but surely developing into the type of player Seattle expected him to be when he was signed as a Designated Player.
A Night to Forget- Adrian Cann. For someone looking for a bigger contract he didn't do himself many favors. He was beaten Brad Evan's first goal, then committed the penalty leading to Evans' second goal.
Rookie Watch- Servando Carrasco came off the bench for ten minutes for Seattle while Matt Gold came off the bench for 28 minutes for Toronto FC.
Random Thoughts- As much as the back-line contributed to Toronto's struggles, TFC's midfield was thoroughly outplayed by its Seattle counterparts. Stefan Frei saw three goals scored on him, but he made some truly stellar saves to keep it from being an embarrassing blowout.
Portland Timbers 1, Real Salt Lake 0 (The Highlights)
Man of the Match- Kenny Cooper. Delivered the vital goal to help Portland stay unbeaten at home.
Honorable Mention- Khalif Alhassan. The shifty winger delivered another vital assist to add to his growing status as one of the league's more dangerous wide players.
A Night to Forget- Alvaro Saborio. The Costa Rican striker's goal drought continues, making you wonder when he'll recapture his 2010 form.
Rookie Watch- Darlington Nagbe earned the start and combined well with newly-acquired Colombian midfielder Diego Chara.
Random Thoughts- The Timbers defense posted its first shutout of the season, due in part to the stellar work of a Portland midfield that won the battle against an RSL midfield missing key starters.
Chivas USA 3, New England Revolution 0 (The Highlights)
Man of the Match- Alejandro Moreno – It was vintage Moreno as the crafty veteran constantly found gaps in the Revs defense due to his high work rate. Moreno capped off his night by capitalizing on a poor New England back pass for an emphatic third goal.
Honorable Mention- Simon Elliott – Partnered with Nick LaBrocca, the midfielder dominated the possession game by peppering the ball around the field stretching the Revolution defense, which prevented New England midfielders Shalrie Joseph and Benny Feilhaber from having any input on the outcome of the match.
A Night to Forget- Shalrie Joseph – Joseph and Benny Feilhaber were largely invisible throughout the night as the Rojiblancos controlled possession and outworked the Revolution throughout the night. However, Joseph's biggest gaff came on the third goal when he played a back pass in the box to Dider Domi, who was easily stripped by Moreno. Following the match Joseph called the play a "miscommunication."
Rookie Watch- AJ Soares – The rookie defender struggled to handle the veteran Moreno and was caught out of position by the energetic Chivas USA attack. In particular, the rookie allowed LaBrocca and Mondaini to get behind him leading to the first two Chvias goals.
Random thoughts- Chivas USA are now undefeated in their last five matches and finished the month of April without a loss…The Revolution have now lost four straight against Chivas USA, conceding
11 goals in the process…Chivas USA will be seriously tested in the next month with three matches on the road against RSL, NY and Columbus.
FC Dallas 2, Los Angeles Galaxy 1 (The Highlights)
Man of the Match- Brek Shea. Whether you believe him that it was a shot at goal, or if you think Shea's stunning game-winner was a lucky cross that beat Donovan Ricketts, Shea still hit it and gave his team a vital victory.
Honorable Mention- Kevin Hartman. The veteran keeper made some trademark highlight-reel saves to keep Dallas in it and let Shea net the winner.
A Night to Forget- Juan Pablo Angel. The Galaxy striker is still struggling to find his form and wasn't much of a factor on a miserable night weather wise.
Random Thoughts- Losing Jair Benitez to a serious knee injury would mean another blow to Dallas' once-imposing depth. Zach Loyd should be able to help fill the void, but that's one less bench option for Schellas Hyndman. … Eric Avila had a decent night as he tries to replace MLS MVP David Ferreira in the starting lineup.
What impressed you the most about Week Seven? Was it Portland's win? Chivas USA's blowout? Brek Shea's goal? What disappointed you?
Share your thoughts below.