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Football Americana Week 8: LA and New York fail to brighten a dull weekend



Major League Soccer hyped up the clash of its two glamour teams, but the weekend as a whole failed to inspire as yet another creative player went down with a serious injury.

Week 8 began in the capital, where DC United surprised Seattle Sounders with a 2-1 victory. Andy Najar and Charlie Davies combined to set up an easy finish for Josh Wolff after half an hour, and Davies himself got his sixth of the season after the break. It was an almost exact replica of the first, with Najar finding Wolff in the channel and Davies given the ball on a plate. Seattle made it interesting with 20 minutes to go from the penalty spot when Dejan Jakovic fouled Fredy Montero in the box. Brad Evans' penalty was comfortable.

United went goalless but achieved a most welcome clean sheet at home against FC Dallas. DC could have taken an early lead during a scramble that resulted from a flaky defensive header by Brek Shea, and neither team would come as close until the last couple of minutes when Kevin Hartman made himself big to brilliantly prevent Fred from winning it for the home side.

The Sounders dropped more points on the road despite taking an early lead at Columbus Crew. Fredy Montero rose well to nod in Erik Friburg's pinpoint cross with less than ten minutes gone, but his side were unable to hold on to the advantage in the Ohio rain. In the 66th minute, Chad Marshall was pulled down from a set piece by Patrick Ianni, and Emilio Renteria swept the penalty past Kasey Keller.

Houston Dynamo faced a midweek battle with the champions, and Colorado Rapids came away from Robertson Stadium with three points thanks to a 2-1 win. All three goals came in the final 20 minutes and the Dynamo must have expected a win after they took the lead through Colin Clark's left-footed strike. The Rapids got a fortuitous equaliser when Jamie Smith's free kick from midfield floated over the head of goalkeeper Tally Hall, who badly misjudged the flight. Scott Palguta drove in the winner five minutes from time after Colorado prevented the Dynamo defence from clearing its lines.

The Dynamo went on to lose 2-1 a second time, Toronto FC matching DC by taking a 2-0 lead over Dom Kinnear's side. Joao Plata made it 1-0 with a composed finish from the spot after Andrew Hainault had tripped Nick Soolsma in the area. Goalkeeper Hall was penalised for a felling Plata in the area, but the referee changed his mind after consulting his assistant. Inside the last ten minutes Maicon Santos doubled the lead with an assured control and finish from a Plata through ball to secure the three points. Lovel Palmer got a consolation for Houston with a low drive three minutes from time.

The Rapids were unable to repeat their result against Houston, drawing 0-0 with New England Revolution in their second fixture of the week. New England's Ryan Cochrane's header clipped the bar after 15 minutes and Andre Akpan's drive from 25 yards forced a solid save from Matt Reis at the other end but no goal was forthcoming - Matt Pickens made sure of that with a fantastic save from Shalrie Joseph, while Benny Feilhaber struck the woodwork as time ran out.

Portland Timbers have now won four out of four at Jeld-Wen Field, the latest win coming against Philadelphia Union. Mamadou Danso headed in the only goal of the game past Faryd Mondragon with 20 minutes left.

Real Salt Lake returned to winning ways thanks to Will Johnson's winner against Chivas USA. Andrew Boyens of Chivas was fortunate to only pick up a yellow card for hauling down Alvario Saborio on the edge of the box, but soon got a second for a cynical body-check on the same opponent. Marcos Mondaini made matters far worse for Chivas by getting sent off for a horrible tackle of Javier Morales (pictured), taking the Goats down to nine men inside 40 minutes. Morales suffered a dislocated ankle and torn ligaments, and joins Seattle's Steve Zakuani and FCD's David Ferreira on the sidelines. RSL skipper Kyle Beckerman had to be restrained on the field. Johnson's goal came just minutes from the end despite RSL's two-man advantage, and was as easy a finish as he'll have ever had.

There was yet another goalless match in MLS this weekend, with Chicago Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps splitting the points. Fire forward Dominic Oduro wasted the best chance of the match, and his team-mate Diego Chaves hit the post later in the first half. Eric Hassli could have won it late on for the Caps but couldn't get his feet right as he strolled in on goal.

At HDC, LA Galaxy faced New York Red Bulls in Week 8's headline match, drawing 1-1. Thierry Henry took just three and a half minutes to silence the Carson crowd, latching on to Dane Richards' overhit pass for Dwayne DeRosario and rolling in the opener. Juan Pablo Angel thought he'd levelled it with a header against his old club but was rightly pulled up for offside. The equaliser came late in the first half through Landon Donovan, who headed home a David Beckham corner from seven yards when completely unmarked. He should've made it two a couple of minutes later but Tim Ream cleared his weak effort on an open goal off the line.

That draw took LA back past Salt Lake to the top of the West, one point ahead of the 2009 champions and two ahead of 2010 victors Colorado. In the East, New York are two points clear of both Columbus and Philly. You can see those tables here, and watch all the Week 8 action here.

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