HOUSTON - MAY 12: A pair of coast guard helicopters fly over during opening ceremonies as D.C. United played the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Major League Soccer welcomed yet another soccer specific stadium into the league this past Saturday, as the Houston Dynamo played their first game in brand new BBVA Compass Stadium after 16 months of waiting and seven straight road games to start the season. The Houston faithful opened the stadium with all the pomp and circumstance it deserved and Houston put the icing on the cake with a 1-0 victory over DC United.
History seemed to be the theme of the week, as Olympic Stadium in Montreal saw a record breaking crowd, as the Impact took on the LA Galaxy. 60,860 fans broke the attendance record for a soccer match, not just to see their home side play the defending MLS champs, but to see David Beckham in a rare away game appearance.
Unfortunately for the Philadelphia Union, the New York Red Bulls also made history Sunday afternoon at PPL Park, winning their first ever match in Philadelphia's house. A red card late in the first half against Freddy Adu made sure the Union would not pick up a win against New York, as the Red Bull's have now won four in a row.
Had Adu not been sent off, this game may have had a more happy ending for Philadelphia. Freddy Adu arguably was having his best game since coming back to Major League Soccer last season, picking up the assist on the opening goal for the Union. Fancy footwork and shot after shot from the 22 year old led the Union to the best first half numbers they have seen all season.
Unfortunately, Adu would not get the opportunity to show off in the second half. After what was called a simulation (a dive) in the box, Adu was shown his second yellow card, leading to his sending off. At first glance, this did nothing but energize Philadelphia, who almost immediately after the second half opening whistle picked up their second goal of the game courtesy of Lionard Pajoy.
New York however seemed un-phased. Not wanting their winning streak to end at four, the Red Bulls knocked in two more goal for the victory. The Union would have ample opportunities to equalize, but red hot keeper Ryan Meara made some remarkable saves to ensure a New York victory. With their first ever win at PPL and riding high at four in a row, the Red Bulls will look to make it five when they take on Montreal next Saturday. The Union will continue to try and find answers when they travel to Texas to take on FC Dallas.
The LA Galaxy might have left Montreal asking themselves their own set of questions had it not been for David Beckham. The Impact, who scored a very early first half goal thanks to David Arnaud, led the Galaxy for most of the match up at sold out Olympic Stadium. That was until the 62nd minute when LA was awarded a free kick.
One of the contributing factors that led to over 60,000 fans filling the stadium was the chance to see David Beckham, who rarely plays on Artificial grass. Beckham, like he has done time and time again, bent the ball into the upper right corner, picking up the equalizer for his squad while also earning his second goal of the week nod. 1-1 would be the final score of this one as most fans probably went home happy after witnessing just why the movie title "Bend it Like Beckham" was chosen ten years ago.
The Galaxy will head back home to take part in the SuperClassico, taking on Chivas USA next Saturday. Montreal will look for some revenge as they take on the Red Bulls at Olympic Stadium after losing 5-2 the last time the two squads met.
The Death Star, the Tie Fighter...these are nicknames for the newly opened BBVA Compass Stadium that have already begun to circulate around the league. Whatever people end up calling it (I personally like Fanta Orange), the latest soccer specific stadium got the opening it deserved, with the Houston Dynamo picking up BBVA's inaugural win.
There was a lot of talk going into this match up about who was going to try the hardest to get the first ever goal in BBVA Compass Stadium. Brian Ching obviously was the first name on everyones list. After all, he had done so much for the team, on and off the field. But what if former Dynamo player and fan favorite Dwayne De Rosario, who got a standing ovation from the Houston faithful before kickoff, spoiled the grand opening and won the match for DC? Neither scenario would end up happening.
In fact, this game could have easily ended up a draw; a less that exciting way to open the Dynamo's new home. Brad Davis would ensure that did not happen. In the 67th minute, the usually silent striker celebrated with the Houston supporters after firing in a beauty from 35 yards out. In truth, if it wasn't Ching who scored BBVA's opening goal, Davis was just as deserving a candidate to be the one to pick it up.
Ching had a couple of really good chances, but it wasn't meant to be. He was subbed out in the 84th as the 22,000 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium showed their appreciation for the veteran with a standing ovation.
Brian Ching and the Houston Dynamo won't have to wait long to score more goals at their new home. They take on Portland tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. DC United will look to rebound the next day as they take on the Rapids.
This weekend also saw New England stomp all over Vancouver with a 4-1 victory. Despite a goal from Eric Hassli, former Whitecaps player Lee Nguyen made sure his his old squad went home hurting, knocking in two of the four goals for New England. The Revolution will look for another win when they take on Houston next Saturday, while Vancouver looks to rebound after winning three in a row when they take on Seattle.
Columbus finally picked up a win after a five game winless streak, defeating a ten man Dallas FC Squad 2-1. Zach Lloyd was shown his second yellow of the game in the 63rd, making way for Sebastian Miranda to score the game winner in the 72nd for Columbus. The Crew will travel to San Jose to take on the Quakes, who are coming off a draw this past Sunday against Chivas. As mentioned before, FC Dallas plays host to Philadelphia this weekend.
Sporting Kansas City, after winning their first seven, have now lost three in a row. They fell victim to Chicago after Roger Espinoza was shown a red in the 62nd minute. Dominic Oduro would pick up the game winner for Chicago in the 81st. SKC will travel to Colorado Saturday to take on the Rapids, while Chicago travels to Portland to take on the Timbers on Sunday.
Finally, Real Salt Lake put a stop to Seattle's winning ways, picking up a 1-0 victory. Seattle, who will play Vancouver next Saturday, had not lost since March 31st. Real Salt Lake get to savor their win until the 26th, when they take on FC Dallas.
This week's match to watch out for will come out of Montreal. The Red Bulls look to make it five wins in a row, while the Impact look to remain unbeaten at home. Depending on whether Thierry Henry is back with New York by then, this could be another sold out game at Olympic Stadium. This one kicks off Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. It can be seen on MLS Live.