Is 2012 the year of the slump? It sure looks that way. After all, Albert Pujols only yesterday broke his career long home run slump. Toronto FC on the other hand have run out of ideas on how to break their historic 0-8-0 losing streak. Meanwhile, the word "early" has probably left LA Galaxy Manager Bruce Arena's vocabulary as they have lost two in a row. Then of course there is the Union, who are still struggling to find their offense as they dropped their second consecutive game to the Seattle Sounders. Year of the slump? Definitely.
Usually when you hear about a team making history, it is because they have won a large amount of championships, or broken a goal scoring record (Messi anyone?). In Toronto's case, they now hold the MLS title of worst start to a season, with eight losses and no wins. To make matters worse for Toronto, their Saturday match up against red hot DC United wasn't even close, as they were shutout 2-0.
Toronto actually played a decent first half and had some chances near the end of the first 45, but nothing came of them. Chris Pontius made Toronto pay for those missed opportunities with a beautiful strike in the 55th minute. To Toronto's credit, they didn't lay down and die after that first goal. They continued to play hard with a couple of more opportunities to score, but the returning Bill Hamid in net was ready for whatever Toronto had to offer.
The 75th minute saw this game be put to bed for Toronto. Salihi would come into the match as a substitute and score the knockout goal. Despite the record breaking loss, Toronto showed signs of life in this match, even if they did get shutout. Bill Hamid made some amazing saves for DC and without him, this one may have turned out differently. The biggest question that has to come out of this loss is, how much time does TFC Manager Aron Winter have left? Especially after making a playoff guarantee. Not exactly the place to be making those kind of promises while sitting at 0-8-0.
The LA Galaxy are another team that have to be asking themselves a lot of questions coming off two straight losses. After putting a controversial team on the field against Seattle this past Wednesday (they would lose 2-0), the Galaxy would once again have the likes of David Beckham and Robbie Keane back in the fold. It would't make a difference.
New York would get an early goal in the 19th minute from Joel Lindpere. That would be all Red Bull would need to secure a victory over the reigning MLS champs. The struggling Galaxy almost ended up scoring first after a chip from Robbie Keane was cleared away. New York and their makeshift back line would hold the lead until the final whistle, with LA not having many chances at all to equalize.
Obviously LA's situation is far different than Toronto's. You can't really call for Bruce Arena's head after winning the MLS Cup last year, but something clearly has to change. Their next opportunity to change things up will come next Saturday as they take on the Montreal Impact, who are coming off a big win against Sporting Kansas City.
The Impact are starting to come together as Major League Soccer's latest expansion squad. They are unbeaten in their last three matches, have won back to back games for the first time as an MLS squad and pulled off a massive upset as they defeated league leading Sporting Kansas City 2-0.
Sporting looked to dominate the match in the opening minutes of the first half, with Zusi taking a shot early on that was expertly saved by Donovan Ricketts, who picked up his second clean sheet of the young campaign. The 30th minute of the match saw the Impact take the lead in the match with a long goal from Felipe. Kei Kamara would look to equalize with an overhead kick after a long throw into the box, but his shot went just wide.
After Lemar Neagle was awarded a penalty while being tripped up in the box after a breakaway, Patrice Bernier put the game away as Jimmy Nielsen, who has the league leading GAA, could not stop the penalty shot. This matched served as Montreal's first ever road win, while Sporting has not scored a goal in over three weeks. They hope to rebound next Saturday against Chicago.
Saturday also saw Vancouver pick up a very late win against the West leading San Jose Earthquakes. Eric Hasslie broke his 17 game goalless streak with a goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time, giving his squad the win at home at BC Place. San Jose travel to New England on Saturday to take on the Revolution, while Vancouver gets ready for their Wednesday Canadian Championship match against Edmonton.
The Philadelphia Union continue to look for answers to their offensive woes as they pick up their second straight loss away at Seattle. With a 1-0 loss and only one shot taken in the entire first half, the returning Peter Nowak needs to start thinking about playing someone other than Lionard Pajoy up front. Seattle travels to Dallas for a Wednesday match up, while the Union take on rival New York Red Bulls in a Sunday Mother's Day game. More on that game in the match to watch out for.
Portland and Columbus, two teams with their own set of struggles, played to a 0-0 draw, each picking up a point. The Timbers have a bye this weekend, while Columbus heads home to take on FC Dallas.
Chicago picked up Saturday's other stoppage time victory, as Marco Pappa blasted a shot right by Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy to break up the draw and take three points. Chicago ends up being responsible for handing Chivas their fifth straight loss at home this season. Chivas, who have lost three straight, will not have it easy next Saturday as they take on the Earthquakes. San Jose will be looking to get back on track after their loss to Vancouver.
Chicago meanwhile head back home to take on Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. Salt Lake were victorious in a 2-1 game against the New England Revolution.
Finally, the Colorado Rapids picked up a 2-0 win against FC Dallas. Dallas was pretty much taken out of this one after two first half red cards cost them the match. As mentioned before, FC Dallas will host the Seattle Sounders Wednesday night, while Colorado enjoys a bye along with the Timbers.
This weekend has two matches to watch out for. Saturday will see the Houston Dynamo play the inaugural match at brand new BBVA Compass Stadium, Major League Soccer's latest soccer specific stadium. Houston will take on DC United who have won three of their last five. You can catch the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium on NBC Sports Network starting at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Finally, the Philadelphia Union will take on bitter rivals the New York Red Bulls at PPL Park. The Union will look to rebound after two straight losses, while New York come off of back to back wins. This match marks Peter Nowak's return to managing after serving a two game suspension due to entering the field of play in the Union's win against Chivas. This match will be aired on ESPN2 with a kick off scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET.