MLS Review

It was another weekend packed to the rafters with goals and incidents in Major League Soccer, headlined by the return to prominence by the 2017 MLS Cup Champions and a New York derby that left NYCFC with more questions than answers.

Toronto FC 3-0 Philadelphia Union

A crucial victory for Toronto FC at BMO Field as they moved off the foot of the MLS ladder, winning just their second game of the season.

Former Barcelona youth attacking midfielder Victor Vazquez opened the scoring, diverting a low cross from Nicholas Hasler beyond Union goalkeeper Andre Blake. It was then the usual Toronto goalscorer, Sebastian Giovinco, whose run just beyond the hour mark was rewarded with a goal. With Altidore on the sideline, the Italian played as the primary striker and his moment of vintage Giovinco magic secured the three points.

A late goal from substitute Jay Chapman, catching Philadelphia Union on the counter attack, reinforced this game for Toronto as a turning point.

Montreal Impact 4-2 New England Revolution

Six goals for fans in attendance at the Saputo Stadium as Remi Garde’s team romped into a commanding four-goal lead and secure a much-needed win.

The man to watch was Ignacio Piatti, he set up three goals for teammates before adding a fourth himself. Moments before half time Anthony Jackson-Hamel put Impact ahead, changing the half time team talks for managers Garde and Brad Friedel. After the break Montreal Impact were relentless with Jackson-Hamel adding a second before it was Raheem Edwards’ turn to profit from an assist by Piatti.

The Argentinian added Impact’s fourth before late goals from Wilfried Zahibo for New England Revolution made the scoreline seem more reasonable but Impact were already downing their tools.

New York Red Bulls 4-0 New York City FC

The New York derby has seen several great games between the two rivals, most notably the 7 – 0 thrashing by the Red Bulls in 2016 known locally as the ‘Red Wedding’ and this was another for the ages.

The New York City team which raced to the top of the league was nowhere to be seen as Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kaku particularly imposed their will on Patrick Vieira’s outfit. Two early goals within the first five minutes, one from Kaku and the other from Florian Valot set the tone before BWP killed off any lingering City hopes on 35 minutes.

Vieira would have wanted his side to at least win the second half to give the travelling fans something to cling to but Derrick Etienne Jr.’s goal just before the match entered the last ten minutes put the exclamation point on a comfortable and dominant Red Bulls performance.

Minnesota United 1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps

Minnesota United goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was named in our Team of the Week as he oversaw the first Loons clean sheet of the season against the Whitecaps.

After a tense and tight first half, Kendall Waston was back in the headlines as he received an elbow from United’s Mason Toye, the Loons man being shown a red card. Despite having only ten men on the field, Miguel Ibarra fired the winning goal on the hour and Shuttleworth kept the ‘Caps at bay to give the Loons two wins in succession, something they failed to achieve last season.

Los Angeles FC 1-1 FC Dallas

Bob Bradley will look back at this game as an opportunity missed as FC Dallas held LAFC to a draw in only the second game to be staged at the Banc of California Stadium.

Los Angeles FC were dominant in the first half and were good value at the break for their lead, which came from Steven Beitashour as the 31-year-old defender made his way forward to send the ball underneath Dallas custodian Jimmy Maurer.

Where LAFC failed was not capitalising on their superior half and adding more goals to their tally because FC Dallas got themselves back on level terms ten minutes into the second half. Free-kick specialist Laurent Ciman has gone up the pitch to good effect but he was caught out of position as Maxi Urriti evaded the Belgian defender, he hit a shot low and hard into the back of the net.

Lee Nguyen made his debut but there was no late drama this time as both teams were frustrated to settle for a point.

Seattle Sounders 0-0 Columbus Crew

In truth there was very little to shout about as the2017 MLS Cup runners-up Seattle Sounders were held to a scoreless draw by Columbus Crew.

The big talking point came as referee Hilario Grajeda dished out a red card to Pedro Santos for a high follow-through on Alex Roldan after checking video review on 15 minutes. Despite playing the rest of the game a man down, Seattle couldn’t turn their superior possession into a goal. There is concern over a late injury suffered by Nicolas Lodeiro.

Chicago Fire 1-2 Atlanta United

It’s now eight games unbeaten for Atlanta United after the Five Stripes went away to Toyota Park and emerged with three points.

It was a tight affair but the quality of Ezequiel Barco, Darlington Nagbe, Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez eventually told. Into the second half Barco opened the scoring, his first goal in an Atlanta shirt as he found space on the left and cracked the ball in at the near post. Josef Martinez profited four minutes later from a great run by Darlington Nagbe.

Chicago came back into the game, Kevin Ellis getting one goal back but they couldn’t get a second to grab a share of the spoils. Miguel Almiron was the man of the match with another superb performance.

Houston Dynamo 3-2 LA Galaxy

Perhaps the most exciting and attacking match of the weekend, Houston Dynamo stole all three points with a late Memo Rodriguez winner.

The game was a classic punch-counter punch affair with the two sides trading goals. Venezuelen defender Alejandro Fuenmayor opened the scoring after just two minutes, getting on the end of a Quioto free-kick at the far post that VAR reviewed but allowed to stand. LA Galaxy responded through Giovani dos Santos. Ola Kamara recovered the ball and found Zlatan Ibrahimovic, his shot was parried out into the path of dos Santos. Romell Quioto restored Dynamo’s lead with a free-kick before Ola Kamara combined with fellow attackers dos Santos and Ibrahimovic to net the equaliser.

Memo Rodriguez grabbed the win for Dynamo on the 90th minute, seizing on a ball bouncing around the Galaxy penalty area after a cros from Boniek Garcia. Dynamo now have three wins in the first five games at home.

Sporting Kansas City 1-0 Colorado Rapids

A return to winning ways for Sporting Kansas City reinforced their position at the top of the Western Conference.

SKC led through Daniel Salloi’s effort on 16 minutes at Children’s Mercy Park, erasing the memory of the loss to New England Revolution a week previous. Tim Howard was on form, making four big saves but couldn’t deny Sporting Kansas the victory. Colorado have now lost three in succession.

San Jose Earthquakes 0-1 Portland Timbers

The away team has not fared brilliantly in recent weeks in Major League Soccer but Diego Valeri’s late free-kick saw visitors Timbers home in San Jose.

With chances at a premium, it was very much a case of defences on top as neither team could net an opening goal until the 88th minute when Valeri stepped up to curl a free-kick home beyond Andrew Tarbell. Portland have now won their last three games.

Orlando City 3-1 Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake were in front for almost 50 minutes before Orlando City hit the gas pedal to obliterate the visiting side.

Corey Baird got the goal for Real Salt Lake on unlucky 13 minutes, scoring against the run of play as Orlando had started the brighter of the two sides with a run onto a lofted through ball from Kreilach and a delightful chip into the back of the net. It took until the hour for striker Dom Dwyer to level matters, getting on the end of Sacha Kljestan’s cross. Orlando added a second just three minutes later, Yotun’s corner providing Lamine Sane with his first MLS goal.

With Real Salt Lake pushing for the equaliser, they were picked off as Yoshi Yotun added a third and killed the game off with a little over ten minutes to play.