Seattle’s struggle continued, Atlanta United’s excellent form rolls on, and the LA Galaxy wasted another excellent performance from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Those were just some of the storylines on a busy Saturday of MLS action that saw the Portland Timbers hand the Sounders their latest setback while Atlanta United thrashed Orlando City, which welcome its new head coach — James O’Connor — next week.
We also saw some surprises, such as the Montreal Impact beating Sporting Kansas City and the Chicago Fire knocking off New York City FC in its first road match since saying goodbye to Patrick Vieira.
Here is a rundown of Saturday’s MLS action:
Seattle Sounders 2, Portland Timbers 3 (Final)
The Portland Timbers extended their unbeaten streak to ten matches with a 3-2 victory, their first ever at CenturyLink Field. It was all thanks to a brace from a defender and three assists from their usual hero.
Larrys Mabiala had himself a day to remember as the Congolese defender picked up a brace, with both goals, including the game winner, coming off Diego Valeri corners. Valeri also provided the assist on Portland’s second goal, which put them ahead at the time.
Mabiala’s day started with an excellent chance in the 21st minute that required a great save from Bryan Meredith, who performed admirably in Stefan Frei’s absence. But the backup keeper wouldn’t be able to keep him out all game. Mabiala got the Timbers on the board less than three minutes into the second half with a perfect header off a Diego Valeri corner.
The DR Congo defender wasn’t perfect, however. His defense lapsed in the 51st minute when he lost track of Victor Rodriguez making a back post run. Nicolas Lodeiro picked him out for a wonderful diving header to tie the score at one.
But Seattle wouldn’t be able to celebrate for long. Valeri sprung an impressive 57th minute counter attack by picking out Samuel Armenteros on a nice run. Armenteros proceeded to slot him past a diving Meredith to put Portland back in front.
Seattle kept the lively second half going with an equalizer in the 68th minute. Chad Marshall used his size a physicality to rise to a header to smash the game into 2-2 tie. However, Seattle couldn’t remain level for long. Mabiala struck again in the 74th minute mark to nod home another Valeri corner.
Man of the Match: Diego Valeri is known across the league for his playmaking ability. Today, he assisted on all three Portland goals in impressive fashion.
Moment of the Match: Mabiala’s second headed finish put the Timbers in the lead for good.
Match to Forget: Clint Dempsey was fairly weak in a pretty big game for Seattle.
Atlanta United 4, Orlando City 0 (Final)
Atlanta United’s big stars stepped up in a big way as the best team in the Eastern Conference once again proved their worth against a struggling rival.
Miguel Almiron scored twice and he was joined on the scoresheet by usual suspects Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martinez as the Five Stripes mopped the floor with Orlando City, who have now lost seven straight games since their six game win streak came to a close.
The damage started nice and early for Atlanta as they got on the board through Martinez in the third minute. His sliding finish came from a well placed pass from Julian Gressel.
They wouldn’t score again in the first half, but it didn’t take long for Almiron to open the floodgates in the second. He found the net to begin a two goal onslaught in three minutes in the 55th minute. Barco added the third in the 57th and Atlanta were off and running.
Almiron finished a Mikey Ambrose feed in the 78th to wrap up the scoring as Atlanta extends their lead atop the East to six points, pending the outcome of New York City FC’s trip to Chicago.
Man of the Match: Miguel Almiron scored twice and came close to a hat trick in a performance that looked very familiar.
Moment of the Match: This game was over as soon as Josef Martinez put one in the back of the net all of three minutes in.
Match to Forget: All of Orlando City would love to have this one back, but Joe Bendik will not want to remember giving up four goals in this one.
Montreal Impact 2, Sporting Kansas City 0 (Final)
Man of the Match: Ignacio Piatti once again proved that he is the heart and soul of the Montreal Impact. His opening goal gave an edge to the Impact against a Sporting Kansas City that had never lost in Montreal.
Moment of the Match: Ignacio Piatti finds a loose ball at the top of the box and fires a heavy shot that beats Tim Melia. His ninth goal of the season places him in the MLS’ top five goal scorers.
Match to Forget: Ike Opara gave up a penalty that sunk Sporting Kansas City’s chance to remain undefeated in the month of June and at Stade Saputo.
Columbus Crew 2, Real Salt Lake 1 (Final)
The Columbus Crew got a couple of early goals and held on late to get another victory, this time by a 2-1 score over Real Salt Lake.
Gyasi Zardes started the scoring in the sixth minute from the penalty spot. Danilo Acosta shoved Luis Argudo down in the penalty area on a corner and allowed Zardes to confidently bury his attempt.
The second goal came in the 23rd from a lovely shot from Eduardo Sosa. He picked out the top left corner from the far side of the penalty area and beat a diving Nick Rimando to double the lead.
RSL would fight their way back into the match and they would eventually cut into the lead. Albert Rusnak would knock a low cross from Joao Plata through plenty of traffic in the penalty area, but it wouldn’t be enough. The Crew held on to earn their first win in their last six games.
Man of the Match: Pedro Santos was excellent on the wing for the Crew. He provided the assist on Sosa’s goal to go along with a dominating performance overall.
Moment of the Match: The tone was set with the sixth minute penalty that got the Crew going.
Match to Forget: Danilo Acosta conceded the penalty and spent the rest of the match struggling to deal with Santos.
New England Revolution 3, D.C. United 2 (Final)
Luciano Acosta nearly leveled for D.C. in the 28th minute. His curling free kick from 20 yards out seemed destined for the upper left 90, but Turner made a diving save to tip it over the crossbar.
Asad stepped to spot in the 73rd minute and made it a brace, tying the game up at 2-2 with a low shot into the left side of goal.
A few minutes later, it was the Revolution’s turn for a PK as D.C.’s Oniel Fisher dragged down Andrew Farrell on the right edge of the box.
Cristian Penilla put New England back in front, 3-2, in the 78th minute, rocketing the penalty shot high and inside the right post out of Ousted’s reach.
Man of the Match: Penilla and Asad both notched a brace, but the tie goes to Penilla as part the winning team. His support run on the Revs’ first goal ended up being the difference in the game.
Moment of the Match: In past seasons, giving up a late penalty kick to the opponent might have caused the Revolution to spiral out of control. However, with a better mentality this season they put the pressure back on D.C. and earned a PK of their own.
Match to Forget: Ousted didn’t have his best game in goal, making only one save against four shots on goal compared to his counterpart Turner, who had five saves.
The Chicago Fire got a big night from their Eastern European stars as they came from behind to beat New York City FC 3-2.
Nemanja Nikolic got the scoring started in the scoring nice and early for the Fire. He burst free behind the NYCFC backline thanks to a through pass from Dax McCarty before slipping his shot past Sean Johnson.
NYCFC would be able to fight back into the lead by the break, however. Goals From Ismael Tajouri and Jo Inge Berget had them in front after 45 minutes, but the Fire, specifically Aleksandar Katai would own the second half.
The Serbian would finish twice early in the second half to give the Fire all they needed for the win. His first came in the 47th minute and was a wonderful low strike that bent inside the far post. His second came eight minutes later and featured some video game like moves down the right flank before a classy finish from close range.
The Fire are now five games unbeaten and find themselves in a playoff spot after this week’s slate.
Man of the Match: Aleksandar Katai scored twice in impressive fashion to lead the Fire back from behind.
Moment of the Match: The second Katai goal was a fantastic move down the pitch from the Serbian and it gave the Fire the win.
Match to Forget: Sean Johnson didn’t look particularly great on any of Chicago’s goals.
Los Angeles FC 4, Philadelphia Union 1 (Final)
It was all Adama Diomande as Los Angeles FC humbled the Philadelphia Union 4-1 at Banc of California Stadium.
Diomande bagged a hat trick in under an hour for LAFC, who dominated their guests from start to finish in this one.
His first goal came in the 25th minute on some excellent footwork to juke out Mark McKenzie. His second of three came just before half time in the 43rd on a simple tap in off a feed from Mark-Anthony Kaye.
Fafa Picault would get the Union on the board a couple minutes later, but that would be the only thing worth celebrating for Philly. Diomande wrapped up his hat trick in the 55th on Latif Blessing’s second assist. Blessing would bag one of his own in stoppage time to finish the scoring.
Man of the Match: Adama Diomande had the hat trick and the honorable mention goes to Latif Blessing, who set two of his goals up and scored one for himself.
Moment of the Match: Diomande’s hat trick goal put any dreams of a Union comeback to bed.
Match to Forget: The entire Union defense struggled, but Auston Trusty was the weakest link.
San Jose Earthquakes 3, LA Galaxy 3 (FINAL)
Chris Wondolowski’s 70th-minute penalty kick helped the San Jose Earthquakes complete a comeback from 3-1 down to tie the LA Galaxy, 3-3, on Saturday night.
Danny Hoesen drew the penalty when Michael Ciani was called for a grab in the penalty area. Wondolowski blasted the spot kick for his second goal of the night.
The latest California Clasico started out looking like a goal-fest, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring in the first minute. Ibrahimovic finished off a Chris Pontius pass just seconds into the match. Wondolowski scored an equalizer in the 15th minute by following up his own saved penalty kick with a tap-in of the rebound.
The Galaxy pulled ahead with a pair of goals five minutes apart, with Alessandrini and Ibrahimovic scoring to give the road team a good cushion. Ibrahimovic’s second goal came off a low free kick that slipped under the Earthquakes wall, beating Andrew Tarbell.
San Jose’s Vako cut into that lead in the 39th minute when he dribbled through the Galaxy defense and unleashed a shot form the top of the penalty arc to make the score 3-2 Galaxy just before halftime.
Man of the Match: Ibrahimovic was the class player on the night, with his double helping the Galaxy earn a road point.
Moment of the Match: Vako’s 23-yard blast revived the Earthquakes chances at a moment where the Galaxy looked destined to cruise to victory.
Match to Forget: Andrew Tarbell had a rough night, including his shocker on the Ibrahimovic free kick. Keeping the starting job might be difficult for Tarbell.