Saturday’s loaded MLS schedule saw several major upsets, and plenty of goals.
The Vancouver Whitecaps spoiled the LA Galaxy’s home opener, earning the upset win of the day, while Minnesota United won its second straight road game with a resounding thrashing of the San Jose Earthquakes.
Sporting KC won its second straight game, pummeling the Houston Dynamo at home. Both Khiry Shelton and Alan Pulido put in strong performance helping Peter Vermes’ side to their second straight league win.
In our nation’s capital, Inter Miami scored their first goal in club history, but a second half red card derailed their efforts as they fell on the road against D.C. United. Also, the New York Red Bulls almost survived a high pressure attack from Real Salt Lake, but a late equalizer forced them to share the points.
Also, Atlanta United picked up a big win in their first game without Josef Martinez. Ezequiel Barco and Gonzalo Martinez stepped up big in a 2-1 win over FC Cincinnati.
Elsewhere, FC Dallas scored twice in the final ten minutes plus stoppage time to earn a comeback point against the Montreal Impact and the Revs played the Fire to a 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium, and Toronto FC took down NYCFC 1-0 with an 81st minute goal. Colorado scored a dramatic winner against Orlando City for another late win.
Here’s a full rundown of a jam-packed MLS Saturday.
D.C. United 2, Inter Miami 1
(Asad 59′, Brillant 61′) – (Pizarro 2′)
D.C. United looked short of confidence in the opening 45 minutes against Inter Miami, but used a 10-minute period after halftime to earn their first comeback win of 2020.
Yamil Asad and Frederic Brillant scored two minutes apart after Roman Torres’ sending off to hand D.C. United a 2-1 home victory.
Inter Miami’s first goal in club history was a product of a superb counter attack from the visitors. After a D.C. United giveaway, Robbie Robinson and Lewis Morgan connected down the right flank before Morgan’s low cross was slotted home by Rodolfo Pizarro in the third minute.
D.C. United’s best offensive chance in the first half came to Yamil Asad, but the winger’s free header was eventually blocked by Roman Torres. Ben Olsen saw striker Ola Kamara and left back Joseph Mora both exit in the first half due to respective injuries.
The Black and Red picked up the pressure in the second half and got some help from Video Review in the 56th minute. After it looked like Morgan doubled Miami’s advantage, VAR ruled in favor of a Torres handball prior to the visitors counter attack.
Torres was handed a straight red card reducing Diego Alonso’s side to 10 men. Asad’s first goal of the season leveled D.C. United after Victor Ulloa was whistled for a foul on Edison Flores.
Things got better for D.C. United as Frederic Brillant swung the match in the hosts favor in the 61st minute. Flores’ free kick struck the right post, allowing the center back to race ahead and smash home the rebound.
Inter Miami remained alive, but failed to record another shot on goal in the final 30+ minutes.
D.C. United (1-0-1) travels to FC Cincinnati on March 14th while Inter Miami (0-0-2) hosts the L.A. Galaxy in their home opener.
— by Larry Henry Jr.
Atlanta United 2, FC Cincinnati 1
(Barco 21′, Hyndman 55′) – (Kubo 64′)
Atlanta United proved that it is still dangerous without star-striker Josef Martinez, taking care of business at home against the new-look FC Cincinnati.
From the break, Pity Martinez took the ball into the box and fought through traffic to connect with a charging Ezequiel Barco, who tapped it in at the mouth of the goal to get the Five Stripes off to an early lead.
In the 55th minute, Barco found Emerson Hyndman in the box and the midfielder knocked home his second goal in as many weeks to double the lead.
Japanese MLS newcomer Yuya Kubo earned his first league goal when pulled one back for Cincy just after the hour mark. He finished off a sustained run from the team with a right-footed laser from distance that froze Atlanta keeper Brad Guzan.
Cincinnati continued to battle, but never found the equalizer as the game settled to the 2-1 finish.
Atlanta will head to Mexico City for a tough Concacaf Champions League test against Club America at Estadio Azteca on Wednesday before returning to MLS action on Saturday night at home against Sporting Kansas city. FC Cincinnati has their home opener on Saturday evening against D.C. United.
— by Tyler Snipes
Real Salt Lake 1, Red Bulls 1
(Kreilach 90+1′) – (Casseres Jr. 13′)
Damir Kreilach saved Real Salt Lake from defeat in stoppage time after a fairly dominating performance nearly resulted in defeat against the New York Red Bulls.
Kreilach smashed home a 91st minute header to equalizer after the Red Bulls successfully dodged a never-ending series of close calls and near misses. Kyle Duncan had to clear two shots off the line in quick succession on a 29th minute RSL corner. Davis played the hero six minutes later by barely nudging a header off a free kick wide of the post. Davis and goalkeeper David Jensen somehow kept RSL out of the net off a corner in the 48th minute as well.
VAR was even working in the Red Bulls favor as it looked like RSL had their equalizer in the 70th minute, but Douglas Martinez’s header took a slight glance of his arm before going into the net.
Cristian Casseres Jr. had put the Red Bulls up in the 13th minute. He scored his goal with a long distance low shot in the 13th minute. It was an impressive take from about 30 yards out that took a bounce in front of Zac MacMath before rippling the back of the net. It was one of only four Red Bull shots on the day and one of only a pair on target. In the end, their defending wasn’t enough to overcome the constant RSL pressure and they conceded the stoppage time equalizer.
The Red Bulls are next in action next Sunday night when they travel to face Minnesota United. Real Salt Lake will face the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening.
— by Jenny Hojnacki
Revolution 1, Fire 1
(Buksa 28′) – (Bornstein 70′)
The Fire picked up their first point of the season after losing at MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders, 2-1, to start the campaign last week thanks to a goal from Jonathan Bornstein.
He flicked home a header from a Djordje Mihailovic cross in the 70th minute for the match-tying goal as Chicago Fire and New England Revolution shared the points in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Newly signed Designated Player Adam Buksa scored his first career MLS goal in the first half for the Revs who lost their season-opening match to Montreal Impact last week, 2-1.
New England had a golden opportunity to get a second goal in the 68th minute when Gustavo Bou, Buksa and Cristian Penilla surged forward but ultimately Penilla skied a close-range shot over the goal. Chicago scored the equalizer two minutes later.
The Revs will stay at home to take on the Portland Timbers next Sunday afternoon while the Fire will fly down the east coast to take on Orlando City on Saturday.
— by Jason York
FC Dallas 2, Impact 2
(Ondrasek 83′, 90+6′) – (Urruti 59′, 68′)
It looked like the Montreal Impact would have two wins in Thierry Henry’s first two games as head coach, but two late FC Dallas goals denied them the away victory and forced them to settle for a point.
Ricardo Pepi found the equalizer more than five minutes into second half stoppage time by tapping home his finish off on the doorstep. the move finished off a quick succession of passes from Reggie Canon and Zdenek Ondrasek inside the penalty area. Ondrasek had put them on the board in the 83rd when he headed home a Cannon cross.
Montreal’s inability to hold on wasted a pair of goals from Maxi Urruti. His first came in the 59th minute when pounced on a loose ball after a Saphir Taider cross failed to reach one of two possible targets in the penalty area. His second came in the 68th minute and it was another case of being in the right place at the right time. An attempted cross from Orji Okonkwo hit two Dallas defenders before falling right into Urruti’s path and he made no mistake as he smashed it into the back of the net.
FC Dallas takes on New York City FC next Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium while the Impact host Olimpia in Concacaf Champions League play on Tuesday before having the weekend off from MLS. They return to domestic action on March 21 at Minnesota United
— by Jenny Hojnacki
Toronto FC 1, New York City FC 0
Ifunanyachi Achara’s emphatic 81st minute header gave Toronto FC a win in its home opener against New York City FC.
Achara thought he had scored first MLS goal after only 11 minutes when scored with a sliding finish, but VAR stepped in to declare him offside, but he got the benefit of a fortunate bounce to smash home the winner. Richie Laryea attempted a low cross from the touchline, but it took a touch off Ronald Matarrita’s foot and floated through the air towards the net. Achara bolted onto it with his forehead, although it was probably going in anyway.
Toronto FC were the better team throughout this match, despite the lower possession numbers. They certainly had the better chances. they actually almost scored on their first great threat of the match. Significant TFC opportunities included Alejandro Pozuelo curling a shot off the crossbar in the 41st minute and numerous Jozy Altidore chances. His best coming in the 72nd minute when he headed a Laryea cross on frame requiring a heck of a save from Sean Johnson.
Even after going down a goal, NYCFC never truly threatened to score beyond a 19th minute chance from Keaton Parks.
Toronto FC remains at home next weekend to face Nashville SC on Saturday while NYCFC has their home opener against FC Dallas after a Wednesday night clash with Tigres UANL in the Concacaf Champions League at Red Bull Arena.
— by Jenny Hojnacki
Earthquakes 2, Minnesota United 5
(Eriksson PK 19′, Vako 53′) – (Opara 13′, 71′, Gregus 26′, Amarilla 32′. Lod 45+3′)
There were talks about the San Jose Earthquakes potentially postponing or cancelling Saturday afternoon’s match against Minnesota United during the week due to fears of coronavirus.
After their 5-2 loss to the Loons, they might wish they took the week off.
Ike Opara earned a brace off of a pair of headers off of corners on the night, the first to open the scoring in the 13th minute and the second coming in the 71st minute.
Minnesota’s attack looked relentless on the night. After the Earthquakes equalized off of a penalty kick by Magnus Eriksson in the 18th minute, Minnesota scored a pair of goals in a six-minute span to go up 3-1 early. Jan Gregus, who tallied the assist on Opara’s first headed goal, earned a goal for himself in the 26th minute, beating both Eriksson and Nick Lima to the box, then firing a rocket of a shot past Daniel Vega in goal to make it 2-1, then Luis Amarilla headed in a perfect long-ball by Kevin Molino in the 32nd minute to extend the lead to 3-1.
The Loons went up 4-1 off of a goal by Robin Lod to the near post during first-half stoppage time. Lod fired the shot off of a rebound off of an Amarillo penalty kick from Vega .
San Jose looked more like their 2019 self in Saturday’s match. Vako pulled one back for the Earthquakes in the 53rd minute to make it 4-2 at the time. Vako and the Earthquakes looked to create several other opportunities to claw back into the match, however they couldn’t find the back of the net.
Earthquakes’ homegrown Cade Cowell made his MLS debut in the second half of the match, subbing in for Danny Hoesen. Cowell became the youngest Earthquakes to feature in an MLS match, and the fifth-youngest player to debut in an MLS match at 16 years and 150 days old.
— By Jeff Weisinger
Sporting Kansas City 4, Dynamo 0
(Pulido 16′, Espinoza 26′, Kinda 65′, Shelton 77′)
Peter Vermes’ Sporting KC scored a pair of goals in each half to pick up their second win of 2020. A dominant home performance saw SKC run out 4-0 winners over the Houston Dynamo at Children’s Mercy Park.
Alan Pulido continued his strong impression in MLS, slotting home his second goal for the club in the 16th minute. Khiry Shelton assisted on the effort by Pulido, putting the hosts in front.
Roger Espinoza doubled SKC’s advantage in the 26th minute, scoring from a set piece situation. The midfielder’s left footed shot beat Marko Maric for a 2-0 lead.
Pulido played contributor on SKC’s third goal of the match, a right footed finish from Gaby Kinda in the 65th minute.
Shelton capped off the dominant win with his first goal of the season.
Tab Ramos’ side struggled offensively, recording only one shot on goal in the loss. SKC will travel to Atlanta United on Matchday 3 while Houston hosts the Seattle Sounders.
Sporting Kansas City have a true test ahead of them next Saturday when they travel to face Atlanta United. Houston, meanwhile, will look to turn things around at home against the Seattle Sounders.
— by Larry Henry Jr.
Rapids 2, Orlando City 1
(Namli 64′, Moor 90′) – (Mueller 82′)
Drew Moor’s 90th minute header moved Colorado to 2-0 for only the third time in their history. Moor rose to a Jack Price corner in the final minute before stoppage time nad made no mistake tucking it inside the far post to lead the Rapids to a dramatic 2-1 win over Orlando City.
Younes Namli had scored the opener in the 64th minute, only to have his goal cancelled out by a nice effort from Orlando City’s Chris Mueller.
Namli’s goal was a fantastic shot in a game filled with frequent, but wayward, efforts. He dribbled through all of Orlando City defenders in the center of the park before picking out the lower corner of the net with a fantastic shot.
On the other end, Orlando had been struggling to get much going on the attack until the 82nd minute. That’s when Andres Perea pickout out Mueller on a run through the Colorado back line for an easy game tying finish.
The Lions will return home in search of their first win in 2020 next Saturday against the Chicago Fire. Colorado will go on the road to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps, also on Saturday.
— by Jenny Hojnacki
LA Galaxy 0, Whitecaps 1
The Vancouver Whitecaps earned an impressive road result on Saturday, downing the L.A. Galaxy 1-0 at Dignity Health Sports Park.
With both teams looking more and more likely to split the points in Carson, Tosaint Ricketts came up with the goods for Vancouver, The veteran forward’s right footed finish off an Ali Adnan assist was all Marc dos Santos’ side needed to pick up their first three points of 2020.
Joe Corona picked up a second yellow card a minute after which reduced the Galaxy to 10 men. Overall, the Galaxy were poor in attack, forcing only one save from Maxime Crepeau in the Vancouver goal.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side remain winless after two matches and next travel to Inter Miami. Vancouver hosts the Colorado Rapids on March 14th.
— by Larry Henry Jr
Sounders 1, Crew 1
(Ruidiaz 79′) – (Zardes 33′)
The Seattle Sounders fought back late at CenturyLink Field to earn a point in a 1-1 home draw against the Columbus Crew.
Raul Ruidiaz’s 79th minute penalty kick proved to be the final action in Seattle after VAR played a major role in the opportunity. Harrison Afful’s hand ball gave Ruidiaz the chance to score from the spot, beating Eloy Room to the bottom-left corner.
The Peruvian’s goal canceled out Gyasi Zardes’ opener in the 32nd minute after Luis Diaz connected with the veteran off a cross. Zardes made no mistake as he scored from close range.
Both Stefan Frei and Room each made two saves apiece as the sides walked away with a point apiece.
Seattle travels to Houston in Week 3 while Columbus hosts Real Salt Lake.
— by Larry Henry Jr