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MLS Saturday Rewind: Crew, Orlando City and FC Dallas keep rolling, Atlanta, Fire and Earthquakes keep sliding

The Columbus Crew, FC Dallas and Orlando City kept their hot streaks going on Saturday, while Atlanta United, the Chicago Fire and San Jose Earthquakes continued their struggling slides.

The Crew topped Nashville SC to halt the expansion side’s four-match unbeaten run while boosting their own unbeaten streak to five in a row.

FC Dallas made it three straight wins after winning on the road against Sporting Kansas City, while Orlando City made six straight without a loss after beating the struggling Chicago Fire.

Atlanta United’s season continued to disappoint, as Inter Miami became the latest team to beat the Five Stripes.

The San Jose Earthquakes saw their recent defensive improvement disappear in one night, as they surrendered six goals in an ugly loss to the Portland Timbers.

Here is a closer look at all of Saturday’s MLS action:

Sporting KC 2, FC Dallas 3

(Russell 53′, 83′) (Jara 42′, 48; Hollingshead 86′)

On a night when both teams struggled with their set-piece defending, it wound up being an uncharacteristic error that doomed Sporting KC to a home defeat.

Graham Zusi’s late-game turnover led to a late game-winning goal from Ryan Hollingshead to give FC Dallas a 3-2 win at Children’s Mercy Park.

The teams traded set-piece goals, with Franco Jara scoring twice and Johnny Russell responding with two of his own, and when Russell headed home an 83rd-minute equalizer it looked like SKC might salvage a point at home.

That was before Zusi delivered a lazy pass in the defensive third right into the path of Michael Barrios, who raced toward goal and fired a shot that eventually led to Hollingshead finding a late winner.

The victory was FC Dallas’ third in a row, helping Luchi Gonzalez’s men climb up to third place in the Western Conference, just a point behind Sporting KC.

Man of the Match

Franco Jara’s two goals help set the tone for FC Dallas, and gave the visitors a two-goal cushion early on.

Moment of the Match

Graham Zusi’s stunning turnover, which Michael Barrios pounced on to help set up the winner, was the tide-turning moment.

Match to Forget

Sporting KC’s defense had a rough night, but nobody feels worse about Saturday than Zusi, who gifted FC Dallas a winner.


Revolution 0, NYCFC 0

Sean Johnson made seven saves to help New York City FC keep its unbeaten run intact after a 0-0 draw with New England on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

The USMNT goalkeeper had a busy day against a Revs attack that was able to generate plenty of chances on a day when NYCFC’s attack struggled to match that production. It was ultimately up to Johnson to keep the Revolution at pay, with some key first-half stops, including a vital stop on a dangerous Teal Bunbury chance in the 19th minute.

New England goalkeeper Matt Turner finished with four saves for his own shutout, though the draw leaves the Revs still searching for their first home win of the eason.

NYCFC pushed its unbeaten streak to six matches, sitting in fifth place in the East. The Revs are now in seventh place with the draw.

Man of the Match

Sean Johnson made seven saves, including several tough stops in the first half.

Moment of the Match

Johnson’s 19th-minute save to deny Teal Bunbury was easily the best of his seven saves.

Match to Forget

Gustavo Bou produced three shots, but none of the particularly dangerous variety, leaving the Revs attack starving for a goal.


Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 2

(Gallagher 5′) – (Agudelo 2′, Shea 11′)

A day after signing a prolific goal-scorer in Gonzalo Higuain, Inter Miami picked up a historic first road victory.

Two goals inside of 11 minutes combined with a professional defensive performance in the second half gave Inter Miami a 2-1 win over Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Juan Agudelo and Brek Shea both scored early for the expansion side, which is now in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points from 12 matches.

Agudelo got Inter Miami off to a dream start, finishing with aplomb in the second minute from about 12 yards out after a pair of passes carved open Atlanta United’s defense.

The hosts did not have to wait long for an equalizer. A poor clearance from Inter Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles gave Atlanta United the ball high up the field three minutes later, and Jon Gallagher capped the ensuing attack with a strong finish at the near post.

Shea put Inter Miami back in front for good shortly thereafter, heading home from point-blank range.

Inter Miami’s defense largely took over from there, though Robles had to make a big stop in the second half to deny Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres a potential equalizer.

Man of the Match

Brek Shea. The veteran attacker scored for the second straight game with Saturday’s winner, and also played a good initial ball to Agudelo to help start the sequence on the game’s early opener.

Moment of the match

Point-blank header. Inter Miami had wasted its early goal by giving up a quick equalizer, but Shea provided the goods with a quick response in the 11th minute after getting on the end of a floated cross from Rodolfo Pizarro.

Match to Forget

Franco Escobar. Got caught out of position on Inter Miami’s first goal and struggled with his defending on the flank, particularly in the first half.


Red Bulls 0, FC Cincinnati 1

(Medunjanin 85′)

Haris Medunjanin’s late Olimpico goal, straight off a corner kick and over the head of Red Bulls goalkeeper David Jensen, helped give FC Cincinnati its first win in six matches, and first since the MLS is Back Tournament.

With nothing much to speak of on behalf of the Red Bulls in the evening, FC Cincinnati made life harder on itself than it needed to, though.

A seemingly snakebit Jürgen Locadia came up empty on a pair of good looks in the first half, headlined by a play in the 41st minute where he beat Red Bulls’ keeper David Jensen one-on-one, only to watch his shot skip wide.

His strike partner for the evening, Brandon Vazquez, also could have found an earlier lead if he was cooler in his chances throughout the game.

In Olimpico fashion, Haris Medunjanin’s corner kick found the net on its own in the 85th minute to hand Cincinnati its first win since it last played the Red Bulls in the MLS is Back group stage.

Man of the Match

Haris Medunjanin: He’ll get the credit for scoring the goal FC Cincinnati so desperately needed, even if unintentional.

Moment of the Match

Medunjanin’s Olimpico: Apart from the wonder strike, the highlights of the game would have been a gallery of FC Cincinnati misses.

Match to Forget

David Jensen will have nightmares of Medunjanin’s corner kick floating over his head and into the net for the winner.


D.C. United 2, Toronto FC 2

(Kamara 5′, Yow 88′)-(Pozuelo 17′, Akinola 60′)

D.C. United scored one early, fell behind, then scored one late to earn a share of the points against Toronto FC at Audi Field on Saturday night.

Ayo Akinola’s 60th minute header looked like the winner, but an impressive volley from 17-year-old Griffin Yow tied the game in the 88th minute.

Yow hammered his shot home when TFC failed to clear a cross and the ball fell right to the teenager, who scored his first MLS goal with the finish.

D.C. jumped off to a fast start in this one by scoring against the run of play in the fifth minute. Ola Kamara picked off a lazy pass from Omar Gonzalez and he bolted through alone on goal. He smashed a shot through Quentin Westberg, off the post, and into the back of the net to open the scoring.

Alejandro Pozuelo equalized a dozen minutes later. Richie Laryea hit a cross to awkwardly hit Donovan Pines and fell right to Pozuelo in the center of the penalty area. It took a bit of work for him to coral the shot and knock it home, but he was up to the task and he finished on the half-volley.

Man of the Match

Alejandro Pozuelo was in top form for TFC. He scored their opening goal and had a leg in Akinola’s go ahead goal.

Moment of the Match

Griffin Yow will never forget his first career MLS goal off a volley in the 88th minute to tie the game.

Match to Forget

Omar Gonzalez gifted D.C. their first goal and was partially responsible for the poor communication on the clearance leading to the equalizer.


Crew 2, Nashville SC 0

(Santos 50′, Zardes 90+3)

Mark Nashville SC as the latest casualty in the Crew’s quest for the Eastern Conference title. Despite owning the possession and a 15-8 shot advantage, the Crew’s stars shined in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Another day, another goal for Gyasi Zardes, who sealed the victory in stoppage time with a back-heel finish. The goal is good for his ninth of the regular season, and like so many others, it was engineered by Lucas Zelarayán. From the top of the box, he went to a wide-open Artur, who had no pause about feeding Zardes at the mouth of the goal.

The other Crew goal came from Pedro Santos. The Portuguese playmaker finished off a chance created by Zardes just after halftime, rifling a shot past Nashville keeper Joe Willis.

The loss is a harsh one for Nashville SC, which was working on a five-game unbeaten run.

Man of the Match

Gyasi Zardes: Involved in both goals, the tear continues for the USMNT regular and he is now riding a three-game scoring streak.

Moment of the Match

Jonathan Mensah’s 27th-minute block: Nashville mustered up a bit of early chaos from a free-kick that spiraled off into three separate shots. With a crowd around Crew keeper Eloy room, Mensah slid in to block the first cleanup attempt from Anibal Godoy setting the tone early on that Columbus was going to be stingy.

Match to Forget

Allistair Johnston: The Zardes run which led to Santos’ goal was the result of a napping Johnston. Perhaps he was trying to get the ball back to Willis, but even that would have been ambitious under the circumstances. He turned his back to Zardes, who took the ball with ease and an acre of space.


Orlando City 4, Fire 1

(Mueller 11′, Nani 24′, Urso 78′, Michel 90+5′)  (Beric 48′)

The Chicago Fire had multiple opportunities to either go ahead or pull level on Saturday, but some misfortune saw them wind up on the wrong end of a lopsided result.

Orlando City defended its home turf and beat the Fire, 4-1, at Exploria Stadium. Nani and Chris Mueller each had a goal and an assist for the Lions, who also got tallies from Junior Urso and Benji Michel in the game’s final 12 minutes.

The Fire had opportunities to take the lead or tie it up before the game was blown open, though. Robert Beric had a close-range shot hit the post in the fourth minute when the match was scoreless, and Alvaro Medran saw a penalty kick get saved in the 34th when Orlando City was up 2-0.

Eventually the Fire pulled one back via another penalty from Beric, but they were denied of a 53rd-minute equalizer by a strong-handed save from Lions goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. The Fire also had an equalizer waved off by VAR three minutes later due to a handball on Mauricio Pineda in the build-up.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Nani. Like Mueller, the Portuguese winger scored a goal and delivered an assist. He did not commit a foul for a penalty kick, though, which gives him the edge here.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Game-Changing Decision. The Fire thought they had made it 2-2 in the 56th minute when Boris Sekulic slotted a deflected shot home, but VAR negated the finish and Orlando City went on to make this one look worse than it really was.

MATCH TO FORGET

Alvaro Medran. Flat out refused to give the ball up to Beric on the Fire’s first penalty of the night, only to have the ensuing take saved well by a diving Gallese.


Dynamo 2, Minnesota United 2

(Quintero 58′, Figueroa 69′) – (Molino 11′, Lod 45+1′)

The Houston Dynamo rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit to salvage a point at home against Minnesota United in a 2-2 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium.

An early 1-0 Loons lead was in jeopardy when defender Michael Boxall was guilty of a foul in the box on Dynamo midfielder Memo Rodriguez, which prompted a penalty discussion between the former and striker Darwin Quintero on who would be taking the strike.

Quintero won the argument but did not deliver on the kick. Minnesota keeper Dayne St. Clair went to the left to deny it, and a stoppage-time goal from Robin Lod had his team up 2-0 at the half.

From there, Quintero attempted to redeem himself when he pulled one back on a play where St. Clair was off his line for a chip shot. Minutes later, Maynor Figueroa tapped in a loose ball off a saved Darwin Quintero free kick to tie the score.

The scoring stopped there, but the remainder of the game wasn’t without drama. The teams continued to swap opportunities but Minnesota headed into stoppage time without Jan Gregus, who earned himself a red card for swinging his arm at a trio of Houston players who were taking their time in setting up a free kick.

Man of the Match

Kevin Molino: After bagging the first goal, Molino went on to test Dynamo keeper Marko Maric three more times and was the heartbeat for Minnesota, which presented real danger on the counter time and time again.

Moment of the Match

Dayne St. Clair’s early penalty stop: Staring down a striker as dangerous as Quintero could be an uncomfortable task for a young goalkeeper, but his stop, in all likelihood, saved the point.

Match to Forget

Jan Gregus: Garnering a red at the 88th minute put his team at risk of suffering a heartbreaker.


Real Salt Lake 1, Whitecaps 2

(Meram 81′) (Milinkovic 53′, Cavallini 84′)

Lucas Cavallini’s sliding winner late in the second half helped the Vancouver Whitecaps post an important 2-1 road win at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.

Justin Meram had just equalized for a Real Salt Lake side playing with 10 men after a second yellow card to Kyle Beckerman, but Fredy Montero helped deliver the winner when he sent in a hard cross from the right wing toward the six-yard box, where an on-rushing Cavallini beat his man before the win.

The two Western Conference foes played a goal-less first half but the Whitecaps opened the scoring when Milinkovic finished off a lightning-fast counterattack in the 53rd minute.

The win, Vancouver’s third in four matches, moved the Whitecaps into seventh place in the Western Conference. Real Salt Lake has hit a stretch of three losses in four matches, and is now sitting in 11th place.

Man of the Match

Cristian Dajome set up the winning goal to cap a strong overall performance.

Moment of the Match

The VAR review decision that led to Kyle Beckerman’s second yellow card left RSL down a man for a third of the match.

Match to Forget

Beckerman’s carelessness led to two yellow cards and a rough night for RSL.


Earthquakes 1, Timbers 6

(Fierro 44′) (Valeri 25′, 57′, Ebobisse 27′, Yimmi Chara 70′, Cascante 85′, Niezgoda 87′)

Just three days after playing to a 1-1 draw, the Timbers and Earthquakes wound up in a far more lopsided affair, with Portland being the latest team to tear apart Matias Almeyda’s team.

The match was fairly close at halftime, with Carlos Fierro scoring before the break to make the score 2-1, but the second half was all Timbers, with the visitors scoring four unanswered goals in a rout.

Yimmi Chara set up a Diego Valeri and added his own to break the game open in the second half.

Man of the Match

Diego Valeri scored two goals and set up a third on a night when he dropped a game-high five key passes to rip apart the San Jose defense.

Moment of the Match

Valeri’s 57th-minute finish gave the Timbers breathing room at 3-1, and set the stage for the blowout.

Match to Forget

The Earthquakes defense had another disastrous night, but Judson was especially shaky in the latest ugly loss.


Galaxy 0, Rapids 2

(Bassett 40′) (Lewis 78′)

The Colorado Rapids halted the LA Galaxy’s six-match unbeaten run on Saturday, shutting down the Galaxy attack in a comfortable road shutout at Dignity Health Sports Park.

The Rapids struck first just before halftime when Sam Vines delivered a perfectly-hit cross to Cole Bassett, who volleyed it home.

The Galaxy struggled to muster much of an attack, with the Rapids double-teaming Cristian Pavon and neutralizing the Galaxy’s biggest threat.

Jonathan Lewis was a consistent threat for the Rapids, putting Julian Araujo under pressure. Araujo eventually left the match in the 75th minute with a second yellow, making things even tougher for the home team.

Lewis sealed the victory for the Rapids in the 78th minute when he tapped home a floated Braian Galvan pass. A VAR review confirmed the goal to seal Colorado’s second win in three matches.

Man of the Match

Jonathan Lewis was a handful all night for the Galaxy defense, finding the late goal to seal the victory.

Moment of the Match

Cole Bassett’s volley opener was a beautiful finish of a perfect cross from Sam Vines.

Match to Forget

Julian Araujo drew a second yellow card for dissent, earning his marching orders with 15 minutes left and the match still in doubt.

Comments

  1. Zusi’s bad pass to gift the game to Dallas looked like a mis-kick to me on replay. It looked like he scuffed the ball by hitting it near the top. A terrible mistake by such a veteran player. Columbus was lousy last year and some thought Caleb Porter was an overrated coach. They add Zelarayan and all of a sudden Porter is a good coach. Amazing what having good players can do. Oh, and somebody forgot to tell Zardes he’s lousy. He just keeps scoring de4spite what many posters here think. Colorado has certainly been an up and down team. The difference last night was that their defense was very well organized and the Galaxy had few chances. I’ve noticed several people praising the Galaxy’s Pavon, so I made it a point to watch him carefully last night since. He made a lot of mistakes. He’s often sloppy with the ball and makes a lot of turnovers. Also, he does very little on defense and often loafs on both defense and offense. As regards the latter I noticed one play where the ball was coming down the right wing with Pavon playing on the left wing. The Colorado defense was somewhat stretched with the middle open. A good player would have flashed to the middle for a cross. Pavon stayed on the far left wing and just watched as the ball had to be played back when the right winger had no one to cross the ball to. Finally, one thing that MLS shows time and again is its parity. If a team doesn’t bring its A game, even if they are playing a team much lower in the standings, they can lose. Teams like Bayern, Juventus, PSG and other top teams in Europe can bring their C game and still win because of the talent gap. There’s a little more parity in the EPL, but when you have teams winning 5, 6 or more titles in a row (Germany, France, Italy) often the only suspense is in the relegation battle.

    Reply
    • As a Crew fan, I’d say the issue with Porter was he was trying to overhaul the lineup last year and combine that with significant injuries to both FBs, Zardes with NT, and the #10 it was hard to watch at times. The last month or so after Diaz got going and Pedro Santos finally found his legs were a glimmer of hope. I felt Nashville actually was outplaying the Crew for big portions of that match last night. Nagbe being out is hurting the offense right now, but 4 GA over 12 matches is incredible. I’m worried about depth up front Adi and Etienne continue to struggle. Zardes just continues to get it done Zardes (41g in 73 app for The Crew). People continue to point Morris’ form as justification that he’s a lock NT player. Gyasi has had both better MLS numbers and better NT numbers.
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      I only watched about 20 mins of LAG in the 2nd half. Pavon did seem lost as did a lot of the offense. Looked like the offense again was confused what to do now that Chicharito was back. Efra had a golden chance and instead of shooting played a weak pass towards two clearly offside players.
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      I’m not so sure if it’s parity or a parody league this year. With the limits to training and the bizarre schedules and transfer limits I’m not sure if it’s not just a lot of bad soccer. I don’t know maybe it’s the expanded playoffs seems like a lot of teams just going through the motions this season. I generally enjoy MLS watched almost all of MLS is Back and watch 4 or 5 matches a week but the overall competitiveness of the league seems down this year to me.

      Reply

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