Los Angeles FC overcame international call-ups, and some early-game injuries, to post the kind of victory that could propel Bob Bradley’s squad to a strong finish to the regular season.
LAFC defeated the Seattle Sounders, 3-1, at Banc of California Stadium, overcoming some early injuries and the absences of Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi and Brian Rodriguez to post a second straight home win.
Danny Musovski took advantage of the LAFC absences, stepping into the starting lineup to deliver two goals and an assist. He opened the scoring with a 15th-minute header off an Eduard Atuesta free kick.
Toronto FC and the Portland Timbers both extended their league-best winning streaks to five matches, though TFC’s win was much tougher while the Timbers dismantled the San Jose Earthquakes.
Here is a closer look at Sunday’s MLS action:
NYCFC 1, Revolution 2
(Callens 90+3′) – (Bunbury 3′, Nguyen 80′)
Lee Nguyen has wasted no time reprising his role as New England’s go-to playmaker, and Sunday he rewarded the Revs for bringing him back to the field by delivering a goal and assist in a big win against Eastern Conference rival New York City FC.
Nguyen set up Teal Bunbury’s open goal just three minutes into the match, working a perfect give-and-go to spring Bunbury behind the NYCFC defense before beating Sean Johnson for the opening goal.
Nguyen made it 2-0 in the 80th minute when he converted a penalty kick drawn by Matt Polster, who was fouled in the penalty area by Alexander Callens.
Callens redeemed himself with a goal in the third minute of stoppage time, but it wasn’t enough to keep NYCFC from seeing its three-match winning streak snapped.
The win pulled the Revs within a point of NYCFC for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, with a match against the Montreal Impact up next on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena. NYCFC travels to Florida on Wednesday to take on Orlando City.
Man of the Match
Lee Nguyen had a hand in both goals and provided a game-high five key passes.
Moment of the Match
Teal Bunbury’s goal just three minutes into the match set a high bar for the rest of the day.
Match to Forget
Valentin Castellanos had a game-high six shots, but couldn’t make any of them count.
LAFC 3, Sounders 1
(Musovski 15′, Ginella 65′, Musovski 84′) — (Lodeiro 77′)
Despite missing a slew of players to international call-ups and being forced to make two early substitutions, Los Angeles FC bested the visiting Seattle Sounders 3-1 at Banc of California stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Danny Musovski opened the scoring in the 15th minute, breaking free to head home an Eduard Atuesta free kick and give the hosts the early lead. Francisco Ginella then doubled the lead in the 65th minute with a beautiful first-touch strike from just inside the penalty arc.
The Sounders briefly made things interesting thanks to a stunning free kick from captain Nicolas Lodeiro in the 77th minute, but Mosovski answered with his second of the day just seven minutes later.
LAFC (7-6-3, 24 points) has now won three of its last four games and inched above the playoff line with Sunday’s victory, a result earned despite being remarkably shorthanded for most of the match.
International duty robbed LAFC of Designated Players Diego Rossi and Brian Rodriguez, as well as regular starters Jose Cifuentes and Diego Palacios. To make matters worse, Mark-Anthony Kaye left the match in the sixth minute with an ankle injury. His replacement, Andy Najar, then managed to stay on the pitch for just seven minutes before departing with a hamstring injury.
The loss snapped a three game winning streaking for the Sounders (9-4-3, 30 points), who had posted a 7-1-2 record since the return to league play. The visitors were shorthanded themselves, missing Raul Ruidiaz, Gustav Svensson, and Xavier Arreaga to international duty.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Danny Musosvki. Bagged himself a brace in just his second career start, and was also credited an assist on Ginella’s goal.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Take your pick of Sounders’ blown chances, but Cristian Roldan’s header into the side-netting in first-half stoppage time was especially painful.
MATCH TO FORGET
Kelvin Leerdam. The 30-year-old fullback is having a stellar season, but missed from close range in the opening minutes and completely lost Musovski on the opening goal.
Fire 2, D.C. United 1
(Sapong 3′, Sekulic 45+1′) – (Bornstein OG 56′)
The Chicago Fire rode some excellent set-piece service from Alvaro Medran, and a solid defensive performance to post their third win in five matches, while dooming D.C. United to defeat in its first match since Ben Olsen was fired as head coach.
C.J. Sapong delivered a third-minute opener, slotting home a long free kick deliver from Medran to open the scoring. Boris Sekulic scored his first goal with the Chicago Fire by converting a Medran corner kick to give the Fire a 2-0 halftime lead.
D.C. United made things interesting in the second half and pulled a goal back when Jonathan Bornstein redirected a shot into his own net in the 56th minute.
From there, it was Bobby Shuttleworth stepping up with some key saves to deny a D.C. United equalizer.
The victory catapulted the Chicago Fire into playoff position in ninth place in the East, with a road visit to Minnesota United up next on Wednesday. D.C. United has the worst record in MLS and will try to snap its five-match losing skid at home against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday.
Man of the Match
Alvaro Medran set up both Fire goals with perfect set-piece deliveries, and came within a post of scoring a wonder goal.
Moment of the Match
It didn’t produce a goal, but Medran’s nutmeg followed by a shot off the post was the biggest “Almost” moment of the night.
Match to Forget
The normally aggressive Bill Hamid could have been more aggressive on both Fire goals, with service he could have dealt with better.