The Seattle Sounders cemented their status as the best team in Major League Soccer on Sunday after disposing of Los Angeles FC in a 2-0 victory at Lumen Field.
The Sounders followed up a goal-less first half with an impressive second 45 minutes, outplaying their fellow Western Conference power and doing so without injured stars Nicolas Lodeiro and Stefan Frei. Xavier Arreaga and Brad Smith provided the goals to deliver Seattle’s fourth consecutive win.
The New England Revolution will have something to say about the “Best in MLS” label after beating the Columbus Crew, 1-0, to move into sole possession of first place in the East. Adam Buksa delivered an 86th-minute winner for a Revs side that is a perfect 3-0 at Gillette Stadium this season.
Sunday’s MLS slate also saw the grand opening of TQL Stadium, which featured plenty of goals, but not a home win as Gonzalo Higuain’s double helped Inter Miami spoil the part in Cincinnati with a 3-2 victory.
Here is a closer look at all of the weekend’s action in MLS, with the top performers, moments, and more:
Sporting KC 3, Vancouver Whitecaps 0 (Final)
(Daniel Salloi 28′, Alan Pulido 32′ (pen) 58′)
Man of the Match: Alan Pulido turned in an outstanding performance, scoring in both halves and assisting Daniel Salloi’s opening goal. Pulido scored his second and third goals of the season and appears to be settling into the lineup after spending time out injured when the season started.
Moment of the Match: Daniel Salloi opened scoring in the 28th minute, continuing the young striker’s redemption arc from a disappointing 2020 season. Salloi scored just one goal in seven appearances last season. He already has two goals in six matches in 2021.
Match to Forget: It was a tough match for nearly every Vancouver player. Centerback Ranko Veselinovic was caught out of position on Salloi’s goal and couldn’t step forward quickly enough to stop Pulido from dribbling toward the 18-yard box and scoring in the 58th minute.
FC Cincinnati 2, Inter Miami 3 (Final)
(Alvaro Barreal 59′, Nick Hagglund 83′) – (Brek Shea 7′, Gonzalo Higuaín 38′, 85′)
Man of the Match: Gonzalo Higuaín earned a brace and punished the Cincinnati backline for a flippant error on the second. Apart from the goals, he was living in the heads of Cincinnati defenders who struggled to contain him despite several double team efforts.
Moment of the Match: Higuaín’s second goal came moments after a Cincinnati equalizer. He spoiled the team’s first appearance in their new stadium and earned Miami a much-needed three-point affair.
Match to Forget: Cincinnati’s Allan Cruz was gifted with a golden opportunity and a clean ball from Luciano Acosta in the eighth minute. He drew Miami keeper John McCarthy off his line but shanked the finish before being rendered invisible afterward in the four-goal affair.
Revolution 1, vs. Columbus SC 0 (Final)
(Adam Buksa 86′)
Man of the Match: Though Adam Buksa was allotted just a handful of minutes off the bench, the forward made the most of it by scoring the game’s lone goal.
Moment of the Match: After a stagnant offensive showing from both sides, Buksa broke the deadlock by getting on the end of a perfectly placed cross and finishing past Eloy Room.
Match to Forget: Though he played just twelve minutes, Aboubacar Keita will surely want to forget this match quickly. Keita was slow to close down Brandon Bye, which allowed him to send an unchallenged cross into the path of a charging Adam Buksa.
D.C. United 0, Orlando City 1 (Final)
(Mauricio Pereyra 7′)
Man of the Match: Kyle Smith had a hand in Orlando City’s goal, providing a beautiful long pass to Mauricio Pereyra that eventually led to a Pereyra goal, then later Smith made a crucial clearance in front of the Orlando City net to prevent a D.C. United equalizer.
Moment of the Match: Pereyra’s goal was a worthy winner, with the well-worked give-and-go with Tesho Akindele before calmly fighting off a challenge and finishing the chance.
Match to Forget: Joseph Mora managed a paltry 60 percent completion percentage on his passes and committed a game-high four turnovers before leaving the match in the 78th minute.
Sounders 2, LAFC 0 (Final)
(Xavier Arreaga 57′, Brad Smith 73′)
Man of the Match: Five days after delivering some heroics as an emergency goalkeeper, Alex Roldan turned in a masterpiece from the right wingback position. Offensively, he delivered a beautiful assist on Seattle’s second goal and contributed six successful dribbles. Defensively, Roldan contributed six tackles and six interceptions.
Moment of the Match: The passing sequence on Brad Smith’s goal was a work of art.
Match to Forget: There is plenty of blame to go around LAFC after this loss, but Mark-Anthony Kaye was beaten on Seattle’s opening goal and had a relatively quiet night, managing one key pass and zero tackles.
NYCFC 1, Toronto FC 1 (Final)
(Jesus Medina 56′) – (Jacob Shaffelburg 74′)
LA Galaxy 2 Austin FC 0 (Final)
(Sebastian Lletget 35′) – (Javier Hernandez 77′)
Man of the Match: Julian Araujo was excellent for the Galaxy in the victory over Austin. Playing right back, Araujo was a pivotal part in the clean sheet and constantly applied pressure going forward, assisting Javier Hernandez for the second goal.
Moment of the Match: In the 77th minute, Javier Hernandez put the match out of reach after touching home a cross from Julian Araujo and adding another goal to his league lead of 7.
Match to Forget: Danny Hoesen. The Dutch striker could not get anything going for the Verde and he was subbed out in the 62nd minute. His replacement, Kekuta Manneh was a game changer and Hoesen’s grip on the starting striker spot may be slipping after a fourth match without a goal.
Atlanta United 1, CF Montreal 0 (Final)
(Marceliño Moreno 90+4′)
Man of the Match: Marceliño Moreno put in an all-action display on Saturday, and ultimately proved to be the difference. The Argentine midfielder leaped highest in the stoppage time, heading past a helpless Clement Diop.
Moment of the Match: It was an even affair at the Mercedez-Benz Stadium, up until Marceliño Moreno’s stoppage-time winner, sealing all three points for the hosts. Atlanta United has since propelled itself level on points with CF Montreal, albeit with a game in hand.
Match to Forget: Lassi Lappalainen had a night to forget against Atlanta United, struggling to impose himself at left wingback. The Finnish international was eventually hooked for Zorhan Bassong with 20 minutes to play.
Union 1, Red Bulls 0 (Final)
(Cory Burke 9′)
Man of the Match: Cory Burke gets the nod for his early goal, which stood up as the winner.
Moment of the Match: The Union’s goal sequence, which began with a long goal kick from Andre Blake, and continued with excellent passes from Anthony Fontana and Jamiro Monteiro, and concluded with Burke’s finish, was a gem.
Match to Forget: Dru Yearwood showed some good glimpses coming off the bench for the Red Bulls, but then drew two yellow cards during his 14-minute appearance, including a push of a player right in front of the referee, to earn him a red card.
Minnesota United 1, FC Dallas 0 (Final)
(Robin Lod 90+4′)
Man of the Match: Emmanuel Reynoso was all over the FC Dallas defense throughout the match, generating a whopping 10 key passes and game-high seven shots. His excellent corner kick helped start the sequence leading to the game-winning goal.
Moment of the Match: Robin Lod toe-poked a loose ball into the net to set up jubilant celebrations at Allianz Field as the Minnesota United faithful
Match to Forget: Jose Antonio Martinez was having himself a very solid game until the very end, when his poor attempt to collect a loose ball in front of his own net gave Robin Lod the opening to become the hero.
Rapids 3, Dynamo 1 (Final)
(Sam Vines 29′, Diego Rubio 36′, Cole Bassett 42′) – (Christian Ramirez 39′)
Man of the Match: Michael Barrios set up Colorado’s first two goals with excellent assist, setting the tone for a big night.
Moment of the Match: Sam Vines hit a beautiful left-footed shot to finish off a perfect pass from Barrios.
Match to Forget: Marko Maric will have nightmares about this performance, including being caught with the ball at his feet and seeing a pass attempt redirected into his own net by Cole Bassett.
Real Salt Lake 0, Nashville SC 0 (Final)
Man of the Match: Andrew Brody. The Real Salt Lake fullback held his own dealing with the Randall Leal-Daniel Lovitz combo on Nashville’s left side.
Moment of the Match: David Ochoa stepped up in the 79th minute with a vital save to deny a Jhonder Cadiz header at goal.
Match to Forget: Albert Rusnak endured a painfully quiet match, mustering one key pass, and delivering zero shots or dribbles.
Earthquakes 0, Timbers 2 (Final)
(Yimmy Chara 5′, Marvin Loria 74′)
Man of the Match: Eryk Williamson delivered quality assists to set up both of Portland’s goals.
Moment of the Match: Logan Ketterer stepped in as Portland’s starting goalkeeper after Jeff Attinella’s injury and made an impressive debut, making a full-stretch penalty kick save in the 62nd minute to deny Chris Wondolowski and project what was a 1-0 Timbers lead at the time.
Match to Forget: Wondolowski managed to earn a yellow card before he even entered the match, then just four minutes after entering the match he saw his penalty kick saved.