Thursday night’s MLS action saw Nashville SC and Atlanta United battle back and forth in an eventful stalemate while the New York Red Bulls and their familiar foes, the Philadelphia Union, also split the points after a dramatic finish to their latest encounter.
Jackson Conway’s 59th-minute equalizer helped Atlanta United earn a draw at Nashville SC, while Sergio Santos delivered some late magic, with an 85th-minute equalizer to help the Union overcome a red card and grab a draw, easing some of the pressure off red-carded goalkeeper Matt Freese.
On Wednesday, the Seattle Sounders retook first place in the Western Conference and set a new MLS record for longest unbeaten streak to start a season with Wednesday’s 2-0 win against the Houston Dynamo.
Goals from Kelyn Rowe and Raul Ruidiaz helped the Sounders extend their unbeaten run to 13 matches, and jump ahead of Sporting Kansas City atop the MLS table.
The busy midweek MLS schedule also featured Toronto FC winning its first match since the firing of former head coach Chris Armas, while the Chicago Fire made it two wins in a row with an impressive victory against Orlando City.
Here is a closer look at all of the midweek MLS matches:
Nashville SC 2, Atlanta United 2 (Final)
(Jalil Anibaba 14′, Hany Mukhtar (penalty) 48′) — (Anton Walkes 5′, Jackson Conway 59′)
Man of the Match: Hany Mukhtar. The Nashville SC playmaker was the danger man in this one. He delivered the first-half equalizer, converted a go-ahead penalty kick after the break, looked to have assisted on a third goal before it was wiped away for offside, and was constantly an attacking threat.
Moment of the Match: Controversial sending off. A questionable decision from head referee Brett Jacobs in the 74th minute left Atlanta United to finish with 10 men while the game was still up for grabs. Replays showed that ejected defender Jake Mulraney made contact with the ball first on his sliding effort, but Jacobs sent Mulraney off for what was deemed denial of a goal-scoring opportunity.
Match to Forget: Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres. The Atlanta United forward not only failed to provide much quality in the attacking third, but he also surrendered a needless penalty kick early in the second half by inexplicably handling the ball while defending a set piece.
Red Bulls 1, Union 1 (Final)
(Patryk Klimala 60′) – (Sergio Santos 85′)
Revolution 2, Toronto FC 3 (Final)
(Carles Gil 56′, Adam Buksa 78′) – (Yeferson Soteldo 9′, Kemar Lawrence 15′, Tsubasa Endoh 24′)
Man of the Match: Yeferson Soteldo stayed active all 84 minutes that he played. Soteldo scored Toronto FC’s first goal of the game and assisted Tsubasa Endoh’s impressive goal in the 24th minute.
Moment of the Match: Tsubasa Endoh scored his first goal of the season in spectacular fashion. Endoh curled a shot from the right side of the box into the opposite side netting in the 24th minute.
Match to Forget: Veteran goalkeeper Brad Knighton was thrust into the lineup because of Matt Turner’s Gold Cup call-up. Knighton had a rough outing in his first appearance of 2021. Knighton could not come up with a save in the 15th minute, one-on-one with Kemar Lawrence.
CF Montreal 2, NYCFC 1 (Final)
(Mason Toye 43′, Romell Quioto 73′) – (Keaton Parks 29′)
Man of the Match: Romell Quioto threatened NYCFC’s backline throughout the match before eventually finding the game-winner in the 73rd minute.
Moment of the Match: Quioto remained composed after finding himself through on goal, rounding Luis Barraza before scoring his second goal of the season.
Match to Forget: Alfredo Morales struggled to fill in at center back for NYCFC, losing Quioto on multiple occasions before ultimately conceding to the Honduran forward.
Fire 3, Orlando City 1 (Final)
(Boris Sekulic 45+1′, Robert Beric 72′, Chinoso Offor 90+5′) – (Andres Perea 34′)
Man of the Match: Spanish midfielder Alvaro Medran delivered two perfectly placed balls for Boris Sekulic and Robert Beric in either half. Medran already has five assists in 2021. His service created several key chances for the Fire.
Moment of the Match: Chicago spent much of the match defending against Orlando City’s attack, but Alvaro Medran made the Fire’s few chances count. Chicago took the lead in the 72nd minute, when Medran slid a pass to Robert Beric, who slotted past Orlando City goalkeeper Brandon Austin.
Match to Forget: Tesho Akindele started up top for Orlando City, but he couldn’t capitalize on the Lions’ possession or 19 shots. Though Bobby Shuttleworth turned in a great performance in goal for the Fire, Orlando’s finishing left a lot to be desired at times.
Austin FC 0, LAFC 2 (Final)
(Jose Cifuentes 39′, Diego Rossi 89′)
Man of the Match: Jose Cifuentes opened the scoring for LAFC and provided a strong presence in central midfield throughout the match.
Moment of the Match: Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi combined for the insurance goal late, and it was the type of classic attacking quality we’ve come to expect from LAFC’s stars.
Match to Forget: Brad Stuver has been excellent for Austin FC, but Wednesday’s loss is one he’ll wish he could play over after his poor pass led directly to LAFC’s opening goal.
Rapids 2, Minnesota United 0 (Final)
(Braian Galvan 45′, Andre Shinyashiki 81′)
Man of the Match: 20-year-old Argentine wingback Braian Galvan scored his first goal of the season in the 45th minute. The lead just before half gave the Rapids the ability to play with confidence after the break.
Moment of the Match: Andre Shinyashiki doubled the Rapids’ lead in the 81st minute with a beautiful chipped shot. The goal capped a fantastic showing for the Rapids, which improved to fourth in the Western Conference.
Match to Forget: It was a disastrous showing from forward Ramon Abila, who Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath subbed in in the 65th minute to chase a goal. Abila saw a red card 21 minutes later for an altercation with a Rapids player.
Sounders 2, Dynamo 0 (Final)
(Kelyn Rowe 62′, Raul Ruidiaz 90+4′)
Man of the Match: Jimmy Medranda. He didn’t record a goal or assist, but Medranda dominated the left side of the field, whipping in dangerous crosses while drawing defenders and setting the tone for the evening.
Moment of the Match: Kelyn Rowe’s first career goal with the Sounders was a nice moment for a hometown kid finally playing in front of friends and family at age 29.
Match to Forget: Fafa Picault. The veteran forward found himself one-on-one against Abdoulaye Cissoko in the 13th minute and couldn’t beat the first-year centerback.
Whitecaps 0, Real Salt Lake 4 (Final)
(Damir Kreilach 1′, 57′, Albert Rusnak 74′, Anderson Julio 90+4′)
Man of the Match: Damir Kreilach scored RSL’s first two goals, including a first-minute finish that set the tone for a romp.
Moment of the Match: Kreilach’s clever chip over the goalkeeper just 43 seconds into the match provided a preview of how lopsided the match would be.
Match to Forget: Rookie fullback Javain Brown had a rough night, even before being called for the penalty foul leading to RSL’s third goal.
Galaxy 3, FC Dallas 1 (Final)
(Rayan Raveloson 17′, Kevin Cabral 27′, Ethan Zubak 51′) – (Franco Jara 71′)
Man of the Match: Rayan Raveloson. Ravelson was forced to play center-back with Sega Coulibaly out due to injury and the Malagasy international was more than up to the task. In his 90 minutes on the field Raveloson scored his first career MLS goal and won four tackles.
Moment of the Match: In the 50th minute Ethan Zubak pounced on a poor back pass from Ryan Hollingshed and scored the third goal for the Galaxy that officially put the match out of reach.
Match to Forget: It was a match to forget for the entire FC Dallas defense, but Ryan Hollingshed gifted the Galaxy their third goal so he takes home the honors.