Inter Miami has a long way to go to even think about a run at a playoff berth, but climbing out of the Eastern Conference basement is a start.
That is what the Herons did on Sunday night after Indiana Vassilev’s 97th-minute winning goal helped Inter Miami to a 2-1 comeback victory over Nashville SC in Fort Lauderdale.
The win pushed Miami’s unbeaten run to four matches, and helped Phil Neville’s men climb two spots to 12th place in the East. The Herons are eight points out of the playoff places, but with two games in hand.
Another team on the march up the East table is the Chicago Fire, which pushed their unbeaten run to three straight after beating the New York Red Bulls. Luka Stojanovic scored two goals in the first eight minutes to set the early tone on an eventual 2-1 win that propelled the Fire into 11th place in the East.
The Philadelphia Union rested several starters ahead of their Thursday trip to Mexico City for a Concacaf Champions League semifinal showdown with Club America, and Jim Curtin’s young squad fell just short in a gutsy 2-1 loss to New England.
The Revolution had a surprising bit of trouble with the Union, but Matt Turner and Gustavo Bou stepped up to help New England post a victory without star playmaker Carles Gil. One consolation for the Union was Paxten Aaronson’s beautiful goal, his first for the Union.
Here is a look back at all of the weekend’s MLS action:
Fire 2, Red Bulls 1
(Luka Stojanovic 2′, 8′) – (Tom Barlow 90+7)
Man of the Match: Luka Stojanovic scored both goals for the Fire in the first eight minutes.
Moment of the Match: Stojanovic’s first goal was a beauty and set the tone for a comfortable win for the Fire.
Match to Forget: Cristian Casseres Jr. picked a bad time to have his worst match of the season. He had little positive influence on the match, and was caught in no-man’s land when the ball found Stojanovic all alone for the Fire’s second goal, which wound up being the game-winning tally.
Inter Miami 2, Nashville SC 1
(Gonzalo Higuain 60′, Indiana Vassilev 90+5′) – (C.J. Sapong 48′)
Man of the Match: Gonzalo Higuain scored the equalizer for Inter Miami and was a handful for much of his 90 minutes, finishing with a game-high four shots and the goal.
Moment of the Match: Indiana Vassilev’s stoppage-time winner delivered the kind of late-game heroics Inter Miami fans haven’t seen much of.
Match to Forget: Jhonder Cadiz had a wide-open look for an eventual game-winning goal that he squandered by sending his header wide under no pressure, a miss that ultimately helped a potential win turn into a loss.
Revolution 2, Union 1
(Matt Polster 10′, Gustavo Bou 39′) – (Paxten Aaronson 31′)
Man of the Match: Matt Turner made a crucial early save to deny the Union a lead in the first six minutes, finishing with five saves on the day.
Moment of the Match: Matt Polster’s opening goal was a well-orchestrated finish, as he worked an excellent give-and-go with Tommy McNamara.
Match to Forget: Leon Flach committed the penalty foul that eventually led to New England’s winning goal.
Earthquakes 2, LAFC 1
(Nathan 11′, Chofis Lopez 28′) – (Jackson Yueill own goal 39′)
Man of the Match: Cristian Espinoza set up both Earthquakes goals with excellent service on a day when he provided four key passes in total.
Moment of the Match: Chofis Lopez didn’t have much to do on the winner but finish from the middle of the penalty area after Espinoza’s excellent work to set him up.
Match to Forget: Diego Palacios turned the ball over on the sequence leading to the winning goal.
D.C. United 2, CF Montreal 1
(Andy Najar 40′, Ola Kamara 54′) – (Zachary Brault-Guillard 16′)
Man of the Match: Andy Najar continues to be a dynamic threat operating out of the three-centerback system, with five successful dribbles and 37 of 43 passes completed, as well as the equalizer that helped turn things around.
Moment of the Match: Ola Kamara’s winner was a curling beauty and came thanks to quick thinking after Tony Alfaro forced an important turnover to set it up.
Match to Forget: Joaquin Torres turned the ball over leading directly to the winning D.C. United goal, capping a forgettable night for the Argentine midfielder, who was subbed out two minutes later.
Galaxy 1, Whitecaps 1
(Kevin Cabral 32′) – (Ranko Veselinovic 50′)
Man of the Match: Rayan Raveloson was the heartbeat of the Galaxy midfield, and while he didn’t get an assist, he played a big part in the Galaxy’s lone goal while contributing 71 completed passes and three successful dribbles.
Moment of the Match: Maxime Crepeau’s late save to deny Samuel Grandsir helped the Whitecaps preserve the point.
Match to Forget: Jonathan Bond could have done much better on Vancouver’s goal, but he was late to a dangerous ball into the area and paid the price.
FC Cincinnati 1, Orlando City 1
(Brenner 42′) – (Nani 56′)
Man of the Match: Nani came off the bench at halftime and immediately made things happen for the Lions, helping net the equalizer.
Moment of the Match: It didn’t stand up as the winner, but Brenner scoring his first goal at home in Cincinnati was a special moment.
Match to Forget: Allan Cruz won’t want to remember his inexplicable decision to try a backheel pass in the middle of the field, which Nani promptly picked off and turned into the Orlando City equalizer.
Crew 2 Atlanta United 3
(Mensah 37′, Pedro Santos 90+1′) – (Ezequiel Barco 5′, 35′, Marcelino Moreno 65′)
Man of the Match: Ezequiel Barco’s two goals helped set the early tone for Atlanta United’s victory.
Moment of the Match: Barco’s opening goal was a beauty, with George Bello’s back-heel pass springing him for the finish.
Match to Forget: Marlon Hairston lost his mark on Atlanta United’s first goal, then committed the penalty foul setting up Atlanta’s second goal.
Minnesota United 2, Dynamo 0
(Robin Lod 14′, Brent Kallman 71′)
Man of the Match: Emmanuel Reynoso was once again at his creative best, setting up Minnesota’s second goal with a perfect corner kick, and delivering a pair of very dangerous shots that were denied by excellent saves.
Moment of the Match: Wil Trapp’s 30-yard blast seemed like an ill-advised shot when he took it, but he hit it hard enough to force a spilled save, which set up the Loons’ opening goal.
Match to Forget: Marko Maric made some big saves to deny Reynoso, but his spilled save of a long-range shot to set up Robin Lod’s opening goal.
Toronto FC 2, New York City FC 2
(Richie Laryea 49′, Alejandro Pozuelo 55′) – (Santiago Rodriguez 12′, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi 21′)
Man of the Match: Alejandro Pozuelo sparked the TFC comeback, setting up Richie Laryea’s finish before scoring his own just six minutes later.
Moment of the Match: Pozuelo’s equalizer kicked off celebrations at BMO Field as he and Laryea combined for their second goal on the night.
Match to Forget: Both NYCFC goals were sparked by bad passes intended for Michael Bradley, who wasn’t to blame for the passes, but who could have done better to track Santiago Rodriguez on NYCFC’s opening goal.
FC Dallas 2, Austin FC 0
(Ryan Hollingshead 50′, Jesus Ferreira 63′)
Man of the Match: Szabolcs Schön delivered a pair of perfectly-placed passes to set up both FC Dallas goals.
Moment of the Match: Ryan Hollingshead’s goal was a well-orchestrated sequence, complete with poised finish.
Match to Forget: Cecilio Dominguez was brought on to provide an attacking spark but not only failed to bring one, he also committed the turnover leading directly to FC Dallas’ second goal just one minute after entering the match.
Colorado Rapids 0, Sporting Kansas City 0
Man of the Match: Tim Melia was outstanding, recording three saves in the second half to help Sporting KC leave Colorado with a well-earned point.
Moment of the Match: Melia’s reaction save on Diego Rubio’s point-blank header was the game-saving moment for Sporting KC.
Match to Forget: Jonathan Lewis had a golden chance in the 73rd minute, but wasted the excellent service from Cole Bassett by putting it wide.
Portland Timbers 3, Real Salt Lake 2
(Dairon Asprilla 10′, Yimmi Chara 29′, Felipe Mora 62′) – (Albert Rusnak 40′, Damir Kreilach 80′)
Man of the Match: Dairon Asprilla scored the opener from the penalty spot, then set up Yimmi Chara’s goal with a perfect give-and-go.
Moment of the Match: Felipe Mora’s goal, set up by an excellent Sebastian Blanco pass, proved to be the winner.
Match to Forget: Toni Datkovic had a terrible night, committing the penalty handball leading to Portland’s first goal, then failing to pick up Mora’s run on the Timbers third goal.