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MLS Cup 2017 Review: Mar 31 – Apr 2

After just three games last week, the MLS had ten games in the fifth week of action. The start of the weekend saw two goalless draws on Friday night, with all the goals coming on Saturday. Three teams scored four goals, including Minnesota, as they got their first MLS victory.

 

Friday 31 March

  • Toronto FC 0
  • Sporting Kansas City 0

Despite their goalkeeper having to go off with an injury in the first half, Toronto kept a clean sheet in their opening home game of 2017, but also failed to score in this goalless draw. Clint Irwin and Alex Bono kept clean sheets for the Reds, while Tim Melia now has three shutouts for SKC already this season. Sebastian Giovinco came closest for either team when his free-kick skimmed off the bar, but both sides are now 1-0-3 and have six points from their opening four games. Both unbeaten, but both underperforming.

SKC - Melia
Tim Melia now has three clean sheets for Sporting KC in 2017, from just four games.
  • Seattle Sounders 0
  • Atlanta United 0

The second game of Friday night also finished goalless, despite both sides having good chances to win the match. With the game coming straight after the international break, both sides fielded reserve players. Atlanta were without star striker Josef Martinez through injury, but looked the most likely to score on the road. However, Seattle hit the post through Clint Dempsey’s header in the second half but it was not enough, as this game ended without a goal. The Sounders currently sit in the playoff places in the Western, while Atlanta sit 2nd in the Eastern.

 

Saturday 1 April

  • New York City FC 2 (Harrison 10’, McNamara 67’)
  • San Jose Earthquakes 1 (Urena 6’)

There were two early goals in New York, but Tommy McNamara’s second half strike gave NYC their second win of the 2017 campaign. Marco Urena put the Quakes in front inside the opening six minutes, but it was quickly cancelled out by Jack Harrison’s equaliser, just four minutes later. It remained level until half time, but Tommy McNamara scored halfway through the second period, leading to an NYC victory. San Jose have now only won once on the road since September 2015, and they are 0-2 on the road this year. However, their two home wins mean they sit 4th in the West, while NYC are 3rd in the East.

 

  • Chicago Fire 2 (Schweinsteiger 17’, Solignac 90+3’)
  • Montreal Impact 2 (Mancosu 61’, Tabla 90’)

Two late goals turned the game in different directions in Chicago on Saturday evening. It was a great start for the Fire, and in particular, Bastian Schweinsteiger. The German scored just 17 minutes into his debut, after his transfer from Manchester United. However, the game tuned in the second half, as Matteo Mancosu scored on the hour mark. Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla then put the Impact in front on the 90 minute mark, but Luis Solignac’s strike three minutes into stoppage time rescued a point for the Fire, moving them to five points from their opening four games. The Impact have just three points and sit second bottom of the East.

CHI - Schweinsteiger
It took just 17 minutes for Bastian Schweinsteiger to have an impact for the Fire, scoring his first MLS goal on his debut for Chicago.
  • Columbus Crew SC 2 (Meram 13’,77’)
  • Orlando City SC 0

A Justin Meram brace was enough for the Crew to extend their winning run to three games. The Iraqi international scored in either half to take him to three goals on the season. Orlando were never in the game, but their home form will be more important to them this year. The Lions have only played three games, but sit in with in the East with six points. The Crew now top the East with ten points, but they have played a game more than the teams below them.

 

  • D.C. United 2 (Ortiz 18’, Acosta 27’)
  • Philadelphia Union 1 (Sapong 71’)

Two first half goals were enough for DC as the Union’s winless run carries on. Jose Guillermo Ortiz started his first MLS game, and proceeded to score his first goal in the MLS to open the scoring for DC. Luciano Acosta then continued his fine form by netting the Washington side’s second of the game before half time. The Union improved in the second half and got one back through CJ Sapong, but DC ‘keeper Bill Hamid was outstanding, giving the hosts the win with some vital saves late on. It was their first win of the season, lifting them off the bottom of the East. The Union replace them at the bottom, having not won in eleven regular season games now.

 

  • Minnesota United 4 (Molino 16’, Ramirez 52’,62’, Venegas 68’)
  • Real Salt Lake 2 (Mulholland 4’, Movsisyan 87’)

Salt Lake scored at the start and end of the game, but conceded four in between as Minnesota got their first MLS win in history. Luke Mulholland opened the scoring in just the fourth minute, with the Loons conceding another early goal. But they were level soon after through Kevin Molino’s header. Christian Ramirez then scored twice after the break, with Johan Venegas completing the rout. Yuri Movsisyan scored a late consolation goal, but RSL have now not won since August. They sit bottom of the Western, while Minnesota have moved up to 9th with four points from their first five games.

 

  • Houston Dynamo 4 (Remick 14’, Torres pen 41’,56’,90+1’)
  • New York Red Bulls 1 (Wright-Phillips 13’)

Erick Torres scored his first MLS hat-trick on Saturday night, as the Dynamo came from behind to beat the Red Bulls. With strike partner Romell Quioto out injured (both had scored three coming in to this one), Torres took charge, and his hat-trick came after a double salvo early on. Bradley Wright-Phillips opened the scoring for the visitors but Dylan Remick equalised just a minute after, sparking the Houston comeback. After a terrible year in 2016, Houston have nine points from their opening four games and sit 2nd in the West, while the Red Bulls now sit 4th in the East.

HOU - Erick Torres
Erick Torres leads the goalscoring charts with six goals so far in the MLS in 2017.
  • Vancouver Whitecaps 4 (Techera 19’, Montero 66’, Laba 67’,87’)
  • LA Galaxy 2 (Ousted 26’, Alessandrini 30’)

A late double from Matias Laba gave the Whitecaps the home victory over a struggling Galaxy side. Cristian Techera opened the scoring for Vancouver, but LA scored twice before the break to take the lead. David Ousted and Roman Alessandrini scored in the space of four first half minutes to make it 2-1 at the break. However, two goals in the space of a minute in the second half turned the game once again. Fredy Montero and Matias Laba made it 3-2, before Laba bagged his second late on to secure the victory for the Whitecaps. They go into Wednesday’s CCL second leg against Tigres on a roll, while the Galaxy need to bounce back once again, especially as they sit second bottom of the West.

 

Sunday 2 April

  • Portland Timbers 1 (Valeri 12’)
  • New England Revolution 1 (Nguyen 84’)

A late Lee Nguyen equaliser gained a point on the road for New England, against the league-leading Timbers. Portland went in front early through Diego Valeri, who has five goals in five games this season. They held the lead for more than seventy minutes before Lee Nguyen scored once again for the Revs, who take their first away point of 2017. They sit 8th in the East, while the Timbers lead the West on ten points.

 

Both FC Dallas and Vancouver play the second legs of their CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals this week, with both looking to go through to the final. At the weekend, the Whitecaps face a trip to Salt Lake City, while FCD host Minnesota United. The Red Bulls also face a trip south to Florida to take on Orlando.

CCL:

  • Pachuca (MEX) v FC Dallas (USA)
  • Vancouver (CAN) v Tigres (MEX)

MLS:

  • LA Galaxy v Montreal
  • Chicago v Columbus
  • New England v Houston
  • DC United v New York City
  • Philadelphia v Portland
  • Toronto v Atlanta
  • FC Dallas v Minnesota
  • Real Salt Lake v Vancouver
  • San Jose v Seattle
  • Orlando v NY Red Bulls
  • Sporting KC v Colorado

About Matt Coles

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