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MLS Cup 2017 Review: May 19-21

It was a weekend of MLS action which saw all three teams atop the Western Conference suffer defeat, including FC Dallas’ first defeat of the 2017 campaign. Elsewhere, Orlando tasted defeat at their new home for the first time.

 

Friday 19th May

New York Red Bulls 1 (Wright-Phillips 38’)

Toronto FC 1 (Cheyrou 70’)

Two streaks were ended with this draw on Friday night, as the MLS weekend opened up in New York. Toronto lost their six-game winning streak, while the Red Bulls managed to snap their losing streak with the 1-1 draw. The hosts had gone in front through Bradley Wright-Phillips in the first half, but a second half goal from ex-Liverpool man, Benoit Cheyrou, levelled the game for the Canadian side. Toronto should have won the game, as Jozy Altidore missed a late penalty, saved by Luis Robles, and then Tosaint Ricketts was judged to be offside when he put the ball in the Red Bulls net. Toronto remain top of the Eastern Conference, and the Supporters’ Shield standings, while New York sit in 6th, just a point above the red line.

 

Saturday 20th May

Atlanta United 4 (Almiron 29’ 42’ p80’, Gressel 76’)

Houston Dynamo 1 (Torres p90’)

Despite the match starting late, Miguel Almiron remained focussed to score a hat-trick for Atlanta as they ran out winners. The game was delayed by 55 minutes due to inclement weather in the area, but within half an hour of kickoff, the Paraguayan midfielder had put the hosts in front. He doubled the lead just before the break. Julian Gressel then made it three after the interval, before Almiron completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot. Erick Torres added to his goal tally for the year from the spot to deny Atlanta a shutout, but it was nothing more than a consolation goal for the visitors. The win keeps Atlanta in 9th in the East, while Houston stay 2nd in the West, despite defeat.

Miguel Almiron scored his first MLS hat-trick as Atlanta eased to a 4-1 victory

 

D.C. United 0

Chicago Fire 1 (Accam 52’)

Just a single goal was needed for the Fire to record their first away victory of the 2017 campaign, and it came in the capital. David Accam scored the goal just after the break to give Chicago the victory. DC were once again shutout, making it 7 from 11 this year in which they have failed to score. The Fire’s first win away from home moves them up to 2nd in the Eastern Conference, while DC United sit bottom, with 11 points from 11 games.

 

FC Dallas 0

San Jose Earthquakes 1 (Hyka 81’)

FC Dallas suffered their first defeat of the 2017 MLS season, as the Quakes travelled to Frisco and won out. The goal came late on, as the visitors applied the pressure. Jahmir Hyka got the winner with a wonder goal, just nine minutes before the end of regulation time. With other teams at the top losing, the Quakes are now sit just three points of the top of the Western, despite sitting in 4th. FC Dallas are just above, in 3rd.

 

Montreal Impact 4 (Piatti p13’ 50’, Fisher 43’, Oyongo 77’)

Portland Timbers 1 (Valeri 45+1’)

Ignacio Piatti became the Impact’s record MLS goalscorer with his brace on Saturday, as Montreal ran out easy winners. He opened the scoring in the 13th minute, before Portland went down to ten men. Diego Chara was dismissed for a hand to Piatti’s face after just 18 minutes. Kyle Fisher then doubled the lead for the Impact, before Diego Valeri got one back for the 2015 MLS Cup Champions. However, Piatti’s second, and an insurance goal from Ambroise Oyongo gave Montreal a comfortable three-goal victory, only their third win of 2017. The Impact move for the bottom of the Eastern Conference, while the Timbers drop down to 5th in the West.

Ignacio Piatti’s double saw him break Montreal’s all-time MLS scoring record

 

Philadelphia Union 2 (Sapong 67’, Medunjanin 75’)

Colorado Rapids 1 (Calvert 15’)

After starting the season terribly, the Union now have four wins from their last four games after this win on Saturday night. They went behind to the Rapids, who scored through Caleb Calvert after a quarter of an hour. He was then controversially sent off for a second bookable offence, by entering the field of play without permission from the referee. This gave Philadelphia the advantage, and goals from CJ Sapong and Haris Medunjanin gave them the victory. With four straight wins, they have moved up four places, and now sit 7th in the East, while the Rapids remain the basement club of the West, with just seven points.

 

Seattle Sounders 1 (Shipp 42’)

Real Salt Lake 0

Again, just a single goal was needed in this one, with Harry Shipp coming up big to give Seattle their first win in a month. The American scored the goal with a deflected shot just before the break, and the Sounders then held on to that one-goal lead to the end. RSL were kept in it by Nick Rimando, starting in goal for the first time in five games. He saved Clint Dempsey’s penalty, but the visitors were unable to find a way back into the game. Neither side are in the playoffs, with Seattle in 8th in the West, whilst RSL sit 10th.

 

Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Techera 40’, Parker 67’)

Sporting Kansas City 0

The table-topping SKC were brought back down to earth in Vancouver, as they lost to the Whitecaps. Cristian Techera opened the scoring just before the break, with Tim Parker doubling the lead halfway through the second half. Fredy Montero also missed a penalty, and the hosts had a late header denied by the upright, so it could have been an even bigger win for the Canadian side. They stay in 6th in the Western Conference, while SKC remain top, despite this loss.

Cristian Techera got back on the scoresheet for a while with his goal on Saturday

 

Sunday 21st May

Minnesota United 1 (Ramirez 66’)

LA Galaxy 2 (dos Santos 38’, Ramirez og 84’)

Another week, and another own goal from Christian Ramirez, this time leading to a defeat for Minnesota on Sunday night. The Galaxy started the better side, and opened the scoring through Giovani dos Santos’ wonderful lobbed flick with the outside of his left boot. Ramirez then scored for the Loons to level the scoring halfway through the second period, but he then put through his own net for the second week running, costing the hosts a point in this one. They drop down to 9th with defeat, as the Galaxy go above them and into 7th in the West.

 

New England Revolution 2 (Fagundez 24’ 34’)

Columbus Crew 1 (Kamara 20’)

They went behind early, but the Revolution came back to take victory over Columbus, avenging their defeat from two weeks ago. Ola Kamara opened the scoring after twenty minutes for the Crew, before missing a sitter to double the lead. The hosts pounced on this, with Diego Fagundez scoring twice in a ten minute spell before half-time to turn the game on its head. The Crew could have gone 2nd, but instead they sit 5th in the East, while the Revs stay 8th.

Diego Fagundez’s brace turned the game around on Sunday as the Revs took the win

 

Orlando City SC 0

New York City FC 3 (Villa p14’ 82’, Wallace 35’)

Having started so well, the Lions are now struggling, and are winless in five after their first home defeat of the campaign. NYC played the better football, and opened the scoring through David Villa, who tucked away a penalty. Rodney Wallace then doubled the lead before the break, with Villa scoring his second late on. Cyle Larin missed a second-half penalty which would have brought Orlando back into the game, but it wasn’t to be. NYC go above Orlando in the Eastern, with the teams in 3rd and 4th respectively.

 

Standings – team points (games played):

Eastern Conference:

TOR 26 (13), CHI 21 (12), NYC 20 (12), ORL 20 (12), CLM 19 (13), NY 17 (13)

PHI 16 (12), NE 16 (12), ATL 15 (11), MON 13 (11), DC 11 (11)

Western Conference:

SKC 22 (13), HOU 19 (12), FCD 19 (10), SJ 19 (13), POR 18 (12), VAN 16 (11)

LA 14 (11), SEA 13 (12), MIN 11 (12), RSL 11 (13), COL 7 (11)

 

Statistics:

Goals:

  • 10 – Nemanja Nikolic (CHI)
  • 9 – Erick Torres (HOU)
  • 8 – David Villa (NYC), CJ Sapong (PHI)
  • 7 – Justin Meram (CLM), Cyle Larin (ORL), Ola Kamara (CLB), Christian Ramirez (MIN)

Assists:

  • 8 – Victor Vasquez (TOR)
  • 6 – Chris Pontius (PHI), Alex (HOU), Sacha Kljestan (NY)
  • 5 – Yamil Asad (ATL), Carlos Rivas (ORL), Lee Nguyen (NE), Romain Alessandrini (LA), Joevin Jones (SEA), Maximiliano Moralez (NYC), Haris Medunjanin (PHI), Chris Wondolowski (SJ)

Clean Sheets:

  • 7 – Tim Melia (SKC)
  • 5 – Andre Blake (PHI), David Bingham (SJ)
  • 4 – Jesse Gonzalez (FCD), Luis Robles (NY)

 

This week sees the first legs of the Canadian Championship semifinals. This means that Toronto and Vancouver have two games this week, including their MLS game at the weekend. Ottawa are the non-MLS team to make the semis, and they host Toronto in the first leg. Vancouver host Montreal, who do not play at the weekend, in the other semifinal.

The MLS then has ten fixtures at the weekend, including the big Texas derby on Sunday night, as Houston travel to Dallas for the final game of the weekend. There is a game on Thursday night as well, with Chicago hosting FC Dallas in a big clash.

Fixtures:

  • Canada Champs
    • Ottawa v Toronto FC
    • Vancouver v Montreal
  • MLS
    • Chicago v FC Dallas (Thu)
    • Toronto v Columbus (Fri)
    • Colorado v Sporting KC
    • Minnesota v Orlando
    • NY Red Bulls v New England
    • San Jose v LA Galaxy
    • Seattle v Portland
    • Vancouver v DC United
    • Atlanta v NYC (Sun)
    • FC Dallas v Houston (Sun)

About Matt Coles

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