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MLS Cup 2017 Review: May 5-7

This week’s MLS action saw a rematch of the MLS Cup Final, in which the result saw Toronto exact some revenge over Seattle. Elsewhere, the Rapids poor form continued, and the Union finally got their first win of 2017, while both Conference-topping teams tasted defeat.

 

Friday 5th May

Colorado Rapids 0

Vancouver Whitecaps 1 (Shea 84’)

The Colorado Rapids poor form continues, with another defeat, this time at home to the travelling Whitecaps. The only goal came late on, when substitute Brek Shea got the winner with six to go on his return from injury, one that had sidelined him since March. The Rapids then played the final minutes with ten men, as Mekeil Williams was sent off for a second bookable offence. Colorado have now lost their last five and sit bottom of the standings, while the Whitecaps have won their last two away games, and sit 6th in the Western, just above the red line.

 

Saturday 6th May

Columbus Crew SC 2 (Kamara 13’, Higuain 53’)

New England Revolution 0

Goals early on in each half of play saw the Crew take a vital win over New England on Saturday night. Ola Kamara opened the scoring in the 13th minute, as his namesake, Kei, missed the second game running due to the arrival of his second child. Ola Kamara then set up Federico Higuain for Columbus’ second goal of the game, and the one to seal the three points. With the win, they move to 4th in the Eastern, while the Revs slipped down to 9th.

Ola Kamara (l) and Federico Higuain (r) have been instrumental for the Crew this year, and both of them scored on Saturday to give Columbus the victory

DC United 0

Montreal Impact 1 (Tabla 13’)

An early goal in this one was enough for the Impact to run out winners in their trip to the capital city. Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla scored the goal after just thirteen minutes, with a terrific solo effort. The 18-year-old scored what turned out to be the winner, on a night where DC were shut out for the fifth time this season, already. Their coring form will need to improve if they are to reach the playoffs, as they sit outside the playoff places in the Eastern, in 8th. The Impact got just their second win of the season, but stay in 10th in the East.

 

Houston Dynamo 4 (Elis 23’, Manotas 51’ 65’, Quioto 75’)

Orlando City SC 0

Despite coming into the game at the top of the Eastern Conference, Orlando suffered their heaviest defeat of the season in Houston. And for the Dynamo, they were without MLS top scorer Erick Torres for this one, but still scored four. The scoring was started by Alberth Elis halfway through the first half, before a second half double from Mauro Manotas made it 3-0 to the hosts. Romell Quioto added a fourth late on, as Houston stay in 4th in the Western, but move much closer to the top of the table. Orlando have dropped down to 2nd in the East thanks to this defeat, and are still relying mainly on their home form to this point.

 

LA Galaxy 2 (Steres 56’, dos Santos 65’)

Chicago Fire 2 (Accam p13’, Nikolic 16’)

Despite taking a two goal lead into the half time break, Chicago could only manage a draw away in Los Angeles on Saturday night. David Accam scored from the spot to open the scoring for the Fire, before setting Nemanja Nikolic just three minutes later, who made it 2-0. After the break, the Galaxy were the better side, and goals from Daniel Steres and Giovani dos Santos levelled the game up. Neither could score a winner, and it stayed level to the end. After this comeback, the Galaxy sit 9th in the West, while the Fire stay above the red line in the Eastern with a point.

 

Philadelphia Union 3 (Sapong 74’ 81’ p85’)

New York Red Bulls 0

CJ Sapong scored a late second half hat-trick for the Union, as they finally got their first win of 2017. The Philadelphia helped end their streak of 252 days, and 15 games, since their last victory in the MLS, three short of the all-time record (COL, RSL w/ 18). Sapong opened the scoring with fifteen minutes to go, before doubling his tally just five minutes later. He then completed his first career hat-trick from the penalty spot with five minutes to go in the match, securing the win for the Union. They stay bottom of the Eastern Conference, but are closer to the teams above them with this win. The Red Bulls have now not won away from home in five matches, and have dropped down to 5th in the East.

Philadelphia needed a special performance to get that first win, and CJ Sapong delivered, with his hat-trick giving the Union three points for the first time in 2017

Real Salt Lake 0

FC Dallas 3 (Urruti p3’ 90+1’, Hedges 67’)

The league’s only unbeaten side carried on their fine form in 2017, with a solid away win in Salt Lake City. FC Dallas were given a penalty very early on, and Maxi Urruti converted it to give the visitors a third minute lead. From there, they were always the favourites. Matt Hedges doubled the lead in the second half, before Urruti put the finishing touches on the win in stoppage time. Real Salt Lake never looked in the game, and without Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman and Joao Plata, among others, it was understandable as to why. They slip down to 10th in the West, while FC Dallas now top the Conference.

 

San Jose Earthquakes 3 (Hyka 8’, Wondolowski 31’ 55’)

Portland Timbers 0

The 2015 MLS Cup Champions suffered defeat at the hands of San Jose, thanks to the Quakes’ main man. Jahmir Hyka opened the scoring in the eighth minute, before Chris Wondolowski found his shooting boots. The USMNT striker scored either side of the half to give the Quakes a comfortable three-goal victory on the night. He now has played a hand in nine of San Jose’s twelve goals in 2017 (4G, 5A). The Timbers fell to 3rd in the Western, with the Quakes staying in 5th, but only three points of the top of the Conference leaders.

Chris Wondolowski (r) gave a captain’s performance at the weekend, with his two goals and an assists proving enough for the Earthquakes to beat Portland

Seattle Sounders 0

Toronto FC 1 (Altidore p23’)

Jozy Altidore scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot, as Toronto defeated Seattle in a rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup Final. Despite coming into the game off the back of a midweek man, and leaving big players at home, including Sebastian Giovinco, the visitors got the opening goal through Altidore. The USMNT striker scored from the spot, which was eventually the winner, as Toronto carry on their fine form. They have now won their last four and sit atop the Eastern Conference, while the reigning MLS Cup Champions sit in 8th in the Western, outside the playoffs.

 

Sunday 7th May

Minnesota United 2 (Danladi 22’, Ramirez 39’)

Sporting Kansas City 0

SKC came into this one sitting atop the Western Conference, but Minnesota stopped them in their tracks, with a comfortable victory on Sunday night. Abu Danladi, the #1 pick of the 2017 SuperDraft, scored his first MLS goal, on his first MLS start. Christian Ramirez then added his sixth of the season to make it 2-0 before the break. Some great saves from Bobby Shuttleworth, playing with a broken nose, kept the Kansas City front line out, giving Minnesota, arguably, their best victory in their short MLS lifespan. They move up to 7th in the Western, while SKC fall from the top, felled by FCD.

 

New York City FC 3 (Villa 17’, Wallace 60’, Moralez 61’)

Atlanta United 1 (Carmona 39’)

Two goals in as many minutes in the second half gave NYC victory over Atlanta in the final game of the weekend. David Villa scored, of course, for the hosts, putting them in front in the first half. However, Carlos Carmona equalised for the expansion side before the break. Goals from Rodney Wallace and Maxi Moralez in the space of two minutes saw the three points stay in New York. Atlanta are in a rut, having lost three of their last four, and now sit 7th in the East, while NYC continue to sit in 3rd place.

 

Standings – team points (games played):

Eastern Conference:

Toronto 19 (10), Orlando 18 (9), NYC 16 (9), Columbus 16 (10), RBNY 16 (11), Chicago 12 (9)

Atlanta 11 (9), DC 11 (9), New England 10 (10), Montreal 10 (9), Philadelphia 7 (9)

Western Conference:

FCD 18 (8), SKC 18 (10), Portland 17 (10), Houston 16 (9), San Jose 15 (10), Vancouver 13 (9)

Minnesota 11 (10), Seattle 10 (9), LA 8 (9), RSL 8 (10), Colorado 4 (8)

 

Toronto carry on their busy May fixture list this week, with another double header. They travel to Columbus in midweek, before playing hosts to Minnesota on Saturday night. Also next weekend, there is arguably the biggest fixture in recent years in the MLS, as the Red Bulls host the Galaxy on Sunday evening. The two 2nd placed teams face off, as well, as Sporting KC travel to Orlando.

Fixtures (Saturday unless stated):

  • Columbus v Toronto (Wed)
  • Houston v Vancouver (Fri)
  • Chicago v Seattle
  • Colorado v San Jose
  • DC United v Philadelphia
  • Montreal v Columbus
  • New England v RSL
  • Orlando v Sporting KC
  • Toronto v Minnesota
  • FC Dallas v NYCFC (Sun)
  • NY Red Bulls v LA Galaxy (Sun)
  • Portland v Atlanta (Sun)

About Matt Coles

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