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MLS Cup 2017 Review: May 31-June 4

There were games all through the week in the MLS. Firstly, there were four games on Wednesday night, all of which featured goals. The best watch was in Houston as the Dynamo ran riot over RSL in a six-goal thriller. Elsewhere, there were wins for Columbus and Orlando.

 

Wednesday 31st May

Columbus 3 – 0 Seattle: Higuain, Meram and Kamara give the Crew a much-needed victory

Houston 5 – 1 RSL: Houston had five different scorers as they remain unbeaten at home

NYC 2 – 2 New England: The Revs came from behind twice to take a point from the Big Apple

Orlando 2 – 0 D.C.: Orlando end six-game winless streak thanks to Larin and Barnes

 

Sporting KC used their game on the weekend to retake top spot in the Western Conference, while the Eastern Conference leaders, Toronto, suffered their first defeat in nine. At the other end of the table, RSL conceded eleven goals in their two games this week.

Friday 2nd June

Portland Timbers 2 (Valeri 50’ 90+4’)

San Jose Earthquakes 0

Diego Valeri turned in another man of the match performance, as his two goals won the game for the Timbers on Friday night. The hosts task was made easier when Quakes midfielder Darwin Ceren was sent off just before the break. Then, within five minutes of the restart, Valeri opened the scoring with a fantastic finish. Late on, he doubled the lead to secure victory for the Timbers. Portland move up to 4th in the West, while the defeat sees the Quakes drop below the red line.

Diego Valeri (8) scored twice for Portland as they keep the pressure on the teams at the top of the Western Conference.

 

Saturday 3rd June

Colorado Rapids 2 (Doyle 80’, Gordon 86’)

Columbus Crew SC 1 (Higuain 61’)

The Rapids left it late, but two goals in the final ten minutes turned the game in their favour as they beat the Crew. Federico Higuain put Columbus in front on the hour mark, but Kevin Doyle equalised with ten minutes to go. Then, MLS super-sub, Alan Gordon, did what he has done for years. He came off the bench to head home the winner with just four minutes to go, giving Colorado their third straight home win. Despite the win, they remain bottom of the West. Meanwhile, the Crew stay in 5th in the East, and in the playoff places.

 

D.C. United 0

LA Galaxy 0

Despite there being 34 shots in 90 minutes in the capital city on Saturday, neither side could find the back of the net. Both goalkeepers made some good saves, with Bill Hamid and Jon Kempin making six and five saves, respectively. Luciano Acosta hit one off the bar late on, but it remained goalless to the end. LA are now unbeaten in six, but remain outside of the playoff places in the West, while a lack of goals for DC is a real concern, and they remain bottom of the East.

 

FC Dallas 6 (Lamah 8’ 22’ 31’, Urruti 39’, Akindele 43’, Ferreira 89’)

Real Salt Lake 2 (Holness 70’, Beckerman 72’)

FC Dallas became the first team to score five goals in the first half of an MLS as they put six past RSL on Saturday. Roland Lamah opened the scoring after just eight minutes, before doubling his tally halfway through the first half. He then scored his third after just 31 minutes, completing his hat-trick. Maxi Urruti and Tesho Akindele made it five in the first half. Omar Holness and Kyle Beckerman got goals back for Real Salt Lake, but any feint chance of a comeback was quashed when Jesus Ferreira scored on his MLS debut late on. FC Dallas are two points off the top of the Western, while RSL remain in 10th in the same Conference.

Roland Lamah scored his first professional hat-trick at the age of 29 at the weekend

 

Montreal Impact 1 (Dzemaili 67’)

New York Red Bulls 0

The Impact beat the Red Bulls in the 2016 playoffs, and they did the exact same in this one, thanks a first MLS career goal. Blerim Dzemaili had a goal disallowed in the first half, but he would not be denied, scoring in the second half to give Montreal the lead. The Impact held on to take victory, moving them up to 10th in the East. The Red Bulls just hold on to a playoff spot after their struggles in this one.

 

New England Revolution 3 (Angoua 17’, Fagundez 66’, Agudelo 85’)

Toronto FC 0

The league leaders were shutout in New England as they lost their eight-match unbeaten streak to the Revolution. Benjamin Angoua scored his first MLS goal to open the scoring for the Revs, before second half goals from Diego Fagundez and super-sub Juan Agudelo made the game safe for New England. The win moves them up to 7th, just below the red line, whilst Toronto remain atop the league, in the race for the Supporters’ Shield.

 

New York City FC 2 (Chanot 80’, Callens 85’)

Philadelphia Union 1 (Picault 69’)

Despite going behind, NYCFC came back to take victory on Saturday night against the in-form Union. Fafa Picault opened the scoring in the 69th minute for the visitors, as his fine scoring form continues. But late on, Maxime Chanot and Alexander Callens both scored their first MLS goals, both from corner kicks. The victory sees NYC move up to 3rd in the East, with the Union staying in 9th in the same Conference.

Maxime Chanot (above), along with Alexander Callens, scored his first MLS goal at the weekend for NYCFC

 

Sporting Kansas City 3 (Opara 45+2’, Medranda 54’, Abdul-Salaam 87’)

Minnesota United 0

Minnesota’s defensive woes came back to haunt them, as they conceded three away in Kansas City at the weekend. They almost held out till the break, but Ike Opara’s deflected shot gave SKC the lead. The hosts then doubled the lead early in the second period, through Jimmy Medranda. Saad Abdul-Salaam then scored his first goal in the MLS to secure victory late on for Sporting KC. They move back to the top of the Western Conference with the three points, while Minnesota stay in 9th after defeat.

 

Vancouver Whitecaps 3 (Waston 31’ 44’, Montero 68’)

Atlanta United 1 (Garza 7’)

Atlanta may have gone in front, but Kendall Waston’s first two goals of the season saw Vancouver take all three points. Greg Garza got the first goal of the game for the visitors, but that would be the end of their day out in Canada. Kendall Waston, the Whitecaps captain, and leader, scored two great goals to turn the game around before the break. Fredy Montero then got the goal that doubled the lead and made the three points safe, with their third goal from a corner kick in the game. With defeat, Atlanta drop down to 8th in the East, while the Whitecaps jump up to 5th in the West.

Vancouver’s captain, Kendall Waston, scored twice as he led the Whitecaps back from behind to win on Saturday

 

Sunday 4th June

Orlando City SC 0

Chicago Fire 0

Orlando went down to nine men after two straight red cards, but they held on for a goalless draw against the Fire. Rafael Ramos received his marching orders for a very innocuous challenge, with Antonio Nocerino then seeing red for a high foot into the side of Matt Polster. Chicago hit the woodwork twice in stoppage time but they could not get the goal they needed. Disappointed with just a point, the Fire stay in 2nd in the East, while Orlando drop down to 4th.

 

Seattle Sounders 1 (Bruin 69’)

Houston Dynamo 0

A goal from a former Houston man was enough to send the Dynamo to defeat in Seattle on Sunday night. The defending MLS Cup Champions needed Will Bruin to head home with twenty minutes left to give the Sounders the lead, one that they never looked like relinquishing. The win is their third in four games, moving them up into the playoffs. The Dynamo only have a single point on the road, but remain 2nd in the West.

 

Standings – team points (games played):

Eastern Conference:

TOR 29 (15), CHI 25 (14), NYC 24 (15), ORL 24 (15), CLM 22 (16), NY 20 (15)

NE 20 (15), ATL 18 (13), PHI 16 (14), MON 16 (12), DC 15 (14)

Western Conference:

SKC 25 (15), HOU 23 (15), FCD 23 (13), POR 21 (14), VAN 19 (13), SEA 19 (15)

SJ 19 (15), LA 18 (13), MIN 14 (14), RSL 14 (16), COL 13 (13)

 

Statistics:

Goals:

  • 11 – Nemanja Nikolic (CHI)
  • 10 – Erick Torres (HOU)
  • 8 – David Villa (NYC), Diego Valeri (POR), CJ Sapong (PHI), Cyle Larin (ORL), Ola Kamara (CLM), Christian Ramirez (MIN)
Nemanja Nikolic leads the league with 11 goals in 2017

Assists:

  • 8 – Victor Vasquez (TOR)
  • 7 – Yamil Asad (SJ), Alex (HOU), Lee Nguyen (NE), Maximiliano Moralez (NYC)

Clean Sheets:

  • 8 – Tim Melia (SKC)
  • 5 – Jesse Gonzalez (FCD), Andre Blake (PHI), David Bingham (SJ), Joe Bendik (ORL), Stefan Frei (SEA)

 

With the USMNT having World Cup qualifiers this coming week, against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico, there are only three MLS games next weekend. The Western Conference leaders, Sporting KC, host Montreal, whilst two of their main rivals, Portland and FC Dallas face off.

Fixtures:

  • Chicago v Atlanta
  • Portland v FC Dallas
  • Sporting KC v Montreal

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