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MLS Cup Review: June 22-26

As we reach the halfway stage of the 2016 MLS season, both Conferences are starting to take shape. The Rapids only played once, but they are still in a strong position atop the West, while the Union’s surprise defeat on Saturday has allowed NYC to close the gap in the East.


Wednesday 22 June

Philadelphia Union 4 (Alberg 3, Campbell og) – Chicago Fire 3 (Accam, Cocis, Thiam)

Roland Alberg scored three times for the Union as they overcame bottom-side Chicago in a seven goal thriller in Philadelphia. David Accam (2’) put the Fire into an early lead with a mazy solo run, before Jonathan Campbell (11’ og) put the ball through his own net to give Philadelphia an equalising goal. Roland Alberg (15’, 45+2’, 56) then became the star of the show for the Union with an unanswered hat-trick. His two before the break sent the Union in 3-1 up, and his third, from the penalty spot, gave them a three goal lead with half an hour to go. The Fire mounted a comeback though, with Razvan Cocis (69’) and Khaly Thiam (80’) making the last ten minutes interesting, but the Union held on to maintain top spot in the East, while the Fire fall further behind the rest.


Real Salt Lake 2 (Movsisyan, Allen) – NY Red Bulls 1 (Baah)

Despite going behind, RSL came back to take all three points against a defiant Red Bulls defence. The New York side went in front early through Gideon Baah (7’), when he headed in from a corner. They held on to the lead, and their shutout streak until the second half, when Yura Movsisyan (65’) ended a run of 472 minutes without conceding for the Red Bulls. His goal brought the game level, and when Jordan Allen’s (87’) deflected shot left Luis Robles helpless, Salt Lake had grabbed the victory. The Red Bulls ended the game with 10 men when Aurelien Collin was shown a straight red, but it was a dubious call. With this defeat, the Red Bulls fall four points behind the Eastern-leading Union, while RSL move closer to the top of the West, just five behind the Rapids.

LA Galaxy 0 – Colorado Rapids 0

It was a goalless draw at the StubHub Centre in LA as the Rapids came to town and put on a dominating defensive display. It is the reason they are top of the West, and the MLS as a whole, but they were helped by a lack of offensive power from the Galaxy, who are still without Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes due to international duty. LA did have the best chance, but Emmanuel Boateng’s effort was cleared off the line by Dennis Castillo, the Rapids full-back. The draw keeps Colorado top of the league, four points ahead of FC Dallas before the weekend’s play, while the Galaxy have moved out of the four way-tie and they sit on their own in 4th place.

Saturday 25 June

Seattle Sounders 0 – New York City 2 (Lampard, Matarrita)

Frank Lampard scored his second goal in as many games for NYC as they overcame the Sounders at CenturyLink field. Lampard’s (38’) goal was highly contested though. In normal time, as the ball was fired across the box, it appeared to hit Lampard on the chest before going in. However, replays showed that it may well have been a hand that knocked it in. The goal stood, as when Ronald Matarrita (87’) added the second late on, the victory was sealed. It is their fourth on the road, the best in the league, and they now sit just two points behind the Union in the East. The Sounders have now lost five of their last six, and second bottom of the West, drifting away from the red line.


Philadelphia Union 2 (Alberg, Pontius) – Vancouver Whitecaps 3 (Jacobson, Manneh, Bolanos)

The Whitecaps have ended the Union’s unbeaten streak at home, with victory in a five-goal thriller. They did go behind though, as Roland Alberg (14’) continued his fantastic form, with his fifth goal in his last three games for the Union. Andrew Jacobson (19’) levelled the game soon after, and they were in front before the break when Kakuta Manneh (41’) made it 2-1 to the Canadian side. A late Christian Bolanos (84’) strike put the game out of reach, despite Chris Pontius (90+4’) getting one back deep into stoppage time. The Union are now only two points clear at the top of the East, while Vancouver have moved up to 4th in the West.


DC United 2 (Neagle, Franklin) – NE Revolution 0

Lamar Neagle was influential as DC finally got a goal after going scoreless in their last two matches. Neagle (20’) was the man to get the first goal, when his volley from a Luciano Acosta cross found the back of the net. He then turned provider, with his cross finding Sean Franklin (27’) who hammered in his first goal of the season to double the lead. The defeat was the Revs first in three, having won their last two, but it drops them below the red line. DC are one of the teams to go ahead of them in the East, just a point in front, but three positions ahead, in 5th.


Columbus Crew 1 (O Kamara) – NY Red Bulls 1 (B Wright-Phillips)

After losing in midweek, the Red Bulls continued their road run with a draw in Columbus, but they should have taken away all three points. The Red Bulls went in front through Bradley Wright-Phillips (52’) early in the second half but they were once again pegged back late. Ola Kamara (90+3’) got the equaliser as they clawed back a point, but they remain in 9th in the East, way behind the playoffs. The Red Bulls have let a lead slip in both road games this week, and only taking a single point from those two games has allowed their rivals NYC move ahead of them. They now sit 3rd in the East, behind the Union and NYC.


Montreal Impact 2 (Ontivero, Piatti) – Sporting KC 2 (Dwyer 2)

Dom Dwyer scored twice as Kansas City came from behind to grab a point north of the border. Lucas Ontivero (16’) opened the scoring on Saturday night, as Montreal took the lead. However, the lead did not last long as Dom Dwyer (21’) got his first of the night to level the scores. A controversial penalty call gave Ignacio Piatti (39’) the chance to score from the spot. He did, and Montreal had the lead at the break. It would be Dwyer (59’) again, though, to equalise. Benny Feilhaber produced the assist for the second goal as his great season continues. The draw leaves SKC in 7th in the West, just a point below the red line, while the Impact are in 4th in the East, just five points behind the Union.


Orlando City 3 (Larin, Winter, Kaka) – Toronto FC 2 (Hamilton, Morrow)

Orlando took victory in the 100th minute of the game, after a water break and an injury stoppage meant there was plenty of stoppage time. They started early, when Cyle Larin (5’) gave them the lead with the only goal of the first half. Jordan Hamilton (47’) got a Toronto equaliser straight after the break, but Orlando would go back in front late on through Adrian Winter (83’). Justin Morrow (90’) thought he had saved a point for the Canadian side, but because of those delays in the game, there were eight minutes of stoppage time. The seventh of those saw a penalty given to Orlando, and in the ensuing protests, Josh Williams was sent off for something he said to the referee. The Brazilian maestro, Kaka (90+10’), kept his cool, despite all that was going on around him, to seal victory in the 100th minute of the game. The win moves them above Toronto in the East and above the red line, more importantly.

Orlando - Kaka
Kaka celebrates the winning penalty in the 100th minute of Orlando’s win against Toronto on Saturday night.


FC Dallas 2 (Acosta, Castillo) – Real Salt Lake 0

FC Dallas won their first MLS game for more than a month as they got goals either side of the break against Salt Lake. RSL did not play a full strength side, as they have four games in his ten day period to come, but FCD beat the team that was against them, going ahead through Kellyn Acosta (18’) in the first half. Fabian Castillo (58’) made it 2-0 in the second half, with Mauro Diaz providing both assists for the hosts. The victory finally gets them back on track to challenge Colorado at the top of the West, now just a point behind, with RSL still five points behind, sitting in 3rd.


SJ Earthquakes 1 (Barrett) – LA Galaxy 1 (dos Santos)

Another version of the Cali Clasico was decided late, this time by a Quakes equaliser to send 50,000 fans wild. Once again, the Galaxy were without Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes to lead the line, so Giovani dos Santos (69’) stepped up. Steven Gerrard found the Mexican who slotted home to give LA the lead. The Quakes were without Wondo, also due to international duty, and it would be his replacement up top, Chad Barrett (90’) that got the late goal to secure a point. The result extends LA’s winless run to seven matches, but they are above the red line in the West, with San Jose a point and two places behind them in that tight midfield battle in the Conference.


Sunday 26 June

Portland Timbers 3 (Valeri 2, Melano) – Houston Dynamo (Wenger, Bruin)

Two late penalties from Diego Valeri completed the three goal comeback for Portland, who managed to take all three points after being two goals behind. Boniek Garcia was the main man for Houston in the first half, setting up both Andrew Wenger (28’) and Will Bruin (30’) to give the Dynamo a half time lead away from home. However, the Timbers came back after the break, with Lucas Melano (64’) halving the lead with half an hour to go. Diego Valeri (82’, 90+1’) then scored from both penalties which were given. The first was called for a blatant handball, but the second was more contested. Either way, Portland scraped the victory, moving up to 5th in the West, while the Dynamo still sit bottom of the table.

Timbers - Valeri
Diego Valeri scored twice from the spot to keep the Timbers in the top six (3-2 win v HOU).

So, after these games, the Union (26) still top the East with, but only just from NYC (24) and RBNY (23), with all three having played 17 games. Montreal (21) and Orlando (20) are both sitting pretty having only played 15 games, with DC (20) having played 16. Toronto (19) and New England (19) sit just outside the playoff places.

In the West, Colorado (32) are the favourites, having two games in hand over FCD (31). RSL (27) also have two games in hand. Vancouver (24) are best of the rest with Portland (23) and LA (23) above the red line. SKC (22) and the Quakes (22) are just below.

Accam Alberg BWP Collin CrewSC DCUnited Dwyer Dynamo FCDallas Fire GdS Impact Kaká Lampard Larin NERevs OlaKamara Quakes Rapids RBNY RSL SKC Sounders Union Valeri WhitecapsFC

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