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MLS Cup Review: July 15-17

It was a big weekend in the MLS, especially in the race to be crowned Eastern Conference Champion, with the top four playing each other on Sunday evening. Leaders NYC travelled to Montreal, while their city rivals, the Red Bulls, made the trip to Philadelphia. Elsewhere, Portland faced Seattle in the Pacific Northwest Derby.


Friday 15 July

LA Galaxy 1 (Gerrard) – Houston Dynamo 0

Just a single goal was needed for the Galaxy to overcome the struggling Dynamo on Friday night. Steven Gerrard (66’) got the goal from one of his famous midfield runs. He got on the end of a rebound after Robbie Keane’s shot was saved by Joe Willis to give LA the victory. However, it should have been easier. Robbie Keane missed a penalty in just the 7th minute, before just missing a clear-cut chance later in the first half. Another goal was chalked out for offside late on, so 1-0 it remained. Their third consecutive win sees them move up to 3rd in the West, and overall, while the Dynamo are bottom of the Conference.


Saturday 16 July

Columbus Crew 1 (O Kamara) – DC United 1 (Espindola)

A late equaliser salvaged a point for DC on a night where the Crew should have put the game away. Ola Kamara (63’) got the opening goal, and from then on, the Crew looked comfortable. However, a somewhat unfortunate red card for Harrison Afful was enough to give the visitors a way back in to the game. They piled the pressure on, and Fabian Espindola (89’) reaped the rewards, He got the goal to rescue a point for the visitors, keeping them 7th in the East, just below the red line. The Crew move off the bottom with this point, up to 9th in the East.


Colorado Rapids 1 (Hairston) – Sporting KC 0

Another goal in the final fifteen minutes of a match was enough to give Colorado the victory. Marlon Hairston (78’) got the goal after a give and go with Dillon Powers. They are now unbeaten in ten games at home this year, and fourteen games in the league with this win. However, they may have been lucky to survive. SKC would say they were unlucky not to get a penalty in stoppage time when it looked like Diego Rubio had contact with Jared Watts in the Rapids’ box. Nothing was given though, meaning the win for Colorado keeps the pressure on Dallas at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings. Sporting’s third game in seven days brought a defeat, which sees them drop down to 7th, and just outside the playoffs.


FC Dallas 3 (Urruti, Diaz, Rosales) – Chicago Fire 1 (Alvarez)

The league leaders carried on their fine form with a comfortable win over the league’s bottom side. After losing 5-0 in Seattle on Wednesday night, the hosts came out firing in this one, with Maxi Urruti (23’) getting the opener, before Mauro Diaz (41’) doubled the lead before half time. Dallas looked comfortable for most of the second half, but when Arturo Alvarez (90+1’) got one back for the Fire, it could have been nervy. Those nerves were soon quashed as Mauro Rosales (90+2’) extended the lead just moments later. The win keeps FCD at the top of the standings, three clear of the Rapids. The Fire, on the other hand, are bottom of the league, with just 17 points.


Real Salt Lake 0 – NE Revolution 0

Just three of 26 shots taken in this one were on target, proving a lack of quality up top in this goals draw. It looked like the Revs had taken the lead early in the second half, but Kei Kamara’s effort was brought back for a foul against the striker in the build-up. Apart from that, not much happened in the game. Bobby Shuttleworth pulled off a few key saves to keep it scoreless, but that was it. The draw drops RSL down to 4th in the West, while NE are 6th in the East.


Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Mezquida, Kudo) – Orlando City 2 (Baptista, Larin)

Four goals were shared in this one, as Orlando made the longest trip of the season to play on the West Coast of Canada. The visitors took the lead early on, when Julio Baptista’s (14’) went through Joe Bendik in the Vancouver goal to go in. However, the hosts were in front before the break. First, Nicolas Mezquida (35’) got the equaliser heading in a rebound. Then Masato Kudo (43’) got the go-ahead goal with a diving header from a Pedro Morales free kick. Soon after the break, though, Cyle Larin (50’) brought Orlando level again with a great leaping header. The draw keeps the Lions in 8th place in the East. Vancouver stay 5th in the West with the point.

Orlando - Larin
Cyle Larin got back to his old scoring ways that saw him take the Rookie of the Year award last season, with the equaliser on Saturday night (2-2 @ VAN)

SJ Earthquakes 2 (Amarikwa, Dawkins) – Toronto FC 1 (Morrow)

Despite going down to nine men, San Jose still managed to come away with all three points against Toronto. The Quakes took the lead through Quincy Amarikwa (30’), who finished off Fatai Alashe’s low cross. However, before the half, things had changed. Anibal Godoy was sent off just two minutes before the break, leaving SJ with ten men. That allowed Justin Morrow (44’) to score the equaliser a minute later. Into the second half, and the Quakes were down to nine. Alberto Quintero was the second man to be ejected from the game with more than half an hour to play. Unbelievably, Simon Dawkins (70’) scored on the counter attack to give the hosts the lead. They held on to take all three points, moving them closer to the red line in the West. Toronto remain 5th in the East, but fall further back.


Sunday 17 July

Portland Timbers 3 (Valeri 2, Adi) – Seattle Sounders 1 (Marshall)

A brace from Diego Valeri was more than enough for Portland to take victory over their big rivals in this Cascadia Cup clash. After beating the league leaders 5-0 in midweek, Seattle were not ready for Portland’s counter attacking style of play. Valeri (44’, 50’) scored either side of the break to put Portland two ahead, including a stupendous lob to get his second. Chad Marshall (59’) then made things interesting with a quality header, but it wasn’t to be for the visitors. Fanendo Adi (64’) secured the win just five minutes later. Portland move above the red line in the Western Conference, while Seattle stay 9th.

Timbers - Valeri
Diego Valeri scored twice as the Timbers overcame Seattle (3-1 win v SEA)

Montreal Impact 1 (Shipp) – New York City 3 (Villa, Harrison, Lampard)

NYC extended their lead in the Eastern Conference with a comfortable victory in Montreal. Tommy McNamara was influential for the visitors, providing the assists for the first two goals. David Villa (35’) got the first, and his 13th of the season, leading the way in the goal scoring charts in the MLS this year. Rookie wonder Jack Harrison (45+2’) then doubled the lead with a wonderful run and finish. Harry Shipp (55’) then got one back through a cross that found its way into the back post. However, NYC secured the victory when Frank Lampard (85’) got his fifth goal in six games with a deflected effort. The win moves then three points clear at the top of the East, while the Impact stay 4th.


Philadelphia Union 2 (Sapong, Pontius) – NY Red Bulls 2 (Kljestan 2)

Two goals in a minute was enough for the Union to fight back from a two goal first half deficit against the Red Bulls. Sacha Kljestan (27’, 44’) scored the two goals for the Red Bulls in the first half. The first was a simple finish, before he struck a free kick that was deflected in late in the period. The second half belonged to the hosts and they were level halfway through it. CJ Sapong (67’) scored from the penalty spot, before Chris Pontius (68’) got the equaliser just a minute later. Ilsinho was sent off a few moments later but the Union could have gone on to win it. As it stands, both sides stay were they are, in 2nd and 3rd respectively in the East.


NYC (33) extend their lead over the Union (30) and the Red Bulls (28) in the East. The Impact (26) and Toronto (24) round out the top 5. The Revs (23) just hold on to the final playoff place, ahead of DC (22) and Orlando (22). The Crew (18) and Fire (17) are still way back.

The top two both won in the West, so FCD (40) still lead Colorado (37) by three. LA (32), RSL (30), Vancouver (29) and Portland (29) now hold the playoff places. SKC (28) have dropped out of the top six. SJ (25) are holding on, but Seattle (20) and Houston (18) are still struggling.

Adi Afful Alvarez Amarikwa Baptista CrewSC Dawkins DCUnited Diaz Dynamo Espindola FCDallas Fire Gerrard Godoy Hairston Harrison Impact Kljestan Kudo Lampard Larin Marshall Mezquida Morrow NERevs OlaKamara Pontius Quakes Quintero Rapids RBNY Rosales RSL Sapong Shipp SKC Sounders Union Urruti Valeri Villa WhitecapsFC

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