It was a big week in MLS despite another round of fixtures played through a FIFA International break. Columbus was not able to pick up any points from their double game week. Sporting KC edged out a win over Seattle at home. DC won in midweek, but dropped points at home on Saturday. Portland & Toronto FC are gaining serious momentum in the Western Conference with their respective three match winning streaks. Soccer Sunday was more like Naptime Sunday this weekend. Both Salt Lake/Colorado & San Jose/Dallas’ nationally broadcasted games ended 0-0. Here is what you really missed:
Houston Dynamo 4 – New York Red Bulls 2
Houston has been searching for consistency in performance under new head coach Owen Coyle. New York also replaced their coach during the offseason and is having a dip in form after their early spring success.
Bradley Wright-Philips is getting paid to be the man in New York, but the Englishman is not putting up the same goal scoring numbers that he did last season. Wright-Philips had one shot on goal all game and that came in the 8th minute. His shot snuck under the rushing Tyler Deric, but was cleared off the line by David Horst. Wright-Philips has turned more into a creator for the Red Bulls. He doubled his assist tally (4) from last season (2) to give New York a 1-0 lead. Mike Grella took his pass into the goal area and beat Raul Rodriguez one-v-one to lead.
At halftime the match changed thanks to the help of the veteran Boniak Garcia. The Honduran international took a shot that was deflected and looped over Luis Robles and in the goal. Garcia would trouble the New York defense twice more to take a 3-1 lead for Houston.
Ricardo Clark had a goal from a Garcia corner kick called back for a push in the back to his defender. Clark would find his goal four minutes later in 68th. Garcia’s second assist was to Will Bruin. Bruin picked up the ball inside the offensive third of the field and chipped a floating ball past an over anticipating Robles.
Second half sub Anatole Abang headed in a consolation goal for New York. 18-year-old Abang was assisted by fellow substitute and Cameroon youth international Marius Obekop.
Houston was not finished scoring in front of their 22,356 fans that came out to BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday evening. Bruin scored his second goal in the dying seconds of extra time for his seventh goal of this season. It is also Bruin’s sixth goal in the last five matches. The Dynamo has the hottest pair of boots, right now, in MLS with Will Bruin.
New York has two weeks to prepare for their next MLS fixture. The Red Bulls have now dropped three straight matches, but will look to bounce back to form at home on June 20th.
Next week: Houston visit Portland & New York host Vancouver
Chicago Fire 2 – Orlando City 3
Orlando passed, passed and passed their way around Toyota Park. In the end Orlando completed 597 passes throughout the entire match. Chicago relied on their explosive counter attacking speed and their size advantage on set pieces.
The Fire took an early lead at home. A well worked short corner lead to a tap in at the back post by Kennedy Igboananike. Four sharp passes cut through the lackadaisical defending by the purple Lions.
Orlando City would equalize before halftime. Sean St. Ledger’s header was pushed away by Jon Busch, but was then redirected into his own net by Adailton.
Chicago continued to pass quickly out of pressure when Orlando lost the ball in their offensive half. In the 57th minute Accam would finish a penetrating ball by Harry Shipp into the side netting. The play was all set up by Igboananike’s speed on the dribble to separate the back line of Orlando City.
All of this hard work by Chicago would be set back again by the strike of Orlando’s Cyle Larin. The number one Superdraft pick by Orlando found a loose ball at his feet just beyond the goal area. Larin turned and struck a curling effort off the left post and in for his fourth goal in six games.
Orlando City benefited again by the misdirection of ball in the 6-yard area four minutes later. Carlos Rivas’ cross towards Larin was toe poked in by Adailton when he reached to prevent it from playing in front of him.
Adailton had two chances to make up for his own goal brace in added time. Each headed effort was blocked away by the Orlando defense. Chicago lost both of their games this week from winning positions.
Orlando City is beginning to click in the final third. Their defense has shown holes over the season, but with Tally Hall gaining more experience with his backline, you could see this team playing a spoiler role in the playoffs.
Next week: Chicago visit New England & Orlando host DC United
Montreal Impact 2 – Vancouver Whitecaps 1
Montreal and Vancouver will meet each other twice in August during the Canadian Championship Final. They have only played four times in the MLS regular season. Vancouver has never conceded an MLS goal to the Impact, but we knew it was only a matter of time. Both teams were battling absences and the need for squad rotation.
It would be Jack McInerney that would be the first Impact player to score against the Whitecaps. A Laurent Cimon laser struck the woodwork and McInerney settled and finished the rebound. Vancouver’s goalkeeper David Oustad was not able to find the rebound and could only watch the ball rebound of the back of the net.
Mauro Rosales replaced Octavio Rivero in the starting eleven. Rosales wanted a penalty called towards the end of the second half after being clipped in the goal area. The referee waved his request away. The aging Rosales is still without a contribution to the score sheet since October 4th of last year when his two assists beat Dallas 2-0.
The Whitecaps did get a goal in the 79th minute. Pedro Morales placed his penalty past Evan Bush. Andres Romero was appeared to have brought down Jordan Harvey in the corner of the 18-yard area. It was a soft whistle, but Romero’s challenge did not make contact with the ball.
Montreal has found a gem in Ignacio Piatti. The attacker took two swift touches inside the Whitecap’s goal area and scored the game winner for the Impact. Romero’s dribble across the field opened up the run of Piatti. The drawing of defenders by Romero left them sliding in desperation to stop the goal.
Montreal is a fantastic team to watch in MLS if you are looking for dynamic play. I think they could be a MLS Cup conference finalist if they are able to keep their squad healthy come October.
Vancouver built a league-leading series of results in the beginning of the year. The Whitecaps have split their past six games when they had a opportunity to advance ahead of the league.
Next week: Montreal visit New York City & Vancouver visit New York
Other scores in Week 14:
DC United 3 – Chicago 1
Philadelphia 3 – Columbus 0
DC United 1 – Toronto FC 2
Philadelphia 1 – New York City FC 2
Columbus 1 – Montreal 2
Kansas City 1 – Seattle 0
LA Galaxy 0 – Vancouver 1
Portland 2 – New England 0
Real Salt Lake 0 – Colorado 0
San Jose 0 – FC Dallas 0