It was another outpouring of goals in MLS. With all of the lax defending, it was like All-Star week never ended! But, now we are in the final third of the MLS season where your position in the table matters and the points are a little bit heavier.
DC United 6 – Real Salt Lake 4
Eastern Conference leaders DC United gave up two early goals to Real Salt Lake and managed to out score the middling side from the Western Conference. Similar to last weekend’s 3-2 win at Philadelphia, DC United would have an up hill battle to get the win.
RSL started very well, converting two fine chances from outside the goal area. Joao Plata scored the first and then assisted Kyle Beckerman for the second. Plata now has three goals and assists in the last four matches.
Chris Rolfe got a goal back for United before halftime and then equalized the match at 2-2 with a penalty in the 54th minute. Rolfe is one goal away from matching a career high that he set in 2008 while with the Chicago Fire.
United was able to take the reigns for a few minutes at the 59th minute mark. Taylor Kemp took a stray clearance off the bounce and absolutely drilled it into the net with the outside of his foot. This was the first of four goals in nine minutes between the two teams.
RSL got back into the game with a set piece goal from Aaron Maund, assisted by Javier Morales. DC United felt like anything they would try, would go it. Fabian Espindola cleaned up a goalmouth scramble to give DC an advantage. Morales beautifully assisted for RSL, again, this time to Abdoulie Mansally to draw it level, 4-4.
Perry Kitchen and Nick DeLeon were able to secure the thrilling home win for DC United. Nick DeLeon tried to best the strikes by Beckerman and Kemp with a long-range effort to ice the cake. Just to repeat: 6-4 was the final of this soccer game.
It wasn’t the way either team drew it up, but the ten goal match was surely entertaining for the 17,300 in attendance.
RSL doesn’t have much time to lick their wounds. Salt Lake is now in Guatemala to start their 2015/16 CONCACAF Champions League run, before flying all the way to Vancouver for their league match on Saturday.
Next week: DC United visit Montreal & Salt Lake visits Vancouver
Orlando City 5 – Columbus Crew SC 2
Orlando City set a new club record with five goals in MLS. Although it seemed to come relatively easy, the important win for Orlando was bookended by two Columbus Crew goals.
Federico Higuain and Justin Meram combined for the evening’s first goal. Higuain collected the ball and midfield and the pair weaved their way through the Orlando backline for a simple finish by Higuain.
After scoring three times last week, Orlando’s Cyle Larin scored twice in the winning effort at home. The Lions were equally excited to see newly acquired left back Corey Ashe supply the assists on both of Larin’s goals.
Columbus felt robbed in the 29th minute. A headed effort on goal by Tony Tchani was handled on the goal line by Orlando’s Tyler Turner was not spotted by the referees.
Darwin Ceren was given a second chance to put away his effort in the 38th minute. Ceren remained calm in front of goal and spanked the ball into the far post from a difficult angle.
After Larin’s second goal in the 53rd minute, you could see Columbus pull back in their attack and release the forward pressure. This was later exemplified by Greg Berhalter’s defensive-minded substitutions in the second half.
Orlando managed to score two goals from set pieces in the second half to give them five goals on the evening. Aurelien Collin score from a corner kick, thanks to a good near post run, and Christian Higuita scored a strong header with an inch perfect delivery by Kaka.
Orlando snapped Kei Kamara’s three-match scoring streak. Kamara, along with other Crew All-Stars Francis and Finley, all started the match for Columbus. Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark is leading the league with 1.66 goals against average (10 starts minimum). As prolific as their offense has been, the Crew will need to tighten up in the back to find success late in the season.
At 5-2, Orlando City broke a three match hiatus from the win column on Saturday. The Lions are still working their way up the Eastern Conference standings. With the return of Cyle Larin, you could expect Orlando will make it difficult for the teams around them to advance in the table.
Next week: Orlando visit Toronto & Columbus visits Colorado
New York City FC 2 – Montreal Impact 3
Montreal got a good head start thanks to a Dominic Oduro goal and never looked back from there. New York City started Andrea Pirlo for the first time this season. Frank Lampard also made his LONG awaited NYCFC debut. Neither player was enough to stop the Canadian Champions on a sunny Saturday in Yankee Stadium.
Lightning fast Dominic Oduro got on the end of a Laurent Ciman ball behind the backline of NYCFC. Oduro toe poked it underneath the on rushing Josh Saunders and passed the ball in for a 6th minute 1-0 lead.
New York City had a difficult time getting forward and was pinned through the midfield by the experience of Montreal. Andres Romero played another perfect ball behind the NYCFC pairing of Jason Hernandez and Jefferson Mena. Ignacio Piatti received the ball in the goal area and intelligently lifted the ball over Saunders for a two goal advantage. This was Mena’s first start in MLS after transferring from Colombia in July.
The Impact was able to limit New York City to one shot before the 67th minute. That changed in the 68th minute when David Villa converted a penalty to get NYCFC back into the game.
City supporters and most of us watching at home felt perplexed by the referee’s decision to award Montreal a penalty in the 82nd minute. Saunders made a good play on the ball, but referee Jose Carlos Rivero claimed that he had taken Piatti down. Piatti would convert the penalty, making it 3-1. That goal gave Piatti five in the past six matches.
New York City pulled a goal back when David Villa, Angelino and Thomas McNamara (who scored) combined in a spectacular fashion inside the final third of Montreal. NYCFC will continue to chase Montreal for the next few weeks. The Impact now sit three points ahead of City, with three games in hand.
Montreal did not travel their new signing Didier Drogba. Drogba is still in preseason mode and could play his first MLS minutes as early as Wednesday evening.
Next week: New York City visit NY Red Bull & Montreal host NY Red Bull
Other scores in MLS Week 22:
Seattle 0 – Vancouver 3
Philadelphia 1 – NY Red Bulls 3
New England 3 – Toronto FC 1
Kansas City 1- Houston 1
Colorado 1 – LA Galaxy 3
San Jose 0 – Portland 0
Chicago 2 – FC Dallas 0