MLS Week 23 Wrap-Up

Vancouver 4 – Real Salt Lake 0

Western Conference leaders Vancouver Whitecaps benefitted from and cruised past a young Real Salt Lake squad. Salt Lake is in the middle of a four match, twelve-day road trip and outfitted a side that gave most starters a rest.

Vancouver was gifted an early penalty kick when Octavio Rivero and Elias Vasquez were tangled up away from the ball. Rivero sent Jeff Attinella the wrong way and put the Caps up 1-0 after just 7 minutes.

Pa Modou Kah scored twice last weekend to double his MLS career total. The surprise striker, Kah, scored again for the Whitecaps in the 40th minute after Kekuta Manneh mesmerized the backline and crossed the ball through the 6-yard area for a tap in by Kah.

The RSL backline was feeling a little deja vu in the 51st minute. Another ball behind the backline through the 6-yard area was tapped in by the Whitecaps. This time it was Cristian Techera that would score an early cross by a counter attacking Jordan Harvey.

Techera striked again in the second half. Harvey’s attempt to head on a set piece bounce outside the goal area where Techera was able to collect it and find the bottom right corner of the goal. Jeff Attinella had a hard time finding the ball through a maze of red and white shirts. It was the 15th goal that has been scored on RSL in the past six MLS games.

The average age of Real Salt Lake’s starters for the night was 22.7 years old. It was a very daring and bold move by Jeff Cassar to play such a young squad against a veteran Vancouver side. A result for RSL would have been a big surpise.

Abdoulie Mansally received a red card two minutes before time. It was a challenge built from frustration and it wasn’t necessary.

Vancouver has won their past three MLS matches and outscored their opponents 10-1 in that span. Vancouver visit Kansas City next weekend, which bolsters one of the best defensive records in the league. That will be an important Supporter Shield matchup as two of the top PPG teams collide.

Next week: Vancouver visit Kansas City & Real Salt Lake hosts Portland

Toronto FC 1 – Sporting Kansas City 3

A lightweight Sporting Kansas City squad travel to Canada for to a 3-1 victory over Toronto FC. MVP candidate Benny Feilhaber lead Kansas City with a goal and assist. Toronto welcomed back their front three designated players, but that was not enough to stop the attack of Sporting in the back.

Kevin Ellis was held down as he attempted to jump for a header in the 20th minute. Referee Mark Geiger pointed to the stop and Feilhaber cooly played it down the middle to add to his career high goal tally.

Less than 60 seconds later, Toronto FC marched down the field from kickoff and scored. Michael Bradley slid the finish past a stranded Tim Melia after the SKC backline was not quite ready for the immediate pressure and off the ball movement.

Sporting would grab another goal before half time. Feilhaber’s midfield free kick was under played when reaching the goal area. Krisztian Nemeth held his run to head on the ball; that lobbed TFC keeper Joe Bendik.

Jacob Peterson iced the game for Kansas City with a left footed finish from a tight angle. The assist came from Amobi Okugo who made his first appearance for Sporting. It was Peterson’s first goal in just over a year; his last goal was also against Toronto FC at BMO Field.

Sebastian Giovinco had some dangerous moments in this match, but SKC was able to dampen his production through the midfield. He was without a shot on goal for only the third time this season.

Giovinco did turn provider in the second half. He provided US internationals Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore opportunities to score but neither could turn their efforts on goal.

Toronto only put one more shot on goal (5) than Kansas City (4), but Melia was equal to the challenge each time. Melia, a former league pool goalkeeper, saved a destined shot on goal by Jackson only to keep it out with his fingertips.

Kansas City was missing Roger Espinoza to a league suspension, Dom Dwyer to a yellow card accumulation suspension & lost Graham Zusi after picking up a knock in warmups.

Next week: Toronto visit NY Red Bulls & Kansas City hosts Vancouver

LA Galaxy 3 – Seattle Sounders 1

The LA Galaxy outfitted one of the most impressive starting lineups that MLS has ever seen. Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Rogers, Juninho, Ricketts, Keane, Lleget, Gerrard, Zardes, Dos Santos (and Leonardo). Pound for pound, this team was built over the spring and summer to make a typical late run for MLS Cup.

Without the offensive duo of Clint Dempesy, Obafemi Martins, along with midfielders Marco Pappa and Osvaldo Alonso; the Seattle Sounders have been desperate for goals after being shut out the four matches.

The Sounders did score first from a Chad Barrett strike after 50 seconds. Erik Friberg’s cross was inch perfect from the wide channel. Unfortunately for Seattle, Barrett wheeled away to celebrate and strained his hamstring. It was the Sounder’s MLS first goal in 341 minutes, a new team scoreless streak record.

The Galaxy took an early punch, but dealt three back to the Sounders. Gyasi Zardes got LA an equalizer in the 13th minute when a teasing back post cross fell for the young US international forward.

Robbie Keane cleaned up a loose ball in the goal area just after halftime. DeLaGarza’s cross was mistouched by designated player debutant Giovani Dos Santos, but fell to the feet of last season’s MVP.

Dos Santos did have a good touch in the 64th minute that would give the Galaxy three goals on the day and three points on the table. Dos Santos’ avoided the high backline with a timely run and a firm strike to the far post.

The Galaxy’s season starts now, everything else was just fore play. Baring any injuries to their creative force of Dos Santos, Keane and Gyasi Zardes, there may not be any stopping these stars from reaching their sixth MLS Cup.

Pray for the Sounders. Zigi Schmid has a lot of work to do this offseason. This Sounders squad does not seemed destined for MLS Cup, but will certainly dance its way in the playoffs.

Next week: LA visit Dallas & Seattle hosts Orlando

Other scores in MLS Week 23:

Montreal 1 – NY Red Bulls 1

Toronto FC 4 – Orlando City 1

Portland 1 – Chicago 0

Orlando City 0 – Philadelphia 0

Montreal 0 – DC United 1

Colorado 1 – Columbus 2

Houston 2 – San Jose 1

NY Red Bulls 2 – New York City FC 0

 

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About the author: Henry Hauck

 

I love watching American soccer grow, I collect official match balls & dabbling in photography.

Website: https://hhfooty.com/

 

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