MLS Week 25 Wrap-Up: Giovinco Won’t Stop

Kansas City dropped major points after finding themselves in a commanding position last week. Didier Drogba made his MLS debut, but was not able to rescue Montreal in his first MLS appearance. San Jose had the best week by far, with two away victories with a combined 7-0 scoreline. Colorado hung on to a first minute goal to beat Chicago. Vancouver continue to win over doubters with a professional win at home and Seattle stumbles once again, this time at Real Salt Lake.

LA Galaxy 5 – New York City FC 1

The LA Galaxy showed expansion franchise New York City FC what it will take for them to be crowned Champions of Major League Soccer. The rebuilt and bolstered reigning champions scored five, giving up one, on their way to winning their fourth straight league match.

Robbie Keane continued his surge to retain his MVP trophy. The Galaxy captain scored twice in the second half and added two assists to top it off.

New York City did well to keep the scoreline to 1-0 before halftime. The Galaxy hit the cross bar with an empty net and former Galaxy goalkeeper, Josh Saunders, made a few key saves to keep them in the game early.

Gyasi Zardes found the breakthrough for LA. NYCFC was found napping after Juninho restarted a freekick without being noticed by the backline. Robbie Keane’s cross found the open run of Zardes.

Keane’s first goal was assisted by new designated attacking partner Giovani dos Santos. Dos Santos drifted wide and played Keane behind the NYCFC backline with a simple diagonal ball. Keane chipped Saunders and would return the favor exactly the same thirteen minutes late; another diagonal ball behind the center backs and Saunders chipped by a multi-million dollar earning designated player.

Dos Santos, Keane and Steven Gerrard may be the stars that will grab the headlines, but LA’s best signing of the season may be 24-year old Sebastian Lletget. The left-sided wide midfielder has helped balance this transitional starting lineup and produced on scoreboard as well. The California native scored his seventh goal of the season in the 70th minute and was awarded a secondary assist when Keane scored the 5th goal in the 81st minute.

David Villa was able to break the clean sheet for the home team. Dan Gargan brought down Patrick Mullins in a clumsy challenge. It was David Villa’s 15th goal of the season, which is the most league goals he has scored since 2010-11 when he found the net 18 times for Barcelona in La Liga.

Although he was billed for this matchup, Frank Lampard did not play. His quadriceps injury has kept him out of the past two league matches for NYCFC. Lampard did make the trip to LA and trained with the team on Friday, however, coach Jason Kreis made the decision to rest the player and not risk any potential strain on the injury.

The Galaxy may stroll through to the playoffs after their recent stretch of eight wins in ten matches has brought them to the top of the conference standings and the MLS form table. The Galaxy finish the season with four difficult away fixtures in their last seven matches: Away to San Jose, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders and a visit to Sporting Kansas City on the final day of the regular season.

Next week: LA visit San Jose & New York City hosts Columbus

Toronto FC 5 – Orlando City 0

Toronto's Giovinco

Are you ready for more Sebastian Giovinco? What a talent! After reminiscing about his hat trick in the first meeting against Orlando City, Giovinco told the press that he was ‘excited’ to play Orlando again. Not only did the Atomic Ant excite the crowd of 26,300 at BMO Field, he thrilled them. Orlando City was humiliated by Toronto FC 5-0.

Through 35 minutes, neither team looked stronger or more likely to win the match over the other. Marco Delgado did have a chance that could have put the home team ahead, but the striker mis-struck the ball into the stands. Orlando City would go down to 10 men after Rafael Ramos made a careless challenge on Justin Morrow at midfield.

Toronto collected their thoughts and came out at half time with a renewed sense of motivation to win at home with a man’s advantage. Red’s captain Michael Bradley certainly led this charge with a commanding dribble inside of the first minute of the half. Bradley collected a loose ball and evaded former MLS All-Star and MLS Cup MVP Aurelien Collin. Bradley then layed off a simple ball for Delgado to smash into the net for the lead.

Adrian Winter received yellow card for commiting a wreckless foul on Giovinco outside of the goal area. This foul would set up a perfect free kick from Giovinco, who place the ball perfectly off the post and into the goal.

Morrow would connect to the end of a cross from Bradley. This time overlapping Giovinco in the goal area and then playing it across for the right back’s intelligent run to the back post.

Things would continue to get worse for Orlando. Winter’s yellow card would turn to red after lackadaisically taking down Robbie Finley in the goal area. Second half substitute Jozy Altidore took the penalty and converted it for Toronto. Winter’s red is Orlando City’s league-leading ninth sending off of the season.

Altidore would score a second and make it 5-0 in favor of the home team in the 85th minute. It was Altidore’s first goal from the run of play in 515 minutes of MLS action.

Orlando has struggled to return from injures and play cohesive soccer through the midfield. City has only picked up five points from their last possible 27 (one win in the last nine). Orlando has plenty of opportunities to pick up points against the teams around them in the table. They could sneak into the playoffs, but I wouldn’t put my money on it.

Toronto FC, however is poised to make their first MLS Playoff appearance in 2015. Barring a Seattle Sounders-like disaster, the Reds will be led by the Atomic Ant and Captain America into November.

Next week: Toronto host Montreal & Orlando hosts Chicago

Columbus Crew SC 3 – Sporting Kansas City 2

Kanasa City’s deflating 5-0 loss to San Jose at home in the midweek set up a difficult motivational swing for their away trip fixture to Columbus. The Crew took advantage of their weakened former Eastern Conference foes and came from behind to win 3-2.

Kansas City led early with a goal from left back-turned emergency left winger Marcel de Jong.

Columbus responded with a goal of their own in the 35th minute. Federico Higuain’s shot came off the crossbar and fell to Kei Kamara. The league’s leading goal scorer was in an offside position from the initial shot, but it was not called.

Sporting KC was without the brilliance of midfield Benny Feilhaber due to a red card suspension. Graham Zusi preformed well to help inspire the traveling supporters. Zusi’s goal in the 62nd minute was a brilliant moment that we know he is capable of providing, but we have not seen for some time.

Columbus is a team that will concede goals, but will certainly not find it hard to score themselves. Higuain’s free kick after 80 minutes was headed onto Tony Tchani. The midfielder rushed onto the ball and placed it past Sporting’s Tim Melia.

The Crew largely dominated second half possession and was not finished pressuring the revolving Kansas City backline. Michael Parhurst’s long ball over the top of the Sporting backline found Matt Besler out of position and let Higuain slip a shot on goal. Melia was able to save the shot, but it rebounded to the feet of new Crew striker Jack McInerney. The eight-year MLS veteran, 23-year-old McInerney pounced on the loose ball and sealed the 3-2 victory over Kansas City.

It was Columbus’s first win over Kansas City at home since 2011 and their second win in as many games against Western Conference opponents. The Crew face five games of their last eight on the road. They may not be in the Supporter’s Shield race, but they’ll be looking to avoid the first round Playoff games by finishing above 3rd in the East.

Sporting is still in the Supporter’s Shield race despite dropping their two matches last week. Kanas City will need to recover quickly if they want to manage their six road games of their final nine regular season matches well.

Next week: Columbus visit New York City & Kansas City visits Colorado

Other scores in MLS Week 25:

Columbus 2 – New York City FC 2

Kansas City 0 – San Jose 5

Portland 2 – Houston 2

Montreal 0 – Philadelphia 1

DC United 0 – San Jose 2

Chicago 0- Colorado 1

Real Salt Lake 2 – Seattle 0

Vancouver 1 – FC Dallas 0

Giovinco, Giovinco, Giovinco.

 

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About the author: Henry Hauck

 

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

Website: http://hhfooty.com/

 

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