After the MLS All-Star loss against Atletico Madrid on Thursday, the American Major League of Soccer is back to its regular season. A scoring Philly captain addresses congress, record-breaking crowds in Atlanta as LA Galaxy loses, and Philadelphia Union crushes D.C. United on the way back to the top of the Eastern Conference table. All and more, in this week’s MLS recap.
Week 22 of the MLS was shadowed by a very sad weekend in America, with shootings in both Texas and Ohio over the weekend leaving 29 people dead. This, added to the three killed in a California shooting during the week.
Still, there were moments that show about the MLS being such a strong part of America and its community. After scoring a goal for his team three minutes into the match, Philadelphia Union’s Captain Alejandro Bedoya took a moment and grabbed a side line microphone, addressing the crowd, and nation: “Hey Congress, do something now! End gun violence! Let’s go!”
Needless to say that Bedoya was cheered by fans of all sides.
Atlanta United 3 – 0 LA Galaxy
Starting with the crowds, Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium was packed with 72,548 fans, a record attendance for a single regular-season game of the MLS schedule. LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimović was missing, due to a yellow-card accumulation suspension, and the hosts were there to make the most of it.
Two own goals by LA Galaxy players, starting with center back Dave Romney sliding after a ball on its way into his team’s net (23’), followed by teammate and fellow center back Giancarlo Gonzalez deflecting another ball into Galaxy’s goal (43’).
What sealed the win for the hosts was Gonzalez fouling in the Atlanta box on a clearance attempt, giving Atlanta United a penalty kick (72’) that was converted by Josef Martinez.
New York Red Bulls 2 – 0 Toronto FC
The New York Red Bulls were looking for this win after losing 3-1 at the BMO field in Toronto when the sides met last on July 17th. A goalless first half did show the Canadian visitors as a better team with more opportunities created. Still, the first score of the match was an own-goal that came from Toronto’s French Defender Chris Mavinga, sliding and deflecting a ball into his own net (55’).
Justin Morrow denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity for New York and was sent off (89’), leaving Toronto with 10 men. And minutes later New York’s Kemar Lawrence doubled the Red Bull’s lead in stoppage time (90’+1’).
Helping to keep New York’s clean sheet was goalkeeper Luis Robles, who made three saves on the night.
New England Revolution 0 – 2 LAFC
LAFC traveled to Gillette Stadium to shut down the New England hosts and put an end to their 11-game unbeaten streak.
Early into the game, LA’s Uruguayan winger Diego Rossi collected a long ball and kicked a beautiful arch into the hosts net (8’).
LAFC almost scored another when the ball was nearly deflected in by New England’s center back Andrew Farrell (41’).
The guests from LA still managed to double their lead, with Ghanaian midfielder Latif Blessing scoring in the second half (72’).
Orlando City FC 2 – 0 FC Dallas
After hosting the MLS All-Star game last week in their stadium, Orlando FC continued the momentum of providing their supporters with quality football.
Ex Dallas player Tesho Akindele scored early in the match against his former team (13’), and even though Dallas FC dominated possession (over 65%), the guests still didn’t convert that dominance into opportunities and chances.
Orlando’s Carlos Ascues then doubled Orlando’s lead in injury time (90’+2’).
FC Cincinnati 1 – 2 Vancouver Whitecaps
Two teams that are in desperate need of more points this season met at Nippert Stadium in Ohio on a quest of a needed win.
Cincinnati took an early lead with Allan Cruz giving the home team and early advantage (6’). The hosts did manage to maintain their lead for most of the first half until Vancouver’s Inbeom Hwang scored for his team minutes before halftime (42’). The Whitecaps doubled their lead later in the game with Felipe scoring a second goal (85) and giving Vancouver this much-needed win.
Colorado Rapids 6 – 3 Montreal Impact
Probably one of the wildest and most exciting games in MLS week 22, the Colorado Rapids came from behind to win Montreal Impact 6-3 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Rapid’s Kei Kamara put the first numbers on the board with an own goal (18’), giving the Canadian hosts the lead. This was short-lived, as Colorado’s Evan Bush equalized with another own goal (21’).
Kei Kamara then went on to compensate for his damage, and converted a penalty (36’), followed by another goal in stoppage time (45’+1), which was then followed by another Colorado goal minutes later (Diego Rubio, 45’+4’).
Montreal fought back with their own goals in the second half (Maxi Urruti, 55’ and Saphir Taider converting a penalty kick, 77’). However, that wasn’t enough.
Kei Kamara sealed the visitors’ win on the 90th minute with a third goal, which also marks the second hat trick of his career.
As Colorado’s striker, Diego Rubio put it best: “Wild, the wild game”.
D.C. United 1 – 5 Philadelphia Union
Philadelphia Union is back atop the Eastern Conference MLS table, with a brilliant win against D.C. United which proves that the top seat still belongs to Philly.
Alejandro Bedoya gave the Union an early lead (3’), followed by teammate Marco Fabian doubling Philly’s lead in added time (45’+2’).
The hosts kept on going into the second half, with Kasper Przybylko scoring right back from halftime (52’), to be answered by D.C. visitors shortly thereafter with a goal by Fredrick Brillant (54’).
Still, this wasn’t enough for D.C. United, as Philadelphia Union kept the momentum going and finished with Marco Fabian and Fafa Picault scoring for Philly later in the game (72’ and 90’) and sealing the victory for the Pennsylvania side.
More from around the MLS on week 22
Chicago Fire kept their playoff hopes alive for now and broke a winless streak of five matches, beating Huston Dynamo 1-0.
Despite a strong start with NYCFC’s Alex ring scoring an early first goal (4’), Real Salt Lake retaliated with three goals of its own later in the match, winning the struggling New York City FC 3-1.
San Jose Earthquakes hosted Columbus Crew SC, and despite dominating the field on possession, couldn’t secure a win against the Crew visitors, with the match ending at a 1 – 1 tie.
A goalless match between Minnesota United and Portland Timbers ended in an injury-time goal when Portland’s Ethan Finlay converted a penalty kick (90’+2’) giving the Timbers a 1 – 0 win.
Sporting Kansas City FC got to keep their Western Conference playoff hopes alive, with a well-needed 3 – 2 victory against Seattle Sounders.