It’s just heating up in Major League Soccer this season. The results are final, but the points do not mean anything if you are above the red line come November! Sporting Kansas City took home the lone away victory of the weekend. Joao Plata continues to find ways to put RSL in winning positions and Montreal doesn’t need Drogba to take care of MLS Cup finalist Crew SC at home. This weekend was bundled up with too many draws to mention, see below!
DC United 4 – Vancouver Whitecaps 0
Fabian Espindola punished the Whitecaps for two soft goals before the hour mark while second half subsitutes Alvaro Saborio and Luciano Acosta combined to give United their first win of the season
Vancouver’s David Ousted was busy. Either picking the ball out of the net or scrambling around to complete one of his nine saves in the match. On another day, this game could have been 1-5 or 2-6.
The Whitecaps had their chances. Their best opportunity came in the 67th minute when their second half substitute Erik Hurtado banged a loose ball off the post and away from goal.
Espindola was in the right place at the right time when he pounced on a loose ball in the goal area. Chris Rolfe’s shot was deflected away by Ousted, but directly in the pathway of the opposing finisher. After half time, Espidola’s second goal came from a redirection of a Steve Birmbaum’s header that came off the crossbar.
Luciano Acosta, the major winter signing for DC United, made his mark on the MLS scoring sheet for the first time. The Boca Juniors loanee tallied two wonderful assists in his short 13 minute appearance. Both landed at the foot of veteran Alvaro Saborio, who has 69 career goals in Major League Soccer.
This is the DC United team that people have hoped to see, that never turns its head. This could be a very good day at the office for them. We will wait and find out. There is still a lot to talk about with this club, on the field & in the supporter’s sections.
Vancouver had a long plane right back to the west coast to think about this loss. Their next three games will be interesting to watch. Away to RSL, Home with Dallas & Home with Kansas City. Three difficult games that could see going either way. Without the guidance of Pedro Morales, it may be a difficult month of April for the Whitecaps.
Coming into this game, DC United had only scored three times in their first five matches this season.
Next week: DC hosts Toronto & Vancouver visits Salt Lake
FC Dallas 2 – San Jose Earthquakes 2
A Mauro Diaz-less FC Dallas grabbed a 2-2 draw at home against fellow Western Conference foe San Jose Earthquakes, thanks to an own goal by Victor Bernardez.
Dallas almost started with a goal in the opening 17 seconds of the match. A speedy pass and move combination lead to a Fabian Castillo shot, but was comfortably taken care of by San Jose’s David Bingham.
Minutes later, it would be Alberto Quintero that would opening the scoring for the visiting Earthquakes. Quincy Amarikwa’s goal line run set up his pass to the top of the goal area for an on rushing strike. Quintero placed the ball wonderfully first time into the side netting with the outside of his foot.
Tesho Akindele scored his second goal in as many games with a penalty call in the 36th minute. The former (2014) Rookie of the Year sent Bingham the wrong way and sweetly side-footed his pen.
Earthquakes captain Chris Wondolowski gave his side the momentary lead with a goal in the 55th minute. Amarikwa also had the assist on the second goal. It is Amarikwa’s first MLS game with 2 assists and has three on the season. His previous career high is 5 in 2014 with the Chicago Fire, when he also set a career high for scoring, 8.
The Quakes would surrender their own 2-1 lead away from home with a disappointing own goal. Castillo’s byline cross was redirected off the head of Bernardez and into his own net.
Maynor Figueroa and Carlos Gruezo had an opportunities from long range to make it 3-2 Dallas late, but neither FC Dallas player could get their shot past the arms of Bingham.
Dallas was disappointed to have dropped a second consecutive draw at home. They are now on the road for four of their next five matches.
San Jose sure has to left with an empty feeling after they took the lead away and unfortunately beat themselves with an own goal. The Quakes have started out about as expected, with 8 points coming from 15. They are certainly a mid table Western Conference side, but will climb up the table if they can produce wins away from home.
Next week: FC Dallas visits Portland & San Jose visits Portland
Philadelphia 2 – Orlando City 1
A late and supremely satisfying Tranquillo Barnett free kick gifted the Philadelphia Union three points in a match that seemed destined for a draw.
Barnett entered in the 63rd minute of the match and left his mark on it in the 89th. A free kick from 22 yards outside of the goal area was expertly lifted over the wall and dipped inch perfectly onto the underside of the cross bar and in. It was a really special free kick that gave the Union a really special win.
The CJ Sapong experiment continues in the city of Brotherly Love and will continue if the former (2013) Rookie of the Year finds himself on the end of plays like his goal in the second minute of the match. High pressure into the six-yard area by the forward caused a mistake by Orlando City’s young right back Rafael Ramos. Ramos fluffed his clearance of the Union’s cross and the ball was then pushed across the line by Sapong.
Orlando’s Adrian Winter had a moment of brilliance or a mistouch, and regardless of what you think, that moment set up the next monumental moment in the match. Winter’s unsuspecting touch sombrero’d over the head of Union defender Keegan Rosenberry and was found by the striker’s left foot for the calm finish past Andre Blake.
Combined, the two teams took 28 shots. Only 9 of those made it to frame.
Julio Baptista did make his MLS debut for Orlando City, a year plus since his previous professional appearance. His appearance came late in the 91st minute, so we will have to see next week how this pairing of Kaka and Baptista works for the Lions.
The Union now sit on nine points from five games. Philadelphia did not reach the nine-point mark in 2015 until a May 17th home win against DC United. Already a month ahead of the previous season, the Union are beginning to turn heads and draw more intrigue from friend and foe alike.
Next week: Philadelphia visits Seattle & Orlando hosts New England
Other scores in MLS Week 5:
Montreal Impact 2 – Columbus Crew SC 0
New England Revolution 1 – Toronto FC 1
New York Red Bulls 0 – Sporting Kansas City 2
Real Salt Lake 1 – Colorado Rapids 0
Houston Dynamo 1 – Seattle Sounders 1
New York City FC 0 – Chicago Fire 0
LA Galaxy 1 – Portland Timbers 1