Sunday, July 31, 2016

It Happened in America: FC Dallas extends Shield lead, Red Bulls salvage point at Fire

With only one match yesterday, MLS took full control of this Sunday afternoon and evening with nine total matches, including two national TV features, to keep us entertained all day long.

Sporting Kansas City 1-0 Portland Timbers
Instead of insane heat plaguing this match, we were gifted with torrential downpours throughout the first half. The conditions certainly affected play. The sloppy pitch led to inefficient passing and players slipping instead of making attacking runs. Portland's quick transition game was more or less nullified. SKC wasn't able to even get a shot on target in the first half. The second half livened up quickly. Sporting Kansas City started to pounce on the Timbers' unfamiliar defensive partnership of Amobi Okugo and Jermaine Taylor. Their lack of communication with each otehr was the reason SKC was able to pull ahead. A free kick from Dom Dwyer found Jacob Peterson for the opening goal of the match in the 50th minute. The only thing keeping this match at 1-0 was SKC's inability to bury a perfect shot and Jake Gleeson's heroics between the sticks. Portland had some chances of their own, the best coming just into stoppage time when Jack McInerney chipped a shot off the crossbar. Nothing was going for them and their poor road form continues to keep them out of a playoff spot.

Seattle Sounders 1-1 LA Galaxy
Seattle's playoff chances are rapidly shrinking as they play their first ever MLS match without Sigi Schmid in charge. Seattle actually looked the better team for much of the match. they didn't score in the first half, but did grab a goal early in the second. Cristian Roldan fired home his second career MLS goal in the 49th minute with a shot that banked off Brian Rowe and into the goal. They then proceeded to squander every chance they had for the rest of the match. Whether it 
was newcomer Nicolas Lodeiro missing a couple sitters or Jordan Morris continuing his reputation for poor finishing, Seattle couldn't buy a second goal. They paid the price for their inability to build their lead in the 78th minute. Sebastian Lletget slipped past his marker and tapped in from extreme close range to equalize. It was his first goal of the season for the Galaxy. Seattle put more pressure on after conceding, but once again their finishing left a lot to be desired and they had to settle for a single point, which doesn't exactly help their playoff odds.

FC Dallas 2-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
FC Dallas was looking to build on their Supporters Shield lead on a particularly hot evening in Dallas. The first half was scoreless, but Dallas was on the front foot for just about the entire 45 minutes. They broke the deadlock with two goals in quick succession early in the second half. First, Kellyn Acosta put them on the board in the 56th. Maxi Urruti doubled the lead with a breakaway in the 59th. This was a fantastic result for Dallas. They open their Shield lead to six points over the second place Rapids, who were all sorts of mixed up yesterday at Yankee Stadium. This on the day they received the news of Fabian Castillo's transfer to Turkey falling through, no less.

DC United 1-1 FC Montreal
After scoring MLS's lone goal in the All Star Game, Didier Drogba took his Montreal Impact into DC with the aim of putting a little more pressure on the New York sides atop the East. It was Patrick Mullins getting his first goal for DC United, however His 20th minute goal gave the home team the lead. The match retained an uncertain state until the 81st minute when DIdier Drogba took his team just about out of it. An aggressive challenge and furious response to the referee got the Ivorian star sent off straight away. Montreal would not go quietly. An 86th minute corner fell to Hernan Bernardello for his first of the year and the equalizer tonight. United had plenty of time, and chances, to develop a winner, but nothing came through for them and they settled for a disappointing point.

Chicago Fire 2-2 New York Red Bulls
You would think that one of the East's best taking on the East's worst would result in a simple win for the favorites. However, even though the Fire conceded a 16th minute own goal, the underdogs would claw back and lead at the break. David Accam levelled in the 35th and Matt Polster, the provider of the earlier own goal, put them in front deep in first half stoppage time. Despite intense pressure from the Red Bulls, it looked like the Fire would hold on for the win until the final minute. Bradley Wright-Phillips was the savior for New York by banging home a 90th minute cross. 

Philadelphia Union 1-2 Real Salt Lake
After a sad, sad showing last weekend against Montreal, the Union were looking to pick up the pieces and move forward with a home match against Real Salt Lake. They got in front late in the first half after Aaron Maund took down CJ Sapong in the penalty area. Roland Alberg converted from the spot to give the Union a half time advantage.the second half would belong to Real Salt Lake, however. They came out and stormed to a quick equalizer. Joao Plata was the goal scorer in the 48th minute. They took the lead six minutes later through Javier Morales. The Union tried to get back on level terms, but none of their chances paid off and they fell to their Western foes.

Orlando City 3-1 New England Revolution
The first couple times these two played saw lots of late drama. New England wanted to do their best to avoid that and got themselves in front through Kei Kamara in the 19th minute, Orlando would turn things around in the second half. Cyle Larin equalized within a minute of the restart and Kevin Molino had them in front in the 64th. Molino collected an 83rd minute brace to avoid any late drama from arising.

Toronto FC 3-0 Columbus Crew
Sebastian Giovinco is the key to all of Toronto FC's success, and he proved his worth again within ten minutes tonight. His eighth minute blast found the back of the net after bonking off the head of Tsubasa Endoh, who got credit for the accidental goal. Giovinco would score one of his own (without the accidental assistance from a teammate) in the 24th to double the lead. Jozy Altidore, in his first match back from injury, added the third and final tally (assisted by Giovinco) in the 87th. Columbus is pretty much done for in the East. They sit a point out of the basement and seven back of a playoff spot.

Houston Dynamo 1-1 San Jose Earthquakes
The struggling Dynamo were trying to dig themselves out of last place and thwart San Jose's attempts to claw back into the playoff race. A quiet first half finished with Alex weaving into the penalty area and smashing home in the second of three first half stoppage time minutes. San Jose was able to get back even just before the hour mark. Chris Wondolowski provided the close range volley after slipping his marker collecting a pass. After the equalizer, the teams would trade half chances with little consistent possession for the remaining half hour or so, but as the match drew closer to the end, San Jose looked more like they were playing not to lose instead of to win. It worked out, they earned the point, although a win probably would have been the better result for them.

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