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MLS Roundup: Sporting Kansas City retake West as FC Dallas Stumble

In the build-up to the MLS All-Stars game against Real Madrid on August 2nd, several teams had drops in form while others performed surprisingly well. FC Dallas lost control of the west to SKC, while the Fire faltered in their race with Toronto for the East.

Philadelphia Union 3-0 Columbus Crew

The Union dominate as the Crew finish the game with nine men.

Ilsinho scored the first for the Union in the 20th minute after C.J. Sapong delivered an overhead pass into the the box. Jonathan Mensah set the Crew up for an even tougher night when he took down C.J. Sapong who was in a clear goal scoring opportunity, receiving a straight red card, and giving away a penalty. Roland Alberg stepped up to take the penalty for the Union, but Crew keeper Zack Steffen only just managed to keep it out off the crossbar.

C.J. Sapong doubled the Union’s lead in the 66th when he tapped the ball into the open net after his header rebounded off the post. A second yellow to Labas Abubakar resulting in a red card in the 76th minute brought the Crew down to nine men, setting up an almost impossible comeback task. It wasn’t to be as Marcus Epps scored his first career MLS goal in the 81st to put the Union up 3-0 and end scoring.

FC Dallas 0-4 Vancouver Whitecaps

The Whitecaps perform well to topple Dallas off the top of the West and earn their first ever win away to Dallas.

The evening didn’t start as roughly for division leaders FC Dallas as it ended, as the first half was relatively close. Roland Lamah had a goal disallowed early on due to being offside, setting a precedence for the night. Bernie Ilbini-Isei scored from 22 yards out in the 18th minute as Jesse Gonzalez stepped just the wrong way and was unable to save it.

Young USMNT star Kellyn Acosta gave away a controversial penalty early in the second half, which Fredy Montero tucked away in the 49th minute. Ten minutes later, Carlos Gruezo is given a straight red card after appearing to elbow Yordy Reyna after the latter seemingly body checked him. Fredy Montero scored his brace in the 67th with a tight finish from just inside the box. Nicolas Mezquida scored what must be the goal of the week, if not a contender for goal of the season with a bicycle kick in the 83rd to put the Whitecaps up 4-0.

Atlanta United FC 1-1 Orlando City SC

Atlanta and Orlando both fall short as the East runs away.

Both teams hit the post on several occasions, making for a nail-biting display for both sides. Kaka scored the first goal of the game in the 40th minute with a first time shot from 25 yards out. Atlanta managed to tie the game as Hector Villalba scored in the 92nd minute after a perfect through pass by Yamil Asad.

New England Revolution 3-0 Philadelphia Union

The Revolution overtake the Union in the East with strong shutout.

Kei Kamara was the first to score as the Revolution forward leapt clear of Union keeper John McCarthy to score from a cross in the 38th minute.

Kamara netted his brace and the Revolution’s second in 85th minute with a crisp finish from about 15 yards out. Second-half sub Juan Agudelo scored in the 89th minute with a header to complete the Revolution’s rout of the Union.

New York Red Bulls 4-0 Montreal Impact

The Red Bulls continue stampede of goals as the Impact fall.

Daniel Royer opened scoring for the Red Bulls in the 23rd minute after he netted the penalty after he was upended in the box by Impact keeper Maxime Crepeau.

Michael Murillo scored the Red Bull’s second, and his first of the season in the 58th minute after a corner kick resulted in a scramble just in front of the Impact net. Bradley Wright-Phillips seemingly appeared in the in the box to reach in and score in the 85th minute. Daniel Royer earned his brace with a neat finish in the 89th minute to score the Red Bulls fourth.

San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 Colorado Rapids

The Earthquakes stay in playoff contention as the Rapids continue to falter.

The Earthquake’s Nick Lima scored the only goal of the game with a cannon of a shot from 30-yards out after the ball fell to him following a corner in the 59th minute. The Rapids will need to find some way to rebuild from this season as they are once again dominated for much of the game.

Real Salt Lake 2-2 Columbus Crew

Ola Kamara brace helps the Crew to draw against cross-division RSL.

Ola Kamara opened the scoring for the Crew in the 15th minute powerful shot from about 12 yards out after a scramble in the box.

Joao Plata scored RSL’s first in the 50th minute via penalty after a hand ball was called in the Crew penalty box. Just three minutes later, Jefferson Savarino got on the end of a beautiful pass just inside of the Crew’s half and dribbled all the way to score from just inside the box. Ola Kamara rescued the game for the Crew with a daring finish of a ball that was loose in front of an open RSL goal after a deflection off the crossbar.

Houston Dynamo 2-2 Portland Timbers

Late goal helps the Dynamo to draw with the Timbers in fight for the West.

Timbers’ midfielder Diego Valeri was the first to score, netting in the 13th minute after a deft touch and expert finish. Mauro Manotas brought the Dynamo level in the 37th minute after the ball fell to him in the box after a deflection off the keeper.

Sebastian Blanco put the Timbers back on top with a goal in the 43rd minute off a great pass in front of goal by Diego Valeri. Juan Cabezas rescued the draw for the Dynamo with a goal in the 81st minute after a collapse in the Timbers’ defence.

Sporting Kansas City 3-2 Chicago Fire

SKC edge the Fire to retake the West and keep Chicago short of the East.

Daniel Salloi opened the scoring for SKC in the 23rd minute when his shot from distance deflected off the foot of a defender. The Fire levelled the score-line in the 28th minute via the humiliation of Fire defender, Matt Besler, scoring an own goal. SKC found themselves back in the lead in the last minutes of the first half when Benny Feilhaber performed an overhead finish from a ball that deflected off keeper Matt Lampson’s hands.

Latif Blessing doubled SKC’s lead in the 51st minute with a tight finish from close range. David Accam scored a hopeful goal for the Fire off the post in the 78th minute, but it would prove futile in the long run as they couldn’t produce another goal.

Minnesota United FC 4-0 DC United

Minnesota score four to keep DC bottom of the MLS.

Christian Ramirez scored Minnesota’s first in the seventh minute with a fantastic half volley of Kevin Molino’s lobbed pass. Abu Danladi scored in the 40th minute to double Minnesota’s lead.

DC’s Jared Jeffrey suffered the ignominy of scoring in own goal in the 58th minute, after being subbed on at the half. Miguel Ibarra scored in the 91st minute off the fingertips of DC keeper Bill Hamid to finish the scoring at 4-0 for Minnesota.

LA Galaxy 0-0 Seattle Sounders FC

Both sides failed to score as the Galaxy continue their search for form.

The Galaxy just managed to hold on to a draw despite going down to ten men in the dying minutes of the game thanks to a red card to Jelle van Damme after he received his second yellow due to a rough tackle on Nicolas Lodeiro.

Toronto FC 4-0 New York City FC

Toronto blitz NYCFC to solidify position at top of the East.

Sebastian Giovinco scored the first goal of the game for Toronto with a curled effort from distance in the 32nd minute after his first effort earlier in the game went just wide. Giovinco doubled the lead with a perfectly aimed free kick from 23 yards out in the 67th minute.

Jozy Altidore earned and then scored a penalty in the 75th minute to put Toronto up 3-0. Sebastian Giovinco then perfectly set up Raheem Edwards to score in the 82nd minute, which he did with a wonderful half volley. NYCFC got a chance for a consolation goal in the form of a penalty in the 93rd minute, but Maximiliano Moralez blasted it way over the crossbar to leave NYCFC dumbfounded at the end of the game.

Team of the Week

From this week onward,  I’ll be picking a team of the week based on my evaluation of the player’s importance and impact on their teams’ match(s) for the week. I’ll try to format it as a 4-4-2 team so as to give more players a chance to feature, but I may not always find that there are enough standout players to fit that formation and so will adapt where needed. Without further ado, I give you my picks for MLS Team of the Week.

GK – Alex Bono (Toronto FC)

In this week’s only Sunday game, Toronto FC not only managed to score four past a strong NYCFC team, but Alex Bono managed to hold one of the league’s most dynamic attacking threats in the form of David Villa at bay.

DF – Michael Murillo (New York Red Bulls)

Though not a regular for the Red Bulls, the young Murillo put in an excellent performance in Saturday’s game against the Impact. He both helped to keep the shutout and scored his first goal of the season to top off the performance.

DF – Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Zusi has sort of reinvented himself at right-back this season, and his constant presence can be felt along that right side. His attacking efforts especially were felt in the win over Chicago Fire on Saturday when one of his plays ended in the fantastic overhead goal by Benny Feilhaber.

DF – Sheanon Williams (Vancouver Whitecaps)

Sheanon Williams was tasked with managing Dallas’ Roland Lamah and Ryan Hollingshead in the shutout of the leaders of the East, and he managed to do so quite well. His long-throw at the close of the game also assisted Nicolas Mezquida’s phenomenal bicycle kick.

DF – Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution)

A strong attacking fullback, Andrew Farrell is also excellent at regaining possession in the defence and is partly responsible for the shutout of the Union on Saturday. He also assisted Kei Kamara’s second goal in a display of his attacking talent and awareness.

MF – Brek Shea (Vancouver Whitecaps)

While he didn’t get on the scoresheet during the Whitecaps Destruction of Dallas, Shea was instrumental in the build-up of almost every move. His control on the ball, and his movement that allowed attacking runs to be made past him were wonderful and earned him a pace in this Team of the Week.

MF – Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)

Valeri makes the team after both finding the net and assisting a goal in the Timber’s draw with the Dynamo. His excellent touches and awareness of his team mates are an excellent asset to any team, and are what helped him make this one.

MF – Victor Vazquez (Toronto FC)

Though Vazquez didn’t get on the scoresheet, he was vital in play during Toronto’s domination. He took part in the majority of build-up, and was responsible for several goal-scoring opportunities.

MF –Kellyn Rowe (New England Revolution)

A constant presence in the Revolution’s midfield, Kellyn Rowe displayed his passing prowess with a lobbed effort towards goal that Kei Kamara was just able to touch over the keeper. A threat throughout the game, Rowe had a hand in several scoring opportunities that didn’t quite pan out throughout the game.

FW – C. J. Sapong (Philadelphia Union)

In the Union’s victory over the Crew last Wednesday, it seemed like Sapong was the director on the field. Basically hand-feeding Ilsinho’s goal to him, and a goal of his own, Sapong was present in every attacking move the Union made.

FW – Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)

Giovinco’s brace served as the platform from which Toronto completely routed NYCFC, and his skill on the ball and in finishing earned him in easy place on this Team of the Week. Both of his goals displayed his ability to shoot from range, and his assist for the fourth goal highlighted is dynamic awareness of his teammates on the pitch.

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