Despite the negatives of playing during international breaks, Major League Soccer brought us some spectacular matches this weekend. Let’s take a look at the results from Week 29 of the MLS season.
New England over Orlando City 3-0
In a must-win for Orlando City, New England proved too much for the Lions and Orlando now appears to be out of playoff contention. Playing without Brazilian International Kaká and leading Rookie of the Year candidate Cyle Larin, Orlando lacked the attacking prowess needed to counter New England’s advances. Lee Nguyen put on a brilliant display passing and provided a spectacular assist, one of his three in the match, to Diego Fagundez for the first goal, making it 1-0 before the half.
Orlando came out swinging in the second half but it was defensive mishaps that allowed New England to score again in the 84th minute as Juan Agudelo was found open on the far post. Chris Tierney put the icing on the cake in stoppage time as New England is now 5-0-1 in their 6 game unbeaten streak and they recorded their third straight shutout.
Seattle over Toronto FC 2-1
With USMNT star Clint Dempsey returning to action, Seattle outlasted Toronto to the tune of two goals to one. Dempsey provided an assist as well as a goal as the Sounders look to build momentum for another playoff run.
Obefami Martins opened up the scoring early with a beautiful finish off of a Dempsey assist but an undermanned Toronto was able to equalize in the 59th minute when, after a cleared-away corner kick, Ashtone Morgan sent in a cross that found a wide-open Eriq Zavaleta. The former Seattle Sounder calmly headed it into the back of the net for his first MLS goal. Dempsey claimed the three points off of a rebound in the 77th minute and Toronto had nothing left in the tank to give as Seattle held on for the win.
Montreal Impact over Chicago Fire 4-3
In the much awaited debut start for former Chelsea man Didier Drogba, goals were in a massive surplus. Montreal, with games in hand on the other Eastern Conference teams fighting for the playoffs, came out absolutely on fire while the Fire also looked mightily impressive.
The first half was closely fought and the teams entered half time tied 2-2. Coming out of the halftime break, Harry Shipp assisted Kennedy Igboananike to put Chicago up 3-2. The Fire would not last as Drogba slotted in two more spectacular goals to add to his first half opener and the 37-year old secured a hat trick in his first MLS start. Montreal looks to be moving full steam ahead towards the playoffs and the addition of Drogba could be exactly what they needed.
Philadelphia over San Jose 2-1
While bottom-feeders Philadelphia Union seldom impress, Saturday’s match was an exception. San Jose dropped a crucial three points at home and the Union may not finish last in the Eastern Conference, or the league, if they keep this up.
Neither team impressed in the first half with only one recorded shot on goal however, the second proved an exciting match indeed. Wondolowski opened the scoring with a penalty in the 64th minute but Union sub Conor Casey came off the bench to provide two second half goals that earned the Union the win.
FC Dallas over Columbus Crew 3-0
With several players out on international duty, FC Dallas started a side with a total of 5 homegrown players with another on the bench including a 20-year old goalkeeper. Looking at those stats on paper, Columbus surely had the greatest chance to win but the youngsters from Dallas had different plans.
It was Dallas’ oldest starter, 30-year-old Atiba Harris, who opened the scoring in the 27th minute. Crew SC fell asleep on a corner kick, allowing Texeira to head Kellyn Acosta’s delivery to an unmarked Harris at the right post, and the St. Kitts & Nevis international headed home from a tight angle. Dallas went on to score two more in the second half as Columbus saw their four game unbeaten streak come to an end at home. The Crew also lost summer signing Gaston Sauro to injury just minutes into his first MLS start as the Argentine center back clashed heads with teammate Wil Trapp.
With international players set to return for next weekend, a full slate of MLS matchup’s look to provide plenty of scoring and, being MLS, plenty of bad refereeing.