NYCFC continues to dominate, Minnesota United FC turning things around, and Clint Dempsey makes us shake our heads yet again, and not in a good way. Here’s what went down this week around MLS Week three!
DC United: 2 (0-1-2)
Houston Dynamo: 2 (1-1-1)
A valiant second half comeback salvaged a draw for DC United at the Maryland Soccerplex. Luciano Acosta tied the match at 2 in the 97th minute on a free kick from midfielder Yamil Asad. Darren Mattocks added his 2nd goal of the season back in the 50th minute. The most impressive goal of the match came in the 30th minute when Dynamo forward Alberth Ellis played an excellent chip to himself before driving home the first goal of the day, and accounted for the assist on Houston’s other goal only one minute later! He is off to a fantastic start in 2018 with 2 goals and 3 assists.
It doesn’t get any easier for DC United as they have to travel to Columbus this week, while the Dynamo have a chance to right the ship in two weeks at home vs New England.
Minnesota United FC: 2 (2-1-0)
Chicago Fire: 1 (0-2-0)
Minnesota’s home opener couldn’t have gone much better. Chicago was without Bastian Schweinsteiger whose wife is expecting. Midfielder Sam Nicholson stepped up for the Loons who were without Kevin Molino, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Ethan Finley contributed a quality cross to Nicholson who headed in his goal in the 66th minute for the game-winner. Scoring his first MLS goal for Chicago was forward, Eilliot Collier, but that was due more to poor play by the Loons’ back four.
Their defense on Collier’s goal resembled that of most pee-wee leagues in which every player runs to the kid with the ball. Hopefully for Minnesota that won’t continue. They have a tough test this week at the New York Red Bulls. In two weeks, the Fire will host a struggling Portland club playing their fourth consecutive road game.
Philadelphia Union: 0 (1-0-1)
Columbus Crew: 0 (2-0-1)
There weren’t many stand-out moments in this afternoon affair in which newly signed midfielder Borek Dockal made his Union debut. The first half saw some solid possession by both clubs but neither was able to hit the back of the net. The second half was a bit more wide open with both the Union and the Crew taking a few chances, but each team was only able to amass 3 shots on target for the game. The Union missed a golden opportunity late in the 2nd half but became pass-happy when a few different players could have taken the shot. They need to get more greedy in those situations.
Gyasi Zardes had the best opportunity of anyone to score while on a break-away in the 64th minute. Unfortunately for Zardes, he wasn’t able to get anything behind his attempt and it was easily handled by goalkeeper Andre Blake. As for Dockal, he had a decent game and showed some fight but as expected was not quite in sync with a few of his teammates. Philadelphia will play their first road match at Colorado in two weeks, which will only be their third match of the season as well. The Crew return home this Saturday to battle DC United.
Montreal Impact: 1 (1-2-0)
Toronto FC: 0 (0-2-0)
In this tight affair north of the border, Impact rookie midfielder Jeisson Vargas blasted home the difference-maker a few minutes before halftime with a shot just inside the 18 yard box. It’s pretty clear that Toronto playing in the CONCACAF Champions League could be wearing them down. Mustering only 7 total shots on goal in their first two matches, the 2017 MLS Champions have yet to score in MLS play in 2018. This after averaging a league best 74 goals a year ago. Montreal has what is always a tough test when they play the Sounders at Century Link Field in two weeks.
Toronto has a chance to regroup over the next two weeks. No more CCL matches until April 3rd, but a home match vs Real Salt Lake only four days earlier. It will be interesting to see if the bye week will help them get in the winning column.
NYCFC: 2 (3-0-0)
Orlando City FC: 0 (0-2-1)
With David Villa out of the lineup, it looked like Orlando City was going to be able to pull off at least a tie in the Bronx. Then they fell apart. NYCFC forward Ismael Tajouri scored his first MLS goal off a lackluster clearance from Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik in the 62nd minute. Twelve minutes later Orlando was turned over on their side of the field again, leading to Maximiliano Moralez’s 2nd goal of the season.
The league better beware of these guys. No longer just the David Villa show, NYCFC has seen 5 different players register at least one goal and 5 different players hand out at least one assist in only their first three games. They will look to keep the ball rolling this week and go 4-0-0 when they travel to New England this weekend to take on the Revolution. Orlando City has an opportunity to get things back in line when they host the New York Red Bulls in a few weeks.
Atlanta United FC: 4 (2-1-0)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: 1 (2-1-0)
In what looked to possibly be the match of the weekend, Atlanta was not having it and handed Vancouver a humbling 4-1 defeat. The Whitecaps were already in a hole when Kei Kamara was removed from the starting 11 with a groin injury. The match took a turn in the 13th minute when Vancouver center back Kendall Watson was sent off with a red card for throwing an elbow. Atlanta cashed in on the man advantage and Josef Martinez was the biggest beneficiary, nailing a hat trick, including a penalty kick after Watson’s red card. Martinez has taken the league lead in goals, totaling 4 early on. Vancouver didn’t help themselves out either when left back, Aaron Maund, knocked an Atlanta cross into his own goal.
Make sure you check out Atlanta’s goal in the 60th minute when their team speed and precision passing is on full display. It should be a solid test for two clubs in great form when Minnesota hosts Atlanta on March 31. The Whitecaps will look for their second win at home this week when the LA Galaxy come to town.
Sporting Kansas City: 3 (2-1-0)
San Jose Earthquakes: 2 (1-1-0)
The scoring for this one opened in the 25th minute when Kansas City midfielder Ilie Sanchez converted on a penalty kick. A few minutes prior, San Jose goalkeeper, Andrew Tarbell took out SKC midfielder Johnny Russell during a slide tackle which resulted in the penalty. From just outside the box, Graham Zusi added to his team’s total on a perfectly placed goal into the upper left-hand corner. Although it was a quality shot, not one Earthquake defender stepped to Zusi while he dribbled from the far right side of the field to directly in front of goal. Look for this one in the 56th minute below!
Chris Wondolowski’s goal in the 91st minute was too little to late. He is now only 10 goals behind Landon Donovan for the all-time MLS career record of 145. SKC manager Peter Vermes can’t be content as his club has given up multiple goals in all three matches this season. His defense will have a good chance to hold it’s opponent under 2 goals at Colorado this week. If the Earthquakes play defense vs NYCFC in two weeks like they did this week vs SKC, it could get ugly.
Real Salt Lake: 1 (1-1-1)
NY Red Bulls: 0 (1-1-0)
Coming off recent CONCACAF Champions League play, the Red Bulls started this match with Bradley Wright-Phillips and Aurelien Colin on the bench. There wasn’t much scoring punch for either squad and combined with some bad weather in Salt Lake City, both teams were only able to generate 7 total shots on target for the entire game.
Although New York controlled possession at 60/40 and all four yellow card bookings were issued to Real Salt Lake, the one penalty that mattered was called on NY forward Carlos Rivas who pulled down defender David Horst during a free kick. Albert Rusnak had Luis Robles going the other way on a PK in just the 4th minute and that turned out to be the game winner. Real Salt Lake is in for a tough battle when they travel to goal-less Toronto in two weeks, while the Red Bulls face a rejuvenated Minnesota club Saturday night.
FC Dallas: 3 (1-0-1)
Seattle Sounders FC: 0 (0-2-0)
With two goals and an assist, FC Dallas forward Roland Lamah stood out with an excellent match. Overshadowed by that fantastic game was Clint Dempsey, yet again putting his frustrations in the forefront, at the expense of his teammates. The Sounders were already limping into Dallas off of CCL play and were without offensive weapons Will Bruin and Nicolas Lodeiro.
In the 37th minute and down only one goal, Demsey delivered a cheap shot to the nether regions of FC Dallas midfielder Jacori Hayes. Making himself look more ridiculous, Dempsey applauded in the referee’s face before leaving the field. This behavior seems to be occurring more during the past few seasons in regards to the Seattle forward. Maybe he just really admires Grayson Allen. FC Dallas will try to make it two wins in a row when they host a struggling Portland team this weekend. Seattle returns home to play the Impact in two weeks. Hopefully enough time to heal up and send Dempsey to anger management.
Week 3 Goals:
Re-watch all the goals from Week 3 ⬇️https://t.co/RJsNJoKWOD
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 19, 2018
Week 3 Saves:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 20, 2018
Team of the Week:
Player of the Week, week three:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 20, 2018
Week Three Power Rankings:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 20, 2018
Week four fixtures:
Saturday, March 24th:
New England Revolution vs New York City FC | 1:30 PM EST
FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers | 3:30 PM EST
Columbus Crew SC vs DC United | 6:00 PM EST
New York Red Bulls vs Minnesota United FC | 7:00 PM EST
Colorado Rapids vs Sporting Kansas City | 9:00 PM EST
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs LA Galaxy | 10:00 PM EST
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Peace out Union fans!