Crazy that we’re in Week five and this is the first truly full slate of matches in MLS this season. Here’s our in-depth look at all the action! This week around MLS Week five.
Toronto FC: 3 (1-2-0)
Real Salt Lake: 1 (1-2-1)
Things got under way Friday night with the defending champs looking for their first win of 2018. Not only their first win, but Toronto was also hoping to net their first goal of the season, and we’re almost into April. Real Salt Lake looked to be going down early when midfielder Damir Kreilach was called for a handball in the box. Nick Rimando was able to thwart Sebastian Giovinco’s penalty attempt and it appeared Real Salt Lake might have luck on their side. RSL’s luck would run out just a few minutes later when defender Justen Glad took down Jozy Altidore. Toronto took the lead when Altidore converted his penalty and then went up 2-0 just before halftime on another goal from the U.S. national.
The possession battle was fairly close but Toronto looked determined and constantly put offensive pressure on Real Salt Lake to seal the victory. Real Salt Lake will try to dig out of their offensive drought at home next Saturday vs. Vancouver, while Toronto has another few weeks of CONCACAF Champions League play before returning to MLS action in Colorado.
Orlando City FC: 4 (1-2-1)
NY Red Bulls: 3 (2-2-0)
This was a special one for Orlando midfielder Sacha Klejstan as he was taking on his former club for the first time, one that he had played over 100 games for since 2015. With Bradley Wright-Phillips and Tyler Adams not starting for the Red Bulls, the house was stacked against them before the opening whistle. It was a back-and-forth affair from the start, with each club trading a pair of goals before the break. Orlando would take a 3-2 lead when Dom Dwyer completed a brace early in the second half off a poorly defended throw-in from Mohamed El-Munir. Things got intense as NY defender Aaron Long headed in the equalizer in the 82nd minute. It wouldn’t be enough because less than 5 minutes later, Orlando’s Josue Coleman deflected a blast from Scott Sutter into the back of the net.
Not all bad news for the Red Bulls. Rookie Frenchman, Florian Valot, scored his first MLS goal and added a beautiful through-ball to Derrick Etienne for his first assist as well. Orlando will look to get back in the win column when they host a disappointing Portland club this weekend. New York is back on the CONCACAF beat this week before returning home to face the Impact on April 14.
Columbus Crew SC: 1 (3-1-1)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: 2 (3-1-1)
In another “revenge” game, Kei Kamara returned to Columbus to battle some of his old teammates from the 2015 and 2016 seasons. His departure was unceremonious to say the least, and the fans let him know with a chorus of boos throughout the match. It was looking like business as usual for the Crew when Gyasi Zardes knocked in his 4th goal of the season in the 29th minute. A blast from midfielder Pedro Santos was deflected, but not contained by Vancouver goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, and the ball was laid on a platter for Zardes. After tying it up with a Brek Shea header early in the 2nd half, Kei Kamara had the last laugh nailing a bullet header off a solid service by Whitecaps newcomer, Felipe.
Columbus dominated possession 67% to 33%, but Vancouver didn’t break and took advantage of their opportunities when they counted. It won’t get much easier for the Crew as they travel to the rival Chicago Fire, who are desperate for their first win of 2018. The Whitecaps seem to be clicking on all cylinders but a visit to Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City is never an easy task.
LA Galaxy: 4 (2-1-1)
LAFC: 3 (2-1-0)
I heard something about this Ibrahimovic guy possibly playing this week. We’ll get back to him in a minute. It looked early on like the new kids on the block were going to come into Stub Hub Center and give the old guard a good spanking. LAFC forward Carolos Vela got things started with an absolutely sick curler into the upper left portion of the goal. He would notch a brace just 20 minutes later. Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham had to come out and challenge Vela after his defense let him down and Vela won out. The home team’s sloppiness continued into the 2nd half when defender Daniel Steres looked half asleep knocking in an own goal. Down 3-0 and unfocused, the Galaxy looked done for the day but they were soon helped out by LAFC’s own lackadaisical defense. Due to a poor clearance deep in LAFC territory, Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget was able to capitalize and finally get his club on the board. Shortly after, California native Chris Pontius would send home a header from an assist by Emmanuel Boateng, cutting the lead to 3-2.
Then the roof would be blown off Stub Hub Center (if it had one). Just a few minutes after subbing in for his Galaxy debut, Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent a superman-like rocket from about 40 yards out over the head of a dumbfounded Tyler Miller. Nothing you can say or do about that one. Oh yeah, he then sent in the game-winner in extra time. Defender Ashley Cole set him up with a floating crosser, but Zlatan over-powered and out-jumped two defenders as well as goalkeeper Tyler Miller for the game-winner. It was something special. At the same time, a truly disheartening loss for LAFC. They won’t have much time to regroup with a tough trip to Atlanta this weekend. We will see if this extended road trip is starting to take it’s toll. The Galaxy get to celebrate and stay home. They’ll await the arrival of first place Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night.
Chicago Fire: 2 (0-2-1)
Portland Timbers: 2 (0-2-2)
In the only draw of the weekend, this wasn’t the game to watch if you were looking for a high-scoring affair. Prior to this match, both clubs combined for only 6 goals and a -7 goal differential. Things did get off to a fast start when the Chicago defense lost track of Diego Valeri down the middle of the field, leading to an easy put-away. Valeri became the first Portland Timber not named Sebastian Blanco to score this season. Bastian Schweinsteiger’s return seemed to ignite the Fire and he had a hand in assisting their two goals on the day, including one to defending goal scoring champion, Nemanja Nikolic.
It took a diving save by goalkeeper Jake Gleeson in the waning moments to preserve the road point for the Timbers. Their torrid schedule continues this week in Orlando, which will be their fifth consecutive road match to start the 2018 season. Chicago will have their hands full with a Columbus squad hungry to get back on the winning track.
Minnesota United FC: 0 (2-3-0)
Atlanta United FC: 1 (3-1-0)
The last time Atlanta visited the Loons, they put up 6 goals, plowing through the home team on a snow-covered field. The tone of this one would be totally different. For the first time in a while, Minnesota had most of their defense in place. Injuries and international duty had clearly hindered them in recent weeks. Frigid temperatures made it difficult to generate any consistent offense and the only goal of the match, would be an own goal off Minnesota defender, Francisco Calvo. The Loons had their chances. After Atlanta defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was given his second yellow card during the 38th minute of play, Minnesota had a man advantage from then on. Despite controlling possession at 70/30, they could muster only a few shots on goal. Their best chance came in the 87th minute, but Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan made a solid diving stop off a well-paced shot from midfielder Sam Nicholson.
Newly signed attacker, Darwin Quintero should suit up soon for Minnesota and they can use the boost. They have this week off to get everything in place before heading to Portland. Atlanta hosts LAFC this week in what could be the match of the weekend. LAFC is the only club averaging 3 goals per game and will be a tough out for the home team.
San Jose Earthquakes: 1 (1-2-0)
NYCFC: 2 (4-0-1)
It looked like David Villa was returning to action for this one, but he aggravated the calf that had kept him out of the past few games, during warm-ups. The Earthquakes wanted to jump on the top club in MLS and they got on the board in only the 3rd minute. Rookie defender, Yeferson Quintana scored his first MLS goal, with a header off a corner kick from a tough angle. NYCFC wasn’t generating much of an attack until left back Anton Tinnerholm nailed a one-timer off a corner kick early in the 2nd half. The beasts from the east would finally take the lead for good when midfielder Maximiliano Moralez scored his 3rd goal of the season in the 60th minute.
The star of this one though was NYCFC goalkeeper, Sean Johnson. He preserved the win by making 9 saves, including a beauty to stop a free kick from San Jose’s Magnus Eriksson in the 56th minute. New York has this week off before hosting Real Salt Lake next Wednesday, while the Earthquakes have to travel cross-country to take on the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium.
Houston Dynamo: 0 (1-2-1)
New England Revolution: 2 (2-1-1)
Both clubs had their opportunities in this tight contest, but the differences were Houston’s DaMarcus Beasley exiting after a red card in the 35th minute, as well as New England goalkeeper Matt Turner making a few fantastic saves. Check out his stops in the 5th and 62nd minutes in the highlights below! The Revolution’s team speed was on full display during Teal Burnbury’s first goal of the season, on the counter-attack. Four New England players sprinted down the pitch, blowing past all Dynamo defenders sans one.
The ultimate highlight came in the 71st minute. Newly signed Ecuadorian forward, Cristian Penilla put on an absolutely sick display of dribbling, foot speed and touch on the goal that sealed the victory. I’d be shocked if it’s not a goal of the week nominee. The Dynamo and Alberth Ellis will try to get back in the scoring column in two weeks in San Jose vs. the Earthquakes. New England has a quicker turnaround this Friday when they host an in-form Montreal Impact team.
Sporting Kansas City: 1 (3-1-1)
D.C. United: 0 (0-3-2)
Talk about two clubs trending in different directions. Although KC has given up way too many goals for coach Peter Vermes’s liking, their scoring punch has been an unexpected surprise. D.C., on the other hand, is hoping Audi Field would open tomorrow. They are getting dominated wherever they go. The opportunities were few and far between in this one. D.C. forward Darren Mattocks didn’t attempt a shot in the 90 minutes he was on the pitch, but it’s not like he had any service either. The only goal of the match occurred in the third minute by Kansas City midfielder Felipe Gutierrez, who now leads MLS with 5 goals on the season.
His club is tied for most team goals with 10 but has also surrendered 9. This will need to be addressed quickly since they’ll be battling Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy on the road Sunday night. The vagabond known as D.C. United returns to action in two weeks when they host the Columbus Crew at Navy Marine Corps. Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD.
Philadelphia Union: 0 (1-1-1)
Colorado Rapids: 3 (1-1-1)
Since 2015, the Philadelphia Union are 7-29-15 on the road. That’s not a misprint. Let’s look at it this way. In the past three seasons under coach Jim Curtain, the Union have lost nearly 60% of their road matches. That means coming away with nothing. He said during the preseason that he knows performance on the road has to improve and gave the impression that they would try to force the issue this season, rather than playing back on their heels. For the first half of this one, things were looking OK. Nothing spectacular but it was clear both clubs were still feeling each other out. Despite an Andre Blake-like double save just before halftime, there were no real opportunities for either team. The scoring started in the 53rd minute when Rapids forward Dominique Badji out-fought defender Jack Elliot to head in a corner kick.
It began to fall apart for Philly in the 61st minute after a poor clearance off the head of rookie left back Matt Real. After a short scramble, Badji had an easy put away with three Union defenders leaving him unmarked. Badji completed the hat-trick with another goal in the 87th minute. First road match in what was to be a different season on the road for the Union, and they are blown out by what many anticipated to be one of the worst teams in MLS. Not good. Luckily for the Union, they return home this week, where they usually up their level of play, to take on the Earthquakes. Colorado travels to the lone star state to face what should be a well-rested FC Dallas squad.
Seattle Sounders FC: 0 (0-3-0)
Montreal Impact: 1 (2-2-0)
For any Sounder fan hoping this would be the week their club wakes up, they can go back to waiting. The only score of the match came in the 61st minute after a poor clearance by Seattle left back Waylon Francis. It would be rookie midfielder Jession Vargas’s 2nd goal of the year and fellow midfielder Ignacio Piatti’s 3rd assist. This was all after Seattle right back Kelvin Leerdam was shown a red card for a light slap, albeit a slap, to the face of Impact defender Daniel Lovitz. This ship is falling apart quickly.
Impact goalkeeper would preserve the win for his club with a diving stop on Nicolas Lodeiro in the 84th minute. Montreal is playing well, but will have a tough challenge at New England on Friday. One week an elbow to the jewels, the next week a face slap. The Sounders will have another bye week to attend those anger management classes and better be ready. No one wants to play in Kansas City right now and that’s exactly where they’re going.
Week 5 goals
All goals from Week 5? All goals from Week 5. 🤤👅https://t.co/pf5XDhfAK9
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 2, 2018
Week 5 Saves
Important Goalkeeper Appreciation Tweet! It's the latest edition of What a Save. Which stopped shots stopped your ❤️? https://t.co/GkwYGVtiLn
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 3, 2018
Team of the Week
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 2, 2018
Player of the week, Week five
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 3, 2018
Week five power rankings
— Tim Lovenguth (@TGing21) April 4, 2018
Standings after week five
Week six fixtures
Friday, April 6th:
New England Revolution vs Montreal Impact | 7:30 PM EST
Saturday, April 7th:
Atlanta United FC vs Los Angeles Football Club | 5:00 PM EST
Philadelphia Union vs San Jose Earthquakes | 7:00 PM EST
FC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids | 8:00 PM EST
Chicago Fire vs Columbus Crew SC | 8:30 PM EST
Real Salt Lake vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC | 9:30 PM EST
Sunday, April 8th:
Orlando City SC vs Portland Timbers | 4:00 PM EST
LA Galaxy vs Sporting Kansas City | 9:00 PM EST
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Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports