NYCFC continue their dominance, Zlatan is Zlatan, and Philadelphia blow a huge chance to gain points back in the eastern conference. Check out all that and more in our latest edition of this week around MLS week Seven.
New York City FC: 4 (5-0-2)
Real Salt Lake: 0 (2-3-1)
New York City FC have continued to show that they are the best team in MLS seven weeks into the season. Losing David Villa early in the season could have created a hole that NYCFC would have to dig out of. Instead they continued their unbeaten streak. With their first week of two games in week seven, they would have to show their dominance.
Coming off a short week NYCFC showed they are ready to compete with the top teams in MLS, while RSL showed that they will be fighting for a lower playoff seed at best. New York scored three times in the first half. All three goals were the result of fine play. New York’s ability to press teams into losing the ball, and punish teams for their mistakes make, make them a very dangerous team. A team that can do that three times in the first half with out their best player, that’s a team that is scary good. RSL barely showed up, they had one legit chance late on, that was botched.
Philadelphia Union: 0 (1-2-2)
Orlando City SC: 2 (3-2-1)
In a game where Orlando was without two of their starting four of their back line, Philadelphia was foaming at the mouth to get goals that have been hard to come by so far in the 2018 season. Early on in the match they showed many chances to get a goal or to, however the finishing touch was off, as it has been for the first five games for the Union. Orlando City have created a nice little run of three wins in a row. The Lion roared past Philly with goals from Dom Dwyer and rookie Chris Mueller. The whole match tilted early in the first half.
Early in the match the Union were on the front foot keeping most of the possession and creating many chances. An injury to Orlando City defender RJ Allen caused a change to be made; this change altered the flow of the match The versatile Will Johnson, was moved from holding midfield to right back. Holding midfielder Christian Higuita came on for the injured Allen allowing playmaker Sacha Kljestan to stay forward. The change stifled the Union’s David Accam who was having a field day before Johnson transition to his side. With space to operate Kljestan was able to pick apart the Union defense which he did to set up the first goal. Orland
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: 0 (3-3-1)
Los Angeles FC: 2 (3-2-0)
Vancouver welcomed LAFC to the Canadian side of the pacific northwest. Vancouver was without star striker Kei Kamara, and looked lost in the attack without him. The visitors from Los Angeles came looking for redemption after losing the previous two matches. The expansion side relied heavily on Mexican international Carlos Vela, who scored a golazo for the away side.
Vancouver showed that they have quality and a strong side, but when they are without their leader from the front, important goals may be hard to come by. As for LAFC, they picked up crucial road points. After losing a three goal lead to their rivals LA Galaxy thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s heroics, and getting a 5-0 butt whooping at Atlanta United, they needed a win to remind people that they are the new darlings in MLS. Vancouver will be upset for dropping points at home, while LAFC will be happy to get back to their winging ways.
New York Red Bulls: 3 (3-2-0)
Montreal Impact: 1 (2-4-0)
Two eastern conference foes met in Newark New Jersey. The Red Bulls, fresh off of their CONCACAF Champions league semi-final loss looked for redemption in league play against a vastly underachieving Montreal side. Early on in the match the Champions League hangover seemed to have disappear. Bradley Wright-Phillips did his thing early to give the Red Bulls the lead. Montreal soon found the equalizer. That was just the wakeup call the Red Bulls needed. More goals soon followed for New York in the second half. New player Kaku scored a stunner, while Michael Murillo added to the score to secure the three points for NYRB
This result will greatly benefit the Red Bulls. Now that their focus has shifted to league play after their semi-final loss in CONCACAF Champions league play. New York look to hold pace with the rest of the contenders in the east. Montreal’s play summed up their start to the 2018 season. A highly talented team in the midst of getting new players and coach adjusting to MLS makes for their underachieving on the field. The Impact are just under the red line, if they turn their play around, they could easily become a contender in the competitive east.
Colorado Rapids: 2 (2-1-2)
Toronto FC: 0 (1-3-0)
The beginning of MLS seasons does not dictate how teams will do throughout the full 34 games. Proof of this is the start of 2018 Toronto FC MLS campaign. The reigning treble winners have only won once, putting most of their focus on the CONCACAF Champions league. TFC are in the final of the Champions League, and have rested players in their early MLS games to ensure fitness for their CONCACAF games. This was evident when they rolled into frigid Colorado to face the hot Rapids.
Colorado controlled the game, dominating possession and the style of play. For their efforts they scored twice and took all three points from the reigning MLS Cup champions. The Rapids scored in the first two minutes to take the lead, and added to their score late in the second half. Colorado has shown to be a much improved side in 2018, having only lost once in their five games. Toronto will hate to be last in the east, but if they can pull off a historic win in Mexico vs Chivas Guadalajara, then they will be able to ride the high to climb up the eastern conference table.
Chicago Fire: 0 (1-3-1)
LA Galaxy: 1 (3-2-1)
Zlatan gonna Zlatan. As if we should’ve expected anything different from the man who has scored and won at places like AC Milan, Barcelona and Manchester United. He was the difference in a tough battle between LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire in cold Chicago. Both teams were looking to pick up points after not getting three points their last time out.
Both teams showed quality in a match that was back and forth. One of the major points was a battle of two European giants Chicago’s Bastian Schweinsteiger and LA’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The two did not disappoint, they helped their teams create good attacking spells. In the end Ibrahimovic prevailed as the winner. LA Galaxy has produced some very good results since Zlatan’s addition; a come from behind win vs LAFC, and an impressive tie at Sporting Kansas City were the prelude to their win in Chicago. The fire have been more like embers early in this 2018 season. They have yet to duplicate last season’s full blaze, burning everything in their path.
DC United: 1 (1-3-2)
Columbus Crew SC: 0 (3-3-1)
DC United’s second “home game” of the 2018 season came at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since their new home, Audi Field, is still under construction. While, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is larger than Maryland Soccer Plex’s facilities, where they played their first home game, it’s still not much of a home field advantage. However, DC United found success as Columbus Crew SC came to town.
While the Crew have shown well in this early part of 2018, this game they allowed DC United to take the front foot. Ulises Segura scored in the first minute of play to give DC the very early lead. Instead of dictating the play, like Columbus usually do, they were content to keep their shape at times; in other words, they let DC come at them with little pressure on the ball. The Crew tried to stay structured and find a way to break down DC when they had possession. DC United held strong and looked to break down Columbus. After Columbus’ hot start to the 2018 season, they have shown that they can be broken down with persistence and keen attacking play. DC United secured their first win of the 2018 season. It seems like they can become formidable, but with the vast competition in the east they will have to do a lot better to compete for the playoffs
New England Revolution: 0 (3-2-1)
FC Dallas: 1 (2-0-3)
Don’t look now, but the Revs have had quite a good start to the 2018 season. Winning three of their first five games has surprised many. However, the ran into a road block in Dallas. FC Dallas have shown that they will be able to get results. They have still yet to lose a game, matching New York City FC as the only other unbeaten left in MLS. Dallas was able to get a tough fought win over New England.
In a very competitive game, there was very little chances for a break through. That was until Dallas’ Jacori Hayes broke the deadlock in the second half. This was a huge win for Dallas. It helped keep them undefeated and gave them their second win of the season. While they aren’t at the top of the west, their consistent ability to get points from games will help them as the season rolls on. New England received a little bit of a gut check. New coach Brad Friedel still has yet to allow playmaker Lee Nguyen to see the field. Maybe this loss will help change that with an important match against Columbus upcoming.
Portland Timbers: 3 (1-3-2)
Minnesota United FC: 2 (2-4-0)
A thriller out west involving two teams who need points to compete to get above the red line. Portland hosted their first home game after renovation to Providence Park. The Loons from Minnesota United were the competitors. Early in the match, Portland found their foothold. Goals from Alvas Powell and Diego Valeri helped them control the game. The Loons came back in the second half getting a goal from new man Darwin Qunitero. A third goal from Portland solidified their position with a goal from Fanendo Adi. Minnesota did make things interesting getting a second goal thanks to Portland’s Bill Poni Tuiloma putting the ball in his own net, but it wasn’t enough to get the Loon’s any points.
Although Minnesota left Portland with no points they showed grit and determination not to lay down after going down. Their will to get back into a match in a hostile environment will serve them well as they try to compete in the western conference. Portland got a huge first win of the 2018 season. After five matches on the road where they lost three and drew two, getting three points on their return home will help them set a foundation as the season progresses.
San Jose Earthquakes: 2 (1-2-2)
Houston Dynamo: 2 (1-2-2)
San Jose and Houston are two teams who have looked good to start the 2018 season, but can’t be categorized as potential threats to make a run for the top of the west. Inconsistent play plagues both these sides early on in the season. This game showcased their skills, and their blunders.
San Jose opened the scoring on a nice play by Magnus Eriksson. Houston countered in the second half with a nice goal from Tomas Martinez. As the game drew on it was clear that both sides could attack, and also had trouble defending. Houston took the lead when Mauro Manotas scored, but late on San Jose ensured that this game would end in a draw, as Jahmir Hyka equalized. San Jose will rue the points lost at home, but will cherish getting something. This draw dropped them to a 1-2-2 record, which leaves much to be desired. As for Houston finding a way to score twice on the road against a conference opponent is admirable, but their inability to hold the lead, shows their inconsistencies.
Sporting Kansas City: 2 (4-1-2)
Seattle Sounders FC: 2 (0-3-1)
A big western conference matchup between the leaders and bottom dwellers proved to be a stumbling block for one side and a building block for the other. Seattle had yet to pick up any points in league play, and after a CONCACAF Champions League exit, they were hungry to get a leg up on the conference leaders. SKC has sprinted out to an impressive 4-1-2 record early in this 2018 campaign. They have shown the ability to win in any circumstances. This one proved to be a game where both teams would walk away with a share of the points.
The game was a back and forth contest where Kansas City struck first through Illie Sanchez PK. Seattle came back thanks to an effort from Will Bruin right at the stroke of halftime, giving Seattle their first goal of the season. In the second half Christian Roldan produced a wonder strike for Seattle to give them the lead. However, it was a short-lived one as Graham Zusi came in clutch for SKC. After a long game of open play for both sides, they each secured a point. Sporting KC will look at this as two points dropped at home. They created chances but let Seattle control too much of the match on their home turf. Seattle pick up their first point of the season, but would’ve rather it have been three points.
Atlanta United FC: 2 (4-1-1)
New York City FC: 2 (5-0-2)
In a matchup of gargantuan sides, Atlanta United hosted New York City FC; 1st vs 2nd in the east. The game had plenty of fireworks. Both teams flew at the other with pace when in possession. Atlanta’s Miguel Almiron wreaked havoc on New York, and created a chance on goal, NYCFC did well to fend it off, but didn’t stop the run of Greg Garza, who scored the opener for Atlanta United. In an interesting turn of events, NYCFC’s David Villa who had been out for several weeks with a calf injury came on for New York late in the first half. Three minutes after coming on NYCFC won a PK and Villa converted it to tie the game.
In the second half Atlanta found the front foot again, and Chris McCann placed a header past NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson to give the ATL the lead again. Once that happened David Villa took over for NYCFC running at defenders with the ball determined to create something. On one run he ran at three defenders, lost the ball, won it back, held the play up so his teammates could swarm forward, and found Alexander Ring open just outside the box. Ring hesitated then blasted an effort that flew past keeper Brad Guzan and hit the crossbar and went into the net! The game was tied and would stay that way, but it was a high-octane affair that showcased arguably the two best teams in MLS right now.
Week 7 Goals
Hit rewind on Week 7. ⏪⚽ https://t.co/N6fAO65uSp
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 16, 2018
Week 7 Saves
Comin' up clutch. The week's best saves. 👐 pic.twitter.com/jD6f6G38v6
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 17, 2018
Team of the week
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 16, 2018
Player of the week
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 17, 2018
Week 7 power rankings
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 17, 2018
Week 8 fixtures
Friday, April 20th
Sporting Kansas City vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC | 9:00 PM EST
Saturday, April 21st
Montreal Impact vs Los Angles FC | 1:00 PM EST
Houston Dynamo vs Toronto FC | 3:00 PM EST
New York Red Bulls vs Chicago Fire | 3:30 PM EST
Columbus Crew SC vs New England Revolution | 7:30 PM EST
Orlando City SC vs San Jose Earthquakes | 7:30 PM EST
FC Dallas vs Philadelphia Union | 8:00 PM EST
Real Salt Lake vs Colorado Rapids | 9:00 PM EST
LA Galaxy vs Atlanta United FC | 10:30 PM EST
Sunday, April 22nd
Seattle Sounders FC vs Minnesota United FC | 4:00 PM EST
Portland Timbers vs New York City FC | 6:00 PM EST
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Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports