MLS Highlights: Matchday 8 Recap and Hottest/Coldest Teams

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

As per usual in Major League Soccer, Matchday 8 was one for the home teams with the hosts coming out of the weekend with a record of 6W-6D-2L. Only 2 teams in MLS were able to secure all 3 points while on the road, both of which are starting to look like serious contenders in the early goings of the Supporters Shield race. Lets take a look at all the action from Matchday 8.

FC Cincinnati 1 -2 New York Red Bulls

The reigning Supporters Shield winners came into this game as one of Major League Soccer’s unbeaten teams, and got off to a dream start with a goal from the head of Yuya Kubo inside the opening 3 minutes.

The visiting Red Bulls didn’t lie down though, and punched back with a dazzling long-range equalizer from Frankie Amaya in the 19th minute.

Just before half-time, Red Bulls were gifted a chance from the penalty spot to head into the break with a 2-1 lead after Matt Miazga was whistled for a foul in the box, but Lewis Morgan‘s attempt was saved by 28 year old Evan Louro in his first ever MLS appearance – an awesome moment for him.

It didn’t last long though, with Red Bulls’ Dante Vanzeir netting his first goal of the 2024 season in the 60th minute to give the visitor’s the lead, and eventually the win against last year’s Supporters Shield winners. The 2-1 loss is the first of the season for FC Cincinnati, while the win on the road propels Red Bulls into the Supporters Shield lead after 7 games with a record of 4W-2D-1L and 14 pts.

CIN: 3rd – Y. Kubo (1st)
NYRB: 19th – F. Amaya (1st), 60th – D. Vanzeir (1st)

Columbus Crew 1 – 1 DC United

Wilfried Nancy and the reigning Champs came into this game with just 1 loss early in the season, but so did Troy Lesesne’s reformed DC United. After a stalemate in the opening 45 minutes, Christian Benteke broke the deadlock in the 61st minute to give DC United the lead on the road.

It was the return of Cucho Hernandez to the lineup after a multi-game benching from head coach Wilfried Nancy, but the MVP candidate’s biggest impact on the game was being shown a straight Red Card in the 75th minute for a deliberate kick to Christopher McVey.

Just when it looked like DC might walk away from Columbus with 3 points in their pocket, the 10-men Crew’s day was saved by by 22 year old Aidan Morris and an absolute blast from outside the box in the 87th minute.

CLB: 87th – A. Morris (2nd)
DC: 61st – C. Benteke (5th)

Inter Miami 2 – 2 Colorado Rapids

Despite Lionel Messi being out of the lineup dating back to March 13th, Inter Miami came into this match just one point off the Supporters Shield lead. But it was Chris Armas’ Colorado Rapids, coming off a 3-2 win against LAFC, that struck first while on the road on Saturday night with a PK from Rafael Navarro in the 45th minute.

Lionel Messi made his return at the start of the 2nd half and wasted no time making his presence felt with an equalizer in the 57th. Immediately off the re-start after Messi’s goal, Inter Miami added a 2nd and the go-ahead-goal from Leonardo Frugis Afonso, putting the home team in position to collect all 3 points.

But with 2nd half stoppage time approaching and Colorado’s 3rd loss of the season looming, Rapids’ Cole Bassett scored his 2nd goal of the season on a counter attack in the 87th minute to steal a point on the road and extend Inter Miami’s winless streak to 3 games.

MIA: 57th – L. Messi (4th), 59th – L. Afonso (1st)
COL: 45th – F. Navarro (2nd), 87th – C. Bassett (2nd)

New York City FC 1 – 1 Atlanta United

Atlanta United – with a perfect record of 3 wins and 0 losses at home – entered the Big Apple looking to secure their first points on the road of the 2024 season against a struggling NYCFC. But it was Nick Cushing’s side that opened the scoring just before halftime with a Penalty Kick goal from Santi Rodriguez, his 3rd tally of the season. In the 65th minute, Atlanta United would hit NYCFC on the counter-attack and found their equalizing goal from the head of Jamal Thiare, his 3rd goal in 2 games. The two teams would share a point each.

Union mls
CHESTER, PA – DECEMBER 05: Philadelphia Union Midfielder Jose Martinez (8) and New York City FC Midfielder Maxi Moralez (10) battle for the ball during the second half of the Major League Soccer Cup Playoffs match between New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union on December 5, 2021, at Subaru Park in Chester, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

NYCFC: 43rd – S. Rodriguez (3rd)
ATL: 65th – J. Thiare (3rd)

Vancouver Whitecaps 4 – 0 Toronto FC

It was all Vancouver in this Canadian Clash. Brian White opened the scoring in the 6th minute to put early pressure on John Herdman’s visiting side, and Fafa Picault’s team leading 3rd goal of the season – and 5th goal contribution in 3 games – put doubt into the heads of Toronto before halftime.

Ryan Gauld erased any hope for TFC with a 3rd goal in the 81st minute, and Rank Veselinovic added insult to injury with a 4th goal in the 89th. A clean sheet and 3 points for Vanni Sartini’s Whitecaps puts Vancouver atop of the Western Conference and 1 points behind the Supporters Shield lead with a game in hand.

VAN: 6th – B. White (2nd), 29th – F. Picault (2nd), 81st – R. Gauld (2nd), 89th – R. Vaselinovic (1st)

LAFC 2 – 1 LA Galaxy

El Trafico was the marquee matchup of Matchday 8, and I have no idea why MLS decided to schedule it for the same time as 7 other games and didn’t give this match it’s own time-slot.

Timothy Tillman got the home side on the board early from a corner-kick that found him wide open at the back post for a tap in, his 3rd goal of the season.

Galaxy found a number of threatening looks inside the penalty area in the 29th minute – one of which rang the post to Loris’ left and 2 others blocked by LAFC defenders – but the 4th chance of the sequence was buried by Julián Aude, bringing the game to 1-1 after 30 minutes of play.

The eventual winner would come just 5 minutes later after Denis Bouanga was able to draw a penalty that many think was the wrong call. What surprised me is that the referee went over to the VAR screen to have another look at his decision, and still determined that the incident was penalty-worthy – Denis Bouanga made no mistake with his chance from the PK spot, beating former teammate John McCarthy and giving LAFC the 2-1 win in this edition of El Trafico.

4th – T.Tilman (3rd), 35th – D. Bouanga (3rd)
LA Galaxy:
29th – J. Aude (1st)

Austin FC 4 – 3 San Jose Earthquakes

This was probably one of the most entertaining games of the weekend, even if it contained two teams near the bottom of the standings.

The Earthquakes opened the scoring while on the road thanks to a header from Paul Marie 20 minutes into the game, the lone goal of the first half.

San Jose’s Jeremy Ebobisse would double the visitors lead in the 58th minute with his second goal of the season after Austin keeper Brad Stuver spilled a save-attempt in the box. Just 4 minutes later, Austin would find a way back into the game by the way of a converted PK by Sebastian Driussi.

Immediately off the re-start, a long throw-in into the penalty area would lead to Jader Obrian scoring Austin’s 2nd goal in as many minutes and bringing the game level with over 20 minutes to play.

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AUSTIN, TX – AUGUST 26: Austin FC forward Sebastián Driussi (7) is grabbed by Los Angeles FC defender Jesús Murillo (3) during the MLS match between Austin FC and LAFC on August 26, 2022 at Q2 Stadium in Austin, TX. (Photo by David Buono/Icon Sportswire)

Just 4 minutes after Obrian’s equalizer and 5 minutes since Austin’s first goal, Guilherme Biro made it 3 in quick succession with a beautiful volley from outside the box.

An incredible 5 minute stretch for Austin, erasing a 2 goal deficit and putting them home-team in the lead. Austin’s lead would last less than 10 minutes, with Amahl Pellegrino scoring the equalizer and his first goal in Major League Soccer in the 74th minute of the game.

Just when it looked like this back and forth game might end in a 3-3 draw, Sebastian Driussi pulled out one more twist in the story, scoring an 111th minute game-winning goal with a volley from outside of the penalty area.

62nd S. Driussi (1st), 63rd – J. Obrian (1st), 67th – G. Biro (2nd), 90th+11 – S. Driussi (2nd)
20th – P. Marie (1st), 58th – J. Ebobisse (2nd), 74th – A. Pellegrino (1st)

Chicago Fire 2 – 1 Houston Dynamo

Dynamo came into this inter-conference matchup off the back of 3 consecutive wins, but it was the home side in Chicago FC to get on the board early in the match, thanks to a converted PK in the 10th minute by Xherdan Shaqiri, his 2nd goal of the season. Houston would show their fight on the road with an equalizer in the 65th minute from Aliyu Ibrahim, his team-leading 3rd goal of the 2024 campaign, but it was Brian Gutierrez making the final difference coming off the bench and winning the game for Chicago in the 78th minute with a chip over Houston’s keeper, Steve Clark.

CHI: 10th – X. Shaqiri (2nd), 78th – B. Gutierrez (3rd)
HOU: 65th – A. Ibrahim (3rd)

Minnesota United 1 – 1 Real Salt Lake

After a 2-0 loss in Philadelphia the week prior, Minnesota United were looking to get back on track at home against a visiting Real Salt Lake. But it was Chicho Arango and RSL who kicked off the scoring from a towering header in the 24th minute – Arango’s League leading 6th goal of the season.

Real Salt Lake spent the next 60 minutes or so soaking in any pressure from Minnesota, relying on a few big saves from Zac MacMath to keep them in the lead. But in the dying moments of the game, with RSL clinging to 3 points on the road, Minnesota’s Tani Oluwaseyi was able to reach a ball put into the 6-yard box just before the out-stretched arm of McMath, tapping it off the post and into the net to draw Minnesota level in the 87th minute, earning his team a point after tailing a majority of the match.

MIN: 87th – T. Oluwaseyi (2nd)
RSL: 24th – C. Arango (6th)

Nashville SC 1 – 2 Philadelphia Union

It was a tale of two-halves down in the Music City on Saturday night, with Jim Curtin electing to go with a 5-3-2 formation for the first time this season.

Nashville’s Sam Surridge opened the scoring in the 42nd minute with a header at the back-post to give the home team the lead going into the break.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

But around the 60th minute mark, Curtin made substitutions and tactical adjustments which flipped the game on its head entirely, leading to an equalizing goal from Juliana Carranza just a few minutes later, his 4th goal in as many games.

Though Union were knocking on Nashville’s door, looking to steal 3 points on the road, it looked like Nashville would do enough to maintain a point after leading in the first half.

But just as stoppages time started, a corner kick from Jack McGlynn found it’s way to Daniel Gazdag for a free header at the back post, giving Union a 2-1 win and putting himself just 1 goal shy of Sebastien Le Toux as Union’s all-time leading goal scorer.

NSH: 42nd – S. Surridge (2nd)
PHL: 62nd – J. Carranza (4th), 90th – D. Gazdag (4th)

St Louis City SC 0 – 0 FC Dallas

Well, every week has to have a stinker and St Louis City and FC Dallas was the stinkiest of Matchday 8. FC Dallas is one of the weakest attacking sides in MLS, amassing just 5.6 Expected goals across SIX games played this season.

For context, LAFC lead the league in xG with a total of 14.7 through 7 games. That’s not to say that these teams weren’t trying to create opportunities though, with 36 shots being taken between the two sides – 27 of which coming from St Louis. The two goalkeepers were the most exciting part of this match, with Roman Burki making 4 saves for St Louis, and Maarten Pass making 7 for FC Dallas.


Seattle Sounders 5 – 0 CF Montreal

The Sounders came into this game searching for their first win of the 2024 season and struggling to score goals, netting just 4 goals in their first 5 matches.

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Seattle Sounders defender Nouhou Tolo, right, and Los Angeles FC midfielder Timothy Tillman, left, fight for a ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

But it was all Seattle late on Saturday night, much of which can be attributed to the play of Raul Ruidiaz who scored 2 goals in a 7 minute span before the clock hit the half-hour mark.

Jordan Morris would add a 3rd goal for Seattle just after half-time, his 1st goal of the season, to all but seal 3 points for the home-team.

Things then went from bad to worse for Montreal after Nathan Saliba was sent off with a second yellow card in the 53rd minute, followed by goals from Alex Roldan and Dylan Neves in the final 10 minutes of the game. The 5-0 loss marks the 6th and final away match to start the season for Montreal, who I’m sure will be happy to return home this weekend.

SEA: 20th – R. Ruidiaz (3rd), 27th – R. Ruidiaz (4th), 48th – J. Morris (1st), 81st – A. Roldon (1st), 90+7 – D. Teves (1st)

Sporting Kansas City 3 – 3 Portland Timbers

Another super exciting match if you’re an MLS neutral. Peter Vermes couldn’t have been happier with the start from his SKC side at home, with Willy Agada scoring twice and Danny Rosero scoring his 2nd goal of the season in the opening 45 minutes of the match.

Going into half-time with a 3-0 lead at home, it seemed like Portland was all but done-and-dusted in Kansas City. But then we had one of the most chaotic 10 minute stretches in MLS history. In the 61st minute, Willy Agada missed an opportunity from the PK spot to extend SKC’s lead to 4-0.

2 minutes after Agada’s PK miss, Evander scored his 3rd goal of the season from the PK spot to bring the game to 3-1. 3 minutes after Evander’s PK, Felipe Mora scored his 2nd goal of the season to bring the game to 3-2 with 20+ minutes to play.

And then in the 81st minute, Portland’s Eric Miller slammed home a rebound off an initial save by Tim Melia, completing the come-back from a 3 goal deficit, earning Portland a point on the road.

SKC: 13th – W. Agada (2nd), 38th – D. Rosero (2nd), 45+3 – W. Agada (3rd)
POR: 64th – Evander (3rd), 66th – F. Mora (2nd), 81st – E. Miller (1st)

Supporters Shield Race

So after all of that action, where does that leave the current Supporters Shield standings?
Here’s how the top of the table is panning out after Matchday 8.

1) New York Red Bulls – 14 Pts – 7 Games Played
2) Vancouver Whitecaps – 13 Pts – 6 Games Played
3) Philadelphia Union – 12 Pts – 6 Games Played
4) Inter Miami – 12 Pts – 8 Games Played
5) LA Galaxy – 12 Pts – 7 Games Played
6) Columbus Crew – 12 Pts – 6 Games Played
7) FC Cincinnati – 12 Pts – 7 Games Played
8) Real Salt Lake – 11 Pts – 7 Games Played
9) Minnesota United – 11 Pts – 6 Games Played
10) Atlanta United – 10 Pts – 6 Games Played
11) LAFC – 10 Pts – 7 Games Played
12) Houston Dynamo – 10 Pts – 6 Games Played
13) Toronto FC – 10 Pts – 7 Games Played
14) Sporting Kansas City – 10 Pts – 7 Games Played
15) DC United – 10 Pts – 7 Games Played

Who’s Hot?

– Philadelphia Union: The only undefeated team left in Major League Soccer. They’re just getting the job done right now, but on the road to Atlanta will be a huge test for DOOP this weekend.

-New York Red Bulls: After embarrassing Inter Miami, drawing 1-1 in Orlando, and now beating the reigning Supporters Shield champs in FC Cincinnati on the road this weekend, I’m starting to think that Red Bulls might be for real this season. They’re scoring lots of goals, they’re not conceding many at all, and everyone looks to be clicking early on in the season. This might be the best Red Bulls team we’ve seen in a decade.

Vancouver Whitecaps: After a big clean sheet win against Toronto FC, Vanni Sartini and the Vancouver Whitecaps might be one of the Western Conferences most put together teams in the early stages of 2024. Fafa Picault has been a great addition to Vancouver’s attack and they’ve only let in 6 goals this season – 2nd best in MLS. Vancouver could very well take advantage of a crap-shoot Western Conference

Who’s Not?

-CF Montreal: A brutal 5-0 loss to Seattle – who had been struggling up until that point – marks the 3rd straight loss for Montreal. Postive news for them – their 6 game road trip to start the 2024 season had concluded. Hopefully returning home to Montreal will come with a better performance than we saw this weekend.

Orlando City: Okay, so Orlando didn’t lose this weekend – that’s a plus. But what happened to the team that many people thought would be front runners for the supporters shield? Just 1 win and 5 points through 6 games, Orlando looks closer to a Wooden Spoon contender than one for the Supporters Shield.

-San Jose Earthquakes: It was an exciting game out in Austin for San Jose, but losing after being up 2-0 is a huge disappointment. 6 losses in 7 games to start the season, San Jose might be the front runner for the Wooden Spoon through the first week of April.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union