MLS Week 5 Recap, Highlights: Cascadia wins, SKC comeback, more

MLS Beat Writer

Perhaps spring has finally sprung in Major League Soccer. The fifth week of the season produced goals in abundance, including two late winners, and not a single draw in eight games. The week ends with Vancouver sitting atop the standings, but few other teams have found their consistency as of yet.

Sporting Kansas City 3-2 Philadelphia Union

What chaos! Sporting Kansas City found two goals in stoppage time to win a lunatic’s idea of a soccer game. Alexi Lalas described it as a “set piece orgy,” and that was just the first 20 minutes. All five goals were the result of set pieces, and at least the first two benefited from bad goalkeeping.

Three minutes in, Luis Marin whiffed on his attempt to punch a corner kick, and the ball bounced off Jacob Peterson for an own goal. In the 16th, Rais M’bolhi forgot how to jump and Dom Dwyer scored the equalizer for SKC. M’bolhi feigned injury, but only his ego was hurt.

Philadelphia retook the lead three minutes later, on a goal no keeper could have stopped. Sebastien Le Toux rifled in a great free kick, and Fernando Aristeguieta powered a header into the far side of the net.

No goals were scored over the next 70 minutes, but there was still mayhem. Both teams had great chances that somehow stayed out; both teams had goals called back for offside. Sporting dominated possession, but didn’t have many ideas as to what they should do with it. It began to rain as the second half went on, and some fans left their seats. They shouldn’t have.

In stoppage time, Roger Espinoza collected the loose ball after a corner, pumped it back into the box, and Jalil Anibaba managed a header that trickled past M’Bolhi. SKC raced back to the other side, and with good reason. In the 94th minute, Krisztian Nemeth tapped in a corner kick after it was flicked on by Benny Feilhaber. When the dust settled, Kansas City had a win and Philadelphia had nothing.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 LA Galaxy

In their most convincing performance yet, the Vancouver Whitecaps trounced the defending champion LA Galaxy with a 2-0 win at BC Place. The home side controlled the run of play from the opening whistle, but it took 56 minutes for that control to show on the scoreboard.

Kekuta Manneh, who seemed to constantly have space to run down the left wing, cut inside and slid a right-footed shot past Jaime Penedo to open the scoring. Vancouver doubled their lead 10 minutes later when Octavio Rivero finished off a rebound from six yards out. Rivero has four goals on the season, which leads MLS. The Galaxy forced David Ousted to make just one save on the night, and never created any real chances.

Through five games, the Whitecaps have 12 points, the best record in the league and their best start in franchise history. Their 29 shots on target are the most in MLS; only the Timbers, with 24, have more than 20. The Galaxy have started fairly slowly, with a 1-2-2 record.

Portland Timbers 3-1 FC Dallas

March is over, and the Timbers are glad. Portland picked up their first win of the season on Saturday night against previously-unbeaten Dallas.

In the 23rd minute, Nat Borchers found way too much open space on a corner kick (Fanendo Adi might have been setting a pick) and headed in the game’s opening goal. A corner kick at the other end was tapped in by Tesho Akindele six minutes later, and the games tied at the break.

In the second half, Portland took control in front of their home fans. Dairon Asprilla came off the bench in the 61st minute and assisted on Maxi Urruti’s goal in the 62nd. As the game grew stretched, Diego Chara finished off a quick counter in the 87th minute to secure the three points.

Tempers flared after the final whistle. Dallas coach Oscar Pareja offered a tissue to Caleb Porter in lieu of a handshake. Porter brushed it aside and pointed towards the scoreboard. These two teams meet just once more this year, on July 25th.

Chicago Fire 3-2 Toronto FC

TFC’s games have been goal-filled in a season that often has not. On Saturday, Toronto came out on the wrong side of a 3-2 game against the Fire.

Chicago struck first on a very nice bit of one-two between Joevin Jones and Shaun Maloney. Jones ran onto Maloney’s backheel and finished with the outside of his right foot. Sebastian Giovinco responded with his first goal in MLS. The Italian capped a 17-pass move with a less-impressive shot that took a deflection and squirted through the hands of Busch. The game went into halftime tied at one.

Giovinco provided the assist on Benoit Cheyrou’s volley that gave TFC the lead in the 54th minute. The lead lasted just two minutes until Maloney hit a shot through the legs of defenders and past a screened Bendik.

In the 67th minute, TFC defender Warren Creavalle was sent off for a foolish challenge on David Accam. It was the second yellow card of Creavalle’s poor day. Chicago wasted no time, and Jeff Laurentowicz blasted the ensuing free kick into the net.

Toronto has failed to beat Chicago in 12 straight matches, a streak that goes back to May 2010. After winning their opening match, the Reds have lost three in a row as their long road trip continues. Conversely, the Fire now find themselves on a two-game winning streak after early woes.

Orlando City 0-1 DC United

This is becoming a theme. The Citrus Bowl has hosted three MLS games, and all three have been decided by free kicks in stoppage time. On Friday night, in front of 32,822 fans, DC United stole a victory with Luis Silva’s free kick goal.

Bill Hamid’s first half performance allowed DC to stay in the game until stoppage time. Orlando City created the better chances, but Hamid kept them out. The best save, though, was made by Brek Shea, who stuck out a leg to keep the game scoreless in the 68th. Three of DC’s five shots on target were in that chaotic sequence.

Orlando City is an expansion team, and with five points in as many games, their results reflect this. DC hasn’t always played their best soccer, but as they did last year, they’ve managed to scratch out victories. Nine points leads the Eastern Conference.

Colorado Rapids 0-2 New England Revolution

They aren’t quite there yet, but New England inched closer to replicating last year’s form with a 2-0 win in Colorado.

The Rapids, if nothing else, have been tough to score on so far in 2015, but the Revs cracked the code. Kelyn Rowe hit a long diagonal ball to put Juan Agudelo through, and Agudelo had the quick thinking to flick the ball with his foot over Clint Irwin. Just after halftime, Lee Nguyen buried a penalty to double the lead. It was, of course, all the Revs would need.

The Rapids have now played 10 hours of soccer since their last goal, but they can genuinely claim to have been unlucky on Saturday. They were controversially denied a penalty in the 58th minute, and hit the post on multiple occasions. Colorado outshot New England 17-9. But all that wasn’t enough to prevent their 18th straight game without a win. That streak is tied for the MLS record, alongside RSL from 2005-06.

Seattle Sounders 1-0 Houston Dynamo

Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins returned to the lineup for Seattle, and while the latter helped the Sounders return to winning ways, they weren’t always convincing against the Dynamo.

It was the 39th minute when Martins twisted Jermaine Taylor out of the way to put Seattle in front, but that was the first real chance the Sounders had. There weren’t many more after that, in part because Gonzalo Pineda kicked Giles Barnes in the chest and was sent off in the 56th minute.

For their part, the Dynamo didn’t make too much out of the man advantage. of Houston’s 16 shots, only two were on target. The Dynamo have scored just twice in five games so far this season. Cubo Torres can’t come soon enough.

San Jose Earthquakes 0-1 Real Salt Lake

RSL went into the Earthquakes’ new home and proved to be bad guests. The visitors got a 1-0 win, their second straight Sunday victory.

A first half defined mostly by aerial collisions and head injuries was interrupted late by a bit of sterling soccer from Javier Morales. He fired a 44th minute free kick into the wall, and, undeterred, launched the rebound off the crossbar for a goal.

The sudden deficit stirred something in the Earthquakes, who were much livelier in the second half. But though they created chances and shouted a couple times for penalties, they couldn’t get an equalizer. The best chance of the second half was at the other end, where Victor Bernardez had to bicycle kick a chance off his goal line.

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  • Andrew

    Looks like there’s a typo in the Houston/Seattle scoreline.

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