MLS Week 11 Recap, Highlights: Vancouver, Dallas win twice, more

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER

With 11 weeks complete in the Major League Soccer season, MLS has reached the one-third mark. The week was notable as much for events off the field as on, but there was nonetheless plenty of action across 14 games. No game was as exciting as the thriller in Toronto. 

Toronto FC 3-4 Vancouver Whitecaps

The best game of the weekend was certainly the one in Toronto, where Vancouver beat the hosts in a wild match. The Whitecaps pounced on early mistakes by TFC; Kekuta Manneh showed off his pace on the opening goal after an errant pass went right to him. Manneh then had a shot stopped on a similar chance just a few minutes later; Christian Bolanos was there to score the rebound. It got uglier for TFC. Jozy Altidore had a penalty saved by Ousted and then left the game with a hamstring injury.

Sebastian Giovinco turned things around for the Reds. First, with a stellar goal in the 37th minute, in which he brought down a long ball with a great touch before finishing. TFC upped the pressure after halftime, and it paid in the 66th minute, when a Michael Bradley through ball gave Giovinco the space to equalize.

Rather than being shook by the comeback, Vancouver responded coolly. Manneh scored his second from a tough angle just four minutes later. Two minutes after that, Manneh had an assist on Pedro Morales’ goal. That lead looked shaky after Fraser Aird was sent off, and shakier still when Drew Moor cut it to one. But TFC wouldn’t be able to squeeze out an equalizer.

Portland Timbers 1-2 New York City FC

NYCFC pulled out a win in rainy Portland. RJ Allen provided a perfect ball to David Villa on the opening goal in the 12th minute. Timbers fans felt he should have been whistled for a handball. The Timbers previously wanted a handball called in the box, but neither was called and they were down 1-0. The Timbers dominated possession and chances created, but would go into halftime trailing. Their 20th shot of the game found the back of the net; Fanendo Adi scored the equalizer. Adi then left the game with an apparent hamstring injury.

NYCFC recovered when they could have folded. Tommy McNamara scored a curling goal in the 64th minute to restore City’s lead. Josh Saunders had a couple mistakes, but came up with seven saves to help the visitors escape with three points. NYCFC is now tied for the lead of the Eastern Conference.

FC Dallas 2-1 Portland Timbers

Dallas kicked their slump and came back against Portland in midweek. It did not start well for the hosts. Diego Valeri scored in the third minute to put the Timbers in front, and Dallas might have felt reason for despair given their prior form. But they came up with a strong second half, starting with a goal by Ryan Hollingshead in the 55th minute. That goal ended a 347-minute goalless drought for Dallas. And when it rains, it pours; Walker Zimmerman scored two minutes later to put the Hoops in front.

After Sunday’s result, Portland is now on a three-game losing streak for the first time since Caleb Porter took over in 2013.

FC Dallas 2-0 Seattle Sounders

Dallas’ good week continued with a win over Seattle. The game started at a lightning pace; Herculez Gomez had already missed a chance and Stefan Frei had made a a great reaction save before Dallas earned a penalty in the third minute. Mauro Diaz scored from the spot. That pace kept up throughout the half, though no further goals would be scored. The hosts were successful and containing the Sounders after halftime, and they eventually secured three points on the counter, with a goal by Michael Barrios.

Dallas entered the week having lost three games in a row, they exit with six more points and second place in the West. Not a bad haul.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Chicago Fire


Vancouver’s win against Toronto was their second of the week, thanks to a stunning goal by Blas Perez on Wednesday. Perez did not start, he came on early after a ugly collision broke Masato Kudo’s jaw and left him lying on the turf for several minutes. Perez gave the Whitecaps the lead later in the first half. But Chicago was probably the better team in the second half, and Kennedy Igboananike made it 1-1. That scoreline stood until Perez scored an incredible bicycle kick goal in the 88th minute to win the game.

Philadelphia Union 2-2 LA Galaxy


Philadelphia and LA played a fun 2-2 draw on Wednesday night. The Union took an early lead. CJ Sapong had a shot blocked that fell to Vincent Nogueira, who need a couple chances to get his shot off and into the net. Both Galaxy goals were very pretty. Robbie Rogers tied the game by finishing off a good team move in the 15th minute. Mike Magee gave LA the lead with a floater to the far corner early in the second half. When Dan Kennedy spilled a corner kick in the 63rd minute, Keegan Rosenberry was there to knock in his first pro goal.

DC United 2-0 New York Red Bulls

DC took advantage of a disappointing performance from the Red Bulls to take three points Friday night. United started off on the front foot and a poorly laid offside trap afforded them the lead in the 20th minute. Marcelo Sarvas beat the line with a well-timed run, and then crossed the ball for a simple tap-in by Alvaro Saborio. Patrick Nyarko added a second just before halftime, and New York never came up with a riposte.

Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty expressed his disappointment after the match:

Montreal Impact 1-1 Philadelphia Union

The Union picked up another point over the weekend in Montreal. Didier Drogba struck early, with a goal in the 3rd minute. It’s his fourth goal in seven games so far this year. Philly bounced back, though. Andre Blake made five saves, and CJ Sapong leveled the match in the 24th minute. After hot start to the match, the scoring stopped there.

Montreal won’t be thrilled with a home draw. The Union’s week, with solid performances against two very good teams, is reason for encourage.

Colorado Rapids 1-0 Sporting Kansas City

Colorado maintained their perfect home record with a midweek win over SKC. The Rapids held a slight edge in the run of play, but that was only good enough for scoreless through 76 minutes. That’s when Ike Opara was sent off with a second yellow. Two minutes later, Dillon Serna hit a low shot into the far corner, and that’s all Colorado needed.

The loss marked seven games in a row for Kansas City without a win.

Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Orlando City

SKC snapped that lengthy skid with a comeback win over Orlando. Kansas City had a boatload of shots (34), and Orlando meanwhile had none on target. And yet, the game’s first goal was for the visitors in the 67th minute. It bounced off a bundle of legs, and Jimmy Medranda was credited with the own goal. Sporting deserved better than a loss, and they would get better. Having hit the post multiple times, they equalized via Dom Dwyer in the 74th minute. Five minutes later, it was substitute Jacob Peterson who scored the winner.

Columbus Crew 1-1 Colorado Rapids

Columbus made a small trade in midweek, you might have heard. Their first game without Kei Kamara was a draw at home against Colorado. The Crew scored first, through Cedrick in the 23rd minute. But they couldn’t get a second past Zac MacMath, and the Rapids were able to stay in the match. In the second half, Kevin Doyle tied the game, and that’s how things ended.

The Rapids are unbeaten in their last seven games and currently hold the top record in MLS.

New England Revolution 2-0 Chicago Fire

Kamara did not score in his New England debut, but he was a regular threat as the Revs defeated the Fire. A clever corner kick routine resulted in the opening goal. Nguyen hit it first time and scored from a very, very tight angle.  Chicago was lively in midweek against Vancouver, but not so much over the weekend. They managed just four shots, none of which was on target.

San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 Houston Dynamo

San Jose dispatched the Dynamo in midweek. In the third minute, it was Alberto Quintero for San Jose to open the scoring. Houston didn’t go quietly; Ricardo Clark’s bullet from outside the box had the match level through halftime. But Quintero added an assist and another goal as the Quakes pulled away in the second half. Tyler Deric was sent off and Jalil Anibaba spent the last 10 minutes of the game in goal for Houston.

Houston Dynamo 1-0 Real Salt Lake

Houston had better fortunes over the weekend, once the weather cooperated. Originally scheduled for Saturday night, thunderstorms pushed the game back to Sunday afternoon. Houston had an edge from the start, but were wasteful in the first half. The Dynamo put huge amounts of pressure on Salt Lake’s back line, but the goal didn’t come until immediately after RSL’s best chance of the match. Yura Movsisyan was one-on-one with Joe Willis, but sent his shot much too high. At the other end, Giles Barnes finished his chance well.