MLS Week 13 Recap: NYCFC collapse, Drogba’s late winner, more

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER

With Copa America looming, many key players were missing in action for their Major League Soccer clubs over the weekend. That didn’t prevent a great deal of late drama and high scoring games. Week 13 was unlucky for the Western Conference; not one of those 10 teams managed a win.

New York City FC 2-2 Orlando City SC

Yet another late comeback by Orlando denied NYCFC a Sunday win. The Pigeons seemed to have bounced back nicely from their thumping the week before. Tommy McNamara headed in the opening goal late in the first half, and a stellar volley by David Villa made it 2-0. But Villa’s fortunes worsened as he slipped in taking a penalty that would have made it 3-0.

Villa’s miss left the door ajar for Orlando, and the Lions went through it. Julio Baptista cut the lead to 2-1 in the 72nd minute. Then, deep in stoppage time, Kevin Molino’s powerful header tied the game. It’s the fifth goal this season Orlando has scored in the 90th minute or later. NYCFC and their home fans were disappointed once again; City has just one win at home this season.

Montreal Impact 3-2 LA Galaxy

A goalkeeping gaffe handed the three points to Montreal at the death. Giovani Dos Santos put LA up early, scoring his sixth goal of the season. But while the Galaxy had the majority of possession, the Impact were deadly on the counter. Dominic Oduro sped downfield to feed Ignacio Piatti on the equalizer in minute 26. The Impact took the lead through Lucas Ontivero in the second half, but Mike Magee very quickly tied the match. The game stood level until the fourth minute of stoppage time. Didier Drogba had a free kick from 35 yards out and went for goal. That would have been the wrong decision, but Brian Rowe flubbed the save and the ball ended up in the net.

Bruce Arena, your thoughts?

Colorado Rapids 1-1 Philadelphia Union

A pair of late goals resulted in a draw between two first-place teams. Colorado started off on the front foot and turned the screws on Philly as the match went on. The Rapids hit the crossbar twice in the second half, and Luis Solignac goal was called back as offside. Sam Cronin seemed to give his team another win with his header in the 87th minute. But having done very little all game, the Union came back. Brian Carroll’s volley in the 92nd minute was Philadelphia’s only shot on target, but it went in and earned a point for the Union.

Both teams stay in first place of their respective conferences with the result. It’s the first time this season the Rapids have dropped points at home; they are now 6-0-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods park.

New York Red Bulls 3-0 Toronto FC

The Red Bulls picked up where they left off with a comfortable win over Toronto. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a hat trick in the opening 27 minutes, the earliest hat trick in MLS history. By that point, Sebastian Giovinco had already left the match with an injury, leaving TFC without all three of their designated players. Gonzalo Veron was sent off late in the first half, and Toronto was awarded a penalty early in the second. But Will Johnson’s goal was called back for encroachment, and his second attempt was saved. That seemed to stifle any hopes the Reds had of making a comeback.

The Red Bulls head into a two-week break on a three-game winning streak. They’ve outscored those three opponents 11-0.

Columbus Crew SC 4-3 Real Salt Lake

Ola Kamara had a hat trick and Columbus held on for a desperately-needed win over Salt Lake. The visitors jumped out in front on a great strike by Luke Mulholland. The Crew were quick to respond; Kamara scored his first just four minutes later. Three minutes after that, Justen Glad poked the ball past Nick Rimando and Columbus was in front. RSL was given a penalty late in the first, but Steve Clark denied Joao Plata.

Kamara seemed to take over after halftime. He headed home Waylon Francis’ cross in the 64th minute, then completed his hat trick with a powerful header 10 minutes later. The hat trick is Columbus’ first since Robbie Findley in 2004. Kamara would have had more than three goals if not for a pair of great saves by Rimando.

Salt Lake showed fight, though. Jordan Allen got up to head in a goal in the 78th minute, and Plata cut the deficit to one in the 83rd. Columbus blew a 4-1 home lead earlier this season, but on this occasion they managed to survive. It’s the first win for Crew SC since April.

Orlando City SC 2-2 Philadelphia Union

Orlando played to a wild midweek draw against Philadelphia. The first half was scoreless thanks to Andre Blake, who saved a penalty by Kaka. Tranquillo Barnetta opened after the break on a well-worked free kick. Kevin Molino came off the bench and scored for Orlando in the 68th minute. Cyle Larin’s go-ahead goal makes a solid argument for goal-line technology. Philadelphia protested that the ball never crossed the line, and none of the replay angles on Univision could conclusively prove that it did, but the goal stood. The Union didn’t let their doubts get the best of them; rookie defender Ken Tribbett scored his first goal four minutes later to rescue the draw.

The Union are unbeaten in their last seven games, and that includes some tough competition on the road. They remain atop the Eastern Conference with one game before the Copa America break.

New England Revolution 2-1 Seattle Sounders

New England added to Seattle’s frustration with a win on Saturday. The Sounders were without Clint Dempsey, and took the lead through Aaron Kovar in the 7th minute. But the Revolution came back with help from a very questionable handball call on Erik Friberg. Lee Nguyen scored the penalty and the game was level at one for more than fifty minutes. Jordan Morris had a header go just wide in that span.

The go-ahead goal went to the Revs. Femi Hollinger-Janzen stumbled in receiving a pass from Nguyen just outside the box, but regained his footing and found the bottom corner. It’s the second goal in MLS for the rookie, and would stand as the winner for New England.

Zach Scott had some harsh words for the referee following the match:

And the GIF, for Scott’s sake:

Sporting Kansas City 0-1 DC United

DC arrived late and scored late in Kansas City. The game was delayed twice, and when it finally finished near midnight local time, those fans who stuck around were sorely disappointed. Tim Melia failed to deal with a cross in his box, and the ball fell to Alhaji Kamara, who scored to give DC the win. Kamara had just come off the bench in his first appearance in MLS. Not a bad way to make your debut.

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo picked up a point on the road in their first game after Owen Coyle’s firing. Vancouver had advantages in all the statistical categories, but DaMarcus Beasley put Houston in front after 20 minutes. Both teams had a player sent off (Alex for Houston, Pedro Morales for Vancouver) as the result of a 42nd minute scuffle. Octavio Rivero volleyed in an equalizer early in the second half, and that was the end of the scoring.

Chicago Fire 1-1 Portland Timbers

Chicago took a draw off the defending champions on Saturday night. Both goals were scored in quick succession early on. First, Diego Valeri took advantage of a dreadful clearance by Rodrigo Ramos to give Portland the lead in the 18th minute. The Fire came back with immediate pressure and it paid off in David Accam’s 20th minute goal. Once again, Chicago outshot their opponents, who held a majority of the game’s possession. Jake Gleeson made five saves to limit the hosts to just the one goal.

San Jose Earthquakes 0-0 FC Dallas

If you went to bed before San Jose and Dallas kicked off on the west coast, you didn’t miss much. Neither team produced much near goal and the game ended the way it began.

The Earthquakes have yet to lose at home this season; their next home game will be at Stanford Stadium late in June.