MLS Week 15 Recap, Highlights: NY wins, late drama in Orlando

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER

Major League Soccer returned from a brief summer hiatus with a full slate of games over the weekend. Some teams were still without players owing to international duty. Nevertheless, there was drama, action, and some impressive free kick goals across the league.

New York City 3-2 Philadelphia Union

All three of NYCFC’s designated players scored, and City held on to defeat the East’s top team. The much-maligned Frank Lampard earned cheers from the Yankee Stadium crowd when he buried the game’s opening goal in the 8th minute. Rookie Jack Harrison set up David Villa on the second goal. A classic Andrea Pirlo free kick goal seemed to bury the Union just after halftime.

Philly fought back, however. Roland Alberg cut the lead down to two with his 55th minute penalty. An own goal by Frederic Brillant produced nervous moments at the end for NYCFC. Villa was visibly upset by his team’s performance in the second half, but this was an important win for a team that has too often let results slip, particularly at home.

Orlando City 2-2 San Jose Earthquakes

On an emotional night in Orlando, San Jose spoiled the moment and stole a draw. The game was scoreless through 49 minutes, when it was paused for a moment of silence in honor of the victims of last week’s shooting in Orlando. After that, both teams seemed to show more spark in front of goal. Seb Hines’ header opened the scoring in the 66th minute, but it was neutralized by Chad Barrett in the 85th.

Julio Baptista surely thought he won it for the Lions with a thunderous volley in the 91st minute. Three minutes of stoppage time were originally announced; Orlando’s celebration forced a fourth to be played. In that extra minute, the ball bounced to Shea Salinas in the box and he smashed it home to tie the game.

New York Red Bulls 2-0 Seattle Sounders

The Red Bulls are MLS’s hottest team right now; they picked up where they left off with a win over Seattle. Mike Grella had both goals for the hosts. An audacious curling shot by Sacha Kljestan rebounded off the post to Grella, who buried it for the first goal. Seattle produced a lot of pressure on New York’s goal throughout the first half, but the Sounders’ shots seemed to either trickle wide or wind up in Luis Robles’ arms. The second half followed a similar pattern until Grella chipped in another goal. After that New York smothered Seattle with possession and saw the game out.

RBNY has won four straight games in MLS, and in all competitions they have not allowed a goal in five games. They now sit second in the East after such a sluggish start to the season.

Sporting Kansas City 2-0 FC Dallas

SKC picked up a much-needed win, but it wasn’t without significant controversy. In the 15th minute, a backpass got past Tim Melia, and replays showed that it crossed the goal line before he was able to clear it out. But the goal was not given for Dallas, and instead the hosts took the lead late in the first half. Lawrence Olum got just enough of his head on Benny Feilhaber’s free kick to make it 1-0 Kansas City. Just a few minutes later, Feilhaber earned a penalty with a blatant dive, and he scored it himself.

That tweet was before even the Feilhaber penalty, when a shout at the other end was ignored. Dallas can feel very unlucky about this result, but it should be noted that they managed just one shot on target over 90 minutes.

Colorado Rapids 2-1 Chicago Fire

Colorado keeps finding ways to win. They defeated Chicago on Saturday night with help from a late deflection. It was another scoreless first half at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, but things livened up in the second half.

The Rapids lead MLS with 31 points through 15 games, which also marks the franchise’s best start in the post-shootout era. Eight of their nine wins have come by a single goal.

Toronto FC 1-0 LA Galaxy

Toronto squeezed out a victory over the suddenly-slumping Galaxy. The game was scoreless for 75 minutes, and roughly evenly matched. Drew Moor’s diving header found the bottom corner and earned three points for TFC.

LA is winless in their last five MLS games; their most recent win was May 8th against New England.

Real Salt Lake 2-2 Portland Timbers

Salt Lake scored first, but had to come back to earn a draw against Portland. Burrito Martinez was left free at the back post on a corner kick to put RSL in front in the 18th minute. The first half would tilt towards the Timbers; Fanendo Adi used speed and strength to tie the match, and Lucas Melano’s rebound had the visitors ahead going into halftime. Jermaine Taylor brought down Yura Movsisyan in the box in the 69th minute, and the Armenian forward took the penalty himself for the game’s final goal.

This is the second 2-2 draw of the year between RSL and Portland.

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-2 New England Revolution

Vancouver controlled the run of play, but New England took their chances well. London Woodberry headed in a free kick in the 31st minute to give the Revs the lead. Nicolas Mezquida cut out the middle man with his free kick, curling it right into the net. Early in the second half, Kelyn Rowe hit a good volley to restore New England’s edge. The Whitecaps felt that there should have been a foul in the buildup, but no dice.

The win lifts New England into sixth place in the Eastern Conference, above DC and Orlando.

Columbus Crew SC 0-0 Montreal Impact

Columbus and Montreal played to a scoreless draw on Saturday. The Crew had more than three-fifths of the game’s possession, but they were very wasteful with their 12 shots. Evan Bush had to make just one save. Five yellow cards were handed out, three to Columbus and two to Montreal.

Houston Dynamo 0-0 DC United

Houston and DC also failed to score. The game was delayed due to lightning for about an hour. When it took place, the two teams didn’t do much to rewards the fans for sticking around. Houston had twice as many shots as their guests, but only four on target.

Given their respective places, and the fact that the game was in Texas, the point is better for DC.