MLS Week 16 Recap, Highlights: Late drama the theme



Your eyes may have been focused on Copa America or the European Championship, but an exciting week of Major League Soccer just wrapped up. There was controversy, some high-scoring matches, and late, late goals.

Orlando City SC 3-2 Toronto FC

There was more late drama at the Citrus Bowl as Orlando recovered all three points against Toronto.

Justin Morrow appeared to have earned a draw for TFC with his tap-in in the 90th minute. But in the ninth minute of stoppage time (due to a lengthy injury delay for Clint Irwin), referee Ismail Elfath awarded Orlando what appeared to be a very soft penalty. Josh Williams was sent off for arguing the call, and Kaka stepped up to score the winning goal from the spot.

This is the third time this season Orlando has both scored and allowed goals in the 90th minute or later. It’s the first time they’ve ended up winning as a result.

Portland Timbers 3-2 Houston Dynamo

Portland came all the way back from a 2-0 hole to beat Houston. It was a quick double in the middle of the first period that had the Dynamo in front. Andrew Wenger danced his way to the opening goal in the 28th minute. Just two minutes later, Will Bruin got to a ball that evaded Portland’s center backs, and the Dynamo were riding high.

Diego Valeri took over in the second half. The Argentine’s through ball unlocked the defense for Lucas Melano in the 64th minute. Valeri would then score two goals himself, both from the spot: the equalizer in the 82nd minute, and the winning goal in stoppage time. It’s the second time this year Portland has erased a two-goal deficit, and the win lifts them into fifth.

Montreal Impact 2-2 Sporting Kansas City

Kansas City fell behind twice and fought back twice to earn a draw in Montreal. After stellar work by Didier Drogba to free Hassoun Camara, Lucas Ontivero headed in the game’s opening goal. Dom Dwyer said “I can do that,” and he did to level the match. Ignacio Piatti’s penalty kick gave the Impact the lead going into halftime. But Dwyer would not be denied; he sparked a counter and finished it off to tie the game once again.

SKC now has 22 points, good for seventh in the West. Montreal has 21, and sit fourth in the East.

Philadelphia Union 2-3 Vancouver Whitecaps

Vancouver went east and countered well in a win over Philadelphia. Roland Alberg opened the scoring for the Union in the 14th minute. That lead lasted just four minutes before Andrew Jacobsen headed in the equalizer. Kekuta Manneh showed off his blazing speed in a long run for Vancouver’s second goal. Philly significantly outshot their guests, but another counter attack finished the game off when Christian Bolanos scored in the 84th minute. Chris Pontius’ stoppage time goal was just consolation.

Philadelphia Union 4-3 Chicago Fire

The Union’s week started off on a better note, with a wild win over Chicago. The scoring started early, and it was the visitors who jumped out in front through David Accam’s second minute goal. An own goal by Jonathan Campbell leveled the match, and then the Roland Alberg show began. The Dutch midfielder was in the right place to hammer home a rebound in the 15th minute. He doubled his tally, and Philly’s lead, just before halftime. The Union earned a penalty after the break, and Alberg finished his hat trick from the spot.

The Fire gave a scare to Philly in the end, though. Goals by Razvan Cocis and Khaly Thiam made the final 10 minutes very interesting as the Union just held on to the win. The Union remain atop the East, and Chicago remains at the bottom.

Seattle Sounders 0-2 New York City FC

New York City went to Seattle and added to the Sounders struggles. Frank Lampard scored for the second straight game, late in the first half. There was some question as to whether he used his arm to do so, but the referee deemed it clean. Seattle managed just two shots on target, but the game wasn’t out of reach until Ronald Marratita doubled NYCFC’s lead in the 87th minute. That sent many in the crowd of more than 47,000 heading towards the exit.

The empty seats visible at the end of the match say it all for the Sounders, who continue to wallow in ninth. Things couldn’t be more different for City, who sit in second after two straight wins. The Red Bulls await them this upcoming weekend.

San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 LA Galaxy

A late goal lifted the fans at Stanford Stadium, as San Jose took a draw off their rivals. The Earthquakes were on top in the first half, but failed to create a goal out of their chances. LA responded well, and after 20 minutes of pressure, Giovani Dos Santos provided the breakthrough. The Galaxy were in the ascendancy, but the game shifted once more. Chad Barrett had a header hit the crossbar, but found the back of the net in the 90th minute.

There was more action to come. In stoppage time, Ashley Cole found himself sent off, apparently for dissent after he had earned a yellow card. It’s another bitter end for the Galaxy, who are still looking for their first win since early May.

Real Salt Lake 2-1 New York Red Bulls

Salt Lake fought back and took all three points from the Red Bulls in midweek. It was a bright start for the visitors; Gideon Baah headed them into the lead after just seven minutes, but it already felt deserved. The second half would be less kind to them. Yura Movsisyan tied the game with a header in the 65th minute. RSL kept up the pressure, and were eventually rewarded for it. Jordan Allen’s shot in the 87th minute took a deflection off of Chris Duvall that sent it past Luis Robles and into the net.

Things only got worse for New York. Aurelien Collin was given a straight red for a challenge in the 88th minute; the Red Bulls appealed this decision and were denied. Jesse Marsch, your thoughts?

FC Dallas 2-0 Real Salt Lake

Dallas had no problem dispatching Salt Lake over the weekend. Mauro Diaz was back in the lineup and pulling the strings for Dallas. His quick restart in the 15th minute caught RSL off guard and led to Kellyn Acosta’s goal. That was just one of many chances the Argentine playmaker created. Diaz went upside down in midfield to free Fabian Castillo on Dallas’ second goal. RSL did not muster a shot on target in their quest for a comeback.

DC United 2-0 New England Revolution

DC comfortably defeated New England. It was a fairly even match on the statsheet, but two first half goals were all DC needed. Lamar Neagle hammered in the first off the volley in minute 20. Seven minutes later, it was Neagle’s cross that Sean Franklin smashed in off the crossbar. The Revs didn’t put up a significant fight, and Bill Hamid needed to make just four saves.

DC leapfrogs New England with the win, and now find themselves just on the right side of the red line in the East.

Columbus Crew SC 1-1 New York Red Bulls

A late goal gave Columbus a point Saturday night against New York. The center back pairing of Ronald Zubar and Gideon Baah did very well to keep Columbus out as they increased pressure. But Baah had to leave the game on a stretcher, and in stoppage time, Zubar was beaten by Ola Kamara as he scored the equalizer.

This was always going to be a tough week for the Red Bulls with two away games, but having scored first in both of them, one point feels like a very disappointing total.

LA Galaxy 0-0 Colorado Rapids

A stingy performance by the Rapids held LA to a scoreless draw in midweek. Chances and shots were actually even throughout, but neither side was able to grab a goal. Both keepers had to make five saves in keeping their respective clean sheets.

The Rapids still hold the best record in MLS, but the gap with Dallas has shrunk to just one point. Colorado is unbeaten in their last 11 games.

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