MLS Week 18 Recap, Highlights: Kamara’s revenge, more

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER

The European final may have stolen your attention, but Major League Soccer had a full slate of games over the weekend. The most obvious storyline was in New England, where Columbus had to watch their recent teammate celebrate a goal and a win against them.

New England Revolution 3-1 Columbus Crew SC

Kei Kamara got his revenge. The former Columbus striker scored in a 3-1 win for New England. He had to wait; his teammate Lee Nguyen got on the board first, with a tremendous strike from the top of the box. The Revs’ lead doubled when Wil Trapp accidentally put a cross into his own net. Ola Kamara got one back for the Crew before halftime; Brad Knighton probably should have saved it.

New England’s victory was sealed in a rather silly fashion. When Teal Bunbury was brought down in the box, everyone turned to the referee for a moment, including Kamara. The ref did not point to the spot, but the Revs striker was first to react to the loose ball and hit it past Steve Clark.

Sporting Kansas City 3-1 New York City FC

Sporting’s press proved too much for New York City to handle. The game got off to a wild start. Benny Feilhaber pounced on a rebound in the 8th minute to put SKC in front. A well-worked attacking move resulted in Frank Lampard’s equalizer just six minutes later. Blink and you’d have missed Jimmy Medranda’s goal after that. Josh Saunders misread the shot from distance, which bounced over his hands and got in at the near post.

Things got sloppy on Kansas City’s third goal. A corner kick bounced around in the box, wasn’t cleared, and eventually got to Ike Opara, who poked it home. Replays showed he was offside in the chaos, but it went unnoticed. SKC’s smothering pressure and the stifling heat made comeback hopes quickly fade.

The loss ends a four-game winning streak for NYCFC.

New England Revolution 0-1 New York City FC

It took a fortunate bounce, but NYCFC’s week started off on a good note. The cross hit Frank Lampard in the knee, but as he was turning, he managed to direct it on goal and past Bobby Shuttleworth. Lampard can’t seem to stop scoring these days. Shuttleworth later received a red card for coming out of his box and denying a goal-scoring opportunity for Khiry Shelton.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-2 Colorado Rapids

Colorado rescued a point at the death in Vancouver. Kendall Waston headed in a cross by Christian Bolanos, beating Tim Howard and giving Vancouver an early edge. The Rapids wouldn’t strike back until after halftime, when Shkelzen Gashi set up Kevin Doyle for the equalizer.

The real fun was saved for late. Eric Miller was sent off with twenty minutes to go, leaving the Rapids with 10 men. A penalty in the 87th minute gave Vancouver the lead and it must have seemed like the win. But on a last-gasp effort in the 5th minute of stoppage time, Axel Sjoberg headed in the equalizer.

The Rapids, just barely, managed to preserve their unbeaten streak with the draw. It now stands at 13 regular season games. It’s the second time in a few weeks Vancouver has seen a lead slip away so late.

Philadelphia Union 3-0 DC United

Philly jumped all over DC in a very, very comfortable win. The visitors gave away two penalties in the first half. First, Kofi Opare took down Chris Pontius; Roland Alberg scored the penalty. Then Marcelo Sarvas fouled Ilsinho; the Brazilian took the penalty himself. Ilsinho would score again after the break, this time from the run of play. Opare was sent off in the 64th minute, but the Union had mercy and did not add to United’s suffering.

Seattle Sounders 0-1 LA Galaxy

Seattle had their chances, but their scoring woes continued in a loss to LA. The Galaxy began the game on the front foot, and they got their lead after just a quarter of an hour. Gyasi Zardes put in a perfect cross that Robbie Keane smashed in off the underside of the crossbar. Keane had a penalty shout later in the first half that appeared justified, but went unanswered.

But the pattern of the game more generally was that of the Sounders trying, and failing, to score at the other end. They had 22 shots, including two off the post, but nothing seemed to work for the league’s lowest-scoring team. With the loss, they fall to dead last in the Western Conference.

Real Salt Lake 1-1 Montreal Impact

Salt Lake dominated possession, but managed only a draw against Montreal. The visitors struck early. Nick Rimando could not control a knuckling free kick from Laurent Ciman, and the rebound fell to Harry Shipp. The goal is Shipp’s first with Montreal. Demar Phillips put in an incredible effort to keep the ball from going out over the end line, then nutmegged a defender to get it to Joao Plata. Callum Mallace cut Plata down from behind, and Yura Movsisyan scored the penalty.

San Jose Earthquakes 0-1 FC Dallas

A stellar piece of acrobatics by Maxi Urruti separated Dallas from San Jose. The game’s only goal arrived shortly after halftime. A cross got popped up into the air behind Urruti, and he did well to turn and swing his legs around for the overhead kick. San Jose had more of the shots, but only forced Chris Seitz to make three saves.

Dallas has not conceded in their last 315 minutes of MLS play. The Hoops are now three points clear atop the West, but it should be noted that they’ve played two more games than Colorado behind them.

Toronto FC 1-0 Chicago Fire

One goal ended up being enough for Toronto, as they defeated Chicago. Sebastian Giovinco had the assist on Justin Morrow’s goal in the ninth minute. Morrow and Jordan Hamilton almost got in each others way, but Morrow took the shot and beat Sean Johnson with it. TFC had opportunities to score a second, but never did, and didn’t need to in the end.

New York Red Bulls 0-0 Portland Timbers

New York and Portland played to a scoreless draw on Sunday. Compounding their frustration, both teams were forced into substitutions for injury reasons. Darren Mattocks left the game after just a few minutes for Portland; Gideon Baah had to leave for the Red Bulls. It’s not the first injury woe for the New York center back. Coming on to replace him was Damien Perrinelle, making his first appearance of 2016. Other than that, it was an unremarkable game.

Both teams have now gone two straight games without scoring.

Orlando City FC 0-0 Houston Dynamo

Orlando’s first game without Adrian Heath ended scoreless. The Lions had nearly two-thirds of the possession, but Houston did well on the counter, producing more shots. The biggest of those was in the 89th minute, when Giles Barnes had a shot go off the post.

Orlando has drawn more than half of their games, and, most troubling, seven out of 10 at the Citrus Bowl.