MLS Week 5 Recap, Highlights: Few goals, many red cards

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by RYAN BRISTER

Major League Soccer returned from the international break with more of a whimper than a bang. In week five, the attacks went as cold as the northeastern weather, with only two of the 18 teams in action managing more than a single goal. Tempers, meanwhile, were hot, as the early season trend of sending offs continued.

Orlando City 4-1 Portland Timbers

Kaka made his first start of the season and powered Orlando to a dominant win over Portland. The Lions bossed the game around from the opening whistle, and scored when Seb Hines headed home a Kaka free kick in the 13th minute. If the set piece goal was too pedestrian for your liking, Brek Shea’s rocketed goal more than made up for it. Portland had a chance to get back into the match when Shea was whistled for a handball in the box, but Fanendo Adi’s penalty was saved by Joe Bendik. With two assists under his belt, Kaka scored early in the second half. Kevin Molino added a penalty in the 76th minute, while Jack McInerney picked up a consolation goal even later.

With the win, Orlando sits atop the Eastern Conference. Amidst the reasons for celebration, though, Orlando saw Cyle Larin leave the match early with an apparent hamstring injury.

FC Dallas 1-1 Columbus Crew SC

Dallas and Columbus played to a draw on Saturday night in Frisco. Crew SC got on the board first through a header from Justin Meram. It was the first time all season that Columbus has held a lead in a game. But they weren’t able to hang on for their first win. Dallas had 21 shots on the night, but needed a bit of luck to get their goal. Maxi Urruti hit the post from distance, and the ball rebounded off of Steve Clark, sitting up perfectly for a Tesho Akindele tap-in.

Dallas’ 10 points are the most in MLS, but they have played one more game than most of the league. The Crew are still seeking to figure things out here in 2016.

Sporting Kansas City 1-2 Real Salt Lake

This time, RSL held on to their lead. Having gone up two, Salt Lake was able to hold off a late challenge by Kansas City. 19-year-old defender Justen Glad scored his first professional goal in the 29th minute to give the visitors a lead. Salt Lake had significantly more shots on than Kansas City, and they doubled their lead 50 minutes later through Luke Mulholland. Benny Feilhaber scored a penalty deep in stoppage time, but RSL would not let another two-goal lead slip away.

RSL remains undefeated on the season, and they are now the only team in the Western Conference who can claim that.

New England Revolution 1-0 New York Red Bulls

There was no shortage of controversy as New England took a narrow victory over the Red Bulls. The game’s only goal came with Kemar Lawrence down on the turf and the Red Bulls urging the Revs to play the ball out. The hosts ignored these pleas, and Diego Fagundez had a simple finish on a net abandoned by Luis Robles. Shortly afterwards, Felipe was handed a straight red card, furthering New York’s frustration with Mark Geiger. Their efforts for an equalizer went in vain.

San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 DC United

A late equalizer denied DC their first win of the season against San Jose. The game was billed as the 20th anniversary of MLS’s first-ever match, but this time the visitors scored the opening goal. Patrick Nyarko’s header in the 34th minute came against the run of play, but had DC in front at halftime. That lead would hold up until the 89th minute, when Adam Jahn redirected a cross from Shea Salinas and found the far side of the net.

Seattle Sounders 1-0 Montreal Impact

Clint Dempsey provided the goal as Seattle finally got their first points of the 2016 season. The statistics tell the story of an evenly-matched game, with neither side holding significant advantages in shots or possession. The scoreline was just as level through 79 minutes, until Dempsey found the breakthrough. He was there at the back post to head in a corner kick from Andreas Ivanschitz.

Seattle still has work to do to regain their past form, but I imagine they’ll take three points regardless of how they came.

Vancouver Whitecaps 0-0 LA Galaxy

After suffering an early red card, Vancouver was able to keep LA off the board and preserve a scoreless draw. Matias Laba was sent off for a studs-up challenge in the 28th minute, forcing the Whitecaps to play the final hour a man down. The Galaxy controlled the game as a result, but couldn’t find a breakthrough. David Ousted had four saves to keep a clean sheet. The 27,038 fans in attendance—a record for the Whitecaps in MLS—would have to be satisfied with a point.

The Whitecaps and Galaxy are two of the many Western Conference teams sitting on seven points after five weeks.

Colorado Rapids 1-0 Toronto FC

TFC went down a man early, and soon went down a goal. They wouldn’t be able to overcome this deficit and Colorado took all three points. Benoit Cheyrou picked up two yellow cards within a three minute span early in the first half. Five minutes later, Luis Solignac got in behind on a great chipped pass by Marco Pappa to give Colorado the lead. The Rapids weren’t seriously challenged beyond that; rather, they forced Clint Irwin to make seven saves in his return to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Toronto is averaging a point per game so far on their season-starting road trip, which in theory is a respectable tally. They would, however, have expected Colorado to be one of the stops where they can pick up a result. The Rapids now have two wins, both at home, both 1-0.

Chicago Fire 1-0 Philadelphia Union

On a cold day in Chicago, the Fire provided their fans some warmth with a win over 10-man Philadelphia. Union defender Warren Crevalle picked up a yellow card early in the first half, but his challenge just after halftime was worthy of a straight red. The Fire quickly made use of their man advantage, and Kennedy Igboananike had the game’s only goal.

The win is Veljko Paunovic’s first as head coach of the Fire.