MLS Week 15 Recap, Highlights: Orlando, Seattle notch solid victories

Image, OrlandocitySC.com

by RYAN BRISTER
MLS Writer

Major League Soccer’s 15th week showcased an abbreviated slate of matches. Only five games were played, as the league made a slight nod to the various friendlies and qualifiers taking place internationally. At the end of Sunday, the Sounders were back atop the Supporters’ Shield race

Seattle Sounders 3-0 FC Dallas

Seattle surged in the second half to get a lopsided result that doesn’t reflect the run of play.

Fabian Castillo was a force, making dashing runs up the right flank and causing the Sounders all sorts of problems. In the 28th minute, he cut inside on Zach Scott and hit his shot off the post, the best chance either team had until that point. Three minutes later, Stefan Frei was forced into action, stretching out to deny Kyle Bekker after a well-worked Dallas attack.

But Dallas was unable to get the goal they arguably deserved in the first half, and they would pay for that fact. Ten minutes into the second half, Seattle won the ball outside of Dallas’ box and Lamar Neagle quickly turned it into the opening goal. Neagle has three goals on the year now.

A masked Obafemi Martins returned from a broken nose in the second half. He reminded Sounders fans what they’ve been missing out on. In the 73rd minute, he received the ball deep in Dallas box, and was able to beat Bekker and Dan Kennedy with a quick turn and finish.

With hopes of a Dallas comeback fading, Seattle put on the finishing touches in stoppage time. Martins freed Neagle with a ball down the right wing, and Neagle’s cross found Leo Gonzalez making a long run to the top of the box. The defender’s finish was cool and composed.

New York City FC 3-1 Montreal Impact

New York City FC is on their first ever winning streak thanks to a solid performance and win over the Montreal Impact.

NYCFC was all over the visitors in the first half, but it took half an hour to find the breakthrough goal. When it came, it was in the form an impressive team goal. Tommy McNamara got down the left wing and put in a cross towards Patrick Mullins. With his back towards goal, Mullins tapped it off to Medhi Ballouchy, who waited and found David Villa making a run to the penalty spot. It was a pretty goal, and no less than NYCFC deserved for their first half performance.

The Impact came out stronger in the second half, and threatened an equalizer at times after the break. But Jason Kreis made adjustments, bringing on Mix Diskerud and Kwadwo Poku. The latter made his presence felt immediately after entering in the 75th minute. He harassed the ball off of Wandrille Lefevre , ran across the top of the box, and found Diskerud in space on the right wing. As in Germany, Diskerud made the most of his chance, putting it away to double NYCFC’s lead.

Lefevre, whose mistake led to the second goal, did his best to make up for it. In the 87th minute, he got free near the back post on a free kick. Laurent Ciman’s ball found him in that space, and the defender headed it in. NYCFC suddenly had to worry about their hard work going to waste with a late collapse. But Montreal’s late push left them exposed at the back, and a failed clearance by Patrice Bernier allowed Poku to finish off the game.

It’s the first time in NYCFC’s short history that they’ve scored three goals in a single game. They played like a team imbued with confidence after their skid-ending win last week in Philadelphia.

Orlando City SC 1-0 DC United

Orlando finally managed to best DC on their third attempt this season.

Orlando struck first in a chippy first half. Rafael Ramos’ cross was controlled well by Pedro Ribeiro, who turned and fired on goal, saved by Bill Hamid. Ribeiro chased after a poor clearance by Birnbaum, and was bowled over by Taylor Kemp for a penalty. Hamid saved that too, but the ball bounced back to Kaka for a simple header.

Right after the goal, the referee called for a stoppage in play, marking the first official water break in MLS history. Gametime temperatures neared 90 degrees, and combined with the humidity, the conditions met the league’s new threshold on calling for water breaks.

Orlando was pinned back in their own end for much of the last half hour, but they did a good job of limiting DC’s chances. Perhaps the best opportunity fell to Conor Doyle in the 84th minute, but his shot bent wide. A young Orlando side had a very mature defensive performance to kill the game off and preserve the win.

Columbus Crew SC 1-1 LA Galaxy

After rain delayed the match by over two hours, the Crew and Galaxy played to a draw late in Columbus.

More than 21,000 tickets were sold, and a decent amount stuck around after the storm. In the first half at least, the visitors worked to dampen their spirits further. Robbie Rogers had an excellent half, and played a big role in the opening goal. His run through traffic reached the edge of the box, and when the ball popped loose, Sebastian Lletget did a great job of working around Michael Parkhurst and fitting his shot between Steve Clark and the near post.

The Crew failed to produce much on the attack in the opening hour or so, but improved as the game went on. In the 65th minute, Ethan Finlay got to the end line and pulled the ball back for Frederico Higuain, who bashed it by Jaime Penedo for the equalizer. Columbus pressed for a winner from the remainder of the match, but couldn’t find it.

New England Revolution 2-0 Chicago Fire

A quick second-half flurry earned the Revs three points, snapping a six-match winless streak.

The first half was tight, with few chances for either side. The best opportunity went Chicago’s way in the 24th minute. Kennedy Igboananike got in behind the defense on a long ball from Adailton, but was denied by Bobby Shuttleworth.

The Revs stormed out of the gates after halftime Diego Fagundez, making his 100th appearance for New England, scored perhaps his best goal yet in the 48th minute. The ball was headed high into the air following a corner, and came down for Fagundez, who volleyed it hard from the top of the box into the net. About a minute later, Teal Bunbury went down in the box and appealed for a penalty that was not awarded.

New England might have still been upset about that no-call when they got their second goal anyway. Fagundez chested a ball down for Bunbury, who flubbed his shot. But the bad shot made for a perfect cross for Charlie Davies, and his header doubled the advantage.