Bradley Wright-Phillips

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

A(nother) Giovinco free kick helps TFC to 1st leg (video)

Leave a comment

The match in 100 words (or less): New York Red Bulls have the steel and experience to trouble most teams in MLS, and weren’t rattled when Victor Vazquez helped the visiting Reds to a 1-0 lead. An unfortunate but very legit penalty against Drew Moor sent the defender to the sidelines injured and RBNY to halftime level. The Red Bulls very much had the run of play until Felipe fouled Sebastian Giovinco about 25 yards away from goal. At this point, we can just leave that sentence there and know you know the score went to 2-1. The Supporters’ Shield winners now have two away goals heading back to Toronto for the second leg.

The moments that mattered

8′ — Vazquez gets the favorites an away goal — Clumsy defending from the Red Bulls allowed Jozy Altidore to the right flank, and the American striker walked around Damien Perrinelle before crossing into the six. Red Bulls backstop Luis Robles parried it back into the 18, and Victor Vazquez had ages to line up his shot. He did not mess up.

Sacha Kljestan had a chance at the other end, but Toronto resumed control. Marky Delgado headed a shot off the cross bar in the 36th minute.

45+1′ — BWP goes down under Moor challenge — Wright-Phillips took the ball off Delgado on the edge of the 18, and then hit the deck when he caught Drew Moor off guard with a short touch. Daniel Royer stepped up and cruised his effort down the middle.

All game long’ — Bono stands up to the task at hand — The penalty, halftime break, and injuries to Drew Moor and Victor Vazquez, seemed to shake up TFC. Fortunately for the Reds, goalkeeper Alex Bono was up for the call.

74′ – Giovinco free kick — Some time this summer, our own Andy Edwards and I had a discussion about how Giovinco free kicks from a certain area are either free throws or penalty kicks. Either way, boom.

Man of the Match: Plenty had arguments, including Vazquez, Giovinco, Wright-Phillips, and Bono. We’ll go with the free kick man, and let this stat be our tiebreaker.

Red Bulls knock off host Chicago behind BWP goal, assist (video)

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Leave a comment

The match in 100 words (or bit, it’s the playoffs): In the MLS Cup Playoffs, sometimes you gotta go to the dirty places and get a little bit of luck from your opponent: An injured Michael de Leeuw and unfit Bastian Schweinsteiger qualify as the latter for the No.3 seed Chicago Fire. The New York Red Bulls got in close to apply the former, with Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan sliding into the box to give RBNY a 2-0 lead after just 11 minutes of their first round playoff match-up at Toyota Park.

BWP also recorded an assist, and Daniel Royer and Gonzalo Veron scored late goals to salt away Chicago’s resurgence at one playoff game, ruining ex-teammate Dax McCarty’s Fire playoff debut. Now the Red Bulls earn two legs against the team with the best record in MLS history: Toronto FC.

[ MORE: Latest in Crew relocation saga ]

The moments that mattered

7′ — Lampson freezes, BWP goes BWP — Chicago Fire goalkeeper Veljko Paunovic rested his starting keeper on Sunday, and who knows if that played a big role in this moment here?

11′ — Kljestan goes to the dirty places — Sacha Kljestan is not going to be afraid of the big stage, and the former Anderlecht man did what was needed to give the Red Bulls a surprising 2-0 lead.

70′ — Royer puts it to bed — Chicago turned to Bastian Schweinsteiger in the 65th minute for his first run since early September, and the Fire also went to three at the back. That backfired quickly.

Follow @NicholasMendola

MLS Snapshot: RBNY trounce VAN, clinch East’s final playoff spot

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): Just when we were oh so sure the Vancouver Whitecaps had solidified themselves as the cream of the Western Conference crop, Carl Robinson’s side lands flat on its collective face in suffering a 3-0 defeat away to the New York Red Bulls a week later. A win would have put Vancouver seven points clear (for the time being) of everyone in the West. Instead, Sporting Kansas City feature in one of two games in hand later on Saturday with a chance to close the gap to one. New York, meanwhile, needed just three more points to clinch the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference, which they did thanks to another standout, two-assist performance by Sacha Kljestan. The 32-year-old set up goals scored by Daniel Royer and Felipe to take his average to 17 assists per season for the last three years. Bradley Wright-Phillips bagged the other goal (assisted by 18-year-old stud Tyler Adams).

[ MORE: USMNT routs Panama to boost WC dreams in a big way ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Kljestan feeds Royer to make it 1-0 — Kljestan tallied his 50th assist in just under three seasons since returning to MLS, which positions him among pristine company. Royer still has plenty of work to do after getting on the end of Kljestan’s ball.

58′ — BWP dinks it past Ousted for 2-0 Wright-Phillips should be lauded for the cheeky finish after carrying the ball 40 yards, but the real story here is the ball from Adams. Watch it and feel safe in knowing he’s ready for the call, USMNT fans.

72′ — Felipe hits a laser for 3-0 — Make that 51 assists for Kljestan, who still had lots of work to do once inside the penalty area. The ball back for Felipe looks simple enough after all he did to keep it in bounds and create a bit of separation for himself.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Sacha Kljestan

Goalscorers: Royer (33′), Wright-Phillips (58′), Felipe (72′)

Sporting KC claims its fourth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (video)

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
1 Comment

Latif Blessing and Daniel Salloi scored as Sporting KC held on to beat New York Red Bulls 2-1 in the 104th Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on Wednesday at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas.

Bradley Wright-Phillips blasted a Gonzalo Veron rebound beyond Tim Melia in the first minute of stoppage time to set up a nervy final five minutes. It was the Red Bulls’ second final, and second loss.

The win marks KC’s fourth title, tied for the most amongst active clubs, and its third in six tournaments.

KC now qualifies for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.

[ MORE: Pulisic scores 10th BVB goal ]

Sporting KC could’ve been down a man within five minutes, as referee Hilario Grajeda was handing out a yellow card to Seth Sinovic when Diego Rubio inexplicably kicked Felipe Martins in the ankle. It went unseen, and VAR is not a part of the final.

Gerson arrived on the doorstep with the ball and instead side-footed a pass that never got to Benny Feilhaber, a huge let-off for the Red Bulls.

Sacha Kljestan ripped a shot through traffic that forced a save out of Tim Melia in the 14th minute.

KC went ahead when Graham Zusi’s cross was somehow missed by a trio of Red Bulls defenders, allowing Blessing to pound a header home.

Benny Feilhaber committed a pair of fouls to allow a Red Bulls free kick from just outside the 18 and the end line, but the chance was blocked. A counter attack pass from Blessing sprung Gerso on a breakaway, but Ryan Meara blocked the shot.

Meara made another save after the first ball off the ensuing corner cranked off the cross bar.

Feilhaber then cued up Salloi for the insurance marker, before tournament leading scorer Wright-Phillips pulled one back for New York.

Ike Opara ripped down Wright-Phillips in the sixth of six stoppage time minutes, earning a yellow card and giving RBNY a free kick from 23 yards. Felipe skied his effort over the bar.

MLS Snapshots: TFC’s lead restored to 9 as NYCFC, CHI falter

Photo credit: Toronto FC / @torontofc
Leave a comment

Toronto FC 4-0 San Jose Earthquakes

The game in 100 words (or less): TFC have taken all the excitement out of the final days and weeks of the regular season… with two months of the regular season still to go. Saturday’s 4-0 victory, their fifth straight win, over San Jose not only sent a(nother) clear message to the rest of the league that 1) they’re hellbent on MLS Cup vengeance, and 2) they might just be the best team in league history, but also re-established Greg Vanney’s side’s nine-point lead atop the Eastern Conference and in the Supporters’ Shield race (with thanks to results elsewhere — see below). Jozy Altidore bagged a pair of second-half goal, doubling and tripling the lead established by league-leading assist man Victor Vazquez. Jonathan Osorio competed the scoring with TFC’s third in 21 minutes to start the second half. Sebastian Giovinco left the contest at halftime with tightness in his quad.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings — Week 26 | Weekend preview ]

Three moments that mattered

26′ — Vazquez fills an empty net after Tarbell’s blunder — Andrew Tarbell made every effort imaginable in an attempt to get a touch on Steven Beitashour’s cross, but the second-year ‘keeper only wound up looking a fool as Vazquez bagged his sixth goal of the season (to go with 14 assists).

48′ — Altidore slots home for 2-0 — Goals don’t come much easier than this one, for which all Altidore had to do was not send his shot 20 rows into the stands, and he’d make it an even dozen on the season. (Scratch that earlier note — 15 assists for Vazquez)

64′ — Altidore heads past Tarbell for 3-0 — So it’s a baker’s dozen for Altidore, and four goals in TFC’s last three games.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Victor Vazquez

Goalscorers: Vazquez (26′), Altidore (48′, 64′), Osorio (66′)


New York City FC 0-1 Portland Timbers

The game in 100 words (or less): Three short days after cutting TFC’s lead to six points, NYCFC crashed and burned their own Shield dreams as they lost at Yankee Stadium for just the second time all season, falling to Portland, 1-0. Diego Valeri scored the game’s only goal and made a bit of history in the process (see below). The victory pushes Caleb Porter’s side two points clear of the Seattle Sounders for the Western Conference’s top spot (though Seattle now have two games in hand). Portland become the first West side to reach a dozen wins on the season, and extend their current unbeaten run to four games (three wins). TFC are the only side to beat Portland in the Timbers’ last eight games.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings — Week 26 | Weekend preview ]

Three moments that mattered

44′ — Valeri hammers past Johnson for 1-0 — No one pressured Valeri and he fired past Sean Johnson to give himself a goal in seven straight games, which ties the Argentine for the all-time record in MLS history.

47′ — Brilliant nearly scores from his stomach — Frederic Brilliant so nearly scored the weirdest goal of the 2017 season, a pool-ball tap-in from his belly, but the Frenchman couldn’t quite hit the corner pocket.

84′ — Johnson makes a spectacular save to keep NYCFC in it — This is just absolutely ridiculous from Johnson, who’ll very likely ride this one to Save of the Year glory.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Diego Valeri

Goalscorers: Valeri (44′)


Chicago Fire 1-1 New York Red Bulls

The game in 100 words (or less): Chicago’s tailspin might very well be over, but Veljko Paunovic’s side still dropped a pair of points at home on Saturday, in a 1-1 draw with New York. After putting a four-game losing skid to bed last weekend, Chicago were made to scrap their way to a point against a side four points (and two spot) below them in the East. Now 14 points back of TFC (they were the only side within three of the Reds a month and a half ago) and five back of NYCFC for second, the dreaded knockout round is looking a likelier destination everyday for Chicago. Two positives for Chicago: a loss would have meant just one point stood between themselves and New York (and three from falling out of the top-four, thus the right to host the knockout round game), and Nemanja Nikolic scored his first goal since July 1, a stretch of 10 games without the Hungarian finding the back of the net.

[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings — Week 26 | Weekend preview ]

Three Two moments that mattered

8′ — BWP’s in the right place at the right time, and it’s 1-0 — That describes, what, roughly 80 percent of BWP’s goal in MLS. That’s not a slight on the Englishman, because always popping up in the right spot is 99 percent skill and 1 percent luck.

66′ — Nikolic breaks his drought, makes it 1-1 — Nikolic gets the goal, but Michael de Leeuw should get all the attention for this delicate touch. As the ball came falling out of the sky, the Dutchman so carefully laid it across the face of goal and gifted Nikolic a chance he couldn’t miss.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Sacha Kljestan

Goalscorers: Wright-Phillips (8′), Nikolic (66′)