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MLS Snapshot: Union storm back vs. Rapids, Whitecaps defeat Sporting KC (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): In a battle of two of the league’s weakest sides to this point, it was the Philadelphia Union that emerged victorious after a strange sequence of events late in the match ended up benefitting the hosts. Caleb Calvert had a dream start for the Colorado Rapids with his first career MLS goal after a quarter hour, but the 20-year-old’s night came to an abrupt end in the second half after the striker re-entered the match without the referee’s permission. This resulted in a second yellow card. End of his evening. From there, Haris Medunjanin’s stunning free kick beat Tim Howard six minutes later and gave the Union their fourth win of the season.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS (afternoon) roundup ]

Three moments that mattered

15′ — Calvert stuns Union for first MLS goal — Andre Blake stood no chance on this one. Just watch below and you’ll understand why. So pretty.

23′ — Howard denies Union equalizer with kick save — Two words: Tim Howard.

69′ — Stranger things happening in Philly — The Rapids were reduced to 10 when Calvert re-entered the pitch without the referee waving the forward back on, and just like that the visitors were at a tremendous disadvantage.

75′ — Union take the lead — Oh boy, that’s some strike from Haris Medunjanin. Wow!

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Man of the match: C.J. Sapong

Goalscorers: Caleb Calvert (15′), C.J. Sapong (67′ — PK), Haris Medunjanin (75′)


The game in 100 words (or less): The Vancouver Whitecaps are picked up a bit of steam in the Western Conference after a slow start to the season, and Christian Bolanos is proving to be a key playmaker for the Canadian side. The Costa Rican recorded two assists on Saturday, helping pace the Whitecaps to their fifth win of the season at BC Place against Sporting KC. Meanwhile, it was an off night for the West leaders, who posted just two shots on target. Goalkeeper Tim Melia impressed once against though for SKC, making five stops in net, two of which came off a second-half penalty double-save.

Three moments that mattered

40′ — Techera volley gives Whitecaps lead — This might be the best team goal you see all season… and Cristian Techera’s finish was pretty darn good too.

67′ — Parker heads home for Whitecaps’ second — The U.S. Men’s National Team defender knocked him his first of the season after the hour mark to ensure the points for the home side.

‘ — Melia makes crazy double-save — It wasn’t Sporting KC’s evening but Tim Melia continues to show us why he’s one of the top up-and-coming keepers in MLS.

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Man of the match: Christian Bolanos

Goalscorers: Cristian Techera (40′), Tim Parker (67′)

MLS (afternoon) roundup: TFC make it 6 in a row; Meram bags hat trick

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The 10th MLS Saturday of 2017 is nearly halfway complete. A quick roundup of the day’s early games…

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Toronto FC 3-2 Minnesota United

Don’t look now, but TFC are sprinting away from the rest of the pack in the Eastern Conference. Saturday’s victory over Minnesota, a back-and-forth affair that saw the visitors twice come back to level terms, pushes Greg Vanney’s side to 25 points, six clear of everyone else in the East (TFC have played three more games than third-place Orlando City SC, who are on 18 points). The most impressive part: they’ve won six straight games, including five in a just-completed 15-day period that saw a number of key players rested at various points.

It was anything but pretty on Saturday, but the Reds will take all three points and a day or two of rest now, thank you very much. Sebastian Giovinco opened the scoring, from the penalty spot, in the 20th minute, a lead which they held until the 52nd minute, when Kevin Molino equalized for the Loons. Just two minutes later, though, Christian Ramirez bundled the ball into his own net for a 2-1 TFC lead.

Molino would pull Minnesota level once again, this time putting home the rebound from his own missed penalty kick, but Jozy Altidore, who replaced Giovinco in the 44th minute, would not be denied in his efforts to set up Tosaint Ricketts for the game-winning goal in the 77th minute.


Montreal Impact 2-3 Columbus Crew SC

Justin Meram is a star, and it’s time that everyone realizes and accepts it. After bagging his first career hat trick on Saturday, Meram’s 2017 numbers are as follows: seven goals and four assists, from 11 games. He’s just one away from a new career-high goals tally, and currently on pace to fall just short of his single-season high in assists (13).

Each and every one of the goals were pivotal, by the way, as the 28-year-old Iraqi international put Columbus 2-0 before the half-hour mark before bagging the game-winner in the first minute of second-half stoppage time. Defending — particularly on set pieces — remains a gigantic problem for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but they sit second in the East regardless.


Colorado Rapids 3-0 San Jose Earthquakes

On today’s edition of MLS Makes No Sense Whatsoever… we have Colorado, who haven’t won since the opening day of the season — who, in fact, have won just a single point in their seven games since opening day — crushing fifth-place San Jose, 3-0.

Shkelzen Gashi bagged himself a brace (29th and 56th minutes) either side of Dominique Badji’s goal in the 35th minute, and just like that Colorado are level with Philadelphia Union (for the time being) as the sides with the worst point totals (7 from 9 games) in MLS.

Tonight’s MLS schedule

D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union — 7 p.m. ET
Orlando City SC vs. Sporting Kansas City — 7 p.m. ET
New England Revolution vs. Real Salt Lake — 7:30 p.m. ET
Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders — 9 p.m. ET

Sunday’s MLS schedule

Portland Timbers vs. Atlanta United — 4 p.m. ET
New York Red Bulls vs. LA Galaxy — 6 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. New York City FC — 8 p.m. ET

VIDEO: Rapids defender gives poignant Mother’s Day tribute

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Kortne Ford is a former University of Denver star and a Homegrown Player with the Colorado Rapids.

He’s also the devoted son of a mother who sacrificed much for his success, has beaten breast cancer once, and is fighting it again.

[ MORE: Bournemouth tops Burnley ]

This Mother’s Day, the 21-year-old Rapids defender sat down with their production team to read a letter he wrote to his mom.

It’s… emotional. And wonderful. Cheers to all the top moms out there. Hope your Sunday, and everyday, is phenomenal.

The Rapids fans saluted Ford’s mother’s fight earlier this season:

Report: Several MLS sides interested in acquiring USMNT’s Johannsson

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Aron Johannsson likely won’t be in a Werder Bremen uniform next season, but could MLS be the U.S. Men’s National Team striker’s next career move?

[ MORE: FIFA lifts four-game suspension for Lionel Messi ]

According to MLSSoccer.com, several MLS sides are interested in acquiring Johannsson and “four unnamed clubs” are looking to acquire the league’s top allocation spot in an attempt to sign the 26-year-old this summer.

The Houston Dynamo currently hold the number one position in the allocation order, however, the Western Conference likely won’t be pursuing Johannsson given the side’s current production from forwards Erick “Cubo” Torres and Romell Quioto.

Werder Bremen sporting director Frank Baumann has made it known that Johannsson’s time with the Bundesliga side is nearing an end after that “he has not gotten the playing time he wishes for.”

Johannsson has drawn interest from MLS in the past, almost completing a move stateside back in 2015 when Real Salt Lake was on the verge of closing a deal with the forward.

After signing Designated Player Yura Movsisyan though, RSL likely won’t be in the market for Johannsson.

As it stands, there are several clubs throughout MLS that have struggled to find scoring in the opening two months of the season, including the Philadelphia Union, Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes.

However, reliable Twitter account MLS Transfers stated back in February that the New York Red Bulls could also be a potential landing spot for Johannsson.

The Earthquakes are currently in the best out of the three in the allocation order, sitting third at the moment, but with Chris Wondolowski and Marco Urena on the roster the San Jose side may not be in the market for Johannsson right now.

That leaves the Union and Rapids as the two most likely candidates, however, each club would have to find a way to move up in the allocation order to get to Houston’s top spot. The Union are currently eighth, while the Rapids sit 17th at the moment.

Through seven matches, the Rapids have scored a league-low five goals. Meanwhile, the Union aren’t far behind with eight goals in as many matches, and are the only side in MLS without a win to this point.

MLS roundup: FCD, POR thrill in 2-2 draw; Sounders’ epic comeback

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With eight MLS Saturday afternoons/evenings officially in the books, only 26 more to go…

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FC Dallas 2-2 Portland Timbers

For the third straight week, we were a matchup featuring two of the top three teams in the Western Conference. After Sporting Kansas City beat Portland two weeks ago, and Dallas topped Sporting KC last week, it was FCD’s turn to host Portland on Saturday. Thankfully, the third game of the early-season round robin did not disappointed, and delivered a higher level of entertaining, attacking soccer (each of the first two ended 1-0).

Fanendo Adi opened the scoring to conclude a cagey opening 30 minutes, and out the window went all semblance of structure and discipline from either side. FCD needed a full 30 minutes before they’d draw level, courtesy of Maximiliano Urruti, a goal that set up a fantastic, frantic final half-hour.

Sebastian Blacno’s first MLS goal put Portland ahead for the second time in the game, in the 71st minute, but the advantage was short-lived, as Tesho Akindele’s 80th-minute header brought FCD back to level terms once again.


Seattle Sounders 3-3 New England Revolution

Game. Of. The. Day.

Seattle found themselves 3-0 down to New England, at home, after 54 minutes. In 13 minutes’ time, from minute 75 to 88, the comeback was on. There’s not much to be said of this one. Just sit back, and enjoy.


Orlando City SC 2-0 Colorado Rapids

Five home games, five wins for Orlando City. The best home-field advantage in all of MLS might just reside in central Florida, and the summer humidity is yet to reach full effect.

Saturday’s victory over a truly awful Rapids side was more labored than you might have expected — all of 70 minutes passed before Carlos Rivas scored the breakthrough — but the result was never in doubt. Colorado managed all of three shots (one on target) over the course of 90 minutes, and Kaka marked his return to action (hamstring injury) with a goal in the 91st minute. All is very, very well in the City Beautiful.


New York Red Bulls 2-1 Chicago Fire

Dax McCarty’s return to Red Bull Arena, following the trade that sent him to Chicago during the offseason, was more than a little bittersweet for the box-to-box bulldog when spent five and a half seasons with New York.

After falling behind to Bradley Wright-Phillips’ opener in the 37th minute, McCarty assisted on Nemanja Nikolic’s 59th-minute equalizer — the spin and lay-off were perfectly executed. The evening ended in disappointment, though, as Kemar Lawrence broke the deadlock in the 71st minute and secured all three points. That’s back-to-back losses for Chicago, who were unbeaten in their first three games since Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s arrival. On the other end, three straight wins for New York, and they’re within two points of first-place Orlando in the Eastern Conference.


Columbus Crew SC 2-3 New York City FC

When two teams with zero desire to play the game at a non-frenetic pace, and no clue how to slow things down and control the game, get together, fireworks are to be expected.

Columbus and New York City meet the above criteria, and were happy to prove as much on Saturday. Jack Harrison put the visitors ahead with the deftest chip in the 8th minute, but Federico Higuain’s equalizer 21 minutes later was just as impressive.

Ola Kamara put Columbus 2-1 ahead in the 49th minute, and all Gregg Berhalter’s side seemed to be in total control. 15 minutes, later Yangel Herrera’s header made it 2-2, and Jack Harrison completed the comeback in the 76th minute. Few victories in MLS this season will deserve greater praise than this one, achieved without the services of David Villa (illness).


Sporting Kansas City 3-0 Real Salt Lake

When Sporting KC get themselves a lead, it’s game over. In the four games in which they’ve scored this season, they’ve won 12 out of 12 points possible. On the season, they’ve conceded three goals in eight games, and haven’t conceded multiple goals in a game yet this season.

Of course, scoring has been the majority of the problem, as Peter Vermes’ side has already been blanked four times themselves. It wasn’t a problem on Saturday, though, as Benny Feilhaber, Dom Dwyer and Gerso Fernandes were each stellar from beginning to end, and each bagged a goal in Sporting’s 3-0 win over RSL. An inability close out games has haunted this team in the past, but they’re a perfect 4-for-4 thus far in 2017.


Montreal Impact 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps

Someone’s giving Colorado a run for their money as the worst team in MLS. With just a single win to their name this season, Montreal have to make the most out of 1) home games; 2) games in which they lead, if they’re to mount any kind of playoff challenge in 2017.

They did neither against Vancouver, throwing away an early 1-0 lead — Marco Donadel opened the scoring in the 9th minute — by conceding goals either side of halftime, to Andrew Jacobson and Cristian Techera. In truth, Vancouver were the better side over 90 minutes and fully deserved the three points, and it’s a crushing result for a Montreal side with just one victory (and zero clean sheets) on the season.


Minnesota United 0-1 San Jose Earthquakes

Elsewhere in MLS

LA Galaxy 0-0 Philadelphia Union