Orlando City SC

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MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-3 New York City FC (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): It’s safe to say the Rodney Wallace signing is paying off for Patrick Vieira and New York City FC. The MLS veteran added his fourth goal of the season on Sunday night, while David Villa recorded a brace for his seventh and eighth goals of 2017 to give NYCFC its first win over Orlando City at the Lions’ new home. Vieira’s group stifled the Orlando attack for much of the night, however, Cyle Larin’s missed penalty kick in the second stanza could have provided a major momentum shift to the home side had it gone in. The loss for Orlando is the club’s first at their new stadium, and allows NYCFC to leap above the Lions in the Eastern Conference table.

[ MORE: Fagundez brace paces Revolution to win over Crew ]

Three moments that mattered

14′ — Villa converts from the spot — Make it seven goals on the season for David Villa.

35′ — Wallace doubles NYCFC lead after sliding finish — Rodney Wallace continues to be one of the top signings of the MLS offseason. Four goals and three assists this season.

64′ — Larin dinks one off the post on PK attempt — Cyle Larin meet the post. Not many times where you’ll see the young striker miss a chance like this. Still 2-0 NYCFC.

82′ — Moralez finds Villa to ice the match — Villa just keeps on scoring for this NYCFC side, but just look at the wonderful through ball from Maxi Moralez.

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Men of the match: David Villa

Goalscorers: David Villa (14′, 82′), Rodney Wallace (35′)

MLS (late-night) roundup: Fire throttle Sounders; Orlando drop 1st points at home

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune via AP
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With 10 MLS Saturday afternoons/evenings officially in the books, only 24 more to go…

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Orlando City 2-2 Sporting Kansas City

Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce to you, Latif Blessing, who had himself an extremely eventful first MLS start Saturday night in Orlando. The 20-year-old Ghanaian scored two goals and probably should have been shown two yellow cards for diving inside the penalty area. Neither attempt to win Sporting KC a penalty was successful, and only one was admonished with a booking.

Perhaps the fastest player in MLS from the day he arrived this winter, Blessing was an active agitator all night long, and both goals came via opportunistic tap-ins presented to him courtesy of chaos created by Gerso Fernandes — the first one put Sporting 1-0 ahead in the 9th minute, while the second brought Peter Vermes’ side back to 2-2. Cyle Larin got himself on the scoresheet once again (his 7th of the season), as did Kaka with his third goal in four games since coming back from an injury suffered on the opening day of the season.

[ MORE: MLS (afternoon) roundup — Toronto FC make it 6 wins in a row ]


Chicago Fire 4-1 Seattle Sounders

If you, not unlike myself, were still somewhat skeptical about Chicago’s contender credentials as recently as the last week or two, perhaps you’re finally convinced now.

If you, not unlike myself, were more than a little skeptical about Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s arrival to Chicago and what he might still have to offer, perhaps you’re finally convinced now.

If you, not unlike myself, were skeptical about forward Nemanja Nikolic’s credentials as a Designated Player in MLS, because he’d scored well over 200 goals in his pro career but never moved outside of Eastern Europe, perhaps you’re finally convinced now.

If you, unlike myself, weren’t a little skeptical about Seattle’s defensive issues with regards to their quest to repeat as MLS Cup champions, perhaps you’re a little more convinced today than you were yesterday.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup | Sunday preview ]


New England Revolution 4-0 Real Salt Lake

A full summary of thoughts on New England’s destruction of RSL (highlights here):


D.C. United 0-4 Philadelphia Union

Already right at the top of MLS’s “most unwatchable teams” list, D.C. United are making their case, loud and clear, for the “worst team in MLS” title as well. That was the case prior to Saturday’s 4-0 abomination against Philadelphia, which only served to further the argument.

Elsewhere in MLSAFTERNOON ROUNDUP

Toronto FC 3-2 Minnesota United
Montreal Impact 2-3 Columbus Crew SC
Colorado Rapids 3-0 San Jose Earthquakes

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

MLS roundup: FC Dallas still unbeaten; Dynamo destroy Orlando

Photo credit: Houston Dynamo / Twitter: @HoustonDynamo
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With nine MLS Saturday afternoons/evenings officially in the books, only 25 more to go…

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Real Salt Lake 0-3 FC Dallas

Eight games into the 2017 season, Dallas are the last remaining unbeaten team (five wins, three draws) in MLS and continue to look like runaway favorites in any “best team in the league” discussion.

On Saturday, Oscar Pareja’s side went for a comfortable stroll in the park and notched a completely unspectacular 3-0 victory over RSL. Things couldn’t have started any better for the visitors, as they were awarded a (highly questionable) penalty in the 3rd minute, which Maximiliano Urruti converted, and that was basically ballgame. Matt Hedges made it 2-0 not long after the hour mark, just for formality’s sake, and Urruti completed his brace a minute into second-half stoppage time.

The firing of Jeff Cassar, and subsequent hiring of Mike Petke, has done very little to fix a number of glaring problems which have plagued RSL since their 2016 season started coming unglued last April. A complete teardown and rebuild seem a foregone conclusion this summer/next winter. If Petke’s the right man for the job — and there’s nothing to suggest otherwise — the RSL hierarchy (and fans) are going to have to be mighty patient, as there’s only a handful of salvageable pieces currently on the roster.


Philadelphia Union 3-0 New York Red Bulls

After 15 regular-season games without a win, going all the way back Aug. 27, 2016, Union fans can call themselves winners once again, thanks to C.J. Sapong’s first career hat trick and a second straight clean sheet by Andre Blake.

Blake made a pair of stellar saves either side of halftime to keep New York off the board, setting the stage for an 11-minute explosion of goals (from minutes 74 to 85) from Sapong, who moved level with Erick “Cubo” Torres in the race for the 2017 Golden Boot (7 goals). Sapong has never reached the double-digit goals benchmark (he has hit 9 twice in his first six seasons as a pro).


Houston Dynamo 4-0 Orlando City SC

Here’s something I said on Twitter following Houston’s third (of four) goal against Orlando on Saturday: “Dynamo are terrifying in the first three or four seconds after winning the ball. Don’t find yourself one-on-one against them in open space.” Orlando head coach Jason Kreis, nor any of his players on the field, listened. It was, of course, already too late to make much difference, but it happened again fewer than 10 minutes later.


LA Galaxy 2-2 Chicago Fire

Fact: LA’s midfield is a gigantic problem.

Theory: Jermaine Jones is a big part of that problem

Recent evidence: During the 42 minutes he was on the field against Chicago on Saturday (he went off injured), LA were soundly beaten, 2-0 (Jelle Van Damme’s 30-minute shift is an additional variable which cannot be isolated at this time), and seemed headed for a thorough beating. In the 48 minutes that followed, LA found their footing, looked the better of the two sides, and rescued a point from an otherwise disastrous evening.

Clearly, soccer is far more complicated than simple plus-minus totals, but the eye test also supports the above evidence. Those opening 30 minutes saw Chicago go 1-0 ahead in the 13th minute (David Accam, from the penalty spot) and 2-0 up just three minutes later (Nemanja Nikolic, courtesy of Accam). LA weren’t just bad; they were atrocious.

Still unable to create much of anything through open play, LA made the most of set pieces and willed themselves back to life.


Columbus Crew SC 2-0 New England Revolution

Ola Kamara is quickly becoming is already a star in MLS, as the Norwegian striker continues to shred defenses and add to his impressive haul of goals barely a full 34 games into his MLS career. Through 35 regular-season games played, the 27-year-old has 22 goals to his name after bagging the winning goal against New England on Saturday.

Kamara also notched an assist (his third since arriving in MLS last year) on Columbus’s second goal, scored by Federico Higuain. With the victory, Columbus are up to third in the Eastern Conference, just three points back of red-hot Toronto FC.


San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 Portland Timbers

This week in MLS Results That Make Absolutely No Sense, But Hey, That’s MLS


D.C. United 0-1 Montreal Impact

In a league with so many exciting, entertaining, enjoyable teams to watch, Ben Olsen’s D.C. United remains the hardest of hard passes on MLS Live.

Elsewhere in MLS

Seattle Sounders 0-1 Toronto FC — RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS

MLS Snapshot: Toronto FC 2-1 Orlando City (video)

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): To be the best, you’ve gotta beat the best, and the reigning Eastern Conference champions took care of business at home against first-place Orlando City. Sebastian Giovinco scored twice as TFC pulled to within two points of the visitors, and lowered the Lions road record to 1W-2L (OCSC is 5-0 at home). Kaka scored for Orlando, who were denied once or twice by Alex Bono in the loss.

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Sometimes you make MVP moves to get your goals…

Look at this first touch from Giovinco to set the table for his near post finish. Please, Hammer, don’t hurt ’em. Jozy Altidore scoops up the assist from a sloppy first touch. These things happen.

38′ — … And sometimes you’re just there for the spoils

Giovinco completed his brace by doing work in a crowded phone booth about a half hour after his first goal. Victor Vazquez on the assist.

45+1′ — Kaka pulls one back

That ball seemed to ask the question as it made its way toward the back post, and Kaka was always going to have the answer. With authority.

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

Man of the match: Giovinco.

Goalscorers: Sebastian Giovinco (9′, 38′), Kaka (45+1′).

Orlando City is quickly becoming one of the top sides in MLS

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Coming into the 2017 MLS season, Orlando City had a lot of questions that needed answering.

[ MORE: Dzemaili is ready to join the Impact early ]

Second-year head coach Jason Kreis did well last season after taking over for the departed Adrian Heath but again, the former MLS striker had his work cut out for himself and his staff.

[ MORE: D.C. United tops Atlanta after slow start ]

Fast forward over the first two months of the season and the Lions are currently atop the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield table, and it doesn’t appear that Kreis and co. will relinquish that standing any time soon.

Cyle Larin has established himself as one of MLS’ top scorers during his first two-plus seasons in the league. His six goals thus far ranks second in MLS, only trailing Houston Dynamo attacker Erick “Cubo” Torres.

Larin won’t be able to do it by himself, but Kaka’s return is already paying dividends for the side after the Brazilian scored in his first match back from injury on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids.

It’s not Orlando’s offense that is catching the attention of many around MLS though, but instead the club’s completely revamped backline.

In the club’s first two seasons, the Lions allowed 116, which is tied with the Chicago Fire for the most of any team during that span of time.

Additions of Jonathan Spector, Donny Toia and MLS veteran Will Johnson has played vital roles in the team’s defensive turnaround, particularly Spector, who has started all seven Orlando City matches at centerback.

It’s Spector’s budding partnership with USMNT hopeful Tommy Redding that has allowed the Lions to quickly become one of the most stout defensive units in MLS. So far, Orlando has conceded five goals, the second fewest behind only Sporting KC’s three allowed.

Couple these factors in with Orlando’s seemingly impenetrable home-field advantage and the Lions have all the makings of a dangerous side in 2017. The club has yet to lose at home this season, starting out with five consecutive victories at Orlando City Stadium.

It’s clearly too early to state that Orlando will run away with the East or even clinch a playoff spot for that matter, but considering Kreis’ influence and all the proper adjustments the squad made during the offseason it seems like a pretty safe bet that this team will be playing into late October and beyond.