Real Salt Lake

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WATCH: Lukaku leaves RSL bodies strewn across 18 for goal

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It’s definitely preseason for Manchester United’s back line, though their attack is in midseason form.

Part of the latter is the competition, but Real Salt Lake is well into the season and made the United back line look poor early in Monday’s match at Rio Tinto.

How bad? We’re not sure Phil Jones and Daley Blind aren’t still backing up to give RSL space to attack, and Luis Silva put the MLS side up 1-0 early.

[ MORE: U.S. the new front-runner? ]

Yes, that Luis Silva, the 28-year-old Mexican with one club goal since 2014.

Henrik Mkhitaryan had United level soon after, which set the stage for Romelu Lukaku‘s first goal in a Manchester United shirt.

Was it impressive? Yep. Lukaku used physical play and a deft touch to take a classic Jozy Altidore in MLS goal to a more explosive level.

That “increased pressure” is looking like no big deal (at least while on preseason tour in the U.S.).

MLS Snapshot: Real Salt Lake 0-1 Orlando City SC

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The match in 100 words (or less): A physical, back-and-forth first half saw the visitors take the lead on with a well executed set-piece. RSL had moments, especially as it inched towards the halftime whistle, but otherwise the goal was the only true chance of the opening 45. Out of the break, RSL continued to push for a point at home with all the possession, but nothing would come their way as Joe Bednik made a big save. The Orlando City back line never looked truly troubled, making 31 total clearances to keep RSL out and bounce back from the awful loss in Chicago.

The moments that mattered:

17′ – A set-piece undoes RSL at home as Will Johnson strikes against his former club. A free-kick floated into the box and it fell to Jose Aha at the far post. Aha, free from his defender, clattered his header off the crossbar, but with RSL unable to clear the ball, Johnson pounces and gives Orlando City the early lead.

63′ – With Orlando City in the lead, Joe Bednik made a great play to keep the clean sheet alive. A nice ball from the flank by Joao Plata was chested down expertly by Jefferson Savarino right into the line of Luis Silva. The LA-born striker was free on goal, but Bednik came off his line to put his body on the line and smother the chance before Silva could get a shot off.

 Man Men of the Match: Jonathan Spector, Jose Aja

Goalscorers: Johnson (17′),

MLS Snapshots: Opara scores a bike, SKC win; SJ thump RSL

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The game in 100 words (or less): I’m going to start by quoting myself (re: Sporting Kansas City), via Twitter: “This team is better in June than it was in March, and will be better in October than it is in June. Just steadily progressing.” Saturday’s 2-1 victory away to LA Galaxy (just their second road win of the season, and the team’s fourth and fifth away goals in 10 games) is the latest sign of progress for Peter Vermes’ side, as they extend their lead on the rest of the Western Conference to five points. Roger Espinoza and Ike Opara scored the visitors’ goals — the latter coming in spectacular, most unexpected fashion — before the hosts pulled back to 2-1 through Dave Romney late in the second half. LA, meanwhile, sit sixth in the West, one point clear of the wrong side of the playoff cut line.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Three moments that mattered

22′ — Diop’s howler puts SKC up 1-0 — Sometimes — and this is one of those moments for Clement Diop — you just want the ground to open up and swallow you into the middle of the Earth.

35′ — Opara rides his bike to 2-0 — Ike Opara, a center back, scored a bicycle kick from a long ball played to him by Matt Besler, Sporting KC’s other center back. It’s a sequence of events you won’t see again for a long, long time.

59′ — Smith goes through Feilhaber, who is subbed off — Baldomero Toledo allowed Nathan Smith to stay on the field after this “tackle” on Benny Feilhaber.

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Man of the match: Ike Opara

Goalscorers: Espinoza (22′), Opara (35′)


San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Real Salt Lake

Three Two moments that mattered

13′ — Hoesen blasts a loose ball past Rimando for 1-0 — If you fail to clear the ball anywhere inside 12 yards, you’re probably going to get scored on. Danny Hoesen got all of this one.

68′ — Hoesen sets up Ureña for 2-0 — Hoesen’s speculative through ball found its way into space, and Marco Ureñat took it from there, putting the game away and handing RSL their eighth loss in 11 games.

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Man of the match: Danny Hoesen

Goalscorers: Hoesen (13′), Ureña (68′), Hernandez (90+4′)

MLS roundup: HOU, CLB run rampant; NYCFC drop points late

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A roundup of Wednesday night’s midweek action in MLS…

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New York City FC 2-2 New England Revolution

The top of the Eastern Conference is as interesting and tight as it could possibly be. While Toronto FC have raced out to a five-point lead on the entire league, places no. 2 through 6 in the East are currently separated by just four points. NYCFC were four minutes from moving to within a single point of second-place Chicago Fire, but Patrick Vieira’s side conceded a late equalizer to Xavier Kouassi and ultimately dropped a pair of points they deserved to claim as their own on Wednesday.

David Villa was brilliant in setting up the game’s opening goal just after the quarter-hour mark, but Kei Kamara drew New England level in the 24th minute. Miguel Camargo put the home side back ahead with his first MLS goal in the 64th minute, but NYCFC couldn’t hold the lead, as Kelyn Rowe masterfully set up Kouassi in the 86th minute.

The draw leaves NYCFC with just one win from their last five games, now fifth in the East, eight points back of TFC.


Columbus Crew SC 3-0 Seattle Sounders

Columbus hit Seattle early and often at MAPFRE Stadium, as the defending MLS Cup champions lost for the fourth time in their last six games.

Federico Higuain opened the scoring in the 10th minute, Justin Meram made it 2-0 just 11 minutes later, and Ola Kamara completed the rout just before the hour mark.

After 14 games, Seattle have just 16 points to their name, though right now they sit just a point out of the sixth and final playoff place in the Western Conference.


Houston Dynamo 5-1 Real Salt Lake

No one loves sleeping in their own bed, and hates sleeping in a hotel, more than Houston. Just shy of the halfway point of the season, Wilmer Cabrera’s side currently sports the following home-away splits: 7W-1D-0L, and 0W-1D-5L.

Wednesday night represented RSL’s turn on the BBVA Compass Stadium chopping block, and things turned rather ugly, rather quickly. Justin Schmidt put the ball into his own net less than three minutes into the game, and Alex double Houston’s lead in the 15th minute. Mauro Manotas made it 3-0 just before halftime, and Erick Torres and Leonardo piled on more misery after the intermission, with Joao Plata bagging a brilliant consolation free kick just after the hour mark.

That’s six losses in the the last eight games for RSL, who sit above only Colorado Rapids and Montreal Impact in the full league table. Houston, meanwhile, leapfrog Sporting Kansas City for the top spot in the West, and could have some serious staying power with even marginally improved form on the road.


Orlando City SC 2-0 D.C. United

Speaking of teams with drastic different home-away splits, here’s Orlando’s following their 2-0 win over D.C. United: 6W-1D-1L, and 1W-1D-4L.

Coming into Wednesday’s game, Cyle Larin hadn’t scored a goal in any of Orlando’s last three games, which was actually beginning to feel like a “slump” for the 22-year-old Europe-bound striker. After 66 minutes of knocking on D.C.’s door, the slump was busted, and Orlando had themselves a lead they’d never relinquish. Giles Barnes tacked on a second goal in the 88th minute, courtesy of Bill Hamid’s most shocking howler to date, and just like that, Orlando climbed two spots to third in the East, just one point back of Chicago.

MLS Snapshot: Seattle Sounders 1-0 Real Salt Lake (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Brian Schmetzer’s side went through a similar beginning to the season in 2016, and the club went on to win MLS Cup. The Seattle Sounders will hope to duplicate that feat this season. Coming off a four-match winless run, the Sounders responded well at home on Saturday, knocking off Real Salt Lake behind Harry Shipp’s second goal of the season. Despite Nick Rimando’s best efforts — and his 22nd career penalty kick stop — RSL struggled to finish off numerous chances in the attacking third. Meanwhile, the other goalkeeper in the match was pretty stellar as well, with Stefan Frei making five saves of his own for the hosts.

[ MORE: BWP bicycle kick dazzles in Red Bulls draw ]

Three moments that mattered

39′ — Rimando stones Morris in front of goal — Nick Rimando has built up his reputation as a top MLS goalkeeper in his career, and this 1 v 1 situation showed why.

42′ — Shipp gives Sounders lead at HT — Sometimes you just need to take your shots and good things happen.

55′ — Rimando does what he does best… — Most teams clammer when conceding a penalty kick, but when you have Nick Rimando in goal chances are the shot-stopper will at least get a hand to it.

Man of the match: Stefan Frei

Goalscorers: Harry Shipp (42′)

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