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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 Angel 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

MLS roundup: FCD win battle of unbeatens; POR rebound vs. VAN

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With seven MLS Saturday afternoons/evenings officially in the books, only 27 more to go…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

FC Dallas 1-0 Sporting Kansas City

The only two remaining unbeaten teams faced off in Frisco on Saturday, and only one came out still unblemished. FCD dominated in the two most important facets of the game — chances created, and goals.

Maynor Figueroa scored the game’s only goal, a 77th-minute header to put home Michael Barrios’ floated cross toward the back post. If not for the (increasingly typical) heroics of Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia (five saves), FCD would have already been 3-0 or 4-0 in front by that point. Sporting’s only shot on target didn’t arrive until the 47th minute, and it was far from a clear-cut chance, as Jimmy Medranda fired from the corner of the 18-yard box and hardly tested Jesse Gonzalez with the effort.

The win sees FCD move to six games unbeaten to start the season (four wins, two draws), while Sporting suffer their first defeat in seven games.


Portland Timbers 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

Darlington Nagbe and Darren Mattocks bagged goals for Portland, who wasted little time in bouncing back from last weekend’s home defeat to Sporting. Nagbe’s goal, a stunner from outside the penalty area (WATCH HERE) opened the scoring in the 18th minute, and Mattocks made it 2-0 five minutes before halftime.

Fredy Montero scored his third goal in two games to bring Vancouver back to 2-1 just before the hour mark, but that’s as close as the visitors would get.

Diego Valeri was carried off the field in the 80th minute, which is the worst scare that Timbers fans could have possibly imagined, though the Argentine superstar told reporters after the game that he was feeling much better.


Real Salt Lake 1-3 Atlanta United

The honeymoon period is over for Mike Petke who, after back-to-back wins to open his tenure as RSL head coach, suffered his first defeat since taking over for Jeff Cassar five games into the season.

A series of comedic errors doomed RSL just about from the start, as Hector Villalba (9th minute) and Yamil Asad (46th), two of Atlanta’s South American starlets, put the visitors 2-0 ahead a minute into the first half — the latter was set up by Miguel Almiron, another of the young, South American attackers at Gerardo Martino’s disposal. Albert Rusnak pulled RSL back to 2-1 in the 69th minute, but it would remain that way until second-half stoppage time, when Brandon Vazquez beat Nick Rimando for a 3-1 clincher.


New York Red Bulls 2-0 Columbus Crew SC

Columbus’s defeat away to New York went from bad, to worse, to worst, in 39 minutes’ time on Saturday. Midfield revelation Artur went off with a nasty arm injury in the 6th minute, Alex Muyl put the home side 1-0 up in the 11th minute Daniel Royer made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 38th minute, and defensive revelation (and rookie) Alex Crognale went off injured immediately thereafter.


Houston Dynamo 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes

Wilmer Cabrera’s side will live and die by the form of his young attacking quartet this season. On Saturday, Erick Torres and Alberth Elis delivered the goals (read: goals) as Houston picked up a rather comfortable him win over San Jose.

Torres opened the scoring in the 9th minute, and though Elis didn’t double the advantage for another 63 minutes, the result was rarely, if ever, in doubt. San Jose managed just two shots on target (Houston had just three, for what it’s worth), as Adolfo Machado, Tyler Deric and Co. kept their first clean sheet of the season.


New England Revolution 2-2 D.C. United

In a battle of bottom-half Eastern Conference sides, New England and D.C. drew 2-2 after Lee Nguyen and a Sean Franklin own goal stalemated tallies from Jared Jeffrey and Sebastien Le Toux.

VIDEO: Darlington Nagbe’s golazo gave POR an early lead on VAN

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Darlington Nagbe may not score goals as frequently as we’d like him to do — at least, not thus far in his promising but still-wanting career — but let’s give the man a bit of credit when it’s due: when he does score, it’s almost always a jaw-dropping golazo.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage | USMNT ]

Example no. 26 in his MLS (regular-season) career: the below video, in which Nagbe works his way around the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 18-yard box (and defenders), and tees off from 20 yards out. Not even Sporting Kansas City’s Tim Melia is saving that one.

[ MORE: Sebastian Giovinco bags a brace as TFC douse the Fire ]

MLS Week 7: Trio of Friday matches kickoff busy weekend

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Week 7 of the Major League Soccer season plans on providing for your Friday with three matches kicking off the weekend to avoid any Easter Sunday matches.

Three sides — Toronto, Dallas, and KC — remain unbeaten in league play heading into the season’s seventh week, while Philadelphia and Montreal are both looking for their first wins of the campaign.

[ REPORT: Arsenal wins race for Chelsea target ]

Which zeroes, if any, look likely to fall this weekend? One or two, though we’re more excited for the consecutive hours with at least one match on the docket. Between MLS and the Premier League, it’s almost nonstop.

Philadelphia Union vs. New York City FC
7 p.m. ET Friday

Philly began the season with a pair of draws but has since lost all three of their matches ahead of Friday’s visit from NYCFC.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders
10 p.m. ET Friday

The first Cascadia Cup match of the season pits the 2016 holders against the reigning MLS Cup champs. The ‘Caps have allowed multiple goals in four-straight league matches following a scoreless draw vs. Philadelphia to open the season.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas
11 p.m. ET Friday

The Quakes haven’t won in three tries and look to break that streak against a Dallas team which has yet to lose in league play.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Montreal Impact vs. Atlanta United
1 p.m. ET Saturday

Quebec’s MLS side gets just its second home match of the season but a visit from the league’s second-most productive attack. Miguel Almiron has been a lot of fun for expansion Atlanta, completing almost 86 percent of his passes despite being a fairly adventurous player.

Orlando City SC vs. LA Galaxy
2:30 p.m. ET Saturday

The Galaxy scoots across the country to face an Orlando team which has won three of four to start the season.

Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution
5 p.m. ET Saturday

The Revs are unbeaten in three following back-to-back losses to start the season, and now get a trip to a Chicago team that’s been finding itself but shown glimpses of really strong play.

New York Red Bulls vs. DC United
7:30 p.m. ET Saturday

The Red Bulls are reeling, winless in four, and get a visit from a DC team boasting back-to-back 2-1 wins.

Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC
8 p.m. ET Saturday

The Trillium Cup sees a TFC side that has yet to lose but has four draws in five outings, while Columbus just saw a three-match win streak halted at Chicago. There will be no Drew Moor for the Reds, as the defender was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia.

Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United
8:30 p.m. ET Saturday

Minnesota has yet to allow less than two goals in an MLS match, and gets a Houston team with plenty of firepower. The Dynamo will be itching to make amends for their first “0” of the season.

Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake
9 p.m. ET Saturday

Last year’s stingiest side has shown problems at the back in consecutive games. Colorado will now get a test from Mike Petke’s dangerous RSL attack.

Portland Timbers vs. Sporting KC
10:30 p.m. ET Saturday

The Timbers are back in the win column after a pair of tough outings. KC is unbeaten, deep, and looking like the club we thought we’d see last season.

MLS (late-night) roundup: TFC-ATL thrills; RSL win big in a blizzard

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With five MLS Saturday afternoons/evenings officially in the books, only 29 more to go…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Toronto FC 2-2 Atlanta United

It’s still early, but Toronto and Atlanta threw their hat in the ring for Game of the Year consideration, as TFC remained unbeaten on the season (one win, four draws) and Atlanta moved to four games without a defeat (two wins, two draws).

The game was played at roughly 500 mph, which suited both teams just fine. Hector Villalba opened the scoring after 15 minutes, slotting past Alex Bono after reeling in Miguel Almiron’s incisive through ball, but Sebastian Giovinco pulled TFC level with an easy finish after Jozy Altidore‘s clever backheel flick.

Justin Morrow put TFC in front a minute before halftime, but Leandro Gonzalez Pirez found Hector Villalba with a deft 50-yard ball behind the TFC defense, and the Argentine beat Bono with ease.

[ MORE: Saturday’s (afternoon) roundup — Fire burning bright; DCU, NE win ]


Philadelphia Union 1-3 Portland Timbers

Philadelphia are five games without a win to start the season, and Jim Curtin is answering questions about his job post-game. Richie Marquez headed the home team in front after 26 minutes, but the lead was short-lived and everything came unraveled just as quickly.

Darlington Nagbe slotted a long-range effort past Andre Blake six minutes later, and Portland were in control from that point forward. Roy Miller didn’t make it 2-1 until the 66th minute, but the eventual result was hardly ever in doubt. Fanendo Adi completed the scoring from the penalty spot, his 46th goal for Portland, making him the club’s all-time, all-division leading scorer.

[ MORE: U.S., Mexico, Canada to announce joint 2026 World Cup bid ]


FC Dallas 2-0 Minnesota United

For the second time in six games, Minnesota conceded fewer than four goals and the made FCD genuinely work for the three points. It was 0-0 until the 43rd minute, Minnesota’s longest stretch of game time before conceding a goal at the start of a game this season. Javier Morales bagged the opener, and Michael Barrios made it 2-0 four minutes after halftime, as FCD delivered the perfect response to being knocked out of CONCACAF Champions League in such heartbreaking fashion earlier in the week.

[ MORE: Power rankings — Where do the three unbeatens slot in? ]


Real Salt Lake 3-0 Vancouver Whitecaps

More than an inch of snow fell and accumulated on the field at Rio Tinto Stadium between the opening and full-time whistles, which meant weird things were bound to happen. Happen, the weird things did.

In this instance, the “weird” a truly dominant performance as new head coach Mike Petke made his RSL debut. New Designated Player Albert Rusnak bagged his first MLS goal, which turned out to be the winner, nine minutes into the second half. Yura Movsisyan tallied his third of the season to make it 2-0 in the 74th minute, and Luke Mulholland completed the rout four minutes later.

Extreme weather conditions or not, RSL looked comfortable, composed and in total control.

[ MORE: Stadium vote falls short, STL’s expansion hopes dashed ]


San Jose Earthquakes ___ Seattle Sounders

For 83 minutes, a stalemate with virtually nothing to separate the two sides. Then, a stunning hit from Nicolas Lodeiro, and a Chris Wondowloski specialty — “Who? Me? You don’t see me gliding to the far post. No need to follow me there,” and he scores.

Elsewhere in MLSAFTERNOON ROUNDUP

Chicago Fire 1-0 Columbus Crew SC
New England Revolution 2-0 Houston Dynamo
D.C. United 2-1 New York City FC