MLS (afternoon) roundup: Fire burn bright; Revs, DCU get needed wins

Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune via AP
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The fifth MLS Saturday of 2017 is nearly halfway complete. A quick roundup of the day’s early games…

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Chicago Fire 1-0 Columbus Crew SC

Chicago were well on their way to being one of the biggest storylines early in the 2017 season before they went and signed Bastian Schweinsteiger. Two games into Schweinsteiger’s MLS adventure, and Veljko Paunovic’s side is the subject of “Are they MLS Cup contenders?” whispers.

On Saturday, Chicago closed the gap to Eastern Conference-leading Columbus with a 1-0 victory at Toyota Park, courtesy of Nemanja Nikolic’s second MLS goal. The Hungarian international got the goal, but all the world’s plaudits go to Dax McCarty for the inch-perfect, 40-yard, seeing-eye through ball to split a half-dozen defenders and put Nikolic in on goal in the blink of an eye.

It’s still early days for Schweinsteiger and Chicago — and the temperature and tempo haven’t yet risen above comfort level for the 32-year-old — but they’re miles better after five games than they were at any point in 2016. Simply being relevant again is a massive victory all its own.

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


D.C. United 2-1 New York City

Every last one of the East’s 11 teams will spend the entire season beating up on each other before seven or eight finish five or six points apart — it’s a tradition as old as the league itself. Take, for instance, D.C.’s 2-1 victory over NYCFC. Through their first four games, arguably not team in MLS had inspired less confidence (and excitement) than Ben Olsen’s side. On Saturday, they largely played Patrick Vieira’s bunch off the field. Lloyd Sam and Luciano Acosta had the home side 2-0 after 73 minutes, before David Villa pulled a goal back with six minutes of regular time remaining.

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New England Revolution 2-0 Houston Dynamo

Tyler Deric had an afternoon to forget, as the Houston goalkeeper spilled a pair of saves right into the paths of Kei Kamara and Juan Agudelo. That’s three games without a loss for New England, while Houston have lost two of their last three after taking all six points from their first two games of the season.