MLS: What we learned from a wild Wednesday

AP
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Wednesday night featured the first MLS action in some two weeks, since the start of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and with six matches on tap, there were plenty of talking points after the games.

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Here’s some of the biggest takeaways from Wednesday’s MLS action:


Atlanta pulls defeat from jaws of draw

In a wild game between two teams missing key stars, it was one of the remaining stars who’s mistake cost his team a point.

Atlanta United fell in the dying moments to Toronto FC, 3-2, after Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez skied a penalty kick deep into second half stoppage time. The Atlanta United penalty kick came after VAR spotted a handball on Toronto FC’s Nick Deleon, leading to a huge stoppage. Martinez’s penalty kick didn’t come until the eighth minute of stoppage time, in what was supposed to be just two added minutes.

Martinez’s penalty kick followed one by Toronto FC that Alejandro Pozuelo dispatched in the third minute of stoppage time to give Toronto FC the lead and the win. Both Pozuelo and Martinez were outstanding in the match, each scoring earlier as well, but Toronto FC clearly missed Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, while Atlanta was without the services of Josef Martinez.

After four straight wins in all competition, it was a return down to earth for Atlanta with another defeat when there could have been a draw on the road.

A Night of Golazos

The MLS Goal of the Season race heated up on Wednesday with three incredible submissions from across the continent.

There was Wayne Rooney‘s incredible 65-yard lob over Brian Rowe to put D.C. United up, Orji Okwonkwo’s terrific spinning shot on the half-volley to lead the Montreal Impact over the Portland Timbers, and Lucas Venuto’s stoppage-time stunner on the road at FC Dallas to earn the Vancouver Whitecaps a 2-2 draw. Watch all three golazos below.

Impact move up to 2nd with win

Quietly, the Montreal Impact is looking like a legit playoff contender nearly midway through the season.

The Impact, thanks to Orji Okwonkwo’s outstanding goal, defeated the defending Western Conference champion Portland Timbers, 2-1, to move into second place in the Eastern Conference, sitting just two points behind the first place Philadelphia Union. Okwonkwo and Designated Player Saphir Taider‘s play this season has helped make up for the loss of Ignacio “Nacho” Piatti to a recurring knee injury that will keep him out another two to three months.

In addition, Bacary Sagna and Zakaria Diallo have been immense to the defensive effort, along with Daniel Lovitz and Samuel Piette at left back and midfield, respectively.