MLS: Five things we learned

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Two matches were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns but the ones played Wednesday in Major League Soccer made amends for the absences.

[ MORE: USMNT prospect Kelman to QPR ]

A 17-year-old USMNT prospect scored a ridiculous goal to give RBNY a point against Toronto while a well-traveled midfielder kept Nashville SC in the playoff race.

Here’s what else we noted in MLS’ midweek.

1. Yet another American teen attacking talent to monitor

Toronto FC 1-1 New York Red Bulls

It takes a lot to hand TFC a set back these days, or maybe it just take a little teenage naivete.

RBNY’s 17-year-old Caden Clark was not intimidated by the occasion after an Alejandro Pozuelo penalty put the Red Bulls down a goal.

Three weeks removed from playing for New York Red Bulls II in the USL Championship, Clark dribbled into space and scored a total belter for his second goal in as many MLS games.

Clark led RBNYII in assists this season with five and also scored three goals. If he keeps this up, he’ll be getting deeper looks from the U.S. Soccer program as well as teams abroad.

And this isn’t your “18 in a month” young talent. Clark is 17 until May.

2. Hometown heroes make derbies more fun; Crew stumbling

FC Cincinnati 2-1 Columbus Crew

A day of snapped streaks in Ohio saw FC Cincinnati beat Columbus for the first time in the brief history of their so-called “Hell Is Real Derby,” labeled as such for a billboard on the highway between the two clubs.

Jaap Stam’s FCC had gone 472 minutes without a goal before Yuya Kubo’s 17th-minute penalty, and fittingly Cincinnati native and Xavier alum Nick Hagglund deposited the winner in the 49th minute.

Columbus seized momentum late but never found an equalizer, outshot 11-9 and managing just two shots on frame as Cincy did what few have been able to do this season: hold down Gyasi Zardes.

Pedro Santos converted a penalty before halftime for Caleb Porter’s third-place Crew, who’ve now taken one of 12 points to drop seven points off leaders TFC with a match-in-hand.

3. Atlanta is a problem (and not in a good way)

Inter Miami is a first-year team. Atlanta United has won the MLS Cup, Campeones Cup, and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup since 2018.

Inter Miami out-attempted Atlanta 21-2 with Gonzalo Higuain on the bench for 87 minutes of a fortunate 1-1 draw in Florida on Wednesday.

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Atlanta scored with its only shot on target, an 83rd-minute Jake Mulraney goal off a Jurgen Damm assist giving the Five Stripes a remarkable away point on Wednesday.

Lewis Morgan had set up Brek Shea for a goal seven minutes earlier as Miami looked on its way to a deserved three points.

Pretty good technique from the 30-year-old Shea here (Brek Shea is allowed to turn 30? That’s weird).

4. Mark McKenzie is not long for this league

Celtic target Mark McKenzie is known for his tackling and passing out of the back, but the Philadelphia Union center back can also hit a ball really hard.

The 21-year-old’s first MLS goal scored Philly a 2-2 draw against DC United and kept the Union within three points of Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield leaders Toronto.

The Black-and-Red nearly got a playoff lifeline in their first match since parting ways with decade-long coach Ben Olsen.

Anthony Fontana scored Philly’s other goal, which gave the Union a lead just after halftime only to see Yamil Asad converting a penalty after assisting a Donovan Pines goal to put DC on top.

5. Nashville SC won’t go away

The first-year side was given little hope of making the playoffs even given the expanded field, but Nashville pasted Houston 3-1 to stay within three points of the last spot.

Hany Mukhtar scored his second and third goals of the season, the ex-Brondby, Benfica, Salzburg, and Hertha Berlin man scoring as Nashville nabbed three goals between the 15th and 23rd minutes in Texas.

Abu Danladi had a goal and an assist for Nashville, who only conceded a Darwin Quintero goal in the 75th.

Elsewhere

FC Dallas 1-0 Sporting KC
Montreal Impact 2-3 New Englansd Revolution
Orlando City 1-1 NYCFC
Real Salt Lake v Portland Timbers — 9:30 pm ET
Vancouver Whitecaps v LAFC — 10 pm ET
LA Galaxy v San Jose Earthquakes — 10:30 pm ET
Seattle Sounders v Colorado Rapids — postponed
Minnesota United v Chicago Fire — postponed