AP Photo/Chris Szagola

MLS Things: Dockal leading Philly, Atlanta draws New England

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We have four nice midweek tilts in Major League Soccer this week, broken up nicely into early 7:30 ET kickoffs and a pair of late ones.

[ MORE: Other MLS Things — The Archive ]

Here’s what we picked up from the first two.

Philadelphia can factor in the East and Borek Dockal is the real deal

Two assists and a clinical penalty are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Earnie Stewart’s Czech import.

The 29-year-old Dockal doesn’t waste much and is pretty wise about when he takes risks on the pitch, something culled from a series of decent Europa League runs with Sparta Prague and Rosenborg.

Only 12 players are averaging more than Dockal’s 2.4 key passes per game. Philly’s now unbeaten in four, having allowed just two goals in those matches, and right in the thick of the playoff race.

Ilsinho posterizes Schweinsteiger’s ankles

Bastian Schweinsteiger has been very, very good in a disappointing early season for the Fire, but he’ll be rueing his appearance in this highlight for some time.

Ilsinho absolutely cooks the World Cup winner with a lightning quick move just inside the box, then hammers a furious effort into the back of the net that leaves Chicago keeper Patrick McLain clawing for spirits.

What did we learn? Let me just keep watching this to find out.

For every great goal, there’s an equal and opposite

Now maybe I’m not the world’s top guy to analyze defending — nor amongst the top 10,000 — but what in the world is Antonio Delamea Milnar doing as Josef Martinez, who is pretty darn good, waits nine years for the world’s slowest cross to reach him in one of the most dangerous places on the pitch?

[ MORE: Arsenal could sell Ramsey ]

Asking for a friend. A late Teal Bunbury penalty did allow New England to pick up a nice 1-1 draw.

MLS: Techera’s hat trick; Gordon the hero (again) for Chicago

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Cristian Techera scored three second-half goals and the Vancouver Whitecaps overcame several defensive errors to tie the New England Revolution 3-3 on Saturday.

Techera completed the hat trick in the 74th minute off a pass from striker Yordy Reyna.

The Whitecaps (4-5-5) are winless in five games and have just one victory in their past nine matches (1-4-4). New England is 5-4-3.

Vancouver trailed 2-0 early in the second half.

Whitecaps defender Aly Ghazal had an own goal and made a poor pass that helped set up a goal by New England’s Teal Bunbury. Another Revolution goal came after defender Sean Franklin mishandled a ball.

Techera made it 2-1 in the 49th minute off a cross from Marcel de Jong. Russell Teibert set up Techera again two minutes later, with Techera scoring on a header after goalkeeper Matt Turner stopped the first shot.

Bunbury gave New England a 3-2 lead in the 59th minute after Ghazal’s weak pass was picked off.

Cristian Penilla also scored for New England.


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Alan Gordon broke a tie in the 82nd minute and the Chicago Fire beat Orlando City 2-1 on Saturday night.

Gordon settled Bastian Schweinsteiger’s cross with a couple of touches at 25 yards from goal and fired a rocket into the upper right corner past goalkeeper Joe Bendik’s outstretched hand.

Chicago’s Mohammed Adams was sent off in the 89th minute for violent conduct, but the Fire (4-6-2) held on from there, including six minutes of stoppage time, to end a two-game losing streak.

Orlando City (6-5-1) has lost three straight after winning six in a row.

Aleksandar Katai gave Chicago the lead on a free kick in the 13th minute.

Cristian Higuita tied it for Orlando City in the 28th minute, slotting a right-footed shot inside the far post after getting sprung free by Chris Mueller’s short pass to the right side of the penalty area.

Patrick McLain had four saves for his first MLS win.

Elis scores twice as Dynamo beat Fire 3-2

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) Alberth Elis scored two second-half goals to help the Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Sunday for their first road win of the season.

Elis, on a one-on-one breakaway, cut back to evade defender Johan Kappelhof and ripped a right-footer from the center of the box into the back of the net to give Houston (4-3-3) a 3-2 lead in the 74th minute.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Dynamo’s Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the fourth, running onto a long through ball from Tomas Martinez and rolling the finish past sliding goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. Nemanja Nikolic tied it in the 14th minute and then fed Diego Campos for a goal about two minutes later. Elis converted from the spot to make it 2-2 early in the second half after Mauro Manotas drew a foul in the area conceded by Sanchez.

Chicago (3-6-2) has lost three of its last four games.

 

MLS roundup: Orlando’s streak ends; TFC lose again; Golden Boot Gyasi

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A roundup of, plus a few quick thoughts about, all of the weekend’s action from Week 11 of the 2018 MLS season…

[ MORE: Other MLS Things — The Archive ]

Orlando City SC 1-2 Atlanta United

Orlando City SC’s winning streak ended at six, thanks to goals scored by Josef Martinez (penalty kick) and Ezequiel Barco (his second of the season, both in the last three games), and a late-game meltdown from the people in purple — both on the field and in the stands.

Uri Rosell is yet to start a game for Orlando, but his introduction at halftime of Sunday’s game made exactly the impact for which he was signed: after chasing Atlanta, and the ball, around the field like chickens with their heads cut off — and falling 2-0 behind after 31 minutes — Rosell brought a sense of control to the Lions.

As for Atlanta, Tata Martino’s side took six points from three games in the span of eight days this week and sit atop the Supporters’ Shield standings after 11 games as a result. They’ve dropped all of five points from their last 10 games and, back in their customary 3-4-3 system, appear capable of scoring three or four against anyone in the league.

Los Angeles FC 2-2 New York City FC

If you’ve got 20 or so minutes of free time to fill over the next 24 or 48 hours, do yourself a favor and watch the condensed replay of LAFC’s thrilling, end-to-end, chance-filled draw with NYCFC on Sunday. While there were four goals scored in the end, it could have just as well finished 0-0 and made its case as the most entertaining game this season.

LAFC are yet to truly establish a central midfield capable of anything other than chance creation — which they’re really good at — so there’s a better than great chance most of their games will have you on the edge of your seat for 90 minutes.

NYCFC, on the other hand, are tactically effective chameleons in just about any type of game, but they’re undoubtedly most comfortable with David Villa front and center on countless counter-attacks. Patrick Vieira will be pleased to have seen his side come back to rescue a late road point after suffering an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls last week.

New England Revolution 3-2 Toronto FC

We’re not talking about TFC missing the playoffs — we’re still three or four months away from that feeling like a distinct possibility — but at what point is the hole out of which they must climb simply too deep to even pretend the likes of Atlanta, NYCFC and RBNY are within reach? The no. 4 seed feels like their new best-case scenario.

Saturday’s loss to New England was not only a gut-punch of three points dropped, but Sebastian Giovinco was sent off for this very dumb decision mere seconds after bringing the Reds back to 3-2.

Again, it’s still May, and Jozy Altidore will be back before July rolls around (don’t forget, he scored zero goals before July 31 two seasons ago before finishing the regular season with 10 and helping TFC to their first MLS Cup final appearance), but other key injuries (Drew Moor, Justin Morrow, Nick Hagglund and Eriq Zavaleta) have forced Greg Vanney into playing Michael Bradley and Jason Hernandez at center back the last few games.

Something just feels… off after their oh-so-close run through CONCACAF Champions League.

Columbus Crew SC 3-0 Chicago Fire

A picture is worth a thousand words…

(Photo credit: WhoScored.com)

Elsewhere in MLS

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-2 Houston Dynamo (Friday) — HIGHLIGHTS
Minnesota United 1-3 San Jose Earthquakes — HIGHLIGHTS
Montreal Impact 0-2 Philadelphia Union — HIGHLIGHTS
FC Dallas 3-2 LA Galaxy — HIGHLIGHTS
Colorado Rapids 1-2 New York Red Bulls — HIGHLIGHTS
Real Salt Lake 3-2 D.C. United — HIGHLIGHTS
Portland Timbers 1-0 Seattle Sounders — HIGHLIGHTS

MLS Three Things: TFC falls again, Guzan red ruins marquee match

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Five MLS matches hit midweek to join the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in bringing a busy Wednesday for soccer in the USA (and Canada).

[ MORE: Other MLS Things — The Archive ]

We are here to talk about three of them.

Brad Guzan deprived us of cool dual litmus tests

Two of the top teams in Major League Soccer met in Atlanta on soccer, and we can’t really tell you which team proved its mettle (Not that anyone’s doubting the quality of either).

That’s because Yohan Croizet played a delightful ball to Khiry Shelton, and Brad Guzan… didn’t… get it… right. Sent off, Sporting KC was able to break through with a pair of second half goals in a 2-0 win.

Shots were still just 18-17 for KC despite the DOGSO red, but playing in Atlanta is no picnic.

Soccer is a funny game

Toronto FC took 24 shots, 10 of them from Sebastian Giovinco, but Seattle took its chances and spun a 2-1 win out of not much in an MLS Cup Final(s) rematch Canada.

Homegrown Sounders 18-year-old Handwalla Bwana scored the winner after Magnus Wolf Eikrem took advantage of overly enthusiastic center back Michael Bradley on the opener (see video below).

TFC’s seven points are seven back of a playoff spot, and Victor Vazquez left the game with injury (Jozy Altidore is already out). Uh oh.

By the way, TFC’s best player this year after Giovinco has unquestionably been Jonathan Osorio, who bagged another goal tonight. The 25-year-old hometown kid is completing better than 90 percent of his passes.

On the flip side, Auro has been a major defensive liability several times this season. Hey, maybe we’ll see a proper 90 (or more) from these two in December.

Kevin Ellis: Golden Boot candidate

In his first 90 professional games, Kevin Ellis scored six goals.

The 26-year-old defender now has two in his last two, and this one is pretty nice.

Chicago needed this win, which pulls it back within sight of the playoffs. Montreal did not need this loss, its seventh of the young season.