Photo credit: Real Salt Lake / @RealSaltLake

MLS roundup: ATL roll past Galaxy; RSL survive 10-man Rapids

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A roundup of, plus a few quick thoughts about, all of Saturday’s action from around MLS…

[ MORE: Other MLS Things — The Archive ]

LA Galaxy 0-2 Atlanta UnitedFULL HIGHLIGHTS

Two teams with fantastic attacking talent but very little in terms of a strong, controlling midfield presence — you’d expect a game like that to be wide open with plenty of chances at both ends of the field, and you’d have been right about Atlanta’s 2-0 victory over LA (at least for the opening 45 minutes. The stark difference between the two sides on Saturday? Atlanta’s ability to turn shooting chances into scoring chances, and LA’s inability to do so.

In truth, the chance resulting in the Five Stripes’ opening goal, which also turned out to be the winner, was the scrappiest once of the bunch.

Miguel Almiron was sensational on the night — constantly on the ball in dangerous areas, constantly gliding past one and two white shirts, constantly winning free kicks (and a penalty) in those dangerous areas. Since suffering a 4-0 defeat on opening day, Tata Martino’s side is unbeaten in their last six games (five wins) and moved to within a point of Eastern Conference- and Supporters’ Shield-leading New York City FC.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was rendered completely ineffective and he — dare I say it — was little more than a passenger for the vast majority of Saturday’s game. Jonathan dos Santos picked up an injury during warmups, forcing Baggio Husidic into the starting lineup, and that did LA no favors when it came time to slow Atlanta’s momentum through the center of the field (which was the entire game).

Columbus Crew SC 2-2 New England RevolutionFULL HIGHLIGHTS

If you had New England sitting above Columbus in the standings at any point this season, let alone after eight weeks, please proceed to the cash-out window immediately. Brad Friedel‘s bunch has played some pretty passable, if unexciting, soccer thus far and have picked up points in five of their seven games played. They’ve even won four points from their first three games away from home, which is two-thirds of the way to matching last season’s paltry haul of six.

Saturday’s 2-2 draw in Columbus saw the Revs come from behind twice to secure a well-earned and deserved point. Cristian Penilla has flown under the radar with regard to impact signings of the offseason — the Ecuadorian has two goals, including the stoppage-time equalizer on Saturday, and four assists in his first seven MLS games — and Diego Fagundez appears to have finally been handed the keys to the Revs’ attack with Lee Nguyen banished to the periphery (but still not traded away).

Real Salt Lake 3-0 Colorado RapidsFULL HIGHLIGHTS

Tim Howard was sent off after 20 minutes for handling the ball outside his penalty area — how great is that multi-million-dollar contract looking now? — yet Colorado so nearly held on for an away point against their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals. Alas, RSL scored three times in the final eight minutes of regular and stoppage time, helping the final score to match the lopsided nature of the preceding 60 minutes:

29 shots (10 on target), compared to just 12 (o on target) for Colorado; nearly 71 percent of possession; 571 passes, to just 228. The lopsidedness goes on and on.

Albert Rusnak scored a stunning free kick to complete the scoring, but was still upstaged by Damir Kreilach’s first MLS goal which came just three minutes earlier.

RSL have alternated wins and losses in each of their last six times out, which spells bad news for a suddenly important Friday night trip to Vancouver to face a Whitecaps side that 1) they beat at home earlier this month, and 2) has lost three straight, by a combined score of 10-1.

Elsewhere in MLS

Sporting KC 6-0 Vancouver Whitecaps — FULL RECAP
Montreal Impact 3-5 Los Angeles FC — FULL RECAP
Houston Dynamo 5-1 Toronto FC
Orlando City SC 3-2 San Jose Earthquakes
FC Dallas 2-0 Philadelphia Union

Rapids sign prolific Ivorian striker from Dalian Yifang (video)

Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images
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Well-traveled Ivorian striker Yannick Boli is the latest player hoping to bring goals to the Colorado Rapids.

Boli, 30, was announced Thursday on a one-year deal with Targeted Allocation Money.

The former PSG academy player is coming off a prolific season helping Dalian Yifang to promotion in China, and previously played for Anzhi and Zorya Luhansk.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-1 (5-1 agg.) AC Milan ]

He’ll admittedly have a little less time to operate than he did in China’s second tier, but could give the Rapids a dynamic duo with Dominique Badji.

Fun facts: Boli is the nephew of former Marseille defender Basile Boli, and former Lens striker Roger Boli. He posted a goal and an assist in his only Europa League contest.

You can see in the video below that he’s blessed with creativity, agility, and speed, but his vision and accuracy on the “assists” portion of the curated highlight reel are intriguing for Rapids fans.

CCL wrap: Tigres endures Herediano test, TFC advances vs. Rapids

Twitter/ @TheTorontoSun
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Three clubs have booked their place in the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, and that meant one MLS side had to go home on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Mexican soccer team refuses to carry anti-drug gang banner ]

Toronto FC rode a scoreless draw against the Colorado Rapids in their second leg affair into the final eight, after the reigning MLS Cup champions went ahead 2-0 on aggregate in the first leg.

The result for the Rapids sees the Western Conference side among the three eliminated teams on the evening, while three more MLS clubs remain alive.

Elsewhere, Tigres and Herediano proved to get tangled up in another wild affair on Tuesday, however, the Mexican side managed to earn its place in the next round despite a tough test from their Costa Rican opposition.

Tigres has finished runners’ up in the competition in each of the last two years, but will face another stiff opponent in the next round when Toronto is on the opposite end of the pitch.

Tuesday’s CCL scores

Toronto FC 0-0 Colorado Rapids (TFC advances 2-0 on aggregate)
Tigres 3-1 Herediano (Tigres advances 5-3 on aggregate)
Tijuana 1-0 Motagua (Tijuana advances 2-0 on aggregate)

Remaining CCL schedule

Wednesday

Chivas Guadalajara vs. Cibao — 8 p.m. ET (2-0 on aggregate)
FC Dallas vs. Tauro FC — 8 p.m. ET (0-1 on aggregate)
Club America vs. Deportivo Saprissa — 10 p.m. ET (5-1 on aggregate)

Thursday

New York Red Bulls vs. Olimpia — 8 p.m. ET (1-1 on aggregate)
Seattle Sounders vs. Santa Tecla — 10 p.m. ET (1-2 on aggregate)

CCL: Toronto wins; Wild Herediano comeback

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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On a single-digit Tuesday that severely limited the attendance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where the Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC dueled in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

Jonathan Osorio’s second half goal put the Reds in front and Sebastian Giovinco had a goal and an assist and the visitors take a 2-0 decision back to Ontario.

The best chance of a preseason quality first half saw Dominique Badji flub the best chance of the stage into the feet of Alex Bono.

Toronto took the lead, nabbing the away goal through Osorio’s header of a Sebastian Giovinco cross. And the Atomic Ant got on the board with a goal of his own off an Auro assist with 17 minutes to play.

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Tuesday’s other first leg saw Herediano and Tigres play to a 2-2 draw in Costa Rica, with the Liga MX visitors taking a pair of away goals but shocked by a pair of stoppage time concessions.

Francisco Meza scored in the 15th minute and Lucas Zelarayan seemingly put it to bed with 15 minutes to play.

But Yendrick Ruiz converted a 90th minute penalty kick before ex-DC United forward Jairo Arrieta did this ahead of the Feb. 22 second leg in Mexico.

Colorado Rapids set to sign Rangers defender Danny Wilson

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Two seasons removed from boasting the best defensive unit in Major League Soccer, the Colorado Rapids are looking to restore their fortitude behind the ball.

ESPN FC is reporting that the Rapids are close to signing Rangers defender Danny Wilson, who will occupy an international slot on the club’s roster.

[ MORE: Wolfsburg parts ways with former manager Hannes Wolf ]

The 26-year-old becomes the second defensive signing that the Rapids have made since new manager Anthony Hudson took over this offseason. The Western Conference side also acquired former Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith last weekend.

Wilson had previously made four appearances for Liverpool, in between two separate runs with Rangers in Scotland’s first division.