Houston Dynamo

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LAFC erases an early deficit, cruises to win in Houston (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): On a night when Carlos Vela failed to score and Diego Rossi had a marginal impact on the game’s proceedings for the majority of the night, Los Angeles FC cruised to a 3-1 victory over a playoff-bound Houston Dynamo side, on the road, and extended their lead in the Supporters’ Shield race to a cool 10 points. Don’t let anyone tell you that LAFC is a one-man team. They even had to overcome an early deficit after conceding a goal inside the game’s first 180 seconds. Increasing the difficulty level for themselves, because are unable to do so? Perhaps. What an embarrassment of riches when Adama Diomande, who would be a star no. 9 for the majority of MLS teams this year and scored a brace on Friday, is the third or fourth or fifth scoring option. A year after Atlanta United rewrote all the MLS record books, we can confidently say we’ve never seen a team as dominant as what LAFC is doing in just its second season of existence.

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Three moments that mattered

3′ — Quioto gets a favorable deflection and an early goal — LAFC have hardly been great defensively this season; they’ve just been so good at the other end of the field that it hasn’t mattered. They give up a lot of easily avoidable goals, like this one.

45’+2 — Diomande skies and loops a magnificent header — There’s no better time to score a goal, particularly one that erases an opponent’s lead, than in the seconds just before halftime. From this point forward, it felt like there could only be one possible outcome.

49′ — Diomande slots it home for 2-1 — Remember that thing about LAFC’s defense being a bit of a mess at times? Houston heard that, and took it as a personal challenge.

88′ — Rossi puts the game away with a stellar chip — Just trying to imagine how much we would be praising Rossi if he didn’t share a team with Vela.

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Man of the match: Adama Diomande

Goalscorers: Quioto (3′), Diomande (45’+2, 49′), Rossi (88′)

U.S. Open Cup: Goals a-plenty as Atlanta, Minnesota advance

Frank de Boer justin Meram Atlanta United
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The first two quarterfinal berths in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup were earned Tuesday with 3-2 away wins.

Columbus Crew 2-3 Atlanta United

A pair of goals from Brandon Vazquez helped Atlanta United overcome both the Columbus Crew and a 48-minute weather delay.

Miles Robinson also scored for Atlanta, while David Accam bagged a goal for the hosts.

A 71st minute Brad Guzan own goal set up a nervy final 20 minutes for the Five Stripes, but they navigated the obstacles and emerged into the quarterfinals

Atlanta will play the winner of FC Cincinnati and Saint Louis FC.

Houston Dynamo 2-3 Minnesota United

The Houston Dynamo thought they were cruising to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, and instead just waltzed right out of the tournament.

Up 2-0 at home and at halftime, the Dynamo conceded three times in the final 24 minutes to bow out of the USOC.

The victor, who deserves full marks, is Minnesota United. Darwin Quintero struck twice and Mason Toye scored in the 89th minute as the Loons advanced to play the winner of New Mexico United and FC Dallas. No Texas Derby in the cup this year.

USMNT hero Beasley to retire after MLS season

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One of the best American exports of all-time is retiring after this season.

DaMarcus Beasley, who played in the top flight in six countries, will finish his playing career after this season with the Houston Dynamo.

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Beasley was capped 126 times in 17 years for the USMNT, and won four Gold Cups in addition to playing in four World Cups.

Beyond MLS level, where Beasley was an MLS All-Star before and after his European adventure, he played for PSV Eindhoven, Rangers, Manchester City, and Hannover 96. He also spent three seasons with Puebla in Liga MX.

The soon-to-be 37-year-old Beasley has been looking but not playing like everyone on the field’s uncle for some time, so there was definitely an air of immortality about the left back even if we knew this day was not too far off in the distance.

There are not too many players in USMNT history who’d rate above Beasley in terms of legacy and achievement — maybe Claudio Reyna, Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, and Carlos Bocanegra as deep but incomplete list? We wish him well, and a happy ending with Houston playing so well.

Three things from MLS Saturday

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Chris Wondolowski’s 4-goal haul helped him set a new career standard in Major League Soccer, while Ethan Finlay haunted former club Columbus.

Aside from those wins for San Jose and Minnesota, what else did we find out on Saturday?

Houston stays hot while preparing for road-heavy stretch

Wilmer Cabrera’s Houston Dynamo have been sizzling at home — even for host-happy MLS — with a 6W-2T record to start the season boosting the club into fourth out West.

On Saturday, it was two-goal burst in two minutes that pushed Houston past Wayne Rooney‘s opener for DC United (Only Carlos Vela and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have more goals this season than Rooney).

USMNT-hopeful Memo Rodriguez scored the first of the two goals, while Tommy McNamara came off the bench for the second.

Houston plays four of its next five away from Texas, though the matches are forgiving enough. The lone home match is versus Sporting KC. Where will they sit come the start of July and a visit from the New York Red Bulls.

Croizet, Nemeth tomfoolery costs 10-man Sporting KC in stoppage time

Vancouver got a wild winner deep into stoppage time thanks to Derek Cornelius, but the match probably should’ve never gotten to that point.

Krisztian Nemeth took a red card for a studs-up tackle, but Sporting KC nearly navigated that mess.

Yohan Croizet is just as much at fault for the loss as Nemeth, as the midfielder tried to chip the keeper from 60 yards when he could’ve headed for the corner or just kept possession.

Instead, Vancouver’s Maxime Crepeau handled the effort and the ‘Caps broke the other way to pick up a point at Children’s Mercy Park.

Tired Seattle collects gritty point in possible Cup preview

Away and on a half-week’s rest as opposed to their hosts, Seattle earned a deserved point in its meeting with East-leading Philadelphia.

The Union out-attempted Seattle 20-6 and had goalkeeper Andre Blake back in the fold, but Stefan Frei and the Sounders held firm to pick up their 26th point. That’s second-best in MLS.

Might there be a surprise name in Berhalter’s Gold Cup USMNT?

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Gregg Berhalter is fully aware that this summer’s Gold Cup is his first true showcase tournament, and so it won’t be a surprise if there are no real surprises on his roster.

That will be announced soon, but of course there’s a chance Berhalter does elect to bring a new name into the fold.

He may not use that player in a meaningful situation, but taking a hopeful along for the ride is not unusual (It happens at World Cups all the time).

It would make the most sense if such a call-up were to come from MLS, which will be in full flow when the Gold Cup arrives on our shores.

As usual, the best performers in MLS this young season have mostly not been American. While kids are playing more often, the influx of money into the league has clubs buying known entities or sexy foreign prospects rather than showing love to its youth (Paxton Pomykal and Djordje Mihailovic not withstanding).

Not only that, but the leading American goal scorer so far is 30-year-old CJ Sapong (4), while Benny Feilhaber and Chris Pontius are the only Yanks with a pair of primary assists.

Which brings us back to a name we mentioned earlier: Pomykal. The 19-year-old was one of FC Dallas’ next big things and through nine appearances is their current pretty big thing.

With attacking midfield having some supply but needing depth, Berhalter could well consider a call-up for the teenager. Pomykal has two goals and an assist, and is the second-rated American in MLS according to advanced stats site WhoScored. He could also be called up to the U-20 side as a key piece, so keep that in mind.

Two more names to look at are DC United center back Steve Birnbaum and Houston Dynamo creator Memo Rodriguez. Birnbaum is 28 and has been capped before, and could be an “older” piece for Berhalter’s back line currently led by John Brooks and Matt Miazga, but the center backs do appear set.

Rodriguez is pretty interesting, too, with four goals and an assist in 538 minutes. He’s also posted decent numbers in dribbling and key passes for Wilmer Cabrera’s revitalized Dynamo.