Ilsinho

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 Snapshots: Shield contenders TFC, FCD slip up in DC, PHI

Photo credit: @PhilaUnion
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Philadelphia Union 3-1 FC Dallas

The game in 100 words (or less): The last 180 minutes of soccer have resulted in a pair of losses, by a combined score of 7-0, for the defending Supporters’ Shield winners (and contenders once again) FC Dallas — 4-0 at the hands of the Vancouver Whitecaps last week, followed by a 3-0 drubbing courtesy of a floundering Philadelphia Union side which entered the weekend with one win from their last five games. Saturday’s game featured the very first call to be made via the brand new video-assistant refereeing system, as Ricardo Salazar went to the field-side monitor and determined an FCD goal should be negated for a foul in the build-up. From the time he made the VAR signal, to the time he announced his decision, 47 seconds had passed during a period of time when the game was already stopped.

[ MORE: Sunday’s MLS schedule is chock-full of important matchups ]

Three moments that mattered

17′ — Sapong finishes a slick piece of build-up for 1-0 — Sapong gets the credit for the goal, but Ilsinho and Haris Medunjanin did all the heavy lifting — particularly Ilsinho for the clever backheel that unlocked the entire FCD defense.

22′ — Ilsinho drives a volley home for 2-0 — You don’t have to blast it on the full volley, as long as you control it and place it perfectly.

68′ — Ilsinho and Sapong clean up Seitz’s mess for 3-0 — Ilsinho’s first 43 games in MLS produced five goals and three assists. Ilsinho’s 86 minutes on Saturday yielded a goal and two assists.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Ilsinho

Goalscorers: Sapong (17′, 68′), Ilsinho (22′), Barrios (90+2′)


D.C. United 1-1 Toronto FC

The game in 100 words (or less): Meanwhile, in America’s capital, the defending Eastern Conference champions (and Shield leaders for 2017), Toronto FC, spotted the league’s (runaway) worst team, D.C. United, an early goal and needed a spectacular own goal in order to reverse their fortunes and rescue a point despite playing 46 minutes with a man advantage. TFC managed just two shots on target all game long. The result moves TFC to five games unbeaten (they’ve lost just two of their last 17), but will result in their Shield lead shrinking, should the Chicago Fire (five points back) or Sporting Kansas City (seven points back) pick up all three points this weekend.

[ MORE: Sunday’s MLS schedule is chock-full of important matchups ]

Three moments that mattered

6′ — Opare heads DCU to an early lead — Kofi Opare rises, and Kofi Opare heads a very deserved opening goal home.

44′ — Sam slides through Mavinga, sees read — Even United’s red cards are earned in a half- or quarter-hearted manner this season…

52′ — Jeffrey clears it off Birnbaum, into his own goal — D.C. United’s 2017 season, in seven seconds…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Bill Hamid

Goalscorers: Opare (6′), Birnbaum (52′ – OG)

MLS Snapshot: Philadelphia Union 3-0 Columbus Crew

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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The game in 100 words (or less)Goals from Ilsinho, CJ Sapong, and Marcus Epps led the Philadelphia Union to a 3-0 win over the Crew, who had not one but two players sent off in the loss. Jonathan Mensah saw red in the 35th minute for denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity, and Lalas Abubakar was sent off for violent conduct with about a quarter hour to play. Sapong had two assists and Ilsinho added a helper too. Philly pulls to within five points of sixth-place Columbus, and have played one less game.

Three moments that mattered

20′  — Overhead pass gets deserved finish — Ilsinho made Zack Steffen’s diving attempt look feeble with a blast after Sapong’s bike-like ball across the box.

38′ — Alberg PK denied — Did we mention it could’ve been worse for Philly? Roland Alberg was stopped by the left hand of the law, er, Steffen. The left hand of the Steffen.

81′ — Epps puts it to bed — The man was credited with eight shots on the night, as 22-year-old Marcus Epps has his first MLS goal (He has scored in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup).

Man of the Match: Sapong.