Jack McInerney

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

MLS Snapshot: San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Portland Timbers (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Dom Kinnear-coached teams are not always never the most enjoyable sides to watch play soccer, but here’s three things they always are: organized, disciplined and a nightmare to break down defensively. The quality of chances you’re able to create is always at an all-time low when facing a Kinnear team. Just ask the Portland Timbers, who on Sunday couldn’t manage a single shot on goal for the first 81 minutes (they finished with two) of their 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on Sunday. Chris Wondolowski and Quincy Amarikwa (in spectacular fashion — WATCH HERE) delivered the goals for the home side, pushing the Quakes into company with the Montreal Impact and Sporting Kansas City as the only sides on six points after two games to begin the 2016 season.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS roundup/late-night thoughts ]

Three moments that mattered

30′ — Wondolowski at the near post. Rinse. Repeat. — Wondo has made an entire career out of this very simple near-post run. His ability to repel opposition players while making said run is a big reason why he’s now just three goals behind Ante Razov for third on the all-time scoring list.

45+1′ — Amarikwa chips, goes upper-90 from 35 yards out — The MLS Goal of the Year competition is settled. Don’t believe me? Have a look for yourself.

89′ — McInerney pulls one back late — Anytime there’s a pin-balling ball inside the penalty area, you hope your poacher of a striker is somewhere nearby, and Jack McInerney was Johnny On The Spot late into regular time.

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

Man of the match: Quincy Amarikwa

Goalscorers: Wondolowski (30′), Amarikwa (45+1′), McInerney (89′)

MLS Snapshot: Columbus Crew SC 5-0 DC United

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The game in 100 words (or less): If Columbus Crew SC were feeling the pressure of “Decision Day,” the final day of the 2015 MLS season, and the prospect of finishing second in the Eastern Conference, thus earning a knockout round bye, Gregg Berhalter’s side weren’t showing it one bit as they routed previously-second-place D.C. United, by the score of 5-0 on Sunday. With leading goalscorer Kei Kamara suspended for this one, Jack McInerney slotted into the starting 11 and provided Crew SC’s opening goal. It was only 1-0 at halftime, but 35 minutes later it was 5-0 following goals scored by Justin Meram, Ethan Finlay (twice) and Aaron Schoenfeld. The no. 2 seed belongs to Crew SC, who’ll await the results of Wednesday and Thursday’s knockout round games. For United, it’s into the knockout round, where they’ll host the New England Revolution as the fourth seed in the East.

[ MORE: Playoff scenarios — Eastern Conference | West ]

Three moments that mattered

25′ — McInerney bangs one in off the post, 1-0 Crew SC — Mohammed Saeid played Jack McInerney through the United defense, and the striker tasked with replacing Kamara’s 22-goal production slotted a right-footed roller past Bill Hamid, off the inside of the post and into the back of the net.

54′ —Meram beats Hamid for 2-0 — Michael Parkhurst played the long ball over the top, out to the left wing, where Justin Meram chested down, beat Sean Franklin one on one and rolled the ball underneath Hamid.

67′ — Finlay skates past Kemp, makes it 4-0 — By this point, Crew SC were in cruise-control mode, so Ethan Finlay, who had scored a minute earlier, opted for style points as he made it 4-0. He spent Taylor Kemp one way, went the other and slotted past Hamid for an emphatic 4-0 scoreline.

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

Man of the match: Ethan Finlay

Goalscorers: McInerney (25′), Meram (54′), Finlay (66′, 67′), Schoenfeld (80′)

MLS preview: Sounders vs. Toronto FC, Crew SC vs. FC Dallas headline Week 27

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Week 27 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is upon us, which means it’s time to talk about how awesome lame it is that MLS continues to schedule league games during FIFA’s international windows. Furthermore, only half the league has to play this weekend, handing a decided advantage to the league’s other 10 teams who aren’t forced to play a game without some of their best players. Fun times!

Predictions record through Week 26: 40-49

So, if you’re to watch just three MLS games this weekend — who am I to tell you to watch only three games? — might I suggest the following three:

Seattle Sounders vs. Toronto FC (Saturday, 10 pm ET, MLS Live)

It sounds as though Clint Dempsey might actually play in this one, given he’s expected to join US national team camp for Tuesday’s friendly against Brazil, so that’s pretty neat. Dempsey and Michael Bradley each skipped the USMNT’s friendly against Peru on Friday to be available for one of MLS’s highest-priced (salaries, that is) showpiece games.

With Benoit Cheyrou out with injury, Bradley could be forced into a deeper-sitting midfield role against the Sounders, which is a bummer for him, for TFC and for anyone who enjoys watching an American player enjoying a real purple patch of form, but should offer an interesting tactical battle as Dempsey and Obafemi Martins look to combine through Bradley’s part of the field in front of the porous TFC defense.

Prediction: Sounders 2-1 TFC

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

Columbus Crew SC vs. FC Dallas (Sunday, 7 pm ET, Fox Sports 1)

Any other week, this is the no. 1 game I’m circling on the calendar and looking forward to for three or four weeks prior. Alas, international call-ups have completely stripped these two super-fun teams of their super-fun parts — Crew SC: Kei Kamara, Wil Trapp, Justin Meram and Waylon Francis (among others); FCD: Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez, Tesho Akindele and Moises Hernandez (among others).

Let’s be real here: this is going to be an awful game, but one man, Crew SC’s Ethan Finlay, is going to have an absolute blinder in this one and, for 90 minutes at least, look like the best player in the world. Without Hernandez, who generally starts at left back (and very capably so) for FCD, Finlay is going to run riot over Ryan Hollingshead, who has deputized in Hernandez’s absence of late. Jack McInerney will squander a number of quality chances created by Finlay, only to tap in a free rebound with about 15 minutes left in the game.

Prediction: Crew SC 1-0 FCD

[ MORE: If you’ve ever questioned Jurgen Klinsmann, you don’t understand soccer ]

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Philadelphia Union (Saturday, 10:30 pm ET, MLS Live)

“Why in the world would this guy tell me to watch San Jose and Philly,” is what I know you’re screaming at your computer/smartphone/tablet. It’s mostly because the Earthquakes have been good for three weeks now. Like, really, really good. They’ve won four straight, and knocked of Sporting Kansas City, D.C. United and LA Galaxy, in that order, by a combine score of 8-0.

That’s all well and good, to play that way against some of the league’s top teams with your season on the line (the ‘Quakes are suddenly level on points with the Sounders for the sixth and final playoff place in the Western Conference, and have a game in hand). Wouldn’t it just be “peak MLS,” though, for one of the league’s hottest teams to lay an egg against the last-place-in-the-league Union, at home, immediately following the above run of results? Don’t get MLS’d this weekend, and I’m ready to consider the Fighting Dom Kinnears real playoff contenders.

Prediction: Quakes 2-2 Union

MLS Snapshot: Columbus Crew SC 3-2 Sporting Kansas City (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Sporting Kansas City’s week to be forgotten continued Saturday night with a late 3-2 loss to Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium. Sporting KC followed up their 5-0 humbling at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday by taking a lead on two different occasions against Crew SC, but ultimately coughing up those winning positions. Crew SC’s Kei Kamara failed to score in his first game against his former team, but the league’s scoring leader (18) played his part in erasing his new side’s first deficit of the evening. For a side with presumed Supporters’ Shield aspirations, Sporting might just look back at this week and say, “That’s where it got away.” With the victory, Crew SC jump two places in the Eastern Conference, up to third, ahead of Toronto FC and the New England Revolution. Meanwhile, Sporting hold steady at third in the West, though FC Dallas could leapfrog them with a victory later Saturday night.

[ MORE: Previewing the other Week 25 games | How close was Lampard to joining LA? ]

Three moments that mattered

35′ — Kamara crosses to Finlay for the equalizer — Ethan Finlay to Kamara has been a productive passing sequence for Crew SC thus far in 2015 (to the tune of six goal), but Kamara to Finlay isn’t far behind. This time it was Kamara setting up Finlay for the fourth time in 2015, for the equalizer. For your offside-or-not interests, click here.

62′ — Zusi unleashes a thunderbolt from the corner of the box — Yet again against the run of play — possession 2-to-1 in favor of Crew SC — Sporting found themselves a goal, this time through the right foot of Graham Zusi. Zusi, starting in central midfielder for the suspended Benny Feilhaber, found a bit of space and time 17 yards out and…oh, just watch this beauty.

88′ — McInerney follows up at the back post to score the winner — Jack McInerney is 23 year old (yes, still), and the guy has already scored 37 MLS goals. If he can ever find a place to be the regular starter (he came off the bench in this one), he will easily reach the century mark and well beyond. He has and will continue to score lots of goals by sneaking in at the back post and cleaning up chances like this.

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

Man of the match: Tony Tchani

Goalscorers: De Jong (14′), Finlay (35′), Zusi (62′), Tchani (80′), McInerney (88′)

MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

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The game in 100 words (or less): It’s a challenge to traverse Canada for a mid-week match in Montreal, and Vancouver looked sleepy for most of this one. Jack McInerney put the ‘Caps on the back foot early, and Montreal was able to overcome giving up a late penalty to pick up three points when Ignacio Piatti finished a chance with class. The Impact now have 11 points in 9 games, a better points-per-game than many of their Eastern Conference brethren. In the West’s second place now, Vancouver could be as low as fifth by the end of the weekend.

Three moments that mattered

14′ — Jack Mac cleans up a rebound, 1-0 Impact — Montreal’s American striker reaped the rewards of Laurent Ciman’s flashy rip off the crossbar, rocketing a second-chance ball into the Vancouver goal.

60′ — Romero’s cheeky chip tipped over by Ousted — The Impact almost doubled their lead when McInerney cut back to find Romero, who danced around a defender before truing to pop one over David Ousted, who kept his composure to tap the ball over the bar. Tip or tap… whatever!

83′ — Piatti restores order, 2-1 Impact — After Jordan Harvey won a PK that Pedro Morales converted with class, Montreal needed just four minutes to answer, as Romero had time to dribble and defer to Piatti, who’s too good to miss the opportunity.

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

Man of the match: Jack McInerney, Montreal Impact — Not a single player was standout for the duration, but Jack Mac’s fired goal and near set-up of a few others is enough to get our nod in a big 3-pointer for Montreal.

LINEUPS

Montreal Impact: Bush, Oyongo, Lefevre, Ciman, Toia, Mallace, Bernier (Jackson-Hamel, 81′), Romero, Piatti, Alexander (Tissot, 63′), McInerney (Reo-Coker, 78′)

Goal: McInerney (14′), Piatti (83′)

Vancouver Whitecaps: Ousted; Parker, Waston, Rodriguez, Harvey, Laba, Teibert (Morales, 74′), Mezquida (Techera, 63′), Rosales (Rivero, 70′), Manneh, Mattocks

Goal: Morales (79′)