Roland Alberg

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

MLS Snapshot: Blake a star again as PHI knock off SEA, 2-0

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The game in 100 words (or less more): A week after it looked like the entire Western Conference had awakened just in time for a frantic finish to the regular season, this weekend it all came undone just as quickly for every side in the top-four, save for one. A day after the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City, with whom the Seattle Sounders are jostling for home-field advantage in the West (plus the Vancouver Whitecaps, the weekend’s lone winner) lost, Brian Schmetzer’s side made the least of its chance to capitalize on Sunday and lost away to the Eastern Conference’s 10th-place side, the Philadelphia Union. Marcus Epps and Roland Alberg bagged the goals for Jin Curtin’s side, while Andre Blake turned in another star’s performance in goal (reminiscent of his 2017 Gold Cup exploits — at some point a non-UK side in Europe will pull the trigger and land themselves a truly top-shelf ‘keeper) to pull Philadelphia to within four points of sixth place in the East. Seattle, meanwhile, remain fourth, level on points with Portland and Sporting KC, and four points clear of fifth-place Houston Dynamo.

[ MORE: TFC lift Supporters’ Shield | SKC’s home streak ends at 24 ]

Three moments that mattered

28′ — Epps beats Frei from a tough angle for 1-0 — Ilsinho’s through ball to Epps completely reversed the field on Seattle and caught everyone napping on the backside of the play. Stefan Frei probably shouldn’t get beaten inside his near post from there, but in fairness he did appear to be screened by his defender.

62′ — Dempsey puts one on target, but Blake makes the save — Blake was only asked to make seven saves, and the Jamaican no. 1 was up to the task all afternoon long, as was the case five minutes after Clint Dempsey entered the game.

88 — Alberg smashes one past Frei from an unlikely angle — Again, I’ll preemptively defend Frei’s honor by acknowledging Alberg’s shot was moving in a half-dozen different directions. But, if you want to be a legitimate international goalkeeper, that shot can’t be beating you.

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Man of the match: Andre Blake

Goalscorers: Epps (28′), Alberg (88′)

MLS: ATL leave it late in PHI; NE’s playoff hopes die in DC

Atlanta United / Twitter: @ATLUTD
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Philadelphia Union 2-2 Atlanta United

The game in 100 words (or less): Atlanta United’s defense, the expansion side’s achilles heel all season long, lapsed for no more than five minutes against the Philadelphia Union, and Tata Martino’s side struggled to a 2-2 draw which might ultimately cost them dearly in the playoffs race. With a chance to distance themselves from the Montreal Impact for sixth in the Eastern Conference, and set themselves up beautifully as the home-heavy portion of their schedule approaches, those five minutes cost Atlanta a pair of points against a 10-man Union side (Josh Yaro, 52nd minute) which held just 31 percent of possession on their home field. Roland Alberg and Alejandro Bedoya scored the Union’s goals, pulling Jim Curtin’s side to within three points of sixth place, while Atlanta remain a point back of Montreal (now level on games played, with 10 to go). Yamil Asad and Tyrone Mears blazed the comeback path for Atlanta.

[ MORE: Wednesday’s MLS roundup — TFC dominant; wild Texas derby ]

Three moments that mattered

18′ — Alberg gets behind, slots it past Guzan for 1-0 — Someone along the Atlanta backline lost track of… well, just about every attacker in the box. The lofted through ball fell to the chest of Alberg, and the Dutchman showed great composure at close range to collect and finish the chance.

23′ — Bedoya reacts quickest, makes it 2-0 — Alberg whipped the corner kick into the box, Jack Elliott headed it on at the near post, and Bedoya contorted his body to put his foot on the ball and double the lead.

26′ — Asad roofs it from a tough angle, and it’s 2-1 — It’s unclear whether or not Josef Martinez meant to head this ball an entire 90 degrees away from goal. In the end, it simply looks like a brilliant assist.

90+1′ — Mears heads home from distance — It’s an unlucky goal to give up, but one the whole of their 40-minute man advantage, Atlanta were deserving of their point.

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Man of the match: Roland Alberg

Goalscorers: Alberg (18′), Bedoya (23′), Asad (26′), Mears (90+1′)


D.C. United 1-0 New England Revolution

The game in 100 words (or less): Already seven points out of the playoff places in the East, losing to last-place D.C. United, 1-0 on Saturday, was almost surely the final nail in the Revolution’s coffin for the 2017 season. After winning three of four from mid-July to early August, the Revs have now lost back-to-back games to New York City FC and United. Luciano Acosta scored the game’s only goal, pulling Ben Olsen’s side to within a single point of the Revs in their bid to leave the East’s cellar..

[ MORE: Wednesday’s MLS roundup — TFC dominant; wild Texas derby ]

Three One moments that mattered

71′ — Acosta pokes home from close range — Lloyd Sam floated the ball into the box, Kofi Opare headed back across the face of goal, and Acosta was the only player make the far-post run, which made it oh so easy to beat Cody Cropper.

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

Man of the match: Russell Canouse

Goalscorers: Acosta (71′)

MLS Snapshot: Sporting KC 1-1 Philadelphia Union (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Despite a double-digit edge in shots and seven minutes of stoppage, SKC couldn’t find a winner. CJ Sapong won a penalty that Roland Alberg converted as Philadelphia came back to steal a surprise point at Children’s Mercy Park on Thursday in the last MLS match before the Gold Cup break. Diego Rubio scored a splendid opener for Sporting KC, which inches ahead of FC Dallas for first in the West. The point moves Philly within five points of the East’s Top Six.

The goals

49′ — Ru-ru-rubio (to the tune of Susudio) — Diego Rubio was given a second too long and a yard too much, and lashed a gorgeous goal home to give SKC a 1-0 lead.

69′ — Alberg converts PK to level the score — Benny Feilhaber fouled Sapong in the box, and that was the opening Philly needed.

MLS Snapshot: Union thump Revs to inch toward playoff places

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The game in 100 words (or less): Raise your hand if you’ve figured out the Philadelphia Union. There shouldn’t be a single hand in the air, because…

Saturday’s 3-0 victory over the New England Revolution was the sixth of the season for Jim Curtin’s side, a result which pushes Philly past the Revolution and Montreal Impact, into eighth place in the Eastern Conference, just three points back of Columbus Crew SC for the sixth and final playoff place. Both sides were without key players (Alejandro Bedoya for Philly; Kelyn Rowe and Diego Fagundez for the Revs), and the home side coped in far better fashion. C.J. Sapong opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 4th minute, Ilsinho doubled the lead three minutes into the second half, and Roland Alberg put the game to bed with his first touch of the game, in the 78th minute.

[ MORE: Dwyer, Acosta power USMNT to win over Ghana | Three things ]

Three moments that mattered

4′ — Sapong converts from the spot for 1-0 — Sapong won the penalty, Sapong scored the penalty.

48′ — Ilsinho smashes it first time for 2-0 — Fafa Picault flicked the ball into Ilsinho’s path, and the Brazilian laced it past Cody Cropper to double the Union’s lead.

78′ — Alberg’s first touch is a 30-yard bomb — Alberg, after subbing on seconds earlier, had only just reached the final third when the ball rolled across his body 30 yards from goal. No mistake about this one.

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

Man of the match: Giliano Wijnaldum

Goalscorers: Sapong (4′), Ilsinho (48′), Alberg (78′)

MLS Snapshot: Philadelphia Union 2-0 Sporting KC

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The game in 100 words or lessPhiladelphia wasted an energetic start to the match, but the hosts found themselves with a man advantage shortly into the second half, and they’d take advantage, winning 1-0 at Talen Energy Stadium behind a goal from Roland Alberg, who had entered the field just two minutes before scoring. The Union were overall the better side, but the hosts weren’t without chances of their own, most notably watching Dom Dwyer miss moments before Alberg’s goal. It was all over for KC when Roger Espinoza was also sent off for a second yellow late in the match, seeing Philly bag a second with ticks on the clock.

Three moments that mattered

17′ – A whopping four missed chances plagued the otherwise positive start for the home side. First, Tranquillo Barnetta curled in a gorgeous effort that was acrobatically parried away by a leaping Alec Kann. Then, in the 11th and 14th minutes, a pair of low crosses from Fabinho along the face of goal fell just out of reach of a sliding C.J. Sapong. Finally, the 17th minute saw Chris Pontius fire just wide with a header on a free-kick.

59′ – Philadelphia was given an advantage the rest of the way when Jimmy Medranda was given his second yellow card for hauling down Keegan Rosenberry on the edge of the box. Mandranda had been cautioned earlier for dissent when he laid into the referee following a first-half foul call.

67′ – Just moments after Dwyer missed wide right on a breakaway, Philadelphia capitalized on their man advantage. Fabinho connected with substitute Roland Alberg, and the 26-year-old Dutchman let loose a curler into the top right for a 1-0 lead. There was no looking back.

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Man of the match: Fabinho

Goalscorers: Alberg 67′, Barnetta 90+2′