Tesho Akindele

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Red-hot Martinez extends record as Atlanta edge Orlando (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less):  Josef Martinez remains unstoppable, scoring in a record 12 consecutive games. Throughout that span, the Venezuelan has recorded 17 goals, with one of those giving Atlanta United the 1-0 victory against rival Orlando City on Friday night. The talk of the league remain Carlos Vela – deservingly so – but Martinez continues to put together another superlative season. The Five Stripes, who have won five straight league games, continue on a positive trend, too. Worried after a slow start to the season under Frank De Boer, the defending MLS Cup champions regain the top position in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Orlando – winless in their last two – will look to bounce back quickly as they remain tied with seventh place Montreal.

Three moments that mattered

10′ — Tesho misses a clear one-on-one early on  — Tesho had everything going for him, but then he failed to finish.

60′ — Martinez continues to score  — Aside from Vela, no one has been more reliable than the Venezuelan when it comes to scoring goals.

88′ — Villalba nearly makes it two for Atlanta — The Five Stripes were this close of ending things early against their rivals.

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

Man of the match: Miles Robinson

Goalscorers: Martinez (60′)

MLS Snapshot: FCD’s winless skid hits 10 in loss to MNUFC

Photo credit: Minnesota United / @MNUFC
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The game in 100 words (or less): Just when FC Dallas think they’ve hit rock-bottom, the fall a little bit farther. Oscar Pareja’s side saw its winless skid hit 10 games on Saturday, with a 4-1 loss away to Minnesota United, a side themselves with all of three wins from their last dozen games. Gone now are the games in hand that buoyed FCD’s hopes just a few weeks ago, as they’re now level on games played with many of the sides presently ahead of them in the race for a Western Conference playoff spot, save for Real Salt Lake (level on points) and the San Jose Earthquakes (one point ahead). Following their sixth loss in 10 games, FCD remain eighth in the West, a point behind the Houston Dynamo for the sixth and final playoff place (RSL play later on Saturday with a chance to go fifth themselves. Minnesota, meanwhile, distance themselves from the 10th-place LA Galaxy and sit just six points behind FCD, having rebounded nicely after an appalling start to their expansion season.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview — ATL host MTL; RSL desperate vs. SEA ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

14′ — Akindele arrives late, slams home for 1-0 — Tesho Akindele waltzed through the penalty area, unnoticed and unmarked, before arriving at the top of the six-yard box just in time to meet Michael Barrios’ cross.

24′ — Ramirez finishes after a beautiful through ball sets him up — Kevin Molino picked the right pass, and played it perfectly (with a bit of help from Walker Zimmerman), and Christian Ramirez made no mistake with the finish.

35′ — Ibarra volleys past Gonzalez to make it 2-1 — Ramirez turned provider on Minnesota’s second goal, lofting the ball into the penalty area for Miguel Ibarra, whose first-time take beat Jesse Gonzalez to put the home side ahead.

68′ — Shuttleworth denies Diaz from the spot — Two games, two saves from the penalty spot for Bobby Shuttleworth.

71′ — Finlay finishes some fancy build-up for 3-1 — Heartbreak on one end of the field, heartbreak on the other end of the field. Anything and everything that could go wrong for FCD, continues to go wrong for FCD.

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

Man of the match: Christian Ramirez

Goalscorers: Akindele (14′), Ramirez (24′), Ibarra (35′), Finlay (71′), Danladi (88′)

MLS Snapshot: FC Dallas 2-2 Sporting KC (video)

AP Photo/LM Otero
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The game in 100 words (or less): For 65 minutes, very little of note was achieved by FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City. In the 10 minutes that followed, the two sides combined for a four-goal explosion that saw FCD go ahead first, through Tesho Akindele, followed by a brace from Dom Dwyer, and finally a bicycle-kick equalizer for Maximiliano Urruti. The quality of goals the level of disarray on display were equally impressive. With FCD dropping two points their three-point lead in the Supporters’ Shield race could be reduced to a single point if the Colorado Rapids, who take on the LA Galaxy late Saturday night, are victorious. The draw also sees Sporting KC go three points clear of the San Jose Earthquakes, who currently occupy the first non-playoff place in the Western Conference.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of the MLS weekend ]

Three Four moments that mattered 

66′ — Akindele heads home an inch-perfect cross — Crosses don’t come anymore perfect than this one from Atiba Harris. The simplest of headers for Akindele.

68′ — Dwyer answers right away for 1-1 — Brad Davis notched his first assist as a Sporting player, and Dwyer bagged his 11th goal of the season, just two minutes later.

73′ — Dwyer powers through to make it 2-1 — Dwyer’s first touch gets away from him, but no worries, because Walker Zimmerman is right there to play the ball into his path. Just how Dwyer drew it up, probably.

76′ — Urruti hops on his bike to level things up — The ball hits the corner of the goal, soars high in the sky, and falls to Urruti for the overhead kick. Can’t make this stuff up.

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

Man of the match: Dom Dwyer

Goalscorers: Akindele (66′), Dwyer (68′, 73′), Urruti (76′)

MLS Snapshot: FC Dallas 1-1 Columbus Crew SC (video)

AP Photo/Ralph Lauer
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The game in 100 words (or less): Columbus Crew SC were 13 minutes from making me look like a prophet, but will leave Toyota Stadium, where they drew a high-flying FC Dallas side 1-1 on Saturday night, extremely happy having won their second point of the 2016 season (typo in the tweet, I know). Justin Meram put the visitors on top after nine minutes, but a load of misfortune saw FCD equalize inside the game’s final quarter-hour, as Tesho Akindele scored one of the head-shaking-est goals we’ll see all season. So how did Crew SC, a side who looked completely out of sorts through three games, come so close to knocking off a fellow MLS Cup contender? A few words: urgency, pace, cutting edge — three things they exhibited little or none of en route to two losses and a draw to open the season.

[ MORE: Sacramento to MLS? | Preview the rest of Week 4 ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram heads home from the corner for 1-0 — Federico Higuain serves them up like beach balls on set pieces, and Meram went up and got this one to give the visitors an early lead.

28′ — Meram blasts one right at Seitz, nearly bags his brace — Harrison Afful released Ethan Finlay down the right wing, and last year’s prolific assist man whipped in a cross from the end line that found Meram near the penalty spot. The only problem: as well as he struck the ball, he hit it right at Chris Seitz, who made the save.

77′ — Akindele hammers home a rebound off Clark’s back — Maximiliano Urruti unleashed a powerful strike from 20 yards out that clanged off the left-hand post of Steve Clark, hit the Crew SC goalkeeper on his back and sat on the ground two yards from the goal line.

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

Man of the match: Justin Meram

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Akindele (77′)

Canada selects 23-player roster for February friendly against USA

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Canada has selected its 23-man roster for the match against the United States, and it features a host of MLS players as expected with the February 2nd friendly falling outside a FIFA international break.

Cyle Larin and Tesho Akindele, who combined for 22 goals last MLS season, headline the attack for Canada, but there are a number of new faces on the roster as well. Goalkeepers Tyson Farago and Callum Irving are gunning for their first caps along with center-back Steven Vitoria and midfielder Jamar Dixon.

22-year-old Irving, recently graduated from the University of Kentucky this year where he won Conference USA Player of the Year twice and earned First-Team All American honors this past season, has been a member of the Canadian youth team for a number of years, although he went undrafted in the MLS SuperDraft a week ago. Farago, 24, has also been part of the Canadian youth picture.

Vitoria and Dixon are both newcomers to the setup, while teenagers Kianz Froese and Marco Bustos, both 19 years old, join as the youngest members of the squad, although both have already been capped.

ROSTER

GK: Maxime Crepeau, Montreal Impact; Tyson Farago, FC Edmonton; Callum Irving, University of Kentucky.

DF: Nik Ledgerwood, FC Edmonton; Samuel Adekugbe, Vancouver Whitecaps; Doneil Henry, West Ham United; Wandrille Lefevre, Montreal Impact; Steven Vitoria, Benfica; Karl W. Ouimette, New York Red Bulls; Mallan Roberts, FC Edmonton.

Defender-Midfielders: Adam Straith, Fredrikstad FK.

Midfielders: Julian de Guzman, Ottawa Fury FC; Iain Hume, unattached; Will Johnson, Toronto FC; Kyle Bekker, Montreal Impact; Jamar Dixon, FF Jaro; Marco Bustos, Vancouver Whitecaps FC; Issey Nakajima-Farran, Terengganu FA; Kianz Froese, Vancouver Whitecaps; Marcel De Jong, Sporting Kansas City.

Forwards: Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC; Caleb Clarke, unattached; Tesho Akindele, FC Dallas.