There’s been a lot of talk in Whitecaps circles this week about the team heading off for the international break after their loss on Saturday night to Houston Dynamo. That isn’t the case. The next week involves the ‘Caps training as there’s still another full weekend of action to come next week before the international send offs. It’s just the Whitecaps sit out and have 27 days to think about their latest loss.
This past weekend saw a mixture of entertaining fare served up, but three sides finished the latest round of matches remaining unbeaten, two teams got their first wins of the season, and it was a Saturday to forget for all three Canadian clubs. Here’s how the action played out.
PORTLAND 3 – 0 LA GALAXY – The Western Conference action got underway on Saturday afternoon in lower Cascadia with what on paper will have looked like a comfortable win for the home side that moved them into the playoff places for the first time this season. It was in many ways, but this is one of those games where the scoreline certainly does not tell the whole story.
The teams were goalless, and fairly even, as the game approached half time but then came not only the game changing moment in the 44th minute, but one of the main talking points across MLS this whole weekend, as LA’s Derek Williams was sent off for a horror tackle on Portland’s Andy Polo.
— Diego Montalvan (@DMontalvan) May 22, 2021
There wasn’t malice in, just bad judgement and mistimed, very badly, and it won’t be a surprise if Williams is handed more than a one game ban. After this though, Portland took over and hit three second half goals, thanks to a Felipe Mora double and a Diego Valeri penalty.
Not sure how much you can read into this one for either side in the grand scheme of things, but the result with certainly put a spring in Portland’s step, which isn’t good for the rest of the West.
DALLAS 2 – 2 RSL – Dallas haven’t really impressed much so far this season, but their first half performance in this one was one of their best of the year, although they only had a goal to show for it after a string of saves from RSL keeper David Ochoa.
Rubio Rubin continued his great start to the season with a 20th minute opener for RSL before Dallas peppered shots in at Ochoa but couldn’t find a way past him. It took a penalty two minutes before half time for the home side to get back on level terms, with Franco Jara drilling home the spot kick after Marcelo Silva clumsily brought down Jader Obrian in the box.
The second half wasn’t as exciting but the Texans will have thought they had secured all three points when Ryan Hollingshead’s deflected effort put them 2-1 up in the 84th minute. The lead was to last just over a minute though before Damir Kreilach headed home an equaliser and the points were shared.
When the ‘Caps finally return to action next month they’ll face RSL at their adopted Utah home. On form so far, Rubin and Kreilach will be a handful and if Ochoa is in the form he was in on Saturday night, and with Vancouver’s scoring woes in front of goal, this could be a tough match for them.
SAN JOSE 1 – 3 SPORTING KC – Clearly buoyed by beating the Whitecaps last weekend, KC made it back to back wins and three wins in their last four with a good win in California. All four goals were very nice in this one, with KC’s Alan Pulido getting a goal and two assists.
San Jose opened the scoring just four minutes in when Javier Lopez banged one into the top corner from 20 yards out from a Quakes corner, but that was about as good as it got for the home side, who had their chances, the best of which came with a free header in front of goal by Andy Rios in the second half when the scores were tied at one apiece.
KC had levelled when Pulido played in Jaylin Lindsey in the 15th minute, then the Mexican put the visitors ahead on the hour mark with a banger of his own into the same top corner as Lopez, aided by a very slight deflection. Pulido then set up Daniel Salloi for a third in the 75th minute, and the points were heading back to the midwest.
LAFC 2 – 1 COLORADO – The final match of Saturday night saw LAFC come away with all three points of the Rapids thanks to a first half double from Diego Rossi.
Rossi fired home the opener 14 minutes in and followed that up with his and LA’s second in the 33rd minute. He came close to grabbing a hat trick three minutes later, firing just past the right post.
They looked to be cruising before Michael Barrios pulled Colorado back to within one five minutes after the restart and he was through again on the hour mark in an almost identical play but this time his effort was saved and it was three points for the black and gold as the game somewhat fizzled out.
SEATTLE 1 – 1 ATLANTA – The Sounders stayed unbeaten with a draw at home to Atlanta, and they’ll be disappointed not to have taken all three points on Sunday afternoon after Raul Ruidiaz made it six in seven games when he headed home in the 6th minute.
There wasn’t a lot of quality or clear cut chances after that, with the visitors having the better of what was created. Seattle held out until four minutes before full time, when Josef Martinez fired home an equaliser from the spot. Not a classic and a bit disappointing to be honest.
Was hoping that Spencer Richey might have got the nod in goal with Stefan Frei being out, but he was on the bench and Stefan Cleveland got the start.
NASHVILLE 1 – 0 AUSTIN – The last match of the weekend wasn’t a classic in the most part, but saw the East finally prevail over the West as last year’s newboys Nashville saw off the threat of the travelling roadshow that is this year’s new boys Austin.
Randall Leal broke the deadlock for Nashville ten minutes before half time, with Jhonder Cadiz hitting the post for the home side six minutes later. There wasn’t much more to write home about until substitute Jared Stroud stunned the home crowd when he fired Austin level in the 73rd minute, but the goal was ruled outt by VAR for offside and Austin were left to rue their luck while Nashville have gone 407 minutes without conceding a goal.
So after all of the weekend’s action, Vancouver end up in 10th place in the West, just two points off the playoff places, so in touch like Marc Dos Santos was hoping for at the very least.
Seattle remain at the top, still unbeaten and still with a four point lead, this week over second placed KC. There’s been a little bit more separation in the table, but there’s still just three points between Portland in 6th on 9 points and Dallas at the bottom on six.
BEST OF THE REST
The Eastern Conference sees New England still out on front on 14 points, two clear of second place Orlando who won 1-0 at home over Toronto thanks to a 12th minute header from Canadian Tesho Akindele. The Lions are one of two unbeaten sides in the East along with Nashville, whose win over Austin on Sunday moved them into fourth.
MONTREAL 1 – 2 CINCINNATI – Oh Montreal. Another three points thrown away when they should have won this one, while Rommel Quioto rivals Chris Wondolowski for the miss of the season so far with a first half howler. Cincinnati looked pretty poor for much of this one, yet came away with the win. When Djordie Mihailovic put the Canadians ahead in the 56th minute, you felt they’d go on and see the game out but full credit to Cincy, who stormed back and tied things up through a close range Jurgen Locadia header after some ping pong in the box, then sealed the victory with a Gustavo Vallecilla header four minutes from time, after he did well to get goalside on a dangerous free kick into the box.
That first win of the season wasn’t enough to lift the Ohio side off the foot of the Eastern Conference standings though, as Chicago Fire also got theirs in a 1-0 win over Miami, with both sides still four points back of the playoff spots.
The East sees some bunching of its own around the playoff places, with just a point separating Atlanta in 5th on nine points and Miami in 9th on eight.