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MLS Wrapup: Vancouver, Red Bulls rising as league plays through FIFA date

New York Red Bulls take the top spot in the east; Vancouver Whitecaps surge near toward FC Dallas in the west. When next we meet, MLS will have back its 57 international call-ups

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Montreal Impact 2, Orlando City 2

Orlando continues to experience the growing pains of a maiden MLS voyage all the while showing true grit. The Lions were on their heels just 14 minutes into this affair. Defender Sean St. Ledger was called for hand ball in the box which led to an Impact PK goal courtesy of Ignacio Piatti. Over 25,000 fans at Olympic Stadium were treated – thirteen minutes later – to an impressive goal by Jack McInerney, who managed to chip Donovan Ricketts while in between two defenders. Wanting to play the spoiler, Orlando City would reply twice in the three proceeding minutes. Pedro Ribeiro would poach in the first, and assist on the second which was expertly finished by none other than Kaka.

New York City 0, Sporting Kansas City 1

The Yankee/City faithful had to experience disappointment sooner or later, even if they would prefer the latter. Matt Besler took a page from Rory Delap (of Stoke City fame) and threw in an absolute laser from the right that found Ike Opara. The SKC defender had no problem nodding it into the back of the night – continuing his high rate of production at both ends of the pitch. Jason Kreis can hang his head on the fact that his players managed 62% of the possession and continue to adapt quickly to the tactics he implemented in Salt Lake.

D.C. United 1, LA Galaxy 0

It was a snooze fest of two lackluster sleepers. LA looked disheveled without Robbie Keane and United did little to deserve their stoppage time winner. Only Davy Arnaud and Bobby Boswell of D.C. entered the referee’s book. The lone goal came at the death and was a result of a beautiful display by Nick DeLeon who did well to juggle the ball in the box and send a cross to a diagonally darting Chris Pontius. Head to ball from the California native would send the Screamin’ eagles and la barra brava home in euphoria.

Columbus 1, New York Red Bulls 2

Playing in a home that has been rebranded as MAPFRE Stadium is rough enough. Losing 2-1 to a rebuilt Red Bull side is the bruised cherry on top. Both teams were feeling one another out in the first half. Federico Higuain was given a yellow card in the 39th minute for what was deemed a late sliding tackle. This becomes important in the second half. Four minutes into the second half, Lloyd Sam was fouled in the box by Columbus defender Emanuel Pogatetz. Reigning golden boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips just squeezed the ensuing PK past the outstretched hands of Steve Clark. Developing US national team member Tony Tchani leveled things for Columbus in the 58th minute. The tall Cameroon native made a wise run into the box off a corner kick that managed to squeak past everyone in the box, and tapped in the easy goal. Trialist turned roster member Mike Grella sunk the winner in minute 67. Grella indubitably had his Alan Gordon pants on, having just entered the game, running onto a loose ball well outside the box, and sending a looping shot into the top shelf of Steve Clark’s net.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Portland 1

Two things were clear by the end of this game: Vancouver intends to finish among the elite teams this season, and Portland really wants no part of the Fire’s draw record. The Whitecaps not only had to make a statement within Cascadia, but also wanted to make up ground on FC Dallas. It didn’t take long for Caps midfielder Nicolas Mezquida to find the goal. A clinical free kick in the 15th minute put his dead ball accuracy on display as the ball continued to dip low after clearing the wall. Things were looking bleak for Portland until the 82nd minute. Fanendo Adi poked home the goal after a stretch of play that proved what the Timbers are capable of –albeit inconsistently. Darlington Nagbe poked a through ball to a sprinting Rodney Wallace who dragged his cross towards goal; the ball eventually falling to Adi. This encounter would also end via the super sub. In this case it was former Fire striker Robert Earnshaw who came on in the 87th minute and would score the winner three minutes later.

Houston Dynamo 0, Colorado Rapids 0

What the Portland Timbers were willing to abandon (draw record chase), the Colorado Rapids were as eager to pick up. It’s not just the draws, but also the inability to score (0 goals through 3 games) and consistently being out possessed that has resulted in the Rapids overtaking the Fire as the league’s laughingstock. This match was awful. Pure and simple.

FC Dallas 0, Seattle Sounders 0

FC Dallas may have lost their perfect record, but they remain without a loss, and are showcasing a steel resolve not witnessed by the club in years. Dallas left back Kellyn Acosta was shown straight red for a high kick in the 17th minute. From that point Seattle dominated possession and were unlucky on two occasions: Chad Barrett heading wide and Andy Rose unable to convert at close range. The closest FC Dallas came to scoring was off a Michel free kick which hit the crossbar. It will be interesting to see these teams at full strength for 90 minutes in what could be a Western Conference final preview.

Chicago Fire 1, Philadelphia Union 0

See recap. No need to adjust your screens, you’re reading that correctly. Fire win!

Real Salt Lake 2, Toronto FC 1

RSL are yet again proving to be a tough matchup league wide, especially at home. Toronto FC played a decent game with two glaring holes in place of Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley. Luke Mulholland’s crafty run in the 38th minute allowed him to get a head on a beautifully weighted ball and put it into the net. Throughout much of the remainder of the game, chances were few and far between for either team. In the 88th minute, Toronto midfielder Jackson tied it up with a goal, only to see RSL regain the lead a minute later. Substitute defender Jordan Allen headed home the winner, re-establishing Salt Lake’s dominance in the air.