Like a concert opener with only 6 songs to play, this was looking like a rough week to have to cover the MLS. Yet, this weekend wasn't exactly boring. Sure there were only three MLS games, but it was all to make way for the gigantic match that occurred on that fateful Sunday night as the United States took on their bitter rival Mexico in the 2018 World Cup Qualifier.
Chicago Fire 2 - 0 Atlanta United
The Chicago Fire raged on in their home match against MLS newbie Atlanta United. The MLS Golden Boot frontrunner Nemanja Nikolic put that much more room between him and the second place goal scorer as he put in a penalty to seal the Fire’s 2- 0 win. Luis Solignac put in the result of David Accam’s incredible dance in the box, which occupied 4 or so defenders, to put the Fire ahead in a very physical affair. It's the Chicago Fire’s 6th game with a point in a row, they haven't lost since April 29th, and they still have not lost a home game.
Meanwhile, Atlanta United has not won a road game since April 22nd and did not score a goal for just the second time this season. They did not take advantage of some pretty great chances, and were punished for it, their exciting start to the season starting to sizzle out into a current placing of 8th in the Eastern Conference.
Sporting KC 1 - 1 Montreal Impact
Sporting Kansas City saw the the lead they held taken away in the last few minutes against the Montreal Impact. Gerso put in what KC fans were hoping to be the eventual game winner, however the lead would be dropped in the last 10 minutes of the game. Sporting has earned a point 4 of their last 6 games and continue to hold on to the top spot in the Western Conference.
The Montreal Impact, on the other hand, stole away the lead in the 82nd minute with a Matteo Mancuso goal. The celebrations only lasted so long before a Chris Duvall red card in the 86th put the Impact down a man for the rest of the game. The Impact has 11 fouls recorded as opposed to Sporting KC’s 3 fouls, and put themselves past the struggling Philadelphia Union with 17 points.
Portland 2 - 0 FC Dallas
For a team that worships trees, the Portland Timbers sure like to catch fire. In their second multi-goal game, they defended the forest that is their home park against FC Dallas. Fernando Adi had himself a day, as he accounted for both of the Timbers goal on the day, with a goal in each half. Portland now looks to carry their momentum into their home game against bitter rivals, the Seattle Sounders.
FC Dallas was humbled a bit, following up their 6-2 win over Real Salt Lake with a goalless performance and an unproductive offensive outing. It was just their second time going goalless in the season which drops them below their Texas counterpart, Houston Dynamo, and into 4th place in the Western Conference.
Mexico 1 - 1 United States
The main event of the weekend did not disappoint. 90 minutes of hard fought soccer ended with a 1-1 draw between the United States and Mexico. Michael Bradley started the party with a super cheeky sniper shot chip in in the 25th minute. The United States did not let the lost lead drag them down, and they held firm against Mexico's tidal wave to let in just one goal. Without counting friendlies, it was the first time the United States didn't lose against Mexico since the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers. The draw put them level in the Hex (World Cup Qualifying Table) with Costa Rica.
Mexico felt the pressure from Bradley opening things up, and never let up a barrage towards the goal. Carlos Vela made great use of a Chicharito set up to shake off DeMarcus Beasley and being the game level in the 23rd minute. While Mexico would not end up scoring again, they did keep their streak alive of scoring against the United States since… Well… That 2014 World Cup Qualifier. Mexico is very in first place, 14 points to Costa Rica and the United States 8 points. They're pretty much vesting and vesting as they continue to wait for a spot in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Hot (Take) Time
Not going to lie, the 2017 Chicago Fire might be the best team ever.
My real hot take is that Christian Pulisic got some reality checks in regards to national team action. Playing well in the Bundesliga is great. Playing well against Trinidad and Tobago is great too. However, when a team obviously buys into the hype and plans around you, the best players still have to step up. Pulisic was very quiet this game, and that’s not to say he’s bad, but it should definitely be a learning experience for him. If he’s the prodigal child that people say he is, he’ll have to step up in the biggest games. That’s part of the reason why Julian Green faded away.