There were fewer games to recap this weekend than most, as the schedule was mostly an intra-conference affair. This was an ideal weekend to watch our Eastern Conference foes battle one another, allowing us to paint a more accurate picture of the pecking order in the conference.
NYCFC 2–1 Seattle
The rain really played its part in this game, coming down in buckets onto the already water-logged turf at Yankee Stadium. The first thirty minutes were really sloppy. It reminded me of some of the soaked fields I never should have played on as a kid, dribbling a ball that just stops when you hit a puddle and you keep running by.
Seattle opened the scoring through Cristian Roldan. NYCFC have a certain guy by the name of David Villa, though. Villa’s first goal to level the game came from the penalty spot. It was wrongly given and shouldn’t have been a penalty - but nonetheless it was David Villa’s 50th goal for New York. Villa’s second, which handed NYC three points was a lovely one time curling finish off a Jack Harrison cross after a long, twisting dribbling run from Harrison.
The result will suit NYC just fine, as they came from behind to get a result in tough conditions. For Seattle, it has to be close to panic mode. Yes they rallied from the bottom to make the playoffs last year - but this seems far different. Things are not going well for the Sounders.
Atlanta 3–1 Columbus
The first two goals in this game, one for each side, were gifted through poor defending. Columbus had several chances to grab the lead but could not convert and eventually Atlanta punished them. By this point I am sure everyone is well aware of the danger that Atlanta presents in attack. Ultimately though, their defense will have to improve if they are to get into a playoff spot. In several weeks I have seen them carved up by opposition and Columbus will likely feel they should have scored a couple more goals in this one. The same concerns could be said for Columbus as well, they look really dangerous going forward but defensively it’s a bit of a leaky ship right now. These teams playing each other made for an exciting watch but both will need to find some more balance if they are to challenge the top teams in the East. Shout out to Miguel Almiron for making Columbus look silly for the entirety of the game with his running on the ball, he’s an amazing talent.
Orlando 3–3 Montreal
For many weeks this year I have told myself, “Don’t sleep on the Impact.” I won’t. On paper there is just too much quality in Montreal for them to continue on in the same fashion they started the season. Glancing at the table going into this weekend I’d say Montreal were the team who has underachieved more than anyone else in the East. Their performance in Orlando was pretty impressive but ultimately they’ll rue not grabbing a win. Coming from behind and taking the lead made it seem like they would leave Florida with three points.
Ignacio Piatti scored two goals - the equalizer and go-ahead goal - within minutes of each other in the second half. Orlando didn’t quit, however. The Lions were on the front foot for the last 15 minutes or so and rescued a point with Jonathan Spector’s header in second-half stoppage time. For me, a draw was a fair result for both sides. Montreal may have been gifted a bit through some sloppy Orlando mistakes but it’s a nice point away from home for the Impact, who are chasing a playoff spot.
Toronto 2–0 DC United
I know I wasn’t the only person tracking this game as the Fire result unfolded, thinking, “Hey, we’re top of the league.” Asking anything out of this DC side is too much, though. This game was actually tied until the 60th minute when Jozy Altidore broke the deadlock. Don’t let that fool you though. The gulf in quality between these two teams was extremely apparent. It was only a matter of time until Toronto snagged a goal and went on to win. DC had no chance north of the border. This game was very one-sided. It is really going to take a special run for someone to beat Toronto to the supporters shield.
Philadelphia 0–2 New York Red Bulls
Neither of these teams entered the game in good form - both sit below the red line - and the first 45 minutes showed it. Neither team looked all that dangerous in the first half. Philadelphia had to play the majority of the second half with ten men after Derrick Jones was given a red card for a dangerous tackle. However, New York failed to break down the Union defense until the 87th minute, when Bradley Wright-Phillips latched onto a low cross and poked the ball past the Union keeper. Wright-Phillips added a second goal in stoppage time to pad the score line. The Red Bulls were a bit fortunate on the day, and Philadelphia’s losing streak stretches to three in MLS play.
Hot (Time) Take
It was a good weekend for the East’s top three clubs. Atlanta, Chicago and NYCFC all won to put a little more distance between themselves and the chasing sides.
Toronto is sort of on cruise control right now. It wasn’t their best game and they still handily beat DC. I still feel as if there is a chance the Fire and even NYCFC could cause them problems eventually but it will take some stellar form in order to do so. Montreal has looked better as of late, the signing of Dzemaili continues to pay off and Mancosu has returned for the Impact so that will be something to keep an eye on if he starts netting some goals. Atlanta are the big winners of the weekend though. Their thumping of Columbus pulled them within just one point of the Crew on the table.