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MLS Weekend Recap: Hand ‘Em Out

Orlando v Atlanta a legit rivalry now, RBNY & Columbus triumph, Mike Petke has a rough night, & more!

MLS: Sporting KC at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Whew! Matchweek 20 was really something. The Eastern Conference continues to be tight and thrilling, we had another Cascadia Derby to contend with, and Mike Petke isn’t having any of your shit. Let’s jump right in.

Orlando City 0–1 Atlanta United

There was a lot of discourse in the run-up to this game over whether Orlando v Atlanta constituted a proper rivalry. After Friday’s clash, I think it’s safe to say it does now. Between Atlanta supporters using the Pulse Nightclub shooting for #banter and a fan getting suckerpunched, there’s genuine beef off the pitch now between the two sides. And now there’s real history on the pitch, thanks to Hector Villalba’s late golazo to win it for the visitors. Rivalries have to start somewhere, and this weekend provided a memorable origin story. (Imagine these two meeting in the playoffs this year. Woof.) -JBG

Minnesota United 0–3 New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls had an offensive explosion late in their midweek game against San Jose. Having a bit of a breakthrough offensively, New York seemed intent on repeating that in Minnesota. Daniel Royer released a shot from well outside the box, which gave the Red Bulls a lead early in the half. New York had been struggling to get into a rhythm offensively earlier this season. This performance however may signal the Red Bulls newfound confidence. For a club that has been so consistent for the past couple of season maybe it was just a question of when they would find form, not if they would. They’ve scored 8 goals in back to back wins while climbing up to fourth place in the East. -MT

DC United 1–3 Houston

DC United continued their poor run of form on Saturday while hosting Houston. Former Fire midfielder Alex had himself a very nice game serving up the corner in which Houston’s Andrew Wenger was able to head in early on. Alex assisted on the 2nd goal as well with a nice individual run before setting up Mauro Manotas for Houston’s second. Alex was heavily involved in Houston’s third as well which came in the 17th minute. Having scored three times early on Houston essentially gave no chance to DC to get back into it. DC through men forward the rest of the game creating many chances but could not break through goal until the 62nd minute and that was to be their only consolation. DC has lost six straight games in all matches and five in MLS play. DC has glued themselves to the bottom of the Eastern Conference table and there are no signs of that changing soon. -MT

Toronto 1-1 Colorado

It wasn’t quite the normal starting XI for either team due to players missing on international duty. There may be no team more notably affected by the Gold Cup than Toronto who had Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore called into the national team for the knockout rounds. Jay Chapman scored his first goal for TFC in the fifth minute after some sloppy defending by Colorado. Having scored early it looked as if Toronto might run away with the result but they Colorado held firm. While Toronto did control majority of possession and really dictated the pace they failed to create many clear-cut chances. Zac MacMath was given the starting GK role for the Rapids while Tim Howard is playing for the US national team. MacMath was rarely challenged in Colorado goal. Toronto essentially left the door open too long. Dominic Badji leveled late on for Colorado cutting onto his left foot and hitting a low shot that found the back of the net. Toronto still hasn’t lost at home this year but it felt like a disappointing home draw for TFC. Toronto and NYCFC will play again next week in a crucial top of the table clash. -MT

Columbus 1–0 Philadelphia

Columbus edged out Philadelphia on their home field in what was a really evenly played and tight match. Philadelphia really hunkered down and by doing so rarely created any sort of chance. Columbus goalkeeper Zack Steffen didn’t have to make a single save to earn a clean sheet. Justin Meram was the hero for Columbus as he has so often been this season. The veteran attacker is having a fine season for the Crew. When missing Higuain, Meram’s ability to create chances for his squad is so crucial. His winning goal in this one took a lucky deflection off of the shot and the ball redirected into the Philadelphia net. Lucky? Yes, but good things seem to happen when Meram gets on the ball. Philadelphia had no guile in their attack for the entire game and was never a threat to get onto the score sheet. -MT

Montreal 1-2 FC Dallas

Both the Impact and Dallas put on a good showing up in Montreal Saturday. For quite a while it looked like Montreal could pick up a huge home win against one of the best in MLS. Michael Salazar scored for Montreal in the 23rd minute with a superb header off the post and in. Coincidentally just before Salazar scored Dallas had put a ball clearly over the line into Montreal’s net however it was not given. Moments later, Montreal took the lead. Dallas wouldn’t stop pushing forward though, and that’s why they are still one of the best in the league. The equalizer was a superb team goal after some great build up play. Cristian Colman scored after a perfect ball by Maxi Urruti to even things in the second half. Colman followed up his first by getting in behind the Montreal defense and bringing down a long ball with a perfect first touch. Colman had the composure to finish off the move and put Dallas up a goal. Colman was an intriguing acquisition for Dallas before the season began. He hasn’t quite lived up to the billing but there is recent evidence he’s finding his feet in MLS. -MT

New England 4-3 LA Galaxy

New England picked up a crucial three points at home in a crazy shoot-out with the Galaxy. Fans weren’t forced to wait long for the first goal with Lee Nguyen scoring in the 16th minute. Chaos ensued, Daniel Steres leveled for LA just 6 minutes later with a lovely header. It didn’t stay level for long when Kei Kamara put New England back on top in the 34th minute. Some of the goals in this game were excellently taken but anytime I see a 4-3 score line I am a bit skeptical about how the teams defended in the game. The Galaxy defense just seemed unorganized and as a result they were leaking goals. LA has had a tumultuous season indeed. After Daniel Steres scored his second and leveled things for the second time, New England ascended and hit LA with two goals by teal Bunbury. You have to give the Revolution credit for pressing on and finding a way to get this result. Questions will certainly be asked of their defending but their ability to score goals when needed is impressive. -MT

Vancouver 1-2 Portland

Say what you will about the marketing and the perceived astro-turfing in this rivalry: Cascadia Derby hype is real. While this fixture didn’t have the kind of shenanigans that are known to happen— both teams finished with 11 players? whaaaat??— this game definitely wasn’t boring. Portland were in a tough position heading into Sunday night, having to invoke extreme hardship rules to bring up some players from Timbers II in order to filed a full matchday 18. Despite their troubles, Portland acquitted themselves well— an early goal from Jeremy Ebobisse put the visitors ahead, and while they surrendered the lead right before halftime, they got it back just four minutes into the second half (thanks to Sebastián Blanco). Add in a lot of heavy lifting from Jake Gleeson and you get what may be one of the best performances in the Timbers’ season to date. Their fortunes may wax and wane, but if Portland have one thing going for them, it’s their resilience. -JBG

Mike Petke 2-0 HATERZ

The freakin’ printer broke!