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MLS Weekend Recap: VAR She Blows

Plus: Toronto drops points, the bottom of the East has a good week, and the Hudson River Derby was cray

MLS: New York Red Bulls at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Hey. Hey guys. Did you know VAR debuted this weekend?

Did you???

I know MLS was anxious to keep this on the DL, but yeah, no, this was definitely a thing that happened. It’s here, it’s now, it’s everywhere you want to be.

(Also some other stuff happened too, you should check it out below.)

DC United 1-1 Toronto FC

For Fire fans, this was the fixture that mattered most. With DC United being so utterly inept this season, the assumption was that Toronto would beat up their hosts and take their lunch money without breaking a sweat. Instead, Toronto went down a goal early, spent half the game chasing DC, and ultimately had to settle for a point. After losing so much ground with that two-game losing streak, the Fire must be thrilled with this result. Toronto’s lead at the top of the Eastern Conference is down to three points. If the Fire come out on top against them in a few weeks (and win that game in hand), we’ll be back in the drivers’ seat.

Philadelphia Union 3-1 FC Dallas

So the main hype you’re going to hear about this game was the first MLS goal called back by VAR. Down 3-0 in the 80th minute, Maximiliano Urruti finally put Dallas on the board, potentially sparking a late rally by the Western Conference heavyweights. But the goal came under VAR review and, after noticing a foul committed on Philly goalkeeper John McCarthy, disallowed the goal. Blah blah blah, history made, yadda yadda whatever. The real story is that the Union, currently locked in a surprisingly competitive Wooden Spoon race in 2017, managed to roll one of the best teams in the league. Everyone has bad days, I guess, but yikes.

Montreal Impact 2-1 Orlando City

There’s no gentle way to put this— Orlando missed a huge opportunity here. They’re just below the red line in the East and had a meeting scheduled with a team sliiiightly below them in the standings. They didn’t know this yet, but Columbus— the team just above them in the table— would go on to lose their game that night. A win would’ve seen Orlando leapfrog the Crew and get back into a playoff spot. But nooooooooooooooooooo. They had to go and lose to freakin’ Montreal. Who even does that anymore? Anyway, this is just further proof that the Eastern Conference ain’t fucking around this year. Eat or get eaten.

Portland Timbers 3-1 LA Galaxy

I honestly don’t know what to make of this game. The 11am kickoff time— a very rare brunchtime game, necessitated by the Sun God’s apparent displeasure with the PNW lately— gave everything an inadvertent soft-focus Instagrammy quality. A pair of goals in the first five minutes— first Portland then LA seconds later— gave the impression that this was going to be a beautiful, chaotic mess. But then the Timbers remembered that the Galaxy kinda suck this year and took control of the game. (Give yourself a gift today— watch the sequence that led to Alves Powell’s gamewinner in the second half.) Portland went on to win 3-1 and Timbers Army were no doubt pleased to send Sigi Schmid away feeling bad about himself and regretting his choices in life.

Also, confidential to LAFC: you’re trying too hard.

New York City FC 3-2 New York Red Bulls

On Twitter the hashtag #ConfessYourUnpopularOpinion has been making the rounds all weekend, and, uh. Here goes. I kinda dig the Hudson River Derby. Yeah, it’s contrived and overhyped, and both sets of fans need to take a goddamn nap, but I don’t even care anymore. I am a messy bitch who lives for drama. And holy shit, Sunday’s game was something else. Fox Sports turning up the field mic so everyone could hear an injured player screaming in agony. Baldomero Toledo doing Baldomero Toledo things. Sean Johnson looking pissed at his teammates. (Haha, remember that, Fire fans? Good times.) Oh and David Villa scored a hat-trick, nbd. This was MLS at its goofiest and I am so here for it.

(Oh and NYCFC are now one point behind the Fire in the Eastern Conference. Dun Dun DUNNNNNNNNNNNNN.)