Major League Soccer’s slate of games have proven to be must watch television weekly thus far in the season, and week five certainly continued the early season excitement, as crazy scorelines abound across MLS. In the Windy City, Chicago got their first win of the year despite only putting one shot on goal, Vancouver played the red-hot Sounders to a 0-0 draw up north, Philadelphia was able to slow Cincinnati’s hot start, RSL picked up yet another red card, and numerous offenses exploded across the league.
Trending Up: Wayne Rooney. The man is playing with passion and joy, turning back the clock during his American adventure. Rooney is a major reason why DC have gotten off to their strong start to the season. Absolute scintillating goal against Orlando.
Trending Down: Atlanta United. Columbus added to reigning-champ Atlanta’s early season woes, as they now only have two points on the year, and look routinely stymied on offense, lacking the creative threat that made them so dangerous all last season.
Toronto FC 4-0 NYCFC
What a debut for Alejandro Pozuelo, who summed up his brilliant evening by saying “it was a magical night, it will be impossible to forget.” Acquired March 18th for a staggering 10.26 million, Pozuelo took the expectations placed upon him with that price tag in stride, scoring twice and assisting Jozy Altidore for the opener, and putting on an overall stunning display.
VAR giveth and taketh away for NYCFC in the game, as the replay system ruled that Justin Morrow’s 9th minute opener was offsides, but then awarded a penalty midway through the second half as Jozy Altidore was pulled down while leaping for a header. Pozuelo’s confidence shown through on his ensuing penalty kick attempt in the 58th minute, as he attempted (and nailed) a Panenka kick, in which rather than go left or right, the kick taker lobs an arching ball right down the middle of goal.
Toronto continues to shake off the disappointment of Champions League, staying a perfect three-for-three in MLS with their latest win. The Reds have looked crisp and sharp, passing well and linking up beautifully on their way to a +7 goal differential through their three games.
Sporting continued its impressive start to the season, handling the heavy workload of Champions League and still putting a strong performance in league play. This week was their best yet, as Kansas City becomes just the 6th MLS team to score seven or more goals in a game.
Johnny Russell and Krisztian Nemeth absolutely came to play, combining for five goals and two assists. Russell opened the scoring with a great volley off a blocked Nemeth shot in the 10th minute and proved a threat all evening long, while Nemeth continually put himself in great positions, finding the open spot behind the defense for his first career hat trick.
Gerso continued his great form to start the season as he added two assists to his tally, with his speed proving too much for Montreal time and time again. Felipe Gutierrez contributed a goal and assist, and 16-year-old Gianluca Busio added a goal in 78thminute as the rout was well and truly on.
Montreal has started the season well, but were missing key players Ignacio Piatti (injury), Zakaria Diallo (red card) and Harry Novillo (missing passport) for this key game against last season’s Western Conference champs. Impact goalie Evan Bush ignored those excuses and did not mince words while talking to reporters after the match, saying “nothing we did was good- technically, tactically, mentality, effort- nothing was good.”
The speed demon struck again in Colorado on Saturday, as Alberth Elis completely dominated his side of the field, with his pace proving too much for the Colorado defense to handle. He was able to play a great ball in for Houston’s first, put pressure on Colorado’s defense that led to their defensive miscues, and blew past Kellyn Acosta for their fourth goal of the night. Elis has kicked his game to an extra level this year and has been putting forth a number of impressive performances thus far.
Colorado’s defense let them down heavily on the evening, as Houston was able to beat their man regularly and get in between the two centerbacks. This poor defending resulted in two Colorado own goals, as they were caught out of position and forced to make frantic efforts to prevent the goal.
For Colorado, they had an opportunity to make this a more competitive game, but luck was not on their side, as Diego Rubio hit the cross bar twice in the first half in Colorado’s best two looks at goal. Kei Kamara played well again, and used his size and leaping ability to win a lot of balls for the Rapids and was cool as you’d like on the penalty to pull one back for the hosts.
San Jose Earthquakes 0-5 LAFC
San Jose looks much like a squad that will not win a game this season, sitting on four losses from four games with a -12 goal differential after Saturdays beatdown at the hands of LAFC. Quakes goalie Daniel Vega went from hero to villain in the span of minutes for the hosts, as he came flying off his line to deny Diego Rossi after a poor turnover from his centerback, but then whiffed badly on an attempted clearance, allowing Carlos Vela to calmly walk the ball into the goal.
San Jose looked outclassed and overmatched from the opening whistle, appearing to be attempting to just hang on and limit the damage. LAFC was able to play the ball around and get in behind the defensive line regularly, exposing that unit to the tune of five goals.
Once again, the star of the game for the visitors was Carlos Vela. The dynamic midfielder recently stated his goal is to be the MVP of the league, and he continued to make a strong case early in the season, with a hattrick and assist an against San Jose, bringing his total to 6 goals and three assists on the year. His third of the night was pure poetry, as he got on the ball from 24 yards out and curled a beautiful ball across goal into the top corner, with both pace and movement, seemingly placed by magic beyond Vega’s reach.