The Chicago Fire has been on a roll lately. Two recent wins, one against one of the top teams of the East and the current CONCACAF Champions League champions. By default, the Fire is now the best team in the East and all of CONCACAF.
While the Fire was out there performing like an actual soccer team, this is what you may have missed from the rest of the league.
One season ago, this would be billed as a preview of an Eastern Conference playoff match. This season, however, that statement could be farther from the truth.
To the delight of Fire fans and the dismay of New England fans, the Revs are pretty bad this year. Gustavo Bou opened the score line for the Revs in the 61st minute, but as with previous games, they couldn't hold on to dear life. Mikael Uhre equalized in the 75th minute for the Union, and every just went south for the Revs. Just four minutes later, Henry Kessler pushed a Union player inside the box, and the referee awarded the hosts a penalty. Daniel Gazdag cooly converted it, and the Union drew the rest of the game to a win.
Montreal 1 - 0 Toronto FC
Here's a fun fact. Toronto FC has not kept a clean sheet in the last 29 games. So Fire fans, if you think your team is doing poorly, look up to our neighbors up North.
Montreal dominated the game but couldn't quite finish. They didn't get on the scoreboard until an own goal from Toronto in the 69th minute, courtesy of Lukas MacNaughton. But in the 81st minute, Kamal Miller received a red after a dumb challenge on Alex Bono. Thankfully they were facing Toronto so that they could close out the game.
Minnesota United 2 - 0 D.C. United
D.C. United continued with their banter era as their new head coach Wayne Rooney was out spectating in the stands.
Emanuel Reynoso scored first with a cheeky goal in the 13th minute. However, Minnesota kept applying pressure throughout the match afterward. D.C.'s first real chance was an attempted header in the 41st minute. Finally, in the 50th minute, Reynoso scored the eventual match winner and his brace.
Colorado Rapids 2 - 0 LA Galaxy
The golden rule of MLS is when two struggling teams face each other, the most bum team out of the two always comes out on top.
Both teams are on a slump, with the Galaxy hit the hardest since their star man, Chicharito is out on health and safety protocols. However, Diego Rubio scored in the 20th minute with an excellent assist from Jonathan Lewis. Lewis would again earn another assist in the 75th minute when his heel pass found Gyasi Zardes, who slotted it in beautifully to the back of the net.
FC Dallas 1 - 1 Austin
Now, I'm not doubting the validity of the "Copa Tejas" rivalry, but the only rivalry to come out of Texas worth anything in MLS is the Brimstone Cup between the Fire and FC Dallas. But that is for another topic.
I am here to tell you that Austin is a good team despite its awful logo. The home side scored first, with Paul Arriola scoring in the 42nd minute thanks to a nice pass from Jesus Ferreira. However, Austin had other plans up its sleeves when Diego Fagundez equalized in the 79th minute, helping Austin remain undefeated for the past seven games.
Inter Miami 3 - 2 Charlotte
Look, we all know Phil Neville has the tactical mind of a cereal box, but sometimes luck goes into his favor.
Charlotte scored first within a minute, courtesy of Yory Reina. Inter Miami had a chance to equalize a few moments later, but Robert Taylor missed wide. Reina once again scored in the 42nd minute. Taylor got his redemption goal in the 59th minute with the hosts' night's first goal. Gonzalo Higuain, who sometimes I forget still plays for Miami, equalized in the 72nd minute.
Then at the death of the second half, Emerson Rodriguez was just substituted moments ago, scored in the 90+3 minute giving Miami the win.
Atlanta United 1 - 1 Orlando City
If there were a game that Fire fans were hoping Orlando City would do something positive, they bottled it in the end.
A win against Atlanta meant the Fire would remain above them, but they earned a draw against the Floridian rivals. Mauricio Pereyra scored within 10 minutes to give the visitors the lead. Orlando had two more chances later in the first half, but their players didn't know how to stay onside. As it looked like Orlando would get their win, Juan Jose Purata equalized for Atlanta in the 71st minute with a header.
New York Red Bulls 0 - 1 NYCFC
To the dismay of the folks in New Jersey, New York is blue - but at least they don't play in a ballpark.
NYCFC was the dominant team on the pitch, with above 50% possession throughout the night. Plenty of fouls were committed throughout the match, but only six yellow cards (three each) were issued. The breakthrough finally came in the 69th minute when Valentin Castellanos scored for the visitors.
Columbus Crew 2 - 0 FC Cincinnati
I've consistently rated Watford as a Premier League club until they sold off Troy Deeney. However, even with the departure of the Deeney, they still had a couple of solid players, such as Cucho Hernandez. So it was quite a coup for the Crew to secure his services.
Hernandez scored in the 16th minute early in the game, his third goal in three games. In the 84th minute, after a handball from Cinicinatti's Obinata Nwobodo, the Crew were awarded a penalty which Lucas Zelarayan converted to make it two-nil for the home team.
Nashville 1 - 2 LAFC
LAFC continues to steamroll the Western Conference with an away win against Nashville FC Sunday night.
Fire favorite CJ Sapong had a chance to score for the hosts in the 20th minute with a header, but LAFC's goalkeeper saved his attempt. Seven minutes later, Cristian Arango scored to put the visitors up. Sapong later drew a penalty in the 39th minute when Llie Sanchez fouled him. Hany Mukthar converted the penalty, equalizing the game. Shortly after the start of the second half, Jose Cifuentes scored the winning goal for LAFC.
Sporting Kansas City continues their season-long slump with a loss against a team who affixed a "Real" tag in front of their name - yes, I will never get over the fact they are named "Real Salt Lake."
Salt Lake started strong, with two attempts on goal within the first ten minutes. Sergio Cordova broke the deadlock in the 50th minute after scoring from a cross by Andrew Brody. Kansas City was down to 10 men after Roger Espinoza was shown the red in the 62nd minute. Salt Lake capitalized on this and scored two minutes later, thanks to Pablo Ruiz. Nearly 10 minutes later, Jefferson Savarino scored a header confirming Salt Lake's win for the night.
Corners, Corners, Corners. Three corners were given in the first two minutes of this match - that must be a record somewhere. That set the premise of the game, pure MLS - but in a boring way.
Despite the dynamic addition of Hector Herrera by the Dyamno, they play boring soccer, and so does San Jose. So please forgive me if I don't sound enthusiastic. Jackson Yueill scored first, giving San Jose the lead in the 53rd minute via a set piece. Houston equalized 20n minutes later and scored the winning goal three minutes later, courtesy of Throleifur Ulfarsson.
Despite Portland’s dominant presence on both the pitch and the stat sheet, Vancouver nearly got the edge over them until the last few minutes of the game.
Brian White scored for the visitors in the 32nd minute from a header. Nearly two minutes later, Vancouver almost doubled their lead, but their attempt was saved. Portland kept pressing on, but they couldn’t get one in the back of the end until the 82nd minute, when they were awarded a penalty due to a foul from Tristan Blackmon. Felipe Mora stepped up to the plate and converted the penalty, earning the equalizing goal for Portland.