A lot was going on in Chicago over the weekend.
There was that doubleheader at Soldier Field where we saw the Chicago Fire draw against a dysfunctional Atlanta side and a Red Stars loss against the San Diego wave.
There’s also some music festival happening - I don’t know what that is all about, however.
Whether you were out watching the beautiful game at Soldier Field or partying at Grant Park, here is what you may have missed during week 23 of MLS.
Many folks in the MLS sphere were hyping this match as one of the best of the season, but being the contrarian I am, I would say, “eh, it was alright.”
Regardless of my bad opinions, it was still quite a match.
The visitors opened the score line early in the first minute when Sebastian Blanco scored from a lovely Jaroslaw Niezgoda assist. Eight minutes later, Minnesota equalized from a header by Franco Fragapane. Things started to get testy around the 10 to 18-minute mark when both teams committed fouls left and right. Finally, Minnesota gained the lead in the 21st minute with a goal from Bongokuhle Hlongwane. Before the end of the first half, the hosts added some insurance with their third goal of the night when a Robin Lod ball found the foot of Luis Amarilla.
But as the famous saying goes, MLS is going to MLS. Blanco scored again in the 50th minute to cut the deficit for Portland. Then, three minutes later, a header from Neizgoda equalized the game.
But there’s more to come.
Portland gained the lead 12 minutes later in the 65th minute when an own goal from Kamar Lawrence found the back of the net. Then in the fabled 69th minute of play, an excellent header from Luis Amarilla equalized the game for Minnesota.
A few years back, someone here (I wonder who) touted Paulo Nagamura to be the next Fire coach.
Despite their relatively OK start to the season, it seems like Nagamura is getting exposed. A superior Philadelphia side tactically outmatched his Houston team on Saturday. Fire legend Alejandro Bedoya assisted Daniel Gazdag to open the score line in the 23rd minute.
Jack McGlynn scored a goal from a free kick in the 42nd minute giving the Union a 2-0 lead before the end of the first half. Four minutes later, during stoppage time, Mikael Uhre scored the third goal of the day.
Bedoya again got another assist when Uhre received a ball from him to score the fourth goal of the game in the 48th minute - at this point, the Union was running riot.
Bedoya got his hat-trick of assists seven minutes later when his ball found Julian Carranza, who scored the game’s fifth goal. The Union completed their rout in the 89th minute when Quinn Sullivan scored the 6th and final goal of the game.
Montreal 0 - 0 NYCFC
With the departure of Valentin Castellanos, NYCFC wasn’t their usual self against Montreal’s foot team.
The only credible threat of the game was the few chances Djordje Mihailovic had; however, Sean Johnson had other plans as he was able to repel threat after threat and maintain another clean sheet for the season - his 12th overall.
Is there anything more satisfying than seeing a Bruce Arena team flounder? Combine that with a Toronto team out of sync, and it is a tasty meal for Fire fans.
In the 76th minute, former Chicago Fire player Matt Polster committed a foul in the penalty area to give Toronto a penalty to win the game. Up until this point, both sides couldn’t produce anything worthy against each other. Foggia legend Lorenzo Insigne stepped up to take the penalty, but his goal attempt was futile.
The game ended in a draw with nothing to show for it.
Nashville 1 - 1 Vancouver Whitecaps
I keep forgetting Teal Bunbury plays for a different team now.
Anyway, he scored the first goal of the game - his second goal in two games, in the 17th minute. After that, it looked like Nashville would close out the game, but the recently crowned Championnat Canadien had other plans. In the 87th minute, a set-piece goal from Vancouver equalized the game when Javain Brown found the back of the net.
Inter Miami 4 - 4 FC Cincinnati
I’m all for some Gonzalo Higuain slander, but I will credit where it is due.
But I won’t be giving Phil Neville any credit.
Higuain scored from a free-kick in the 23rd minute. However, Miami couldn’t maintain their lead, and five minutes later, Brenner equalized for Cincinnati. Higuain scored his brace in the 37th minute, but they blew their lead again shortly after. Brenner once again equalized three minutes later.
Towards the end of the first half, A penalty was awarded to Miami after Tyler Blackett committed a foul. Higuain cooly converted, giving the hosts the lead once again.
During the game’s dying stages, Brandon Vasquez scored a brace within 5 minutes, and when it looked like Cincinnati would leave Ft. Lauderdale with a win, Christopher McVey broke their hearts with the equalizing goal during stoppage time.
Sporting Kansas City 0 - 2 Austin
Sporting Kansas City continues their downward spiral with a 2-0 loss against Austin.
The Wizards went down to 10 men before the end of the first half when Cam Duke was shown his second yellow of the game after a silly foul. Austin capitalized on this, and Alexander Ring scored the game’s first goal. Kansas City did well to repel any more goals from Austin until the 90th minute, when Sebastian Driussi scored the game’s second goal.
D.C. United 2 - 1 Orlando City
There is always that one individual who always haunts a team.
Examples include Didier Drogba with Arsenal, Ronaldo with Luxembourg, and Lionel Messi with Eibar.
While D.C. United’s new head coach Wayne Rooney hasn’t haunted Orlando in the same caliber as those previously mentioned players, one of his more notable MLS exploits as a player was his iconic tackle and assist against Orlando in 2018.
In his first game in charge of D.C, he tormented Orlando again. The visitors gained an early lead in the 9th minute when Junior Orso scored from an Alexandre Pato assist. After that, however, whatever pep talk Rooney gave the dressing room seemed to work, and D.C. came out stronger in the second half.
They finally got their break towards the end of the game when Chris Durkin equalized in the 90th minute. Five minutes later, Taxiarhics Fountas did the improbable and scored the winning goal for D.C.