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MLS Roundup Week 24: Handballs

Who needs feet, when you have hands?

SOCCER: AUG 06 MLS - NYCFC at Columbus Crew Photo by Graham Stokes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the win against Charlotte FC last Saturday, the Chicago Fire have won two consecutive away matches for the first time since the 2013 season.

So while you folks were watching the Fire perform like an actual football team, here is what you may have missed in MLS Week 24.

Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 1 Houston Dynamo

The reigning Canadian Champions waited til the very last moment to achieve a narrow 2-1 win against the Houston Dynamo last Friday.

Houston scored early in the 6th minute when Fafa Picault found the back of the net from a Sam Junqua assist. Fabian Herber’s best friend Jullian Gressel nearly equalized in the 21st minute, but his attempt was too far to the right. Vancouver and Houston both had shots at goal throughout the match, but neither could muster anything. As the game dwindled towards the final whistle, Simon Becher equalized in the 88th minute. Four minutes later, Lucas Cavallini scored the night’s winning goal during stoppage time.

Atlanta United 2 - 1 Seattle Sounders

Seattle is in a weird place right now. In previous seasons, they would be at the top of their game right now - but it seems like they sold their playing soul to the devil to achieve continental glory because they aren’t the dominant mid-season force they used to be.

Ronaldo Cisneros scored the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute. Seattle quickly responded 10 minutes later and nearly found an equalizer, not only once but twice, but both header attempts were futile. Cristian Roldan scored the equalizing goal in the 68th minute, and it was off to the races - but Seattle looked like it needed a couple more pit stops to make their engine roar properly again. Towards the end, it seemed like that engine was about to kick into fourth gear, but their shots were blocked. Former Fire Academy product and Celtic FC legend Andrew Gutman dealt the final blow to Seattle by scoring the winning goal during stoppage time.

FC Cincinnati 3 - 1 Philadelphia Union

It’s always funny to see a “bum” team beat a goliath - but banter aside, would it be fair to call Cincinnati a bum team this year?

They are a completely different team this year, and their standings in the table show they are two points ahead of the Chicago Fire when this was published.

Brandon Vasquez scored the first goal in the 50th minute from an Alvaro Barreal assist. Cincinnati doubled their lead five minutes later when Brenner scored. Finally, Barreal got on the scoreboard when he scored in the 71st minute.

Cincinnati was playing some good football at this stage, and kudos to them. The Union got their consolation goal when a Cory Burke ball found Paxten Aaronson, who scored in the 77th minute.

Montreal 2 - 2 Inter Miami

Everyone knows that one Michael Jordan meme with the caption, “and I took that personally?”

Gonzalo Higuain is taking that meme to heart and is now on a redemption tour after years of slander.

A minute after Romeo’s Quioto’s goal for Montreal in the early stages, Higuain scored, leveling the game in the sixth minute of play. If you are into numbers, this was his sixth goal in six games.

In the 21st minute, the hosts were awarded a penalty after a Miami handball from Christopher McVey, and Quioto once again placed Montreal in the lead after successfully converting it. Emerson Rodriguez equalized in the 79th minute after his two previous attempts were blocked.

Note, I still won’t give any credit to Phil Neville for this tie.

Columbus Crew 3 - 2 NYCFC

Good on Sean Johnson for conceding some goals on Saturday so Gaga Slonina can catch up with the clean sheets tally. Once a Fire, always a Fire.

NYCFC broke their seven-game unbeaten streak when the Crew slotted three goals past them, but it didn’t look like that at first when an own goal from Jonathan Mensah put them in the lead in the 3rd minute. Two minutes later, Mensah committed a bad foul and was shown yellow. Cucho Hernandez leveled the game with his goal for the Crew in the 20th minute, with Lucas Zelarayan giving the hosts the lead seven minutes later. Hernandez nearly gave the Crew another goal four minutes later in the 31st minute, but his shot was far to the left. Gabriel Pereira equalized for New York in the 64th minute, but the Crew pushed forward, and after a set piece situation, Zelarayan scored the winning goal in the 75th minute of play.

Orlando City 0 - 3 New England

For once, Fire fans should be thankful for the New England Revolution because their win against Orlando City meant that the Fire would maintain their spot at the table.

Former Chicago man Matt Polster scored the game’s first goal with a right-footed shot in the 20th minute. Wilfrid Kaptoum doubled the visitor’s lead in the 51st minute from a Tommy McNamara cross.

Henry Kessler completed the rout in the 75th minute from another cross, this time from Carlos Gil. Orlando’s loss against New England meant they had the same points as the Fire but a worse goal difference.

D.C. United 0 - 0 New York Red Bulls

A somewhat dull game, but fair play to D.C. United for holding the Red Bulls to only one shot towards goal - at the expense of only having two shots on goal themselves.

This goalless draw was D.C.’s first clean sheet in 14 league games.

Nashville 3 - 4 Toronto FC

After a disastrous start to the season, Toronto FC is starting to click.

Unlike the rest of the squad, Jonathan Osorio, who is actually having a decent season, scored the first goal in the 19th minute. Toronto was now in control of the game until the 38th minute when Alex Bono fouled Chicago Fire favorite CJ Sapong, allowing Nashville to equalize the game via a penalty. And who else but Hany Mukhtar to convert the penalty? Mukhtar equalized the game in the 41st minute, but that didn’t last too long as three minutes later, Osorio gave Toronto the lead again.

A Teal Bunbury header leveled the game before the end of the first half.

Another penalty was awarded, but this time to Toronto, when Richie Laryea drew a foul in the 53rd minute. Federico Bernardeschi converted the penalty, and once again, Toronto was in the lead.

Cavese legend Lorenzo Insigne scored the fourth goal - his first in MLS in the 77th minute.

Sporting Kansas City 4 - 2 LA Galaxy

Despite a solid start to the season, LA Galaxy has been sliding down the Western Conference table despite having a relatively stacked squad.

Meanwhile, Sporting Kansas City has been the punching bag of late but has been showing some promise, and the quality they have been known for was in full force against the Galaxy last Saturday.

Erik Thommy scored 10 minutes in from a Roger Espinoza assist. The Wizards had a chance to double their lead in the 25th minute when they were awarded a penalty from a Derrick Williams handball, but Johnny Russell’s attempt was saved. William Agada eventually gave Kansas City some insurance with a goal in the 40th minute. He later scored once again before the end of the first half.

After a VAR review, the Galaxy cut the deficit by two goals when Chicharito scored in the 83rd minute. Towards the end of the second half, the Galaxy was awarded a penalty after an Oriol Rosell handball.

Chicharito converted the penalty, but that wasn’t enough for the Galaxy as Daniel Salloi scored Kansas City’s fourth goal five minutes into injury time.

Oh by the way, shame on you LA Galaxy for trying to kick out a USL Championship team out of a stadium.

Real Salt Lake 1 - 4 LAFC

A good team beating up another team. Nothing new here, but MLS seems to enjoy handballs now.

Other MLS Scorelines

Austin FC 3 - 3 San Jose Earthquakes

Colorado Rapids 4 - 3 Minnesota United

Portland Timbers 1 - 1 FC Dallas