By Alex McMahon
After 17 weeks, the MLS is still wide open
The MLS campaign is starting to heat up and, as the matches come thick and fast, there is still everything to play for in the hunt for a postseason berth. Last week, we discussed New York City’s recent winning streak and Orlando City’s surprise victory over Eastern Conference leaders DC United. This week, we take a look at some of the standout results in Week 17 – including a bad day at the office for one player in particular. Once again, the MLS continues to produce shock scores on a regular basis as teams struggle to play well on a consistent basis.
LA Galaxy thrash Philadephia Union to make a statement to the rest of the MLS
LA Galaxy earned a 5-1 victory over Philadelphia Union with a dominating performance to pile the pressure on those sides above them in the Western Conference. The Galaxy never looked like losing and raced into a 2-0 lead at half-time courtesy of goals from Baggio Husidic and Juninho. The hosts extended their advantage further through Gyasi Zardes before C. J. Sapong netted his fifth goal of the campaign to give Philadelphia some hope. However, LA Galaxy took the game by the scruff of the neck and goals from Stefan Ishizaki and Sebastian Lletget ensured victory for the home side.
Real Salt Lake hand Sporting Kansas City their third defeat of the MLS season.
Real Salt Lake earned a hard-fought victory over Sporting Kansas City to stay within touching distance of third place in the Western Conference. The hosts opened the scoring after 16 minutes as Designated Player Sebastian Jaime hammered a header past Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia. However, their lead was short lived as Dom Dwyer slotted home to level the scores after 30 minutes. Both teams would squander second half chances and it looked as though they would share the spoils but Olmes Garcia popped up in additional time to loop an effort over the helpless goalkeeper to steal the victory for Salt Lake and keep their playoff aspirations alive.
New York City FC extended their winning run to three matches
David Villa was once again the difference for New York City FC as they earned a 2-0 victory away at Toronto. The visitors coped with the key threat of Sebastian Giovinco as they swarmed the striker and never once allowed him a clear opportunity at goal. Meanwhile, at the other end, the former Barcelona striker was lethal in the 18 yard box and netted a goal in both halves to take his MLS tally to six for the campaign. With Frank Lampard set to arrive at the club – and a rumoured move for Andrea Pirlo on the cards – the newly formed side could be competing for the MLS Cup in the near future.
Bradley Wright-Phillips misses two penalties New York Red Bulls lose to Whitecaps FC
10-man New York Red Bulls were defeated at home by Whitecaps FC, who moved level on points with Seattle Sounders at the top of the Western Conference. Former Southampton star Wright-Phillips became the first player in MLS history to miss two penalty kicks in the same fixture as Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted made two great saves to deny the Englishman. To deepen their misery, the Red Bulls had Sacha Kljestan dismissed after just 11 minutes for an elbow and a trip. At the other end, Kekuta Manneh and Kianz Froese scored either side of the break to put the visitors firmly in control and, despite an 82nd minute strike from Anatole Abang, the score would finish 2-1 and Wright-Phillips was left to rue his two penalty misses.
Can New York City FC continue their winning streak and climb up the Eastern Conference? Also, will David Villa finish as the MLS’ top scorer this season? Let us know in the comments below!